How Social Proof Impacts Online Buying Behavior


People, especially strangers, crave social proof. Social proof is the theory that we are more likely to do something when we see others doing it… This is what Shama Kabani says when he addresses the sociological principle of social proof . So, yes, you are granted, it is not always the case, and it is sometimes better to trust his instincts than the group … But in the majority of the situations we live in everyday life, it is good ” the others “that influence us, especially in our purchasing decisions.

You are on a weekend in a city you do not know and you are looking for a place to eat. Arriving on a pretty square you find two restaurants: one with a crowded terrace and the other desert. Where are you going to sit for dinner? Unless you are agoraphobic, you must have chosen the first. This is normal, social proof is the most reliable indicator for our daily choices .

Marketing departments have understood this and are now using this psychological bias to reassure consumers and increase sales. What are the effects of social proof on online shopping behavior? We have compiled here statistical studies that evaluate its impact on sales.

The impact of social proof on conversions  

88% of consumers say they are influenced by other consumers in their purchases, even if they are perfectly unknown.

In fact, according to a 2017 study by TurnTo, the content generated by users is the one that has the most influence in the purchase process of a consumer . 53% admit being influenced by UGC, in front of search engines (46%) and promotional emails (27%).

Eram, a famous brand of leather goods, has also made an A / B test after incorporating consumer videos on its product sheets. The brand has seen a  15% increase in its conversion rate by integrating customer videos into its image carousel.

In this same study, TurnTo was interested in the specific effects of User Generated Content . 73% of consumers agree that the UGC increases their confidence to buy a product and 67% of them find that it makes the shopping experience more authentic. In addition, 65% of consumers surveyed said that the content created by users is more interesting than that offered by brands . The UGC reassures and brings a touch of authenticity favoring conversion.  

Social proof increases consumers’ propensity to pay

The Profitwell analytics suite did not simply stop at the effects on the conversion rate. In a recent statistical experiment, they analyzed the effect of social proof on nearly 30,000 consumers (B2C and B2B) to see if this affected their propensity to pay.

The results are unequivocal: consumers are willing to pay more for a product when they have been exposed to positive social proof.

In B2B, a social proof like a verbatim on a product page increases by 6% the propensity to pay. It exceeds 10% when the consumer has access to a short customer case and can even reach 30% with a complete case study.

On the B2C side, the propensity to pay follows similar trends when consumers are exposed to social proofs such as text opinions, photos, videos, recommendations from experts …

In digging a little, Profitwell realized that the specificity of social evidence greatly affected the propensity to buy. The more detailed reviews are, the more customers are willing to pay for a product or service . Result: In B2B, comprehensive case studies can double the propensity to pay. And B2C side, it can be multiplied by 5!

Remember that if you want to collect testimonials from your customers to promote your products or solutions, ask them to be as specific as possible .

The text is good, but the picture is better  

If we are now interested in the most successful formats, we realize without much surprise that the trend is to visual content.

According to Kissmetrics, 60% of consumers prefer to watch a video than read a text review. And ROI level, a consumer is 64 to 85% more likely to buy a product after seeing a product video .

The video is consumed easily but above all, it reassures! Indeed, more and more doubts hang over the comments of e-commerce sites:

A fake review costs just £ 5 on freelancing sites like Fiverr and many companies, sometimes even internationally renowned, have used this kind of service. Already in 2015 The Guardian revealed that Amazon filed a complaint against 1114 false opinion writers on its site, paid by sellers to increase their visibility and their conversions on the commercial site.

Things to keep in mind…  

  1. 88% of consumers trust clients’ opinions as much as a family member’s recommendations.
  2. User generated content (UGC) is the most influential in the process of buying a consumer in front of search engines and promotional emails.
  3. Social proof increases consumers’ willingness to pay: The more detailed the testimonials, the more willing they are to pay. Be specific!

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