Social proof is nothing new. For many years, it’s been used by both online and offline marketers to persuade prospects and increase sales.
Simply put, the principle of social proof refers to the influence of other people’s actions on our behavior. Meaning that when a large number of people are doing something, we assume that it must be the correct action.
Leveraging this principle cleverly, many online stores use social proof on their websites and in their emails.
While social proof is an effective tool to convert visitors into subscribers and beyond, only a handful of e-commerce marketers use it in their email popups.
Naturally, those marketers know how to convince visitors to sign up for an email list or complete their orders—without having to spend a fortune. And today, I’ll show you how you can join those smart marketers by adding social proof to your onsite messages.
So here are 13 highly effective social proof popup examples you can use to convert visitors into subscribers and customers.
Table of Contents
1. Include Customer Testimonials
3. Combine Social Proof with FOMO
1. Include Customer Testimonials
Whether it’s product reviews, quotes, or videos, customer testimonials are one of the most common (and most powerful) types of social proof. And it’s for a few good reasons:
- Customer reviews add credibility to your online store;
- They let satisfied customers promote your brand on your behalf; and
- They mimic personal recommendations from the people we know.
If you’re already displaying testimonials on your homepage or product pages, you’re off to a great start.
When used in popups, customer testimonials help create a gentle nudge, inviting users to take action without feeling overwhelmed or pressured into buying.
i. Product-Based Testimonials
One way to incorporate testimonials into your on-site campaigns is to display positive product reviews to handle possible objections.
Take a look at this popup example you could use on a product page:
For this example, I chose a real-life review from Pressed Juicery that answers possible questions in the prospects’ minds like the following:
- Have others tried and enjoyed this product before?
- What does it taste like?
- Is it any good for my skin?
By showing selected product reviews in your popups like the above, you can remove possible obstacles to buying, and create social proof for that given product.
What’s more, by providing reviewer details, such as age or location, you can add credibility to your reviews and help your visitors identify themselves with the reviewer.
Make sure to set a timed trigger to give users some space to read product descriptions, browse product photos, and so on.
ii. Category-Based Testimonials
If you’re selling a wide range of products or don’t have many reviews for individual items, you can show a generic campaign that runs on category pages, like this:
By using our Specific URL condition, you can target visitors viewing your category pages and hold their attention with social proof.
iii. Company Testimonials
If you’re a single-product business or simply want to build a positive brand image, you can use your company reviews in website popups, instead.
Casper uses this strategy by displaying their company reviews on their homepage…
…and on a dedicated landing page
…as well as in email marketing:
If they apply the same to their popups, as I recommend today, this is what it might look like:
The main advantage of using testimonials in your popups is the ability to show your messages to the right people, on the right pages, at the right time.
There are multiple effective ways to use testimonials in your popups. No matter which one you choose, they instantly add the element of social proof to your popups.
2. Promote Your Bestsellers
Bestsellers sell well for a reason. Or, at least, we think they do.
The “bestseller” stamp acts as proof of how good a product is. After all, if lots of people are buying an item, they must know something we don’t.
With customer acquisition costs continuing to rise, you can’t afford to lose a prospect that just landed on your site.
Although bestsellers can be highly persuasive on any visitor segment, they’re especially ideal for guiding first-time visitors by giving them a starting point.
While many online stores guide their visitors to new arrivals or selected items, bestsellers work better than ordinary product lists. Why? Because they carry a stamp of approval from fellow consumers (read: social proof.)
Here’s a popup example promoting popular products to first-time visitors:
It’s ideal for reducing bounce rates and redirecting otherwise lost visitors to product pages.
3. Combine Social Proof with FOMO
Social proof isn’t the only explanation for why bestsellers help you sell more. They also work well because this type of social proof contains the element of scarcity.
Given that the stocks aren’t unlimited, it also carries the risk of selling out if a product is selling well. As a result, the word “bestseller” helps users make a quicker decision by implying scarcity.
To take full advantage of this principle, you can trigger prospects’ fear-of-missing-out (FOMO) and create a sense of urgency.
With an exit-intent popup like below, you can warn an abandoning visitor that the product they’re viewing is high-in-demand and, therefore, may sell out anytime soon.
In this example, where I trigger visitors’ FOMO and highlight the popularity of the product, I added an incentive to engage them further.
Make sure to set an exit-intent trigger on this campaign to ensure that you capture abandoning visitors at the right time and persuade them with social proof and scarcity.
4. Leverage Sold-Out Products
For consumers, landing on a sold-out product page only means disappointment.
For marketers, however, those pages are like a goldmine waiting to be tapped.
Sold-out products carry an inherent stamp of social proof because if a product went out-of-stock, lots of others must have liked and bought it.
When a visitor ends up on a sold-out product page, you need to manage their disappointment by either promising them a back-in-stock notification or guiding them in a new direction.
Check out how Allbirds does that:
With this popup, the company uses back-in-stock notifications as we know them and grabs this opportunity to collect email addresses of highly interested leads.
Using a consent checkbox, Allbirds also asks if you want to join their newsletter by framing its call-to-action around the benefit. Now the company can retarget these prospects with relevant product recommendations and personalized incentives.
JyskVin, on the other hand, takes a different approach to sold-out product pages. When you visit a product that had sold out, you see this popup:
With it, the company, first, informs you that the product you’re viewing went out-of-stock, and then recommends a similar item, instead. This way, JyskVin removes friction and creates a personalized shopping experience by imitating a store assistant.
It’s a brilliant tactic to ease visitors’ frustration and convert them with a timely and relevant product recommendation popup.
5. Use the Numbers
It’s no secret that numbers strengthen the social proof by adding specificity to your claims. When nine out of ten dentists (rather than some) recommend a toothpaste brand, we trust that brand more.
Whether you want to convince visitors to sign up for your email list or complete their purchase, you can enhance your social proof popups with the power of numbers.
Check out this example by Hideaways:
By showing the number of its newsletter subscribers, the company creates social proof and makes you think 24,000 people can’t be wrong.
What’s more, Hideaways evokes a sense of belonging by inviting you to join among 24,000 others and “do the same.”
Remember to add specificity to your social proof popups whenever possible. Using exact numbers, such as 26,871, makes your claims more credible than round numbers, like 20,000.
Numbers also work well in converting prospects into customers. Showing the number of your customers or products sold so far in your popups can help ease prospects’ minds:
In case your visitors have any doubts about completing their order, you can regain them with social proof the moment they’re about to abandon your site.
6. Demonstrate Expertise
Granted, the words of an expert have more influence on us than an ordinary consumer because we believe that experts have more knowledge in the area than us. That’s why we trust their authority and accept their recommendations as the correct behavior.
One way to demonstrate this powerful type of social proof is to build or show your expertise within your field.
Check out how fitness equipment e-tailer Apuls adds social proof to its popups by positioning the brand as experts:
The company knows that buying expensive fitness equipment takes time and research, and sometimes even requires a consultation. That’s why they show a popup inviting you to “talk to an expert” on specific category pages.
With it, Apuls doesn’t only guide its visitors to better buying decisions with excellent customer service; they also position themselves as experts in the field.
Another way you can infuse social proof into your popups is to borrow authority from an expert. To use this tactic, you don’t necessarily need to collaborate with celebrities or big influencers in your field.
Take a look at how Bizz Up borrows authority from an expert in this popup:
In this popup, the company offers visitors a lead magnet on Facebook contest rules that they created with a Facebookfessor.
Since a Facebook expert creates the document, Bizz Up’s visitors are more likely to submit their email addresses in exchange for valuable, expert-approved information. As a result, Bizz Up grows its email list with highly relevant leads and demonstrates authority in their field.
7. Show Media Mentions
Media has always been influential in guiding consumer behavior, both online and off-.
Getting media coverage for your brand extends your reach. But it also acts as a stamp of approval.
For this strategy to work, you don’t necessarily need to get featured in large, international publications. Nor do you need to be a blogger or a SaaS company.
It works just as well for e-commerce businesses and in local contexts, too.
Here’s a brilliant popup example by Rosemunde:
In it, Rosemunde promotes one of its products by applying the traditional “as-seen-on” marketing approach to its popups.
The popup copy reads “Rosemunde Silk Top, seen in IN on July 26th,” referring to a Danish fashion magazine called “IN.”
By using the media coverage of one of its products, Rosemunde adds social proof to this promotional popup and makes the product more attractive.
If your brand, website, or products got praised by a local newspaper, blogger, or a micro-influencer, use it in your popups to create social proof.
Social proof works like a charm to convert website visitors into subscribers and prospects into customers.
Although it’s often applied to web copy, email marketing, and paid ads, marketers still underuse social proof in their on-site messages.
By using one of the strategies above, you can instantly enhance your popups with social proof and drive more sales to your online store.