anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media.


Whether we’re talking about your mum playing Bejewelled Blitz at the dinner table or your new-found compulsion to check your Twitter feed before even brushing your teeth in the morning, it’s undeniable that social media has fundamentally changed our culture and how we live our lives.

With 24/7 access to not only our friends’ lives but people in our community, businesses and even celebrities – it’s no wonder the phenomenon of FOMO is becoming so prevalent in our day to day lives. People don’t want to miss out on anything, and as marketers, it’s important to understand how these cultural shifts effect our way of speaking to audiences.

So, what exactly is FOMO?

While it might seem like one of those millennial trends (YOLO!), Fear of Missing Out is a psychological trigger humans can’t help responding to. Eventbrite state that around 69% of millennials experience FOMO through social media and 60% are making reactive purchases because of it. In short, FOMO is becoming a major push in driving online sales.

FOMO isn’t primarily a modern thing, however. Companies such as Disney have used limited runs to push their marketing for decades. Introducing vaults and ‘hall of fame’ products and services have traditionally been the route to generating time dependant campaigns in order to drive sales.

So where does social come in?

As some of us now spend up to 9 hour a day looking at our social platforms (yep, that’s a fact*) traditional methods of marketing e.g. television ads and billboards just won’t cut it anymore when it comes to catching the public’s attention. To put social media’s everyday integration within our lives into perspective, 39% of commuters across Britain spend over half their commute scrolling through social media apps (compared to 2% reading traditional print*). In a matter of half an hour, a Facebook post can generate up to 35,000 shares – not too shabby, eh? If a large section of the public is living life through social, that’s where they need to be targeted.

How to integrate FOMO into your marketing

It’s within a human’s nature to want to be included, creating time sensitive campaigns based around exclusivity is the basis of a successful FOMO campaign.

  • Creating urgency – Creating a sense of urgency isn’t necessarily a new thing when it comes to marketing, however when mixed with FOMO and social media you have the potential for a high-volume campaign. What makes someone act more urgently than the fear of not being able to act later? Integrating flash sales and discount codes within your Instagram stories helps to generate consumer engagement across the platform and drive sales through scroll up links.
  • Utilize exclusivity – People naturally want to be invited to join exclusive groups. Scarcity and exclusivity go hand in hand, the thought that something is exclusive will make users more interest in signing up. Utilising a rewards program through social media, allowing certain platforms to receive discount codes, rewards and advantages can be incredibly valuable for FOMO marketing (and a perfect way to gauge which of your platforms generate the most leads).
  • Encourage social sharing – Many businesses use social leverage in order to spread the news about their promotions. Liking and retweeting are the basics of anyone’s experience on social – but Instagram surveys, post capping and user involvement are beginning to become the top ways in which consumers are interacting within platforms. Creating a campaign that demands customer involvement – whether that be uploading their own image or sharing a screen-print to their story gives your brand credibility to their social circles and expands your post reach.

FOMO is clearly more complex than just a new millennial trend. Our reliance on social media and instant gratification through the digital age mirror fears that all generations have held, missing out on the fun. FOMO marketing can help to bring you new customers and bigger profit lines, you just need to make sure the public don’t want to miss out on what you can offer.


*CNN, 2017

*KANTAR, 2018

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