If 80% of people recommend something, does that mean only 20% recommend the other thing?
Ask 100 dentists to write down their favourite toothpaste brands.
80 of them write down Colgate.
So you could say 80% recommend Colgate.
But there’s information being left out.
What if 87 of them wrote down Oral-B?
'87% of dentists recommend Oral-B.'
And 68 of them wrote down Crest.
'68% of dentists recommend Crest.'
All of the metrics are telling the truth.
You don't see many ads saying, 'We asked 100 dentists what their favourite toothpastes were, 80% of them said Colgate, 87% of them said Oral-B and 68% of them said Crest.'
Instead they say, '80% of dentists recommend Colgate.' A true statement.
After all, the dentists did write down their favourite brands. And 80% of them did write down Colgate.
But by leaving information out, it paints a different story.
Even the truth can be misleading. Especially when it's partial.
Your follow up question should be, 'what else do they recommend?'