The Decoy Effect

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The Decoy effect is one of the key components in the battery of marketing tools and techniques.

The principle is simple: “When clients have to choose between two options, they may find it confusing, feel a lot of pressure and because of that end up rejecting both. Just by introducing a third option in between, not interesting at all, the choice can be stirred toward one or another of the two first options”. Smart, isn’t?

Many experimental studies support that finding.

To mention a few, a study conducted by National Geographic, we put the link below if you’d like to watch it, showed that people were hesitating at first to buy a large popcorn bucket of $7 and preferring rather a smaller one of $3. Just by adding a third medium bucket of $6.5, which is kind of expensive, something magic happened: most of the people were driven to the larger and most expensive one.

In another experimental study conducted by Joel Huber, subjects had to choose between 2 restaurants to dine in: a 25 minutes drive away 5 stars restaurant and a 5 minutes drive away 2 stars one. At first everyone choose based on his or her preference. But look at what happened next when a third 35 minutes drive away 4 stars restaurant was introduced into the experiment. Most of the subjects picked the 5 starts restaurant which was basically so far for some people and not worth doing the effort.

This technique is very powerful and widely used by businesses. They just showcase the value of their main offer by comparison to a useless one.

To know more about the decoy effect and how to use it in your Business, here below some additional references:

The decoy effect: how you are influenced to choose without really knowing it

The decoy effect 

Using the decoy effect

THE DECOY EFFECT I masalo efektas

The Decoy Effect – Theory & Examples



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