At a first glance, winning ad clicks from competition seems so simple:
All you have to do is show the audience a proof that you’re better and POOF! As if by magic, they begin to ignore everyone else.
But the reality is so different, isn’t it?
Ad after ad you run struggle to make the case.
Grab the users’ attention.
And convince them to your worth.
But it’s all because your ads miss one crucial ingredient – social proof.
Luckily for you, that’s what I’m going to help you with today. I’m going to show you 10 examples of various social proof types advertisers use in Facebook ads.
Before we begin:
This is not a typical educational post I normally publish on AdEspresso. Instead, consider it a resource that you could come back to every time you need to communicate your worth in an ad.
What EXACTLY is Social Proof
Think about the last time you felt lost and not knowing what to do:
It may have been a party with people you haven’t met before. A first day at a new job. Or visiting a place related to a culture you have little experience with.
Not knowing what the typical norms of behavior are, you probably looked at others to determine what to do.
Why? Because you simply assumed that their actions are correct for the given situation.
That’s social proof in action: assuming the actions of others in an attempt to reflect the correct behavior for the given situation.
And there are some interesting experiments that proved its existence.
“In 1968, the social psycologists Stanley Milgram, Leonard Bickman, and Lawrence Berkowitz decided to cause a little trouble. First they put a single person on a street corner and had him look up at an empty sky for sixty seconds. A tiny fraction of the passing pedrestrians stopped to see what the guy was looking at, but most just walked past. Next time around, the psychologists put five skyward-looking men on the corner. This time, four times as many people stopped to gaze at the empty sky. When the psychologists put fifteen men on the corner, 45 percent of all passers by stopped, and inceasing the cohort of obervers yet again made more than 80 per cent of pedestrians tilt their heads and look up.” (source)
And I agree:
At first glance this study may simply suggest that we’re willing to conform. In reality however it illustrated our tendency to assume that if many people are doing something, have done something or believe in something, there must be a good reason why.
Social proof however goes beyond social situations. It also transpires on our product selection process and purchasing decision.
In his two experiments David Wooten from the University of Florida determined that opinions and behaviors of others influence our product evaluation process.
Robert Cialdini included social proof (although he called it Consensus) as the 6th principle of persuasion. Here’s a great video explaining his ideas (look at around 9 minute mark):
Companies have been using social proof to convince customers to their worth:
But what about Facebook? What are the types of social proof companies use in Facebook ads?
Featuring Experts and Celebrities
This is one of the most common types of social proof used in traditional, old school advertising. It occurs when a product or brand gets some form of a “thumbs up” from an expert or a celebrity its intended audience identifies with.
And hey, show me ad spot in the TV that doesn’t feature at least one or two ads featuring known faces…
It’s no different on Facebook.
Even though expert proof isn’t as popular, many companies feature celebrities or experts in their ads.
Pictures Showing Product in Use
Showing people using your product could also convince others of its worth or usefulness.
Similarly, companies feature quotes from satisfied customers to give Facebook users a feel how the product has helped others (and so it could help them too).
Or feature customer feedback proving that their solutions work.
User Case Study
Some also provide detailed information at how the product has helped others.
Ratings / Tooting Own Horn
Star ratings or recommendations have some serious weight on the customer’s product evaluation. And I’ve already hinted at David Wooten’s research that proved it.
It’s no surprise that companies use that to convince Facebook audiences of their worth.
Sales counts and stats
Showing the number of total sales, sales per product or happy customers will only confirm your products popularity.
And it’s no surprise that advertisers include that in their ads.
Sharing Useful (and Convincing) Stats
I wrote this here on AdEspresso recently:
Stats and references act as a cue reassuring readers of your authority and knowledge on the subject.
They can also help make any advertising claims more believable (as proved by this study for instance).
And thus, using stats in ads could reassure visitors of your worth.
Showing Social Connections or Shares
10 of your Facebook friends like this ad? Gee, it must be good….
Or so you’d think…
And thus, displaying the number of friends and other social sharing stats could add validity to the ad.
Showing Product Popularity
Another way to convince customers to your product’s worth is displaying a top seller badge. Or annotating it with phrases like top seller or back by popular demand.
Seriously Pawel, 10 types? Is that all?
Facebook prohibits using certain elements in ads, preventing you from using many other social proof types.
According to Facebook’s advertising guidelines your ad must not contain any of the following:
- Content that infringes upon or violates the rights of any third party, including copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity, or other personal or proprietary rights.
- Images that contain “before-and-after” images or images that contain unexpected or unlikely results.
And thus, unless you get a full authorization to use a trademark, customer logo or a badge you won’t be able to:
- Show your product’s quality certifications,
- Display various badges,
- Show customer or vendor logos, or
- Include trust marks.
With proper permissions however you it should be fine.
What about you?
Are you using social proof in Facebook ads? What other types than listed above you include? Let me know in the comments.