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How Social Proof Can Affect Your Conversion Rate

Imagine walking into a crowded restaurant with two options:

  • one with a bustling atmosphere and a line of customers eagerly waiting to be seated
  • the other is eerily quiet with empty tables

Which one would you choose?

Most likely, the restaurant filled with people. Why? Because the bustling atmosphere and the line of customers serve as social proof that the restaurant is popular and likely offers a great dining experience.

Say ‘hello’ to Social Proof.

In the world of e-commerce and lead generation, social proof plays a crucial role in shaping consumer behaviour and influencing conversion rates, therefore – your bottom line.

In this article we’re going to run through:

So, after reading this, you’ll be able to understand how social proof works, why it’s beneficial and how you can apply tweaks and adjustments to your website or landing pages to improve your conversion rate, thereby increasing your digital revenue.

Let’s start at the beginning…

What is Social Proof?

Social proof refers to a psychological phenomenon. Ie. when people look to the actions and behaviours of others to determine what is correct or appropriate in a given situation.

As a society, we tend to rely on the experiences, opinions, and actions of others as a form of guidance or validation for our own decisions. When you need a plumber, it’s great to have a recommendation, right? When buying a new appliance, do you check online reviews first, to see what others thought?

In the context of e-commerce and lead generation, social proof can look like:

  • Customer reviews/Ratings
  • Testimonials
  • Endorsements
  • Social media engagement, and even the number of followers or subscribers a brand has
  • Case Studies

Why is Social Proof Important?

As social beings, we seek validation from others when making decisions. Social proof provides tangible evidence that others have had positive experiences or trust in a product, service, or brand.

Social Proof helps a brand build credibility.

By leveraging social proof effectively, businesses can create a sense of trust and reduce perceived risk, ultimately boosting conversion rates and driving growth.

How does Social Proof Affect Conversion?

Social proof can significantly influence conversion rates by building trust, fostering a sense of belonging, providing social validation, and leveraging the influence of authoritative figures and user-generated content.

If you discover a new website, product or service you haven’t heard of before, seeing validation of that brand/service/product can reassure you that your investment will prove valuable and you will not be taken advantage of.

Without social proof it can be a shot in the dark. You’re gambling on an unknown entity.

How to Create Social Proof

Here’s a helpful list of the different variations of social proof and how you can utilise them on your website or landing page

1. Customer reviews/Ratings

“93% of customers check online reviews before making any buying decision” (source)

A great example are Amazon – the King of customer reviews. They started collecting customer feedback in an open forum in 2005.

“In fact, 92% of customers hesitate to make any buying decision without customer reviews!”

There are a few ways to collect reviews, but here are the 2 most common:

  1. Collect brand reviews on a third party site and use these reviews to showcase your social proof (Trust Pilot, Google, Productreview.com.au etc)
  2. Collect feedback from customers and provide their reviews on your website (product reviews, quotes)

Example A

Example B

an example reviews on a website

Automation can make collecting or requesting reviews easy. If you have an e-commerce website, there are email marketing platforms like Klaivyo, Pardot, etc, that can send an email to any customers that have placed an order, or received a dispatch confirmation. Request a review, tell the customer how much you appreciate their time and feedback.

Remember, customers are two to three times more likely to search your review options out to leave a negative review, over a positive one. So, proactively contacting your customers means you’re going to collect more positive reviews than if you were to just wait for them to come to you.

Lead generation businesses can also collect reviews. You would need to establish the best system to work with your CRM and the timeline of a service, or services, for your clients. Ie. when is the most appropriate time to ask for a review?

2. Testimonials

Testimonials are similar to reviews, but don’t require collation or automation, in the same way.

From our example below, our client PorterVac has created video testimonials with their clients. They could have simply provided the text of their client’s feedback, but pairing that alongside a video reinforces that this was the client’s genuine feedback, not some inhouse generated content they stuck on a page.

A video can increase time on site and user engagement, as well – so win, win.

An example of customer testimonials from PorterVac

3. Endorsements

Endorsements are similar to testimonials, but they’re typically from a person that users and customers would recognise. Someone whose opinion they’d put stock behind – a celebrity or expert in the field.

75% of marketers use influencers as a marketing tool, and 43% plan to increase spending on this form of advertising. (source)

An example of this would be Beats by Dre. For a few years, it felt like you couldn’t move without seeing the headphones without a celebrity underneath them.

celebrities wearing Beats headphones

When influencers/ celebrities endorse a product or service, their followers perceive it as a vote of confidence.

The association with a well-known and respected individual lends credibility and trustworthiness to the offering.

The influence of these endorsements can lead to higher engagement, increased brand visibility, and a greater likelihood of conversions as followers are more inclined to trust and emulate the actions of their favourite influencers and celebrities.

Social media engagement/ followers/ subscribers

If your brand’s social media posts receive high levels of engagement, such as likes, shares, and comments, it signals to potential customers that the content is resonating.

This engagement serves as social proof that the brand is trustworthy and valued by its audience. Similarly, a substantial social media following demonstrates popularity and credibility, further enhancing social proof. When users see that a brand has a large and engaged following, they are more likely to trust the brand and perceive its offerings as desirable.

Case studies

Case studies serve as a powerful form of social proof that can significantly impact conversion rates.

A well-crafted case study highlights real-world examples of how a product or service has helped customers achieve their goals or solve specific problems.

By presenting concrete evidence of successful outcomes, case studies provide potential customers with tangible proof of the product’s effectiveness and value. They demonstrate how others have benefited from using the offering, instilling confidence and trust.

Case studies often include specific details, data, and testimonials, making them highly credible and persuasive. When potential customers see that others in similar situations have achieved positive results, they are more likely to believe in the product’s ability to deliver similar benefits, leading to increased conversions.

See below for our case study on social proof – is that meta?

Examples of Social Proof

So, to reiterate, in case you got lost, here’s a list of examples of social proof you could add to your website or landing page, today! These CRO tactics will have real, tangible effects on your conversion rate:

  • Customer testimonials
  • Online reviews
  • Social media shares
  • Endorsements and case studies

Social Proof - A CRO Case Study

Now here’s our chance for some social proof, this time in the form of a case study about social proof.

For this case study, we focused on our client, PorterVac. We did a CRO analysis of a marketing landing page and ran an A/B split test adding social proof in the form of:

  • Google Reviews Badge,
  • Reviews x 2,
  • Associations &
  • No. of Happy Customers

Here’s more information on the benefits of split testing.

The Test

CONTROL

THE CHAMPION

The Results

The client saw a 33% increase in conversion rate. Incredible growth from these smart tweaks to the landing page.

CONTROL

7.99%

Benchmark Conversion Rate

THE CHAMPION

10.60%

Post Test Conversion Rate

96.00%

Statistical Signifance

33%

Conversion Difference

Social proof increased this client’s conversion rate, enhancing their credibility and authority to new users.

Ultimately, it will increase their revenue, with a whopping ROI, as there was little investment required.

A big win for everyone involved.

Here’s the case study if you’d like to learn more about read about some of the other CRO tactics we implemented to this client’s landing page.

If you enjoyed reading this blog article, feel free to share it with a business you believe could benefit from optimising their landing pages, or building new ones with social proof to improve their digital marketing.

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