Professor Robert Cialdin i , a tho ught leader in social psychology, has many examples. In one study, his team tested messages to influence reusing towels in hotel rooms. The social proof message – “Almost 75% of other guests help by using their towels more than once” had 25% better results than all other messages. And adding the words “of other guests that stayed in this room” had even more impact (also an example of how A/B testing of small details matters). In another study, a restaurant increased sales of specific dishes by 13-20% just by highlighting them as “our most popular items”. TV sitcoms laughter
Perhaps the most notable experiment (which most of us social scientists wheel out in articles like these!) was the 1969 experiment performed in New York by Milgram, Bickman & Berkowitz. These researchers proved that a group of four or more people standing on the sidewalk looking up at the sky will cause 80% of passers-by to perform the same action.
The number of people performing the behavior (scale). How similar we perceive those people to be to ourselves (similarity). The level of ambiguity or difficulty presented by the decision or environment (ambiguity). In the experiment where people on the sidewalk were staring up at the sky it was found that when only one person was staring up at the sky only 40% of people passing by performed the same action. When the number of people staring up at the sky was increased to five the percentage of people copying the behavior increased to 80%. As the number of people performing the same behavior increases so too does the degree to which we are influenced by that behavior. Cialdini describes another experiment (Bandura & Menlove, 1968) in which researchers proved that the most effective way to rid children of their phobias of dogs was to expose them to frequent films depicting many other children playing happily with dogs.
star ratings - no context
context, add similarity layer (other reviewers like you)
This example is another example of social proof with the benefit of ‘simplified relativity’. By ranking choices in sequence like this you help to short cut the mental process even further by eliminating the need for people to choose between items with the same star rating. Ranking systems like these use weightings which take into account the number of times a particular rating has been applied to give greater credibility to similarly rated items with differing numbers of ‘votes’. This form of social proof removes even more ambiguity and makes the decision process even easier:
Since it’s in advocates’ social DNA to recommend brands, share their expertise, and help others, it’s up to companies to tap into their enthusiasm and energize them to spread positive word of mouth.
According to Entrepreneur Media, word-of-mouth is one of the most credible forms of advertising because people who don't stand to gain personally by promoting something put their reputations on the line every time they make a recommendation.
Social Proof through Word-of-Mouth marketing
Koen Stevens (Word-Of-Mouth Director BuboBox)firstname.lastname@example.orgCapturing social proof through onlineWord-of-Mouth (WOM) marketingby BuboBox - social video marketing platform#wommbrussels
UGC as form of social proof1.Video user testimonials generated 3x theconversion rate vs. organic traffic for Beachbody,the makers of P90x fitness.2.58.1% of B2B professionals look to Social Mediaand UGC sites to build skills and expertise in theirfield.3.Early visitors to Shoedazzle watched more than 9UGVs on average, helping catapult sales
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