Social Proof and CRO: The Power of Reviews, Testimonials, and More

Social proof is an essential marketing tool for startups looking to build trust, boost conversions, and accelerate growth.

Coined by Robert Cialdini in 1984 in his seminal book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, social proof describes the psychological phenomenon where people turn to the actions and opinions of others when making a decision.

In this post, we’ll dive into five case studies exemplifying how entrepreneurial ventures prosper from implementing social proof into their growth strategies.

The importance of social proof for conversion rate optimization (CRO)

Startups and entrepreneurs have no time to waste: strong, accelerated growth is the name of the game.

Enter social proof – your secret weapon for building an ironclad reputation and driving potential customers to conversion.

By leveraging the positive experiences of others – whether it’s testimonials, user-generated content (UGC), or ratings/reviews – you’ll create a sense of trust, credibility, and FOMO that’ll inspire people to give your product or service a try.

Types of social proof and how they can help you grow fast

You’ve likely seen social proof everywhere. Here are some of the different forms they take.


A business can increase its conversion rate by showcasing handpicked, powerful testimonials from satisfied customers right on its homepage.

Glowing reviews will reinforce the value of your product, convincing visitors that your service is worth investing in.

You also need to add testimonials to your landing pages whenever you run ad campaigns, whether they’re on social media or search ad campaigns. Some studies show that adding testimonials increased conversion rates by 34%.

Social Media UGC

You can boost brand awareness and customer loyalty through a UGC campaign on Instagram. Or any other platform where you and your audience are active.

By encouraging customers to share photos of themselves using your products with the hashtag #yourcompanyname.

You can build an authentic visual gallery of real-life successes, which in turn can increase conversions.

If you want to jumpstart your UGC generation, a good idea is to create contests on social media. Contests are exciting and you can drive more engagement by offering more contest entries when your audience engages or shares your campaigns.

For example, a business called Agile Marketing Services grew its client email list by 52% by driving a viral giveaway contest.

Ratings and Reviews

Featuring ratings and reviews on product pages will boost your conversion rate highly.

One finding showed that adding other customers’ reviews can increase conversion rates by 270%.

The truth is that people need word-of-mouth confirmation before they can trust all the fancy marketing a business throws at them.

If you highlight products with the highest average ratings and positive reviews, you capitalize on the power of peer validation and will drive future customers towards embracing your products.

Product Reviews

Expert review sites offer in-depth analyses of products and services. Some examples of popular product review sites include G2, Capterra, and

There are also product reviews by professional bloggers, influencers, and power users of various tools and materials. They create comprehensive blog posts and videos on YouTube and other platforms.

If you find that your product was featured in such a way, then you should share these pieces of content.

When your audience sees that your products were put through rigorous testing and received exceptional reviews, they’ll feel comfortable buying them.

By promoting expert evaluations across your website and social media channels, you can establish legitimacy and increase conversions.

Trust badges and awards

Trust badges and awards are indicators of success and trustworthiness. They provide the additional social proof that potential customers need before they can pull the trigger and make a purchase.

These badges can come from customer feedback, industry associations, or independent third parties who have verified your product’s quality and effectiveness.

Some examples include the “Verified by Visa” badge and ratings from websites such as TrustPilot. Displaying awards and badges lets customers know that you meet a high standard of excellence. And this will make customers feel confident when they have to enter their credit card details.

Actionable Steps to Boost Your Conversions with Social Proof

  1. Improve your website experience: Design your site to prominently and effectively feature compelling social proof elements, like testimonials and user-generated content.
  2. Make it Easy for Customers: Simplify the process of customers leaving reviews or providing testimonials. Include clear instructions on your website or through follow-up emails.
  3. Follow Up and Ask for a Review: Don’t be afraid to ask your satisfied customers for feedback, testimonials, or endorsements. Most people are willing to help when asked courteously and provided a seamless way to submit their review.

Conclusion: Take Action and Harness the Power of Social Proof

In an increasingly competitive marketplace, social proof plays a critical role in setting your startup apart from the competition. With the ideas presented here, you’ll have many ways to harness the power of social proof and increase conversions.

So, take action today and start putting these ideas into practice right away. You’ll be certain to get great results.

Syed Balkhi is an award-winning entrepreneur and online marketing expert. He is the co-founder of WPBeginner, WP Mail SMTP, WPForms and many other brands.