Social Proof:
Important instrument that is often overlooked

What helps customers make the right purchase decisions? As one of the biggest factors that influence consumer behavior, social proof comes into play.
In today’s market, saturated with a variety of offers, it’s pretty hard to choose a product or a service right away. Customers ‌compare the alternatives, analyze their pros and cons, and study other people’s opinions. And the more expensive the product or service, the more careful the selection.

What helps customers make the right purchase decisions? As one of the biggest factors that influence consumer behavior, social proof comes into play.

Social Proof is one of the most powerful psychological effects we experience in our everyday lives.

The theory of social proof was initially postulated by psychologist Robert Cialdini. Cialdini explored how the influence of others impacts individual behavior. When faced with uncertainty, an individual will seek out opinions or guidance from others.

It states that we determine what is correct by finding out what other people think is correct. Whether it’s about how fast we drive on a specific road or how we peel an unfamiliar fruit, we first understand the actions of those around us before deciding what to do. In other words, the principle of social proof views the people’s tendency to see an action as more appropriate when other people are doing it.

It is not surprising that marketers could not get past this phenomenon. Today, many brands are actively using various types of social proof in digital marketing. However, we at Good Goods still often come across examples where brands have completely overlooked such a strong tool.

Read this article to discover the power of the social proof phenomenon and its applications to your sales and marketing strategy.
How Does Social Proof Work?
As mentioned earlier, social proof is highly-effective in situations where individuals face uncertainty. The theory behind social proof is that an uncertain individual will seek guidance from others. This is why social proof is such an important concept in marketing, especially for eCommerce and Amazon.

Social proof is also present in the principle of similarity. As part of Cialdini’s theory, the principle of similarity explains behavioral motivation as a derivative of relatability. Ambivalent consumers, for example, will make decisions, or behave in ways based on how they see those of a similar age, gender, religion, community, appearance, etc doing so. Seeing others ‘like you’ behaving a particular way communicates which behavior is appropriate or not.

In the context of eCommerce, consumers who see others like them purchasing or desiring a product send an implicit message that that product is desirable and of value.

Social proof also works when expertise is conveyed. When individuals who are perceived as having knowledge or expertise are heard or seen approving a product or behavior, significant influence is exerted.

Finally, the greater the number of humans who perform the same behavior, or again, buy or want the same product, the more catalyzing the social proof becomes.

Data-Driven Evidence that Social Proof Works
Data offers concrete evidence of the efficacy of social proof. One study found that 92% of online consumers look first at product reviews before making a decision about whether or not to purchase. This is the social proof theory at work!

Another study found that product reviews are 12-times more trusted compared to the general product descriptions customers know are written with the intent to entice.

In addition, this study reported that customer reviews can increase sales by 18%. Direct evidence of the positive impact on sales and conversions.

What can be concluded from these statistics is that customers place more trust in the opinions of one another about whether a product is valuable and high-quality. They also view these opinions as unbiased because customers are not(usually) being paid to give their opinion.
Why Use Social Proof in E-Сommerce?
In the eCommerce industry, social proof is used in an attempt to influence the behavior of buyers, especially those who are unfamiliar with a brand, by displaying obvious clues (e.g. customer reviews) that others have purchased from a specific online store before.

Social proof also provides a convenient shortcut for shoppers who are deciding what products to buy by simply looking at how others behave. Shoppers want to know if a product is worth enough to purchase. The more people purchasing a product, the more potential shoppers will be encouraged to purchase it too. This is why social proof is a great conversion driver.

In a Consumerist study, almost 70% of online customers rely on recommendations from other people before making any kind of purchase.
7 Social Proof Tools Your Brand Needs

Now you know about the power of social proof. But, how do you apply it to your digital marketing strategy? Let’s dive into the top social proof tactics to skyrocket your sales!

Utilizing a product’s high demand

A highly demanded product is a sign that a lot of customers are satisfied with it. This is the very foundation of social proof. We automatically assume that people have a good reason for purchasing a particular product. This is even more magnified if there’s a huge number of purchases made for that item.

If you have a product with a high number of orders, don’t be modest about it. Display it in the top of your online store. Your potential customers will certainly start considering that product if they see that a large number of customers have purchased it already.


Customer reviews and ratings

Customer testimonials are social proof gold. They come in all shapes and sizes – text, images, videos, long stories, short quotes etc. In today’s web-based world, virtually everyone is reading online reviews. In fact, 91% of people read them and 84% trust them as much as they would a personal recommendation. The effects of reviews are measurable, too.

The average customer is willing to spend 31% more on a retailer that has excellent reviews.

Customers like to see lots of reviews. A single review with a few positive words makes up an opinion, but a few dozen that say the same thing make a consensus. The more reviews, the better, and one study found that consumers want to see at least 40 reviews to justify trusting an average star rating. However, a few reviews are still better than no reviews.

If you're interested in getting reviews from real customers, we can help. We offer testing of your product followed by writing reviews on e-commerce platforms as a service. We handle everything from organizing the testing to posting the reviews. Check out our Good Goods page for more information.

Сase studies and success stories
Want to go further and showcase why exactly customers love your products or services? Case studies and success stories will help you with that! To prepare case studies, reach out to your loyal customers for an interview. Ask them how exactly they benefit from your product, and which problems it helped them to solve.

The end of a case study should highlight the outcome of using a product. The outcome described is most effective if it is aligned with the same outcome your target buyer would like to have after buying your product.

Additionally, case studies work best if you include data. Customers trust numbers and see them as authoritative. Make sure those numbers are real, not made up.
Because of their format, case studies are perceived as credible and serve as effective forms of social proof.

User-generated content

What makes user-generated content so powerful? Compared to traditional types of content, users find UGC way more trustworthy. According to Stackla, 79% of people admit that UGC they see influences their buying decision.

Here are some content ideas to encourage your followers to share:
  • Unboxing videos;
  • Product in action (also known as action shots);

To get the most out of UGC, create a branded hashtag and introduce it to your audience, so they can use it in their posts covering your products.
When people are truly excited about a product, they willingly share their feedback — you don’t have to ask them to do this. But you can also incentivize them to feature your brand in their social media posts.

Just a few examples of the effective incentives:
  • Offering a discount code for sharing pictures and videos showcasing your products;
  • Featuring the best reviews on your website and social media channels.
To keep track of your online reputation, be sure to monitor social media mentions and respond timely. Leverage social listening tools to automate this process.

Partnership with influencers
Want to get your brand in front of a wider audience? Consider partnering with influencers!
According to the influencer marketing stats, 49% of the users rely on influencer recommendations. Why is that?

The secret power of influencers is the level of trust they’ve built with their following. Having your product endorsed by a reputable content creator can work as a strong social proof for your prospects.

The good news is that you don’t have to spend a fortune on influencer marketing campaigns. Consider partnering with micro- and nano-influencers to drive your brand awareness and sales. As a rule, these content creators have a very engaged audience in a targeted niche. As data shows, they receive up to 60% higher engagement rates of macro-influencers.

Unlike influencers with a huge following, nanos are ready to work with you for smaller budgets. Sometimes, they can even accept a free sample as compensation. Wondering how much an influencer marketing campaign will cost? Use a money calculator to evaluate the potential cost for an influencer collaboration.

Badges conveying authority and credibility
on E-commerce platforms
It’s amazing how much impact a tiny badge placed next to your brand name or product content can have. Amazon Badges are powerful because they represent something earned. To earn something requires time, commitment, effort, and consistency. But it also implies that a group of people with knowledge and expertise have all agreed you are deserving of a badge or certification level.

Featuring a badge or certification tells customers you are a trustworthy e-commerce seller, and that what they see will be what they get. Certification and trust badges have also been proven over time to increase your conversion rates.

The blue checkmark on Instagram is an example of social proof in action. Only those verified as “famous” or “influential” by the Instagram (which society has collectively agreed is a credible institution) are able to receive it.

If your Amazon e-commerce business is certified in any way, display these on product listings. Also, be sure to earn Amazon seller badges.

Building a community around your brand
Your customers may have valuable insights about your products or services to share with others. So, allow them to become your brand advocvates!

For example, you can enrich the functionality of the customer reviews website section. Consider adding an option to ask a reviewer a question. You can also add a feature to vote for a review. Or, you may have a dedicated customer community section on your site.

You can also set up a community on external resources. This can be a Facebook or a LinkedIn group where users can ask questions and exchange opinions. In such communities, your prospects can unveil all the concerns they might have about your products.


Social Proof is a psychological and social theory that explains why people are looking for other people’s advice and recommendations before deciding to buy.

Because potential customers know that others have purchased a product before, they’ll gain confidence when shopping from an unknown store or unfamiliar products. To increase your sales, our 7 ways on how to use social proof will surely make your shoppers feel more comfortable purchasing from your online store.

We at Good Goods provide an extensive selection of tools to help a brand increase its Social Proof. With us, you'll get customer feedback, user-generated content, study cases, and more. Contact us through our website and join our community of happy customers with strong, scalable results.

Get a free consultation
on customer feedback strategy for your business

By clicking the button, you agree to the processing of personal data and agree to the privacy policy.