Welcome to the latest installation of our weekly blog series – Psychological Hacks for Marketers. Each week we will introduce a new shortcut that the consumer’s brand takes and how the crafty marketer can take advantage. Last week’s topic was Outcome Bias.

This week we are discussing:

Bandwagon Effect

The bandwagon effect in marketing is the increase in likelihood of purchase based on the number of other people who have already purchased (or their desire to purchase) the same item.

In its simplest form, it’s the “cool factor” – the tendency for consumers to want something because other people want it. It explains the trends and the fads, most popular colors and styles, the products that sell out on day 1.

But the bandwagon effect can also be seen in more basic forms of social proof. For example, this effect can help explain why companies show off testimonials and reviews and ratings on their sites. Other consumers are validating the claims that marketers make.

Take advantage of the bandwagon effect by:

  • If you have a high number of customers or products sold, show a running tally, like the old “Billions and billions sold” campaign by McDonald’s. It’s an indication of popularity.
  • If you sell physical products, under-supply the market so that your items sell out. Offer pre-orders and allow people to sign up for updates when something sold out becomes available again to create the feeling that something is in high demand.
  • When something is in limited supply, tell your consumers they have to act fast or miss out. Again, this makes your offering look popular and in demand.
  • Allow and display user reviews like Amazon and Yelp. Lots of reviews mean lots of other customers chose you over your competitors.

If you can use your marketing to show potential customers how popular your products are, you’ll sell more of them.

Stay tuned next week for another installment of the Psychology Hacks series. Have a suggestion? Let us know.