Social Proof of Quality vs Paid Advertising

SPQ - Social Proof of Quality

Forget about traditional advertising. Think SPQ – Social Proof of Quality!

People don’t care about what a software provider says about Itself. They care about what other customers when they feel passionate about their solution.

1. The Research

A group of researchers at the School of Business and Economics at the University of Finland, authored a research paper entitled “Credibility of a peer endorser and advertising effectiveness”. 

The study reveals new findings in the little-studied area of peer-endorsed marketing, giving insights into peer-endorsed credibility and the importance of brand-specific credibility when it comes to the effectiveness of paid advertising. The study also provides feedback regarding brand involvement and its effect on consumers. 

The focus here is on the aspects of the report that cover measuring the impact of leading marketing techniques on the consumption habits and purchase decisions of typical consumers across several industries. This includes both customer-led peer endorsements and brand-led paid advertising.  The four marketing techniques include:

  • SPQ – Social Proof of Quality. This technique is based on peer reviews that combine sentiment as well as the volume of user interactions. Ranking products and services by customer’s recommendation will be a leading factor in the next phase of Digital Marketing.
  • Content Marketing. Brands and Services provide consumers with relevant high-value content and consequently develop ongoing relations with the audience. This builds trust in the brand as experts in their field and increases the effectiveness of their paid advertising campaigns.
  • UIA User’s Initiated Advertisements. This refers to the ads that appear on the page every time you do a Google search. These are categorized as “user-initiated” since they are based on the user action of entering a specific keyword in a search engine. 
  •  Static / One2Many Ads. This refers to traditional mass media, where a brand uses a single message to try and convince a wide and diverse audience to choose its product or service. This can be in the form or static banners on websites and social platforms or offline ads TV, radio, magazines or newspapers.   

2. The 15 Industries Surveyed

To show that the findings were not due to the peculiar nature of any particular market, the research covered most of the most popular good and services both online and in brick and mortar retail outlets. The four types or marketing techniques were tested in each of the following industries:

  • Grocery
  • Pharma
  • Health & Beauty
  • Convenience Stores
  • Professional Services / Legal & Accounting
  • Travel/Leisure
  • Education
  • Finance
  • Media & Content
  • Consumer Goods
  • Retail / On-Line Retail
  • Automotive
  • Real Estate
  • Home Products
  • Software 

The impressive part is that the results show the effectiveness of peer endorsements over paid advertising is consistent across 90% of the industries surveyed.

3. The Results

The research’s main conclusions regarding software products are as follows: 

SPQ – Peer endorsements have a major impact on people when they have to take decisions regarding software purchases. 

Content – Content marketing also has an impact especially for professional content that gives a comparative analysis of competing software solutions. Its recommended to select 3-5 parameters that are relevant to decision-makers and clear to potential customers. 

UIA / User’s Initiated AdvertisementsSearch engine optimization and targeted advertising are a “must-have” to succeed with digital marketing.  This is especially true if your goal is to get maximum exposure in software category and leverage the results of your investment in SPQ.

Static / One2Many Ads – Traditional static advertising was found to be the least effective method of connecting with software consumers.

4. Conclusion

We hope software companies take notice of this and similar research that demonstrates the importance of investing resources in SPOQ, in coordination with content marketing and SEO activities.

Implementing a “ Think like Publishers “ strategy is an extremely effective way for software providers to generate leads and strength their SPOQ means that software companied should invest in creating content and distribute it in the right channels.