Describing the psychological foundation of FOMO and how it relates to marketing.

What exactly does FOMO mean?

At some point in our lives, we worry about not being able to catch up with others and sometimes we even want to be in two different places at the same time

While you are at Beth’s Dinner party, Klaus is also having a party, you secretly wish you could be present at both parties…. While this is just a random example, this happens because you are scared of missing out.

Basically, FOMO simply means the “fear of missing out”. Naturally, we human beings have the tendency to worry about “missing out” because we are a risk-averse species.

The advent of social media has really contributed to this surge in the fear of missing out. This is because so many people post the glamorous part of their lives on social media, which tends to make other people feel like they are missing out when they cannot live up to the standards created by the glamorous people. However, what so many people forget is the fact that people only show you what they want to show you on Social media. They leave every other part out and you do not get to see the imperfect side of their lives.

What does FOMO have to do with Marketing?

Although FOMO literally has to do with the fear of missing out, it is actually a form of marketing that can be used to your advantage as a business person.

What is FOMO marketing?

FOMO marketing is a form of marketing where you leverage the consumer desire to grab every opportunity that comes their way.

What does this mean? In marketing, all you have to do when using the FOMO strategy is to ensure that your audience realizes they would be missing out if they do not purchase your item, because people do not like to miss opportunities.

Your aim is to ensure that your audience buys on impulse rather than having to regret why they didn’t buy later.

By using catchphrases like “Buy now or regret later”, you create a sense of urgency which often leads to impulse buying.

Imagine if you wanted to purchase an expensive car which would be almost impossible for your budget… Just while having these thoughts, you open your Instagram or Facebook and behold! Here’s your dream car staring at you, you stare at the picture for a while, scroll down to read the caption to find out that this car is being sold at a discount rate!! Almost half the real price…

Unbelievable! What would you do? You would be so happy and would most definitely want to make the payment before anyone else. This is exactly what FOMO does, it creates a sense of urgency and helps to ensure that you feel the need to purchase before anyone else. This is how to leverage on the Fear of missing out.

How to use FOMO?

1. Make use of deadlines

When there is a time limit, people are forced to move out of their comfort zone in order to beat the deadline.

What am I saying? Creating deadlines puts pressure on people and it makes marketing easier. When setting deadlines, it means you could put up some of your items at a discounted rate with a time limit. When your consumers get to know that you are selling at a discounted price for a limited time, they would buy because they see it as an opportunity they do not want to miss.

However, you have to be serious and ensure there is no extension because your audience may not take you seriously when they realize there would always be an extension.

2. Use social proof

One other great FOMO strategy that works every time is the act of using social proof. This could be in the form of a product review or testimonies from your previous consumers.

Most people feel more inclined to patronize you because they have confirmed you aren’t out to swindle them. If they got to know what others were saying about your brand, you would definitely make more sales.

What matters here is that people want to know what other people say about your brand. This is why so many people would never purchase a product until they have read what others have to say about such a product. This is the same reason some people have to read reviews before downloading certain apps from Play store and Apple store.

A bad review can tarnish your brand just as a good one can also bring more leads to your brand. “If this person has bought and another person has also purchased this product, I must be missing out if I’m not also doing the same thing”. This is exactly what your reviews tell your audience, it helps your credibility as a brand and makes it easier for your audience to trust you.

Need a tool for collecting reviews and testimonials? Try the free version of our software!

3. Quote celebrities and influencers

Recently, the idea of using influencers to market your brand has been a great one. It works a lot because these influencers are people who have built a strong follower base and they have also earned the trust 0f their audience. The advantage of this for your brand is that you get more sales when these people help promote your brand.

How does FOMO come in here? You can quote any of these celebrities or influencers when marketing your brand, FOMO works here because people would think they are missing out when their favorite celebrities and influencers endorse your brand.

In order to step forward as a brand today, you should definitely partner with an influencer because they literally influence people to buy from you and help you make more sales. The idea is to create a sense of urgency in the minds of your audience.

4. Make use of discounts

One great FOMO strategy which everyone knows is the use of discounts. Although the idea of using a discount is a well-known one, not everyone knows how to put it to good use.

How can you use discounts to your advantage? There are several ways to use discounts in FOMO marketing. All you have to do is to make your audience feel special.

How can you make them feel special? One of the few methods to make your audience feel special is by telling them that only the people who follow you on a particular platform would get a juicy deal. You could say “These bags are usually sold at $150 each but I would be selling to only my Instagram followers at the rate of $100 each” Or you could say that only the people on your email list would be allowed to purchase at half of the real price. When you make offers like this, your audience would feel really special and would buy on impulse because it is an unusual offer.

However, you have to know the rules when using this method. There are rules for every method, when you break these rules, you do not get your desired results. The rule here is to be completely honest, do not make your audience an offer, only to back out, and not fulfill your promise.

When you tell your audience that only your email subscribers would be opportune to get a particular offer, never make this offer available to other people. Building trust as a brand is really important, if your audience thinks you are a dishonest person, it would destroy your credibility as a brand and also reduce your sales. Although the point is to create a sense of urgency, you should never come off as a dishonest person.

5. Advance your messaging

As a brand, the way you reach out to your audience is very important. The choices your audience make about your brand all depend on you and the way you reach out to them.

The idea of FOMO marketing is to aid impulse buying; the message you are putting out there is “Buy now or regret later”. In order to do this, you have to ensure that you pass the right message across to your audience. The only way to do this is to ensure that you communicate with your audience in such a way that conveys your exact message to them.

First, you must work on constructing the right sentences, don’t say one thing and mean the other. When making content for your brand, you have to make your content eye-catching, in your first sentence, you want to capture the attention of your audience.

There is no magic about this FOMO strategy, it all depends on the kind of message you put out there. You need to tell your audience why they need to purchase your product and why they would regret not making the decision. You can use this FOMO strategy to your advantage when you are good with words and your words can always pull the right strings. “You do not want to miss this offer, Grab your copy now, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity”.

Ensure that your words create a sense of urgency, you may need the help of a good content creator or writer if you do not know how to make these contents for your brand.

6. Be deliberate about using competitive spirit

Human beings are naturally competitive; it is a fact that our interest is heightened when we get to know that other people want the same thing we want. FOMO works here because people feel scared about missing out on an opportunity when they feel like they would lose something worthwhile to other people.

You can use this to your advantage as a brand, all you have to do is make your audience realize that other people are also interested in what they are interested in. When people realize this, they want to be the first to purchase that product because they do not lose it to other people.

Some hotels and other brands understand how this works, they create awareness about a product and ensure that they let you know that other people are currently checking the same thing you are interested in. This helps you make your purchase on time.

When you make people feel like they are competing over a product, they become more serious about making their purchase. You could also tell your audience that you only have a set number of a particular product; telling people you only have two products or three would definitely create a sense of urgency.

7. Highlight missed opportunity

Another strategy of FOMO that always works is this particular one. It is a great idea to remind people of the opportunities they had missed in the past. The advantage of this is that it reminds them of the fact that they do not want to make the same mistake again.

How do you do this? This can be done when a consumer shows interest in a particular item but they end up losing this product to another person due to slow action. When this same consumer shows interest in another product, it would be nice to remind them that they lost the previous one to another person. “You lost this, do not make the same mistake twice”. Fear of missing out works here a lot, you should take advantage of it.


FOMO is simply the fear of missing out, it explains the theory behind the reason why so many people are scared of missing out on certain opportunities. People would rather take risks than living with the guilt of “what could have been”.

Using FOMO in marketing has to do with leveraging your consumer interest to not miss any opportunity that comes their way.

This marketing strategy can be put to good use when you set a time limit, which is the act of making certain offers available for only a short period of time. Setting a time limit helps people buy on impulse and also help you drive more sales as a business person.

Another method of FOMO marketing is the act of using social proof which helps people know what others think about your brand.

Quoting celebrities and influencers is also a method of FOMO marketing that helps drive more sales.

Giving discounts, improving your messaging, and being deliberate with using competitive spirit are all ways of using FOMO marketing to your advantage in marketing.

I hope you have been able to learn how to make use of Fear of missing out (FOMO) to your own advantage in marketing. If you are in a need of real life examples, I recommend to check out these 7 real examples of using FOMO in advertising.