What Is the Bandwagon Effect?

How Does the Bandwagon Effect Apply to Marketing?

Henry Foster
Last updated: Apr 13, 2023
Originally published: Apr 11, 2019

Also Known As: Bandwagoning, the effect of fads and trends


People are more likely to accept ideas and trends when they are made aware that more people use that product or service.

Bandwagon Effect Examples:

Adding Fuel to a Fire: Which of these two products is more likely to give you a higher return for your marketing dollar? Option 1: A tried-and-true product with solid sales. Option 2: A new product, which some believe will become the next big fad.

A smart business owner knows it’s best to test both products. However, when considering the Bandwagon Effect, option 1 is more likely to give you a higher return for your dollar, because people like proven winners.

In the 2010 basketball season, the Miami Heat averaged 17,730 fans at each home game. The following season, Miami picked up LeBron James. James led Miami to four NBA finals and won two of them.

In those four seasons, Miami’s attendance averaged 19,869 fans. At an average ticket price of $155, Miami made $331,545 in ticket sales. All by investing in a winner.

Social Proof: In large groups, people tend to conform to the choices of the group. Business owners can use this to their advantage by showing numbers, testimonials, and endorsements for a product.

Typically, social proof comes from five categories:

1. Credible industry experts.

2. Endorsements from celebrities.

3. Past customers.

4. Approval from a large group.

5. Friends and peers you know.

By using the ratings, reviews, and testimonials from these people, you can begin to see an increase in conversions and sales.

Improving Amazon and eBay Listings: Many marketplace sites like Amazon and eBay use the bandwagon effect as a signal how popular an item is. To reward items that are hot sellers, eBay and Amazon increase the listing’s ranking when someone searches for that item.

See Also: Groupthink, crowd psychology, herd behavior, Snowball Effect

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Henry Foster

Henry Foster is a digital marketer from Boston, making money for B2B companies by generating leads via paid search and social.

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