Choice-supportive bias

Theory explained by Sander Volbeda and written by Henkel and Mather

According to the cognitive science in human psychology, the choice supportive bias discusses how we tend to remember our decisions and choices as better than they were in reality. The reason is that we are most likely to over attribute the positive features of the decision we made over any negative feature. We always tend to believe the chosen option to be the better option over the others because we made it. The ultimate result of this is us feeling very good about our decisions and experiencing less regret over bad ones.

Just say that you have made a decision to be a very persistent fan of the England cricket team for some reason. What will your comment be on a cricket series completely failed by the team? You will definitely discount they’re poor batting, fielding or maybe even incompetent management. And of course, you will go on admiring their previous star performances and prestigious history. This is choice supportive bias in action. You simply support your choice believing that it is the best out of all.

Choice supportive bias is widely applied in digital marketing. For example, marketers use this bias persuading their target audience to attribute the brand’s positive features to make them feel that they made the right decision. As a result of this tendency in human psychology, we tend to purchase products or services which are quite familiar to us. Also we quite quickly tend to accept any piece of information that supports our choice as authentic. Moreover, we tend to forget opposing information that doesn’t support our view point.

How to use choice supportive bias towards conversion rate Optimization?

Praise the decisions of your customers

By rewarding and appraising the decisions of your target consumers you can reinforce perception to convey the message that they made the right decision. Where exactly can you do this? Once a customer makes a purchase you can pop up a congratulation message for their purchase. Moreover, you can embed the congratulation message in your confirmation email to get more chances towards Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).

Reward the decisions of your loyal customers

There are many methods that you can use to reward your customers, appreciating their decision being a part of your business. You can treat them with privilege offers. If you are a brand who sells products online, you can offer free shipping at times to appreciate the loyalty of your customers. You can use them to feature your brand on social media as a reward to supporting their choice to choose you over other competitors. Trust me, they would love it! All these ideal rewards can be used a great deal for your attempt of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).

Remind the customers that they chose you

When customers revisit your website, you can remind them that they have made a prior purchase from you to evoke their memory that they made a decision to choose you in the past. This creates familiarity. Familiarity triggers the memory that you were once their choice, therefore it is highly likely that your customer will choose you again as the result of choice supportive bias.

Remind the customers your superiority time to time

It is true that people tend to justify their decisions and choices as better over others as a result of this bias, yet you can justify it for them. These will act as reminders to your target audience why they chose you over the other competitors. You can share testimonials of happy customers. It will once again remind the target audience that they made the right decision choosing you. Any evidence to support your superiority to trigger the choice supportive bias will help you a great deal towards the Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).

Highlight your strengths in comparison with the competitors

This is an ideal strategy to keep your customers loyal to you by reminding them you are always superior to your competitors. It will be another reason why your target audience should choose you over and over again without switching to someone else.

Wrap up

We all are victims of the Choice supportive bias which makes us biased towards our choices. As long as we are praised and supported for our choices and decisions, we tend to stick around such people and things. This bias of human psychology can be used in digital marketing towards Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), if you’re smart enough how to tackle it. The key is to constantly remind your customers that they made the right decision of choosing you.

Choice-supportive bias example

Once we made decision, we tend to praise ourselves. We are using the choice-supportive bias when we congratulate our users in their actions. Adding validation check marks, show affirmation message, and praising users when they go through significant steps of the conversion funnel.

Choice-supportive bias applied screenshot

A good moment to ask your customers for reviews would be right at the end of the checkout process, when their rational mind is praising their purchase.

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References

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

1. Choice-supportive source monitoring: Do our decisions seem better to us as we age?
2. “Choice-supportive bias” in science: Explanation and mitigation

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