11 Proven Ways to Use Social Proof to Increase Your Conversions

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Every smart marketer know that adding social proof can increase your conversion rate. That’s why big brands like Amazon, WordPress, MailChimp, and just about every other company uses social proof on their site. In this article, we will explain what is social proof, how you can use social proof in your business, and 11 examples of social proof that you can start using today.

What is social proof?

By definition, social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people conform to the actions of others under the assumption that those actions are reflective of the correct behavior.

Marketers use social proof as a tactic for easing the minds of worried customers and increasing conversions.

There’s no denying the power of social proof. Studies show nearly 70 percent of online consumers look at a product review prior to making a purchase.

Even more telling is the fact that product reviews are 12-times more trusted than product descriptions and sales copy from manufacturers.

In other words, consumers want proof from their peers – not the brands selling the products.

The best way to explain social proof is by looking at some real-life social proof examples that you encounter on a daily basis.

  • Restaurants often have limited space in reception areas so that people waiting for a table will be forced to wait outside. This shows people passing by that the restaurant is in high demand. As a result, a passerby is more likely to visit the restaurant in the future. .
  • Stores will often post pictures of celebrities who have shopped on the premises in order to subconsciously tell customers that high authority figures approve of their products and services..
  • Country clubs often require people to join a waitlist in order to obtain memberships. While waitlists are sometimes needed to prevent too many members from joining, the reality is that they’re frequently implemented to make clubs seem more exclusive.

As you can see, social proof is all around you. And while you’re often subject to social proof as a customer, it’s imperative that you begin to leverage it on your own website. When used effectively, social proof can drastically and swiftly improve online conversions.

11 Social Proof Examples to Increase Conversions

The question isn’t whether or not social proof will help you increase conversions, but rather which social proof strategies will you choose to leverage? Below are 11 social proof strategies that you can start using in your business to grow your sales.

1. Customer Testimonials

Perhaps the most commonly used form of social proof is the customer testimonial. According to a research done by Nielsen, 92% of people will trust a recommendation from a peer, and 70% of people will trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know.

That’s why almost all big brands show customer testimonials on their website.

Amazon, world’s largest online retailer, displays customer reviews and ratings on every product.

Amazon Testimonials

Freshbooks, a popular invoicing software for small businesses highlight why small businesses owners love their product. By doing this, they are targeting their testimonials directly at their audience:

Freshbooks Testimonials

On OptinMonster, aside from displaying testimonials through out the site, we have a dedicated OptinMonster customer reviews page where we list our customers testimonials.

OptinMonster Customer Testimonials

Customer reviews and testimonials can be displayed in a number of different formats as long as they highlight the value of your product through the voices of satisfied customers. In fact, according to one study, testimonials can increase conversions on sales pages by as much as 34 percent. The key is honing in on the testimonial format that’s best for your website.

2. Celebrity Endorsements

Celebrities and well-known industry experts are great resources when it comes to establishing authority and proving your value.

Depending on your brand, celebrity approval may come in the form of paid endorsements or even natural endorsements.

The former would refer to formal contracts where you pay a figure to represent your brand. This is what big corporation like Pepsi and Priceline do.

Pepsi Celebrity Ad

William Shatner earned $600 million by being a spokesperson of Priceline.

William Shatner Priceline

Natural celebrity endorsement refers to situations where an individual publicly approves of your brand/product of their own volition.

WPBeginner videos highlight industry experts who recommend the free WordPress video training.

WPBeginner Celebrity Endorsement

3. Case Studies

While more formal in nature, case studies are often used to provide high authority social proof. Also referred to as long form social proof, case studies leverage the idea that customers perceive long, in-depth reviews as being more reputable than brief excerpts.

At OptinMonster, we have a dedicated Case Studies section where we highlight the success stories of our customers.

Yoast OptinMonster Case Study

Shopify a popular eCommerce software on the web highlights their customer success stories as long form case studies.

Shopify Customer Success Stories

4. Media Mentions

Has your product or brand ever been mentioned in the media? This would include magazine features, unsolicited reviews, TV segments, or podcast interviews. If possible, take excerpts from these media mentions and paste them on your website to establish authority.

This is what Freshbooks does on their homepage:

Freshbooks Media

Another example of quoting press mentions can be seen by Markhor, a high quality leather shoes maker.

Markhor Press Mentions

An even simpler and less-invasive strategy is to simply integrate the logos of media outlets you’ve been featured in. At OptinMonster, we do this on our own homepage by including the words “Featured In,” followed by a handful of recognizable logos.

OptinMonster Featured In Media

5. FOMO Marketing

Are you familiar with the FOMO (fear of missing out) concept? This concept basically says people are more likely to convert when they feel like they’re on the verge of missing out on a good deal or opportunity.

In terms of web design, this may look like incorporating a countdown ticker in your shopping cart feature or listing the quantity of remaining units you have left in stock.

Amazon-Urgency

Groupon uses FOMO marketing really well in their listing. Here’s an example of one:

Groupon-Time-Based-Urgency

Combining urgency with social proof is a win win. See our article on how to use urgency to hack your conversion rate.

6. Customer Base

One extremely pervasive and effective social proof strategy is the use of client logos to prove positive adoption.

By showing users your existing customer base, you’re essentially telling them that your product offering is good enough for successful companies to use – so it must be good enough for them.

Basecamp does a great job of this by showing the number of companies that signed up last week along with the big companies that are using their platform.

Basecamp Stats

Sendgrid a popular email marketing service displays the logo of their customers in their header and in the footer of their page.

SendGrid Customers

SendGrid Customers

7. Trust Seals

By adding trust seals on your checkout page, you can significantly boost your sales. Blue Fountain Media did a split-test, and they found that by adding a Verisign trust seal, their conversions increased by 42%.

Blue Fountain Media Case Study

There are tons of security seals you can add on your site such as Norton, McAfee, Better Business Bureau, etc. Baymard Institute conducted a study that showed which seals customers trust more:

Use trust seals to show users that your website is safe and secure

8. Certifications and Badges

If your business has certain industry certifications or accreditations, you can proudly display these qualifications on your website.

Most certifying and accrediting organizations have badges or logos that can be freely displayed on your website. Some have even been shown to increase conversion rates by as much as 30 percent.

Pagely, a leading managed WordPress hosting provider, displays an Amazon Web Services Partner Badge in their website header.

Pagely Amazon Badge

Kristi Hines, a well-known freelance writer displays all of our certifications on her Hire Me page.

Kristi Hines

9. Platform Integrations

If your product or service integrates with third-party services, then one of the best social proof you can add is the logos of your integration partners. By doing this, you ultimately put your product in the company of credible and familiar brands.

At OptinMonster, we do this by displaying all of our email marketing service and platform integrations:

OptinMonster Integrations

When someone shows up, they may not know who we are, but they’ve most definitely heard of MailChimp, AWeber, Infusionsoft, WordPress, Magento, Shopify, etc which adds credibility to our platform.

Baremetrics does it right in their header by stating that they’re an analytics and insights platform for the popular payment platform Stripe.

Baremetrics for Stripe

Adding third-party platform integration logos is one of the easiest ways to borrow social credibility.

10. Raw Numbers (Shares, Stats, and Following)

The simplest social proof you can display on your site is the raw number of shares, followers, customers, or any other valuable statistic that brings credibility to your brand.

Akismet, a popular comment spam filter highlights that they block over 7.5 million spam comments per hour.

Akismet Stats

MailChimp, one of the most popular email marketing service highlights that over 10 million people use MailChimp to send 600 million emails every day.

MailChimp Stats

WordPress.com highlights that WordPress powers 25% of the internet. How can you say no to using WordPress after that. (Related: WordPress.com vs WordPress.org)

WordPress.com Stats

Raw numbers simply convert!

11. Social Media Proof

As social media becomes more main-stream, brands are using social media statuses as social proof by highlighting what their customers are saying about them.

It doesn’t get more authentic than this.

Pagely displays user testimonials from Twitter on their site:

Pagely Social Testimonials

Campaign Monitor, another popular email marketing service displays tweet testimonials in the footer.

Campaign Monitor Social

I hope after reading this article, you’re ready to add social proof on your site and boost your conversions. Remember to track your conversion rates before and after, so you can do a case study of your own.

Use OptinMonster to Increase Conversions

At OptinMonster, we’re all about increasing conversions. When you use our lead generation software, you gain instant access to features like exit-intent technology, A/B split testing, page level targeting, and built-in analytics – all of which can help you turn meandering visitors into engaged customers. Feel free to check out the OptinMonster features and sign up today!

Since we know the value of social proof, you can even add social proof inside your OptinMonster popups.

Syed Balkhi Social Proof Popup

What are you waiting for? Get started with OptinMonster and increase your conversions today.

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Syed Balkhi
Syed Balkhi is the co-founder of OptinMonster. He was recognized as the top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by the United Nations. He lives and breathe conversion marketing.

Comments

  1. Johnathon Hart says:

    This is a fantastic article, it shows the importance of branding, amongst other things. Truly inspiring.

    1. Syed Balkhi Syed Balkhi says:

      Thanks Jonathan.

  2. Wayne Stiles says:

    Really helpful, guys. Thanks so much for these great and practical examples.

    1. Syed Balkhi Syed Balkhi says:

      Glad you liked them Wayne.

  3. Rimantas says:

    Thanks. Good info. Doing some of that and it really works.

  4. Jose Scafarelli says:

    Vevy, very valuable article! 🙂
    I have read it, wrote notes, and i will apply to my pages ASAP! 🙂
    TY very much!
    Josè

  5. Jen Nichol says:

    Just to add on product reviews strategy , it is undeniable that it is one of the method that can help to increase sales. Studies show that product reviews on your web store increases the likelihood of purchase. Just like Amazon. People depend on product reviews before they begin to purchase.

    However what is the effective way to actually get product reviews? It is something that all start-up businesses having a difficulty with. Even new websites that promote various products are fighting this battle.

    I came across a service that can actually help us on this. It has a unique feature that collects product reviews from various online stores and displays them on your website.

    How cool is that !

    You can find out how to do that on

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5k9tJmm3u08

    Hope that helps

  6. Jacob Varghese says:

    Good listicle here. Not sure #5 belongs in there unless you tie FOMO in a bit tighter with social proof, but hey, it’s your blog. :). Everything else works well. I’m using a lot of these for my ow blog as well as for clients.

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