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Product Zoom In: Social Proof

Imagine a scorching summer’s day. You desperately want some ice cream, and there they are—two ice cream shops next to one another! However, one is completely empty, while the other has a big queue. Which one would you choose? The shop with the queue, right? Did you ever stop to think why?

The answer is simple: We care about the opinions of others. We can’t help it; it’s in our nature. You see those two ice cream shops, and your brain immediately goes, “If people are willing to wait extra minutes under the sun for two scopes of ice cream, that ice cream must be really worth it. I’ll get in line as well.”

This behavioural pattern is commonly referred to as “Social Proof” and is more of a subconscious decision. Social proof is sort of how we navigate life as well. When faced with situations where we’re not exactly sure what to do, we watch others and take our social cues from them.

So without further ado, meet Segmentify Social Proof. Segmentify Social Proof allows you to tap into one of the most significant marketing resources out there—your customers. 

This article explains what social proof is, how it works and why you need social proof marketing in eCommerce. You will discover how Segmentify Social Proof triggers purchasing and increases conversion rates by creating Fear of Missing Out (FOMO).

Key Takeaways

  • Social proof in marketing refers to the phenomenon that people are more likely to buy products they have seen others buying.
  • A beloved psychological tactic in marketing, social proof has been used by marketers for decades to make customers feel confident about their purchases.
  • A customer’s decision-making process can be simplified through social proof marketing. Plus, this real-time relevance appeals to people’s need for validation from others and induces FOMO, reassuring shoppers that they are following consensus.

What is Social Proof?

In marketing, social proof refers to people being more likely to purchase a product that others are already buying. If people are purchasing a particular product, it must be because they’ve found value in the product and the business.

Different forms of social proof marketing exist in eCommerce: Customer reviews, product ratings, quantifiable data (how many people have it in their favourites, for example), list features, etc.

The Psychology Behind Social Proof Marketing

Social proof is built on the basic human instinct to follow and imitate the actions of others, as explained above. The term, popularised by psychologist Robert Cialdini, explains that in situations where people don’t know the proper way to behave, they will observe and imitate others to avoid uncomfortable situations.

Social Proof Theory is sometimes referred to as “Social Influence Theory” since it highlights the effect others have on our own behaviour. Social proof shows its effects, especially when we have to make quick decisions because looking at what others are doing and imitating them saves us a lot of time and energy.

According to Robert Cialdini, social proof is one of the Six Key Principles of Persuasion: reciprocation, consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity. When combined with the five other principles of persuasion, social proof is a powerful tool to influence people’s actions.

Six Principles of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini

Digital marketers discovered the power of a solid social proof marketing strategy long ago. They have been using social proof to convince and assure customers that they are purchasing the right product, which leads to higher conversion rates.

Social Conformity 

Basic human behaviour is shaped by social norms—generally accepted beliefs about what kind of behaviour is appropriate for a particular situation or community. Furthermore, in psychology, conformity refers to changing one’s behaviour to fit in with others.

Social Proof Marketing uses social conformity in terms of positive customer reviews, displaying the product’s popularity among customers.

Product detail page for a pair of slippers with a social proof pop-up that says, “All eyes on this! 435 people looked at this item in the last week!”.

The Bandwagon Effect

The bandwagon effect, also called herd mentality, is a psychological phenomenon in which people do something primarily because others are doing it, regardless of their own beliefs.

The bandwagon effect is a very effective social proof marketing tool. If you think about it, it is why we love browsing through the most popular products in an online store and eventually end up purchasing something.

Basket page with a “Top Sellers” recommendation widget.

Authority

The use of accessories, such as titles (e.g. Dr.) and uniforms, conveys an air of authority, making people more inclined to accept what a person says. For example, ad campaigns that feature doctors are excellent examples of this.

However, you certainly don’t need a doctor to promote your kitchen supplies. You need an authority figure appealing to your target audience, such as a chef for our kitchen supplies example.

Scarcity

Products are deemed more appealing when their availability is limited due to scarcity. Generally speaking, we are more likely to buy something if we know it is the last one or that the “special offer” will soon expire due to Fear of Missing Out (FOMO).

Product detail page with a social proof pop-up that says, “Hurry Up! Only one left in stock!”.

4 Reasons Why eCommerce Needs Social Proof Marketing

As explained in the previous paragraphs, social proof is an excellent tool to influence people and trigger purchasing when combined with liking and scarcity. A good and reliable social proof solution lets you leverage people’s validation needs to convince hesitant shoppers.

Social proof increases conversion rates and improves the customer journey across all channels in real time.

1. Builds Trust and Conveys Credibility

People see purchasing as a form of commitment. That’s why they like to consult the opinions of other customers before finalising their decisions. These opinions may come in the form of actual reviews and scores, or it might be that 835 people have that product in their favourites. Hey, if 835 people have favourited it, it must be terrific, right? 

Long story short, social proof marketing helps build trust. Objective opinions of satisfied customers reassure visitors about the quality of your products and services. 

2. Gives Customers an Additional Reason to Purchase

What you’re doing with social proof marketing is giving additional information about the product without changing anything about the product itself. Displaying product ratings, how many times it was viewed, how many times it was bought, how many people have it in their carts, etc., helps make the product more desirable for the shopper.

Such information gives shoppers an additional reason to make a purchase by increasing the urgency. In the end, social proof helps increase conversion rates and decrease bounce rates.

3. Reduces Cart Abandonment

Cart Abandonment is one of the biggest problems eCommerce faces on a daily basis. Social proof marketing can be a vital tool in reducing cart abandonment rates.

Displaying information like “Previously Added to Basket Price”, which shows the customer the product’s price when it was added to the cart, will make the customer want not to miss this discount opportunity for products with lower prices.

Or if the product’s price increased since it was added to the cart, displaying such information will make the customer think maybe they should act faster when they like faster. Either way, last visit or basket prices will help you reduce cart abandonment rates.

4. Simplifies the Customer Journey

Consumers are faced with an incredible amount of choices—what to buy, where to buy from, etc. Since making a decision requires mental energy, people tend to give up completely to avoid making that mental effort when they feel overwhelmed.

This is where social proof comes in: Social proof marketing helps smooth out the shopping journey by simplifying the decision-making process for the customer. Plus, the real-time relevance plays into people’s need for validation from others and induces FOMO, reassuring the shoppers that they are following the consensus.

How Segmentify Helps with Social Proof Marketing

Social proof marketing is a delicate matter. You mustn’t overwhelm the shoppers with constant pop-ups and messages. But it’s also equally important that you deliver the right campaign messages to the right segments of shoppers at the right time. 

And for all of this, you need a solution you can entirely rely on and control easily. In other words, you need Segmentify Social Proof. So let’s take a look at how this solution helps eCommerce boost conversion rates by increasing urgency:

1. Build Rule-Based Triggers for Increased Engagement

It has been repeatedly proven that using social proof marketing to induce FOMO and create urgency triggers purchasing and increases conversion rates. However, it’s best to remember that there’s a correct time and place to create that sense of urgency.

You can’t convince people to buy something by saying, “There are only 100 left!” The key to success here is to display the right messages at the right time. Segmentify Social Proof allows you to set trigger points and conditions for timely and meaningful campaigns.  

2. Determine the Campaign Time and Frequency

It is an essential part of any digital marketing campaign that visitors and customers are not bombarded with the same messages over and over again. You know your customers better than anyone else, so the best way to ensure you don’t overwhelm your customers is to set the time and frequency of your campaigns yourself.

With its straightforward and elegant interface, Segmentify Social Proof lets you set your own conditions for when and how often the social proof pop-ups will appear so that you can select the best campaign intervals based on your goals and business strategy.

3. Customise the Styling

The looks aren’t everything, but they certainly do help! With Segmentify Social Proof, you can customise your social proof campaigns by changing the background and text colours, fonts, and pop-ups’ positions only with a few clicks.

Plus, social proof pop-ups come with icons as well. You can easily add a flame or clock icon to discount news to encourage customers to take action.

Of course, you get to preview your campaigns both for mobile and desktop devices before they go live. And if you have any additional customisation requests, the Segmentify Customer Success Team is always ready to help.

4. Create Targeted Campaigns

Another must-have for a successful marketing campaign is to engage with each visitor individually. Any digital marketer worth their salt knows that identifying behavioural patterns plays a central role in today’s eCommerce landscape.

Segmentify Social Proof ensures the consistency of your customer journeys across different segments. Using the segments created via Segmentify Rule-Based Segmentation or Dynamic Segmentation, you can build campaigns with higher relevancy and more precise targeting. Optimising your social proofing with targeted messages is a sure way to create highly personalised, seamless customer experiences.

5. Set Up a Campaign Library

There’s no need to prepare the same campaign over and over again from scratch. eCommerce marketing is all about efficiency and elegance!

You can archive your campaigns, go over your campaign history, and duplicate past campaigns as the needs arise with Segmentify Social Proof. You can also use Segmentify’s social proof campaign templates to save time and energy.

Wrapping Up

Social proof is all about psychological marketing tactics that can show customers that others have already had positive experiences with your business. It can help build trust and create a sense of urgency among prospective customers.

Let us be your guide if you’re considering getting started with social proof marketing. We’ll walk you through the process and show you how to make the most of it for your business.

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