Social proof is an interesting psychological phenomenon that all marketers should familiarise themselves with. As a consumer, you would have undoubtedly encountered social proof while shopping online. As a marketer, you might already be employing social proof tactics.

What is social proof?

This is when people adopt the behaviour of others when they’re in new or unfamiliar situations i.e. when they’re unsure of what to do.

Consider this in a real life scenario.

You go online to purchase a new television. You’ve narrowed it down to two – both appear to be equally good and are on separate websites. One of the websites shows the television scored 4.8 out of 5, according to their customers.  The other website doesn’t use ratings or reviews so you remain in the dark on this one. It’s very likely that you’ll be far more inclined to go with the product with the positive customer ratings than the one which remains a mystery.

This is social proof in action and in marketing it can prove to be an extremely valuable behaviour. According to Forbes, online reviews have been shown to impact 67.7% of purchasing decisions and 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.

So now you know why social proof is important, here are 15 ways to leverage it on your marketing to influence your customer’s behaviour and increase conversion rates.

User Ratings

Let’s start with the example I used above. A rating gives your website visitor a quick overview and gauge of how well received your product was from your existing customers.  This visual feedback can be all the encouragement someone needs to purchase a product.

Tea Pigs use the classic star rating approach which projects a simple and effective message:


Customer Reviews

These are closely linked to ratings but here the user will find more information in the form of written feedback. Customer reviews are a great form of social proof as they provide a trusted and unbiased summary of a product or service, allowing others to buy with confidence.

teapigs customer review


This is all about getting that stamp of approval from an authoritative organisation within your industry. If your business works in regulated areas e.g. finance then there will be legal requirements for this. However if you work in other areas you should consider which governing bodies or accredited companies are available to gain certification from. In the example below, Travel Places uses two badges to demonstrate their authority within the education market where they offer education and sports tours. This is alongside their other travel certification such as ABTA and ATOL.


Crowdsourced Bestsellers

Displaying your best selling products to prospects is a great way to inspire them to purchase – if the majority of people are buying these products then others likely to follow suite as there must be a good reason why. Ultimo do this by highlighting which of their products are trending.


Social media endorsement

If thousands or millions of people are following your social media profiles then it’s something worth shouting about. Most people tend to follow the crowd so if you have high numbers of followers it could have a snowball effect. Find ways of showing off your follower numbers by using it as a call to action e.g. “join our millions of followers for the latest updates and news…”.

As well as the aggregate number giving your customers confidence, when you actively encourage people to ‘like’ your brand on Facebook their likes are seen by friends and family. In this way it acts as a personal endorsement. This is type of peer-to-peer marketing means people connected to your customers are far more likely to consider the brand themselves.

Personal recommendations

Using software that detects trends and patterns in your customer’s behaviour can provide insight into what visitors with similar profiles might also be likely to purchase.  These insights will allow you to make personal recommendations especially for them. Use this to upsell or cross sell your products.

Live availability updates

A little sense of urgency goes a long way to getting people to commit and you can use the power of the crowd to update your customers about product availability.

By telling customers just how few items you have left, you can create a fear of missing out that compels them to buy. And if you use our technology you’ll be able to display pop-ups and send targeted automated messages with availability updates to prompt customers to buy.


Live viewing updates

These are similar to above, with the same aim of creating urgency around purchasing the product. It shows web visitors how many people are also browsing the same product at the same time.

Using a solution like PureTargeting it’s easy to reassure potential customers that what they’re looking at is popular and reinforce that they need to buy before it sells out.

Secret escapes social proof_LI


Blogs are a great tool for marketing as it allows your brand to be conversational and discuss a wide range of relevant topics with your audience.  A way to elevate this to the next level is to let customers, industry leaders or influencers guest post for you, sharing their experiences of your product. In this example, Magento’s customer Kate Morris at Adore Beauty shares tips that will impact customer’s tactics connected to her experience of using Magento.



User generated content

Encourage customers to share the products they’ve purchased and now adore via your social channels. This is social proof at it’s best. 86% of millennials say that user generated content (i.e. tweets, videos, pictures, etc that has been created by unpaid contributors or fans) is a good indicator of the quality of the brand. As well as adding genuine credibility to your brand and product, user generated content can inspire people to purchase, with 68% of social media users between 18 and 34 years old stating it’s likely they’d purchase after seeing a friend’s post.

Topshop does this via social media and dedicates a web page to their customers, using it as a style guide.

Topshop UGC

Sharing Milestones

Sharing user milestones is another easy way to use social proof within your marketing. And there are different types of milestones that you might want to mention, from reaching a certain number of customers to your social following to celebrating your company anniversary.

Below is an example from Breathe Magazine as they hit 10,000 followers.


Press coverage

From magazine and newspaper features to television segments – if your brand or product has been in the media recently then this will certainly add to your authority. If it’s possible, feature these on your website in the form of excerpts to ensure your visitors know.

Below, The BodyCoach uses logos of the publications it’s featured in to gain trust with the audience.

body coach in the media

Celebrity endorsements

Does a well known person purchase your products? Or maybe there’s a celebrity out there that is the perfect personality fit with your brand? Either way, using a celebrity to endorse your brand and product will tempt new customers.  


Showcase your partners

If your brand works with or integrates with third-party company or services then using their logos on your website is an effective social proof method. It means your brand will be associated with other credible and recognisable brands. Which is exactly what we do, here at Pure360:

integration_social proof


If you’re looking for ideas and inspiration about how you can use this powerful psychological phenomenon then speak to us about our eCommerce solution. It offers marketers smart ways to build credibility, offer reassurance, and influence purchases using the power of the crowd.

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