Why should you consider adding landing page testimonials and social proof?
Let’s start, perhaps, with this question: Are your visitors trapped in the conversion funnel?
Maybe they’re stuck on the fence and not motivated to make a move forward… and you’re looking for something to rekindle that fire.
If you’re in search for another way to spark your audience’s interest and nudge them through the conversion cycle, we’ve put together 22 effective ways for you to use landing page testimonials and social proof.
#1 Case Studies
There’s nothing like seeing for yourself proof of concept explained by real stats and customer data. Show off your previous successes to your visitors and share with them what you can do for them.
You can use case studies or test results to show proof of concept.
Case studies and test results are an effective way to demonstrate your company’s unique value proposition (UVP).
According to Content Marketing Institute, case studies are considered 70% effective vs ineffective among users, which is third on their list of effectiveness ratings.
We designated a whole landing page to sharing our case studies to show our PPC agency’s value:
Within just the first 420 visitors we converted over 73% of our audience:
Testimonials can come in the form of written or video testimonials and typically include the following recommended pieces:
Comments and quotes
Ask your clients and customers for commentary, feedback and quotes on their experience with your offer. Let real life storytelling do the work for you. The more specific story, the more value the testimonial can provide to your visitors.
Using real names of real people can help you build credibility with your visitors. Represent ideal users currently in your client base so you can attract similar audiences.
Stay away from fake stock photos and use real pictures of of real clients in your testimonials. This can help to bolster your testimonial claims and help you appear to be more real.
Company and role
By calling out your testimonial subject’s real job title and company, visitors can put into perspective how your offer realistically helps them in the field and actual workplace. If your offer isn’t B2B, try testing out a geographic location to give your testimonial more credibility.
We ran an A/B test for one of our clients to see whether including the user’s patient procedure type or not helped with conversions:
We found that the variant that included the extra detail about the patient’s procedure had 18.7% more conversions. In this case, the additional info made the testimonial appear more realistic.
Tip: The more realistic and credible your testimonials, the more relatable they can be to your visitors, which means your benefits and claims are substantiated.
#3 Reviews & Ratings
Reviews can take shape in the form of ratings, customer feedback or rankings. Different from testimonials, a review is quantitative feedback like a rating system or qualitative feedback from your customers that talks about the pros and cons of your product or service offering vs the storytelling experience angle.
We ran another test for our client to find out if including ratings helped or detracted from conversions:
The result? When we removed the start ratings, conversions dropped by 8.8%.
Reviews are a way for your visitors to gauge the quality of your offering and a way for them to make judgment on how good, bad or effective your offering is. This can be especially helpful if there’s competition out there for offering and visitors are comparison shopping.
Tip: Including good and bad reviews can actually help your credibility.
No one is perfect, so by appearing to be 100% blemish-free, you can come off as unrealistic.
#4 Social Media Proof
Social media proof can have a powerful effect on your visitor’s psyche when they’re considering your offer. This can be a way to tap into the bandwagon effect.
You can use social media buttons with an automatic follower counter that shows off the number of shares your offer has won. Another option is to embed social media posts into your landing page, which can display social connections to your visitors.
These feeds can show in real time your fans interacting with your brand’s offer.
Kuno Creative tested out the impact of including social media buttons on landing pages. They tested out a variant with and a variant without social share buttons:
The variant that included the social media proof picked up 9% more conversions than the landing page without.
Caveat: Numbers that are too low to zero may do more damage than good, so test out your social proof volume before committing to display low social proof.
Slack features social media proof in their rotating header carousel to show off a few of their 8,647 compliments on their social media Wall of Love:
#5 Trust Icons
Depending on your industry, choose your icons, badges, seals and certs carefully. If tested out properly, trust icons can help to flash a sense of security to audiences without having to use too many words.
Here’s a test we ran for one of our clients where we tested inclusion and exclusion of customer logos on their landing page.
We found that by including logos of their clients, the conversion rate increased 32.6%.
Another way to expand on this is to include not only logos, but fuller mentions of where you’ve been featured in the media and elsewhere online to build even more credibility.
Depending on your industry various badges will be more effective than others, so of course, testing is the best way to find out what works best.
For e-commerce sites, here’s the order of preference for trust badges when paying online:
This one’s especially useful if you have a SaaS company or other offering that integrates with other tools.
Connecting your services to platforms that your visitors are already using can be super helpful to your visitors and ease any friction in the buying decision.
A point of hesitation in the decision-making cycle stem from questions like these:
- How do I incorporate your product into our current platforms?
- Do I need an expensive developer to make the two platforms work together?
- Will the new data transfer over to my current tool?
- Will I still be able to use my current platform in the same way with the addition of your product?
By preemptively answering these questions, you can help your audiences understand the simplicity in using your product.
Here’s how AskNicely uses integration as social proof:
There’s a certain strength behind numbers and stats that can build credibility in a visitor’s mind.
When they see factual things like number of users or downloads, number of subscriber or purchase counts, this can help your visitors understand the scope of your product adoption.
Basecamp shows off an example of this below their footer:
Tip: Use exact numbers instead of round numbers to appear even more believable.
Columbia University’s Malia Mason and her colleagues conducted a study that showed using exact numbers is more persuasive than rounded numbers. Exact figures provide a stronger sense of credibility when it comes to presenting or discussing data.
Here’s an example of how one of Lander’s users included exact numbers in his testimonial:
A final example of using data in testimonials and social proof – Buildium ran an A/B test that examined inclusion of number of units next to user photos:
By changing the headline and mentioning company size by including exact numbers, their conversion rate increased by 22%.
By gathering as many stats backed by research as possible, you’ll be helping your credibility cause.
Give your visitors the chance to see how beneficial your offer is by proving it to them through hard numbers and let the research speak for itself.
Here’s how Autopilot uses research social proof to validate its value:
Autopilot lists out research backed stats and their respective sources to quantify for their visitors how they can benefit from using their UVP.
Bonus Tip: Include research and stats show your visitors how much time vs money they will save, as a benefit of using your offer.
Research conducted by Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania’s Cassie Mogilner and Stanford University’s Jennifer Aaker revealed that:
“Because time is less fungible, or less easily replaced, than money, losing time tends to be a more painful event for people, particularly when they think about how they are not able to make up for it.
Another difference is that people feel less accountable for how they spend their time, because it can be more difficult to measure than monetary outlays.”
#9 Storytelling Social Proof
Go beyond the testimonial quote and use personal stories from actual customers for potential users to relate to when considering landing page social proof.
Even if this extra content lengthens your landing page, it might be worth testing.
We currently live in a buyer’s market where buyers have the purchasing power and are the ones seeking out info.
We ran a landing page testimonial/social proof test for one of our clients to see if storytelling would help boost conversions.
Here’s the first variant with a simple testimonial featured:
Here’s the variant with added storytelling social proof:
The result? By adding the storytelling social proof elements, conversions lifted by 19.8%.
No longer are the days of seller’s force feeding content and info to prospective buyers. Let a client’s first-hand story do all the selling for you.
#10 Implied Social Proof
Taking the angle of one person benefitting from an offer and then spinning it onto the perspective of the user is a way to use implied social proof.
For example, featuring a success story can nudge your audience to ask themselves how the same concept affects their life in the same way.
Here’s how Nutrisystem uses implied social proof:
Nutrisystem features Melissa as a happy customer that successfully lost 51 lbs with their program. This implies that the audience can experience similar results and benefits.
#11 Activity & User Social Proof
Activity social proof is similar to using data (landing page testimonials/social proof #7) to show your credibility, but specifically with numbers that show user volume and user activity.
By showing how your current customers and users are benefitting from your offer, the proof in activity can speak for itself.
Tip: Use timely data and feature current or new users that recently adopted your product or service.
Caveat: Be sure to test out your user numbers to make sure you’ve reached the appropriate threshold for your industry.
We tested out user social proof for Yump and created landing pages with and without number of users.
Here’s Variant A which includes the number of users:
In Variant B, we removed the number of users altogether, which looks like this:
Surprisingly, Variant B, without the quantified users, earned 3% more conversions. Perhaps a quantity of 597,550 users wasn’t enough social proof to convince visitors to convert as well.
This one might be worth trying again, once the user base reaches a greater activity level.
Buffer proudly displays their activity social proof on their site with a threshold of over 3 million:
#12 Expert Social Proof
You can use authority endorsements and industry experts to vouch for your offer. The concept of course is, if industry leaders are trusting the benefits of your offer then your audience certainly can, too.
It’s like having a doctor recommended product. The person with supposedly more knowledge should know what’s best, right?
A study done by Yale University conducted two national surveys to gather information on the public’s opinion of doctors vs other influential groups. Their research found that doctors are perceived to be more trustworthy because of their education and level of effort dedicated to caring for their patients, giving them an authoritative influence in the medical industry.
On that note, here’s an example where Quick Weight Loss Centers went as far as using testimonials by exclusively medical professionals on their landing page:
Caveat: Be realistic in the way you present the endorsement and don’t overdo it by exaggerating.
Like most things endorsement, test out the various options before committing to one format of expert social proof. You’ll want to make sure the authority figure representing you is relatable to your audience and builds vs detracts from trustworthiness.
#13 Celebrity Social Proof
Another option is to use influencer endorsements and celebrities if you have the budget. This taps into your audience’s sense of emotional attachment to celebrities and their attraction to influencers just like them.
We ran an A/B test for New Method Wellness to determine the effect of celebrity social proof. Our designers included a variant with logo endorsements from Dr. Phil and Dr. Drew and video endorsement from Dr. Phil:
In the second variant, we removed the celebrity mentions altogether:
The first variant with the celebrity video and logos earned 66.3% more conversions.
Nike uses celebrity social proof often. Here’s an example of how they include Serena Williams as celebrity social proof:
Nike’s celebrity social proof was also timely. On their landing page, they were able to congratulate the tennis all-star on her 23rd major title win.
Caveat: Pick an influencer or celebrity that your audience can relate to.
Sometimes if you shoot too high and choose someone too rich and famous it could have an adverse affect on your credibility. Your audience may either write off the endorsement as too good to be true or not relate to your endorser since they lead such separate lives.
There was a study conducted at Amity University in Noida, India where they found 79% of subjects unwilling to buy products endorsed by celebrities:
#14 Wisdom of Crowds Social Proof
This concept taps into fear of missing out (FOMO) and the herding effect. The idea is to lure in your visitors by showing them the crowds are using your offer.
People tend to go where the crowds go.
InVision went as far as creating an entire landing page dedicated to their 2 million users when they hit that milestone:
They even included a timeline of their progress in reaching the milestone, which can make current users feel like they’re a part of the journey and potentially refer users to InVision.
By including the timeliness of the growth, you can potentially create a sense of FOMO in your audience. Make them not want to miss out on what the crowd is benefiting from.
#15 Wisdom of Friends Social Proof
There’s nothing quite like a recommendation from a friend. One of the most effective and least costly ways to reach your target audience is through influencers that are similar to your visitors.
If your current client base can be advocates for your offer, you’ll likely have the referral game made. Like-minded people will trust each other’s endorsements especially since their lives should align.
The idea is if your UVP is working for your friend, it should be able to work for you, too.
Of course, it can be a challenge to include testimonials of your clients’ actual friends on your landing pages. The next best thing is to include familiar faces from the industry or real users that are just like your ideal audience.
Basecamp lists out testimonial quotes from over 100,000 paying customers on their site, each with a personal experience to share:
With over 100,000 real quotes, there’s bound to be someone in that list of quotes that most all targeted visitors can relate to.
Wisdom of friends testimonials can be an effective way to reach more ideal clients just like your current customer base.
#16 Contact Info
Something as simple as including a physical address of your business, phone number or other contact info can help to build credibility for your business.
This concept is based on the idea that people are naturally drawn to things that appear to be more local and relevant to their lives.
Kissmetrics ran an A/B test for Flowr to find out if including a phone number had any impact on conversions. The results are here:
They found that 54% of their audience converted when there was a phone number.
RingDNA took it a step further and tested out including a local area code vs toll free number on their landing page:
Variant B with the 415 local area code lifted conversions by 40%.
Even if it’s a non-local offer that you service, having a physical location makes you appear more real and human over an anonymous mystery business.
Be Wary—They’re Not Foolproof
Of course, not all forms of landing page testimonials and social proof are foolproof and the broken record tip is to test everything landing page-related. There are a few social proof warnings to look out for:
#17 Low Number of Social Proof
When sharing your social media stats on your landing page, beware of sharing numbers that are too low. Being unpopular could come across as negative social proof.
You may find that it’s better to have no proof than low social proof.
DIYthemes ran a split test between two variants to test whether including number of email subscribers helped or detracted from sign-ups:
The variant without the number of social proof surprisingly scored 38% more conversions.
If this is the case, then wait until you grow a decent following to test out displaying your social media stats again.
#18 Unrealistic Testimonials
Testimonials and endorsements that are unrealistic can come off as irrelevant and easily dismissable by your visitors.
It’s like that guy who still thinks name dropping is an effective tactic.
Textbroker calls out testimonials like this one to be exaggerated and full of superlatives:
#19 Weak Testimonials
Similar to having low social proof, having weak testimonials can also have an adverse effect on your landing page conversions and you may be better off with no testimonial proof vs a weak testimonial.
When asking your fans and customers for testimonials ask them to be specific in describing their experiences using your offer. The more realistic the storytelling the more beneficial your UVP can come off.
We ran a landing page test for one of our clients that included a variant with a testimonial and a variant without:
Apparently, the testimonial was a weak testimonial and visitors preferred the variant without the testimonial by 5%.
There could be a number of reasons why the testimonial is weak.
- The readability could be low without breaking up the paragraph visually.
- Maybe the conversion rate would’ve been higher if there were more than one testimonials to make it appear more realistic.
Whatever the reason is for the lower conversion rate, this shows the significance to A/B testing before fully committing to a landing page variant.
Bonus: Three Tips
#20 Reduce Anxiety
There are already several landing page friction points that could potentially slow your visitors down from converting. The last thing you wanna do is add to the friction by providing your audience with anxiety from your social proof.
The anxiety antidote:
- Be credible – Don’t exaggerate with your social proof or pick a testimonial from someone your audience can’t connect with.
- Be relevant – By being credible, you’ll like be more relevant. Other things you can do increase relevancy are to appear local (or at least provide your contact info so you can appear real) and tap into your visitor’s perspective by featuring social proof from like-minded people.
- Be visually attractive – Whether you use smiling familiar faces on your hero shots or detailed image shots of your product or service being used, be sure to use clean straightforward images and design. Keep the overall design and layout of your landing page and social proof visually clean and appealing.
- Enumerate – Categorizing your content into digestible smaller chunks of info can help you audience better understand your landing page. Using itemized lists as a format can help your visitors easily soak up info related to your offer.
- Be specific – The more personal and specific the details are in your social proof, the more believable the story.
#21 Don’t Distract Your Reader
There are some tried and true ways to keep your audience focused on your landing page goal, which include:
- Be clean – Use your white space concepts and try to aim for a 1:1 attention ratio. That means clearing out clutter and excluding any extraneous links. When displaying your social proof and testimonials, test out different locations and design formats on your landing page so you keep your visitors focused on your CTA.
- Be legible – Readability is a basic user experience level that you’ll want to conquer first and foremost. When it comes to social proof and testimonials, you’ll want to have your info be super easy to ingest. Keep the fonts, images, content and blurbs legible and neatly designed.
#22 Use Directional Cues
If you’re using a hero shot with an endorser or showing off one of your users benefitting from your offer, try using gazing as a tactic.
A way to do this is to have the subject in your hero shot focus on your CTA, whether that be their eyes looking toward your CTA or entire body facing or pointing to your offer.
Some other imagery tips:
- Use a familiar face – Whether it’s a celebrity endorser or an ideal client that resembles that of your target audience, a smiling hero shot could potentially help boost your landing page cred. Caveat: a familiar face does not mean feature an overused stock photo. This could not only help you lose credibility but it could also put you in a lost crowd.
- Make it big – A prominent photo of your hero shot can help you get your offer message across without even having to use words.
- Add directional cues – Arrows can have the same effect as gazing, where you subtly or obviously guide your visitors to your CTA button.
- Don’t confuse – This goes back to keeping your visitors focused on the one landing page goal. Keep the gazing and directional cues aimed at one direction toward your CTA. Don’t have conflicting content, imagery or info that’ll confuse your audience or make them second guess your CTA offer.
- Broken Record: Always be testing.
Dell ran an A/B test that explored the use of directional cue:
The result? The second version with directional cues that focused on the CTA and form decreased bounce rates by 27% and 36% more visitors completed the form submission.
The results were surprising and revealed that SparkHire’s visitors preferred the hero shot with the eyes gazing away the CTA form, which won 61% more conversion.
Closing Thoughts on Landing Page Testimonials and Social Proof
This goes without saying, but constantly testing various elements on your landing page can make a difference. When it comes to testimonials, there are likely to be results that will surprise you.
To drive the importance of testing home, our friend and Content & Growth Manager, Shanelle Mullin at ConversionXL provided us some feedback:
There are many different types of social proof, some that might be worth testing over testimonials. For example, our research found that high-profile client logos are likely the most effective type of social proof as they balance high recall with low cognitive load.
If you don’t have high-profile client logos or you’re just committed to testing testimonials, there are a few things to consider.
According to our eye-tracking study, testimonials hold attention the longest, especially when they’re accompanied by photos. So, if you have glowing testimonials from well-known authorities in your space, use them as a selling tool. However, remember that even mediocre testimonials draw and hold attention well, so carefully consider the quality and persuasiveness of your testimonials before using them. They could absolutely backfire and have a negative effect.
According to our viewer recall rate study, testimonials with photos are among the top three most memorable types of social proof. Coupled with what we learned during the eye-tracking study, it’s safe to say that your testimonials should always have photos. It might even be worth testing a reduction in copy per photo.
Now it’s your turn… which landing page testimonial and social proof tactics gave you surprising results?