Social Proof is essentially the utilisation of evidence, or the opinions and actions of third parties to influence behaviour. From a Marketing perspective this is generally to influence the attitude and decision making of potential customers by steering, or reinforcing, their judgement and thought process towards specific products/services which you offer.
The theory behind this being that by seeing other people have endorsed, or purchased, a product or service that it is therefore more likely to be good/better quality.
This can become even more effective when highlighting that the person, or business, using the product/service are similar to the potential customer you are trying to influence, as the Social Proof then becomes even more relevant to them. For example, on a very simple level this could be a business trying to sell their services to a travel company by highlighting that they currently work with other similar travel companies.
Social Proof is an important tool in Marketing because it can exert a subtle influence over potential customers whereby they then may make different decisions than they potentially would when relying purely on their own judgement. This is based on a social and psychological theory which we see regularly in real life situations, often referred to as ‘jumping on the bandwagon’.
A key benefit of Social Proof is in increasing conversion rates on websites, particularly landing pages and results listings pages, as Social Proof helps build a bond of trust with your customers, and potential customers, by demonstrating that your products/services are good quality and are used and trusted by others.
For this reason it is important that the types of Social Proof you utilise are relevant to the pages you display these on, which you can, and should, always AB test to make sure you get this right and maximise its effectiveness. It’s also very important the data shown is accurate and ‘honest’ to ensure the bond of trust you are building with your customers is built on solid foundations.
The most common form of Social Proof people think about are messages like ‘X number of people have purchased this today’ which you will regularly see on retail or travel websites. But there are many more types which you can explore and utilise as part of your conversion rate optimisation strategy. Some of the most common forms are listed below, though this list is by no means exhaustive:
Some of these themes are explored in more detail in this blog post about social proofing.
Webtrends Optimize can help in several ways to implement and validate Social Proof elements throughout your site or digital assets. From collecting data real-time on your sites and/or importing your historic data to provide the information required to power this, to automating the display of a variety of Social Proof messaging tools, and testing and analysing each and every implementation. Our platform allows you to do it all – at no additional investment.
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