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What Is Bandwagon Effect?



Bandwagon effect is one of the well-known and understood cognitive biases (CLICK HERE if you don’t know about cognitive bias).

Have you ever skipped a video on YouTube because it had more dislikes than likes?  Remember the Facebook page that you didn’t hit “Like” because it didn’t have much of followers? Ever thought why? It’s because you were cognitively biased.  You decision to not watch the video or not follow the page was based up on the perceived unpopularity.  Since it didn’t have much like, you thought not worthy to watch or follow and decided to skip without even giving a try.  This phenomenon of liking or disliking something purely based on what others in general have done is called Bandwagon Effect.

The bandwagon effect is a psychological phenomenon in which people do something primarily because other people are doing it, regardless of their own beliefs, which they may ignore or override. — Investopedia

This psychological phenomenon has wide implications, especially in marketing and politics.  “People generally like or do whatever everyone else in majority are liking or doing” is the core mantra that marketers and political strategists go with to position their products/services or agendas.

We are constantly being attempted to be manipulated using the bandwagon tendency in us.  In a natural state, it’s not that bad to follow the herd, because you will save time, and reduce risk, and fit into the crowd for doing what everybody doing.

But now imagine, crowds are bought except you yourself.  Or say, with vested interest acted like a crowd to influence you.

To put in simple perspective, you went to a market to buy something.  There was this shop where everyone seems buying, and you didn’t know all those customers were actually not real customers, but rather pretending to be to influence you.  Or say, there is this Facebook page with lots of Likes, but those likes were bought ones.  Or say, a youtube video with million views but was actually a bought one.

In today’s world of money and technology, it’s not really hard to influence humans.  However, it’s not hard to not let anyone influence your decision-making or judgment.  It all starts from self.  Ask yourself, do you really like it or not, do you really want it or not, do you really doing it for yourself or not? Keeping yourself in center, doing or liking per your own desire, for your own reason, per your own need, is all you need to do to not be cognitively biased with Bandwagon effect.

Not liking someone (Trump, Justin Bieber, etc) because of their ideologies or works is one thing.  Not liking them because others are disliking them is bandwagon effect.  Same with wanting iPhone because you genuinly like iPhone is one thing, and because others are liking is, Bandwagon Effect.

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