Availability cascade

Theory explained by Sander Volbeda and written by Timur Kuran & Cass Sunstein

Have you ever believed a rumor about someone just because it is being talked about by many people in society? Or have you ever wondered why many people tend to believe the public opinion on something simply putting the logic aside? Yes, such actions can be presently seen among many of us. But what is the reason for such a behavior to believe the majority over the logic? Actually, it is the Availability Cascade bias that influences us.

Availability cascade is a bias in human psychology which acts as a self-reinforcing cycle that perceives information to be true as it is spoken widely with increased repetition in the public domain. As a result, everyone believes such information to be true. This bias of human psychology is widely used by many marketers to influence the consumer behavior towards Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).

Most prominent Availability cascade examples in real life

The Apple in the mobile market

The brand Apple has secured itself in the position of the most prestigious brand of class and innovation in the mobile phones and PC market segment. Why are many people around the world willing to pay an exclusive price for Apple even though they can obtain more features for the same price or even less from other mobile phone brands such as Samsung? Every time Apple launches a phone, there are many videos and digital contents circulated highlighting the differences between Apple vs. Samsung, Apple vs. Huawei etc. to stir the market with competition. People try to defend their brands while comparing them with Apple, which makes Apple the King indirectly. As this comparison happens quite extensively, people tend to believe Apple is always the best without really paying attention to any logic.

The Ayurveda

There’s a high possibility that people tend to accept any product that comes under the tag of Ayurveda. This is because the term has obtained worldwide fame as a great, absolutely health conscious alternative medicine system with an Asian origin. Do you think that each and every person who admires Ayurveda does so knowing its value system? Of course not! They do it because Ayurvedic practices such as Yoga, massaging and also the herbal medicines are accepted and spoken widely by other people around the world. Therefore we can see a huge number of products in the market with the label of ‘Ayurveda’ as the name itself has resulted in increased Conversion Rates due to the Availability Cascade bias in human psychology.

How to use Availability Cascade bias in your website for Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

To make the maximum use of the availability cascade, you should be able to let your target audience talk about your brand. The key here is to make as much as information readily available for your target customers in a way that they create a certain stance which cannot be ignored by people. How exactly can you do it towards Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

Refine your website

As the first step, you should refine your brand message and brand story to create more positive conversations about your website. The more the customers talk about your website positively, the easier the Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) will be. Similarly, if you create a negative impression for your brand through a poor brand message, then it will be the ultimate hit for Conversion Rate Optimization. Therefore, refining your brand message is absolutely vital before enabling your target audience to initiate conversations.

Embed elements to boost conversation through social sharing

Your website should be a platform for the people to share their conversations. The more the positive conversations you create, the more the people will accept your brand without questioning. Embedding social sharing buttons, offering contents for tweets or emails, submitting content to the sites of social bookmarking are some top tips you can use to share your brand story. However you should be extremely vigilant to optimize the content before you enable the target audience to share them as discussed above, in order to address Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) successfully.

Reach a wider audience with influencer endorsement and media outlets

After performing a thorough study on your target audience, identify the ideal influencers and media outlets to extend your reach. Through them, you can promote your website. Make sure to provide the influencers and the media outlets with everything they need to promote your site. You can not only give them the ideas for topics, stories, industry trends but also shareable links and content. When your brand story is readily available through many channels, it’s highly likely that your target audience also will build a buzz around your brand followed by acceptance, helping you towards more revenue through Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) as the result of the Availability Cascade bias.

A new cognitive bias every week!

Join our weekly mailing list to continue learning about CRO and psychology.

Overlapping biases

These are theories which have overlap with the theory you're currently looking at, it's worth exploring them.

Only available with an account Register for free, no credit card required
  • Brain iconDirect access to 100+ cognitive biases
  • Brain iconLearn how to apply biases
  • Brain iconAccess to a great community
Create Your Account

References

The references contain experiments and studies that prove this bias is there.

1. Availability Cascades and Risk Regulation

Books

Would you like to go more in-depth? Here are our recommendations:

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman Buy this book

Sources

Don't believe us? This is where we've found our data.

Only available with an account Register for free, no credit card required
  • Brain iconDirect access to 100+ cognitive biases
  • Brain iconLearn how to apply biases
  • Brain iconAccess to a great community
Create Your Account

Tags

Easily navigate through our website using tags.

Only available with an account Register for free, no credit card required
  • Brain iconDirect access to 100+ cognitive biases
  • Brain iconLearn how to apply biases
  • Brain iconAccess to a great community
Create Your Account

Do you think you know enough about CRO?

Join our monthly mailing to continue learning more and more about CRO and psychology.