What Is Bandwagon Effect? (Cognitive Bias, Example)

Bandwagon Effect Explanation

A bandwagon effect is a form of group thinking where individuals are more likely to confirm as more people adopt an idea. In other words, following rest without thinking. It happens a lot with us. Sometimes people vote for a specific candidate because of popularity. It gives the impression that many people agree on the same thing or are on board with the same idea.

The bandwagon effect is primarily used to attract people’s support for a cause, an organization, or an idea. It’s also known as the copycat effect. So this is used in lots of different settings like politics, advertisement, and business. Sometimes people make things or events viral by this effect.

People believe a sure thing makes a new person more likely to adopt that behavior or action without considering any other reason. The human brain thinks about it biologically without asking and wants shortcuts to making a quick decision.

What is Bandwagon effect?

Bandwagon is a cognitive bias that carries a lot of people mentioning the herd mentality. Many people follow the herd and do whatever everyone else does. People are chasing the biggest trend all the time.

According to this principle, the product’s increasing popularity or phenomenon encourages more people to get on the bandwagon. People want to get the latest smartphones because of everyone else. This tendency to follow others has its positive and negative effects.

There’s a disturbing trend with social media, and that’s the inability of people to express what they feel. The bandwagon effect is when one does something primarily because others are doing it. In this case, one believes something because others believe. It is in argument form, known as the appeal to popularity or popular opinion. It changes your belief and pushes you in specific directions based on the faith’s popularity.

The bandwagon effect promotes something called group thinks. It means when a large group of people together, they tend to think similarly. It’s easier to convince someone of something if a large group believes the same thing.

It’s the idea that many people together will agree about certain things. Also, it’s easier for somebody to agree with others if a large group already believes this. The main goal of this effect is to convince the audience that they’re missing out on something.

The bandwagon effect also makes people feel isolated, as if they aren’t on the bandwagon, as the phrase goes. So they feel isolated because the person speaking to them looks pretty confident and seems to believe something they don’t. Most Americans agree that this may be more common in politics, whereas a politician says most Americans agree.

Example of Bandwagon effect

A study comparing messages designed to increase hotel bath towels has reflected the bandwagon effect. Message one was to care for the environment and reuse your bath towel. While message two was that 75% of patrons care for the environment by reusing their bath towels. The reuse rate was 35% with the first message, while the reuse rate was 44.5% with the second message.

In other words, bath towel reuse rates increased by 9.5% when patrons were told that other patrons were doing it.

  • Firstly, Consumers are attracted to bandwagons and behave in a way they believe others are.
  • Secondly, while many people consider themselves individuals, most people are attracted to following social norms.
  • Thirdly, creating the impression that behavior is normal can increase its frequency. Consumers are far more likely to stop and look at a supermarket display if other people have stopped and are looking at that supermarket display.

Bandwagon effect in marketing

We are likely to see what others are interested in buying and using. If many people buy something, there must be something right with the product! There are cases where you can make the right decisions about buying something by looking at what others are buying. But the problem is the marketing managers of every company also know that.

So they try to use this effect for themselves and promote their brand. They might say something like nine out of ten mothers or nine out of ten doctors use it or recommend it. The companies are going to use positive statements. The fact is that less than 2% of consumers are trendsetters, and 98% percent of consumers join bandwagons.

Bandwagon effect in finance

The bandwagon effect can also have an impact on finance and investment. Why does the value of the stock of a company increase? Most of the reasons involve the company doing an excellent job, not the stock market.

The actual industry is doing business, and if the company does good in the actual market, its stock prices will go up. That is the main reason why the stock prices of any company go up. But sometimes, people think that if the stocks are being sold a lot means that the stocks are doing good in the market.

So more people start to buy the stock. As a result, the price of the specific stock goes up, and some people might think that the short-term increase in the stock price indicates that the price will keep increasing over time. It creates a positive feedback loop that keeps increasing the value of the stock.

More Articles:


Kiss, Áron; Simonovits, Gábor (2014). “Identifying the bandwagon effect in two-round elections.”
Schmitt‐Beck, Rüdiger, “Bandwagon Effect,” The International Encyclopedia of Political Communication, American Cancer Society.
Colman, Andrew. Oxford Dictionary of Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press.

Julia Rose

My name is Julia Rose. I'm a registered clinical therapist, researcher, and coach. I'm the author of this blog. There are also two authors: Dr. Monica Ciagne, a registered psychologist and motivational coach, and Douglas Jones, a university lecturer & science researcher. I would love to hear your opinion, question, suggestions, please let me know. We will try to help you.

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