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How Customer Social Proof Shifts Perception

A few studies on the power of social proof and how you can use it too!

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As marketers we often try to play the psychology game. Wondering why do our customers act that way, what are they thinking? More importantly, how do our customers influence other customers to act?

Many of our customers at ScreenCloud want their digital signage screens to help them with things like increasing sales, building trust with customers and creating community. Take Faith Community Bible Church whose goal is to increase attendance at events and build community for youth groups, outreach programmes and so on. Does social proof (messages from their customers on how much they enjoyed the last group or session) help? You betcha. 
In a retail or restaurant set-up, your screens are positioned (if done well) in full view of customers, potentially next to the services or products you really, really want them to buy. Getting your social proof right will help ramp up sales and make your customers feel good about what they’re buying.

Let’s look a little more into the idea of social proof behind perception:

A Nielsen study shows that the information we believe comes from those we trust since 83% of consumers in 60 countries say they trust recommendations from friends and family over any other form of advertising.  

Secondly, a study by Robert B. Cialdini on influence found that we don’t even have to know the people taking action or recommending a product for it to have an effect. In his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, he talks of an experiment he did with hotel bathroom towels. You’ve probably noticed the little cards you get in most hotel bathrooms asking you to reuse your towels. Well guess what, 40% of guests reused their towels at least once when faced with these cards.

Call it guilt if you will, but later when he tested the power of social proof by changing the message to read ‘The majority of guests who stay in our hotel reuse their towels’ he found that an additional 26% of guests reused their towels.

(Sidenote - Can you use signs like this in your digital signage displays? Of course you can. It’s as easy as going to our noticeboard app, or your image editing tool of choice, adding your message and getting it up on screen). 

It seems that how we display and show our social proof can also make a difference. A study by ConversionXL Institute looked at how different forms of online social proof were perceived by eye-tracking and also surveying the participants who had seen them. 

Some of the areas of social proof they looked at were:

  • Press mentions with logos only vs press mentions with logos and short quotes
  • Testimonials with and without photos
  • High social followings vs low social followings

The study found that there wasn’t a huge difference between high social followings vs low, but that testimonials with photos (social proof) were significantly more effective than testimonials without. Secondly, press mentions with both logos and short quotes (social proof) were recalled 46% more often than press mentions with logos alone. 

So what does this tell us?

Firstly, we heavily believe and rely on what those close to us tell us of their experiences. Secondly, when shown how others act, we are more likely to act that way too (as in the towel incident). Lastly, the more social proof you can provide in terms of giving your proof a background and persona through image, a quote and logo; the more effect it will have on your customer.

Amplifying your social proof with digital signage

Here are some of the great ways you can improve perception (and sales) by infusing your digital signage displays with social proof.

Social media social proof

Of course social media is probably your quickest route to genuine and useful social proof. If you’ve built a following and people are saying nice things about you online (and why wouldn’t they be) why not pop this up on a screen for people to see? Gallery for Instagram or a social media dashboard pulling in all of your feeds through an app like TINT could help. 

Customer testimonials

As we’ve discussed before, customer testimonials are so often seen online and so rarely used out in the ‘real world’. Using the research above as a guide, a great customer testimonial is made up of an image, a quick quote and if relevant, the logo of the company that person is from. This can be as simple as ‘Bob loves this cake. He has it every day’ or a full case study showing the who, what, how, why and when. Make it using one of these free content tools, add it to your screen and watch to see how customer perception shifts. 

Customer reviews

As well as your manual testimonials and your curated social feeds, what about customer review sites? If you look to gain reviews from customers on sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor, these should also be up on your screens. Our apps make it really easy to do that. 

Dashboards of social proof

We can’t resist analyzing a good graph can we? This is where dashboards such as the ones our friends at Dash create, come in. Dashboards give you a free reign to show off social proof and can be updated in realtime as you acquire more customers or make more sales. Perhaps by showing off just how many customers add a cake to their coffee order, you can influence the next customer in line to not feel so guilty about having the millionaire shortbread they really want. In business, you can show metrics of how many customers you have in a particular cohort or use case to help others feel that they’re in good company. In fact, custom dashboards may just be our favorite way to add social proof for persuasion.

In digital signage, added social proof could lead to increased recall on your messaging, higher sales and more brand trust. The studies are there and the apps in our App Store make it really easy to implement. Why not give it a try today?  

 SC Gradient

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