Fear of missing out research for marketers and how you can make use of it

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Last edited: May 14th, 2024

What on earth is “FOMO?” You’ve probably heard about this term if you’re a copywriter or marketer.

FOMO means “fear of missing out,” and it’s a powerful tool used in the world of digital marketing. It’s something you must know, and utilize, to skyrocket your conversion rate.

This article will cover everything you need to know about FOMO and its use in marketing.

What Is FOMO?

FOMO is an acronym for “Fear Of Missing Out” — it’s a powerful psychological concept, often used in marketing. For a more concrete, scientific definition, here’s how a 2013 study put it…

“…a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent, FoMO is characterized by the desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing.”

You know when your friends are all going to a party, but you didn’t get invited? That feeling of discomfort? That’s FOMO.

FOMO In Marketing

FOMO is used by marketers and copywriters to get you to do something they want you to do…

  • Buying a product or service…
  • Signing up for an email list…
  • Clicking on an ad or search result

It’s a conversion boosting tactic, subtly placed all throughout — on websites, in emails, or even advertisements.

Types of FOMO

There are various different types of FOMO — it’s quite an elastic concept. Here are some examples…

Event FOMO

All your friends are at a party that you weren’t invited to… Your favorite band is in town, but you’ve got to work… Events can be a major source of FOMO.

Discount/Sale FOMO

When a big discount or sale comes around, it grabs your attention dramatically… “50% OFF!” They are usually only around for a limited time, and this builds major FOMO.

Hunger FOMO

Ever gone to a restaurant and struggled to figure out what to eat and drink? You like one thing, but also another. You can’t pick them both — you must make a choice. Whatever you choose feels wrong, because you’re missing out on the other.

Trend FOMO

Everybody has the new iPhone but you don’t, and you feel left out. That brewing feeling to make a purchase, to be part of the crowd, to not miss out.

Holiday FOMO

Ever see that your friends, or family are going on a holiday, but you aren’t? All the fun experiences they’ll have, that you’re missing out on.

FOMO Statistics

  • Millennials are most affected by FOMO (source)
  • 69% of millennials experience FOMO (source)
  • 60% of millennials make purchases because of FOMO (source)
  • 56% of social media users are impacted by FOMO (source)
  • 45% of millennials affected by FOMO can’t go more than 12 hours without looking at social media (source)
  • 40% of people buy things once a year just to post it on social media (source)
  • 60% of people decide to buy things within 24 hours, due to FOMO (source)

How To Use FOMO For Marketing

Because FOMO is such a dynamic concept, there are virtually hundreds of different ways to use it for marketing. I’ve listed some strategies you can implement, categorized by different aspects of marketing…

Social Media FOMO

Social media is a particularly effective platform to harness the power of FOMO. There are a number of strategies you can implement…

Create a Private Facebook Group

A private Facebook group is an exclusive, “members only” section of your audience.

You can advertise your private Facebook group to your main audience — this will build some FOMO.

Use Hashtags

Hashtags — originally created by Twitter — are an effective strategy to increase both brand awareness and community engagement. One big reason they do this, is FOMO.

Hashtags create social groups, based on a trend. Members of a community or audience might use a particular hashtag, or set of hashtags.

Often people are encouraged to start using a hashtag, simply because they experience FOMO.

Use Stories/Snapchat

Facebook/Instagram stories and Snapchat, are a great way to create some FOMO.

This is because they are video content that is only visible for a limited time. Once it’s gone, there’s no way to see it.

Email Marketing FOMO

Email is also an insanely good platform to use FOMO. This is because of how personalized it is — and individual has a personal inbox. You can use powerful FOMO strategies, straight to them, and no one else.

Use a FOMO Subject Line

The average email open rate is 17.92% — you can dramatically boost this by using a subject line with FOMO.

Some examples you might use include…

  • 20% off all products, today only!
  • Our massive sale ends Friday
  • Tomorrow only: free shipping for all products

Here’s how it might look when put into practice…

That’s some serious FOMO right there. Expect higher open rates.

Use Expiring Content

Building on a good FOMO headline, you can also use HTML expiring content. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s one of these types of emails…

The email is HTML (not text) and it comes with a timer. This is an absolutely great way to overload your emails with FOMO. Put this and a good subject line together and you’re gravy.

Website FOMO

Your website, just like social media and email, is a good place to FOMO it up.

Here are some places you can use some FOMO to increase conversions…

Opt in Forms

Your opt in forms aren’t converting? Try a little FOMO.

See how the copy on the opt in form lists how many people are on the email list? As well as what companies some of these people are from? This is called social proof, and it builds FOMO like crazy.


If you sell any products, you can definitely use some FOMO. Look at how Amazon does it…

This is so effective for increasing sales, because you’re right at the door. A little FOMO is all it takes to make them walk through.

Final Thoughts

In this article we covered marketers need to know about FOMO.

FOMO — short for Fear Of Missing Out — is a powerful psychological tactic, used by marketers and copywriters to boost conversion. It’s something that you must use in your marketing strategy.

Trustmary team
Trustmary team


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