What is Social Proof?

Social proof is the psychological concept that conveys how prevailing social standards or expectations often influence our actions on social media. In marketing, social proof is proof of a brand's popularity or usability among customers, which can influence the purchase decisions of returning or new customers.

More About Social Proof

In 1984, author and psychologist Robert Cialdini, in his book ‘Influence,’ used the term “social proof” for the first time. Another name for this phenomenon is ‘Informational social influence’, which is based on the premise that people follow the acts of others to replicate their behavior in specific situations.

Marketing finds social proof to be an important tool. How?

Social proof is enough persuasion for people that a product or service that has received attention or purchase from other buyers is an item they should also consider. Surveys suggest that 88% of consumers value user reviews equivalent to personal recommendations.

What happens is when customers search for a product, discover a lot of similar things, and decide to buy one based on the most positive customer reviews. Let’s understand social proof with the help of an example.

A person who wishes to shop online for a new statement chair. He sees pictures and finds three attractive products. One has over 600 reviews with an average rating of 4.7 stars. The second has 200 reviews and a 3-star rating, while the third one has no reviews. The person ends up buying the first chair with over 600 reviews.

This is a good example of the psychological phenomenon known as social proof. The person makes a decision based on the reviews of other people as it proves their satisfaction with the product.

Brands use social proof to enhance conversions and grow their client base tremendously as more people participate and generate discussion about their products or services.

The key advantages of measuring Social Proof are (but not limited to) the following:

  • Tracking metrics to understand audience buying decisions.
  • Influencing purchasing behavior through brand trust and authority.
  • Increasing engagement by celebrating or highlighting social proof metrics.

The best marketing tips for Social Proof that can be practiced are as follows:

  • Conducting market research or customer surveys: By using statistics, brands can understand that consumers prefer their company over competitors or that they offer features or benefits that potential customers want.
  • Showing industry expertise to your consumers: By using original research and data (like citations and facts from other authoritative references), brands can show people that they are experts in their industry or market.
  • Using influencer marketing to expand shared followers: By partnering up with an influencer on brands’ business accounts or channels, brands can boost their followers and engagement statistics.

The following image shows how Netflix takes advantage of user trends by suggesting new TV and movie options based on popularity. Trending suggestions pique the interest of users and quickly persuade them to tune in.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the ways to measure Social Proof?

The influence of social proof can be measured in a variety of ways via social networks, corporate websites, and mobile apps’ metrics. They help analyze a marketing campaign's performance and impact on lead conversion, product and service purchase, and customer retention.

What are the best tools to track Social Proof?

The best tools that help us track Social Proof are

  • Google Analytics
  • Google AdWords
  • Facebook Insights
  • SocialPilot

What are the metrics related to Social Proof?

The most important metrics that can be tracked in order to track Social Proof are the following:

  • Comments
  • Likes
  • Shares
  • Followers
  • Customer testimonials
  • Retweets
  • Hashtags/keywords frequencies
  • Positive reviews
  • Amount of products sold
  • Referrals
  • Email subscriptions
  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • Backlinks
  • Returning users/customers
  • New users/customers
  • Mobile app downloads

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