Applying Social Proof to Your Web Design

July 27, 2016In Interface, Experience3 Minutes

Equipped with well-crafted content and engaging imagery, getting customers to the point of purchase should be a simple feat – right? The reality is that even if a product or service is the best in its class and is represented by a beautiful web design, it might not be enough to make a conversion in the digital environment.

There are many elements that go into a user deciding to engage with a company. However, what you don’t say – and more about what other people say- can be the most powerful aspect of the conversion process.

Leveraging the opinions of an audience in marketing is nothing new, but in the digital world, social proof has become an essential part of user experience design. Analytics show that the use of social proof is over 70% effective in convincing a customer to purchase a good or service. Social proof, characterized as the display of positive influence on others, can be presented in multiple ways in web design to convince users to engage.

Client Validation

You’ve seen it a million times: the section on a website that displays “clients we’ve worked with” or some verbiage to that effect. This is an immediate visual ‘seal of approval’ that real companies are using this product or service in their business. Platform or software-based businesses, such as Dropbox, use this method regularly, in this case – along with client testimonials.

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Statements and quotes from satisfied customers are arguably the most mainstream method of social proof. The use of testimonials has been around for ages and still does the trick in making conversions. Quotes should be well designed with specific detail on who the customer is, with the possible use of a photo or company name.


Displaying the number of people using or who have purchased a product or service is a highly effective form of social proof. Customers like to see how many people have ‘come before, no matter what the results have been. Airbnb is a great example of this with listing and customer usage around the globe.

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Product Reviews

Product reviews take the basic ‘canned’ testimonial a step further. This allows customers to be candid and express their real-time opinions about a specific product, service or buying experience. While questionable material should be monitored, this is a space where customer commentary should not be edited. The ability to upload images also greatly helps customers get a better feel for the real product.

In aligning business goals with a website design, the use of social proof is key. The use of social proof not only helps to move users to engage but establishes trust and, hopefully – a long-term commitment to the brand.