6 Reasons Customers Trust Social Word Of Mouth More Than Display Ads

When it comes to increasing conversions, there is no better way than by word-of-mouth marketing and we don’t mean in the traditional sense but social word-of-mouth marketing. Many businesses aren’t realizing the potential social media has for sales as they have usually been told by marketers that social media is only good for brand awareness … this is not the case. Social media is the modern day word-of-mouth marketing and if used to its full potential, could increase your sales as well as achieve a higher ROI than display advertising would.

By getting recommendations on social media from customers and social media influencers, their followers, friends and family will instantly have trust with your brand. Referrals that have come through these social media recommendations will have a much higher chance of converting than users who have come to your site through a display advertisement. Why? Because customers trust other customers, friends and family.


What is Social Word of Mouth

Social word-of-mouth marketing is quite simply the traditional word-of-mouth marketing ramped up to fit into the modern day.

Word-of-Mouth in 1995 – I go for a bit of window shopping and spot a food processor that I end up buying. After trying it out at home and loving it, I naturally tell my friends and family that they should get one too. I would tell them either the next time I saw them (whenever that might be) or over the phone whilst having to describe the way it looked and worked.

Word-of-Mouth in 2015 – I browse online for a food processor and spot one that I like the look of after watching a video online. I buy the product and tell everyone via Facebook that I have just bought a food processor along with a link to it so they can see for themselves. After trying it out at home and loving it, I share a photo of it again on Facebook and tell everyone to get one.

The difference between these two is that it would take a lot longer in 1995 to spread the word than it does today. Now customers can share their purchases instantly with hundreds or thousands of people, whereas in 1995 customers could share their purchases with a few people over a period of time.

Why Social Word of Mouth Marketing is More Effective

Now that you know what social word-of-mouth marketing is it’s time to look at the main advantages it has over display advertising:

1. People Trust Friends & Family – One of the main reasons why social word-of-mouth marketing works over display ads is that people trust recommendations from their friends and family over an impersonal ad. In fact a recent survey showed that 92% of people trust their friends and family over all other forms of advertising.

2. Better Targeting Than Display Customers who have bought from you know who out of their friends and family will also want to buy the same product resulting in a much targeted reach. With display advertising you are never 100% sure where exactly your ads are showing and who they are showing to resulting in worthless CPC costs.

3. Social Reach is a Lot Greater If a social media influencer likes the look of a product you sell or has bought it and loves it; they are going to spread the word on social media. Because social influencers have tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of followers who are all inspired by what this person wears or does, those tens of thousands of people will also be excited about your product and share it themselves to their hundreds of followers, and each of those hundreds of followers will also share, and so on and so forth. Now can you see why social word-of-mouth marketing is a winner? Can display advertising generate this much genuine excitement and interest?

4. Higher Conversion Rates and a Greater ROI – The part that all businesses want to know… the bottom line. Coming back to the people trust their friends and family point, those that have been referred to you through social media by their friends and family will be more likely to buy from you than those that have clicked on your ad for the first time to see what you are all about. If you’re still not convinced, a study proved that 68% of 18-34 years old social media users said they were more inclined to make a purchase after seeing a post about the product from a friend, family member or social influencer.

5. Go Viral with Referral Marketing – Whilst talking about social word-of-mouth marketing is great, it’s another thing to get the ball rolling and get customers and social influencers to start talking about your brand. One way you can do this is with the Refer-a-Friend app which is a simple widget that can be integrated with your website. This app will expose your referral marketing program at different points of purchases on the website to give the user a chance to share your site on social media. This referral marketing program results in acquiring more referrals from customers. You can use rewards such as discount codes and reward points to motivate customers to spread the word about your products.

6. Establish Trust With Visual Social Proof – As social media users tend to engage more with visual content, it makes sense to encourage customers to share their images of products they have purchased on social media for all their followers, friend and family to see. Having customers share their images will result in higher conversion rates that display advertising as customers trust and buy from other customers. Display advertising doesn’t have this trust factor or this personable approach. How can you get customers to share their images? Using the Photomonial app, you can display a photo gallery on your website as well as customer images on product pages to act as visual testimonials. After setting a hashtag of your desire, you can encourage customers to share their snaps with the product on social media using your chosen hashtag and their photo will be featured on your website. This is a great reward system to encourage customers to share their photos and it’s a great way to reach out to customer’s followers who might not yet know about you or might not know of the product. By using visual social proofs, you could potentially see a 21% increase in conversion rates.
Daniel's_photomonials from ShopSocially
Daniel’s Jewelers is using the Photomonial app and has an impressive photo gallery on their site full of customer generated images. They are now converting 4.84% of all website visitors into email subscribers by using social proof as their social word-of-mouth marketing.


The one thing to remember with marketing and advertising is, people trust other customers, their friends and their family. In order for your brand to be deemed trustworthy, you must encourage those that have bought from you to talk about you and share their purchases and your site on their social media timelines.

Social media is important in today’s world so the more you open your arms to it and work with it rather than against it, your business will see increased sales and a higher ROI than what you would get from display advertising.