Social Proofing/ Herding

What is it?

The concept of ‘social proof’ describes our tendency to run with the herd and make decisions based on what those around us are doing. We often validate our choices on whether others are following a similar course of action.

How can I use it in my favour ?

An experiment was carried out at hotels in Phoenix, Arizona, to find out which printed message in the bathroom would encourage more guests to re-use their towels. The first message asked guests to reuse their towels for the good of the environment. The second asked guests to “cooperate with the hotel” and “be our partner in this cause.” This was 12% less effective than the first sign. The third said the majority of guests in the hotel reused their towels at least once during their stay, which was 18% more effective. The final message said “…a majority of people in this room have reused their towel” which saw a 33% increase in responsive behavior compared with the first message.

Thus, Use social proof – present your offer as something that many other people do.

If lots of people are doing it – Show directly how many (or what proportion of) people are choosing an option

If people like me are doing it – Show the user that his or her peers, or people in a similar situation, make a particular choice