How to Increase Conversions Using Cognitive Biases (With Examples)

Did you know cognitive biases affect our rational and logical decisions that influence our purchases? Find out #7 cognitive biases with examples that you can use to increase conversions today!


Human behavior takes part in a person’s decision making, actions, and way of thinking. Hence, it is important to recognize and understand the user’s behavior and take advantage of it to drive them towards your goal.

Knowing the techniques of utilizing user behavior and making use of them will help you increase your conversions. One group of the human behavior you may take advantage of is called Cognitive Biases.

What’s Cognitive Biases?

Cognitive biases are the lapses we make when reasoning and thinking due to personal preferences and beliefs. Cognitive biases affect our rational and logical decision-making and influence different areas of our life such as how we interact and talk with people, buy items, choose options, and it also affects the way we think about certain things and people.

You might be wondering why it’s called “Cognitive Bias”. Let me explain:

Cognitive: According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, involves mental activities. More simply, cognitive or cognition is thinking.

Bias: On the other hand, is leaning more towards something in an unfair manner.

So altogether, Cognitive Bias is thinking unfairly, leaving logic and rationality behind.

Why is it important?

Everyone is guilty of their own cognitive biases. Even you, even me. No one’s safe from it. It comes in different forms. These cognitive biases may either break you or make you.

Since everyone has their own cognitive biases, it means that your visitors fall into these as well. So take advantage of it and make great use of these cognitive biases to increase your conversions in your website/eCommerce.

Cognitive Biases that will increase your Conversions

Here are some of the cognitive biases that you can use towards to turn visitors into customers.

#1 Got some humor?

This specific cognitive bias is referred to as the “Humor effect”. This bias makes the person remember products with humor injected on them more compared to those with no humor.

Remember those exaggerated tv commercials with strong humor? Yep.They’ve used the humor effect on you.

Add humor to your website (as long as it doesn’t look too forced) to make your visitors remember your products better

#2 Angels and Devils

This cognitive bias is when your perception of something is being influenced by a past experience from the same or related happening. It’s called a “Halo effect” if it’s a positive experience that affects the customer’s bias. The “Devil effect” on the other hand, is when it’s a negative experience that affects the customer’s bias.

An example is when a customer tries purchases an item on Amazon for the first time. If he likes his first purchase, he’ll think that everything else that the same seller offers is as good as his first purchase. If he dislikes his first purchase, he’ll assume that everything else on the same seller is not any better.

To make use of this bias, just make sure that every first experience will be the best and be consistent.

#3 Framing Effect

The Framing effect takes place when you present the same thing in different ways and one draws better results than the other. It’s like the classic “half empty or half full glass” which is the same thing but presented in different ways. An example of this is 2 yogurts; one is labeled “20% fat” and the other “80% fat-free”. If you come to think of it, they’re just the same yogurt with fat content. But people will most likely buy the yogurt labeled “80% fat-free” because it is presented in a more positive way.

#4 Am I in or out?

Groups and cliques will always be a part of a person’s life. People like things that are “within” their groups. This falls as a cognitive bias as well. So make your visitors feel connected with you! You have to speak and act as if you’re in the same group as your target audience. If your target audience is young people, present your website as if you are a teenager as well. If your target audience is happy moms, talk as if you are a happy mom as well. By doing so, your visitors will feel more “at home” on your website.

#5 If they like it, I like it.

This one is described as the “bandwagon effect”. This one brings the largest impacts to your website.This concept is often used by adding the number of satisfied customers and users. Another technique used is by including a number of reviews and testimonials that compliments the product or service. By using these methods, customers are convinced that the product or service is great and loved by many people.

#6 Barnum Effect

Customers like the feeling of a product being specifically for them. This explains why a lot of people are into personalized products. You can make use of this cognitive bias by making your customers feel that the products are made especially for them. Make it feel more personal.

#7 Let emotions flow

Underestimating the effects of emotions is referred to as the “Empathy Gap”. Do not underestimate the power of emotions because they play a vital role in regarding decision making. People are emotion-driven most of the time. They tend to choose what emotionally connects with them. Connect with your visitor’s feelings to convince them to a call for action.


You can see all Cognitive biases on Wikipedia. Wikipedia. These are just a few cognitive biases you can apply to your website/eCommerce to help you increase your conversions. Which one will you apply to your website? Leave your answer in the comments bellow!

Anthony Vendeirinho

Conversion-focused, UX/UI Designer. I Help online businesses get higher conversions using data analytics, best practices, and online experiments.

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