Decoy Effect

Decoy Effect

Decoy Effect Jonathan Poland

The decoy effect is a cognitive bias that occurs when people make choices based on the relative attractiveness of options. When faced with a list of options, the presence of an obviously inferior option, known as a “decoy,” can influence people’s decisions. For example, a marketer may include a decoy option in a price list to make the other options appear more appealing. This can lead to a higher conversion rate, as customers compare the options and choose the better deal, feeling more confident about their decision.

The decoy effect is a well-known phenomenon in psychology and marketing, and it has been studied extensively. Research has shown that the decoy effect can be highly effective in influencing people’s choices, even when they are aware of it. This is because the human brain is wired to make decisions based on relative comparisons, rather than absolute values.

Overall, the decoy effect is a powerful tool that can be used to influence people’s decisions. By including a decoy option in a list of choices, marketers can make the other options appear more attractive and increase the likelihood of a sale.

Here are a few examples of the decoy effect in action:

  • A restaurant offers three meal options: a budget-friendly meal, a premium meal, and a decoy meal that is more expensive than the premium meal but offers fewer options and less value. Customers are more likely to choose the premium meal because it appears like a better deal compared to the decoy meal.
  • A clothing store offers three shirt options: a basic shirt, a premium shirt, and a decoy shirt that is more expensive than the premium shirt but offers fewer features and lower quality. Customers are more likely to choose the premium shirt because it appears like a better deal compared to the decoy shirt.
  • A travel website offers three vacation packages: a budget-friendly package, a premium package, and a decoy package that is more expensive than the premium package but offers fewer amenities and less convenience. Customers are more likely to choose the premium package because it appears like a better deal compared to the decoy package.

These are just a few examples of how the decoy effect can be used to influence people’s choices. The specific use of the decoy effect will depend on the context and the goals of the person using it.

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