What is FOMO?

FOMO in general stands for Fear Of Missing Out. To put it in perspective, it is that feeling you get when you sit at home by choosing not to go to the party but just can’t stop thinking about what fun you have been missing out on.

According to Wikipedia about FOMO, “Fear of missing out (FOMO) is the feeling of apprehension that one is either not in the know or missing out on information, events, experiences, or life decisions that could make one’s life better.”

FOMO has always been in existence. It is one of the key elements which keeps the human race going. What’s better is, FOMO is not just limited to homo sapiens. Animals experience FOMO too. You might have heard the famous phrase of “curiosity killed the cat”. This is a form of FOMO getting it into trouble.

What is FOMO in social media?

The fear of missing out on social media includes the very core aspect of being viral. Latest trends, top stories are some of the ways social media platforms keep users hooked while feeding the FOMO sensory in users.

Reports say that social media addicts experience high rates of FOMO due to which they get glued to the platform to ensure they see every update, trend or reel.

Is FOMO bad?

FOMO as such is not destructive. Without the feeling of FOMO you would never really advance in life. Excessive FOMO is certainly detrimental to oneself as it can bring in chaos. A healthy balance is what thrives.

Does FOMO cause anxiety?

FOMO at early stages is very minimal anxiety but soon can be converted to stress if persistent. Such anxiety can cause a disruption of the emotional processing center in the brain and push users to perform unexpectedly than their normal self.

Is FOMO a mental illness?

FOMO is NOT a mental illness. It comes from our genes. Excessive FOMO can however lead to mental illness such as stress and anxiety. Identifying FOMO triggers at early stages can help curb such responses.

How is FOMO used in marketing?

FOMO has increased rapidly in recent times due to advancements in technology. Marketers are smartly leveraging human behaviors extensively to get the desired output from their audiences.

Does FOMO create a boost?

In short, yes if used adequately. FOMO is done to catch attention of the end customer and add the final nudge needed to move them further in the funnel. In one of the marketing campaigns FrontFold experimented with, we saw a 32% increase in sales with a rightly placed countdown timer and social proofing added to a landing page.

What are the different types of FOMO in marketing?

Some of the broad buckets of FOMO techniques for marketing are as follows:

  1. Countdown FOMO – Season end sales, Offer ending soon, etc.
  2. Limited Availability FOMO – Last few seats available, invite only offer, pre order deals
  3. Curiosity FOMO – Scratch to win, lucky draw.
  4. Virality/ Latest Trend FOMO – Influencer marketing, testimonials.

How marketers use FOMO to boost sales?

There could be many ways in which a marketer can try to lure a customer to perform a desired action. Below are some things that are most commonly used by the brands. 

  1. Show That People are Buying
  2. Display Best Selling or Top Rated Items people buy
  3. Highlight Missed Opportunities in your Messaging
  4. Show Stock Levels
  5. Make Your Visitors Watch the Clock
  6. Stir Their Competitive Spirit
  7. Offer exciting deal when they are about to leave
  8. Limited Free Shipping or minimum value deal
  9. Being Explicit about FOMO
  10. Letting Few Content intentionally Expire/stock out
  11. Using Upgrades
  12. Making Offers Exclusive
  13. Showing Social Proof
  14. Promoting Experiences
  15. Offering Rewards for Early Decisions
  16. Boosting FOMO Marketing with Email

What are some examples of FOMO?

There could be multiple FOMO strategies used in one single campaign. One such example could be Amazon Product Pages.

Take a look at the below example and try identifying the number of FOMO pieces showcased.

Below is the list of FOMO elements used on a single page.

  • Limited discount deal
  • Limited quantity deal
  • People also bought
  • Reviews and ratings

Should businesses avoid FOMO?

Businesses should certainly avoid cheap FOMO tactics. It’s outdated and causes more frustration than giving the desired output. For example, you will not see a brand like Apple do something like – “you won’t believe what is behind this technology…”

Brands are to create the right expectation and not create unrealistic or out of the world claims just to catch attention of its customers.

Benefits of taking the anti-FOMO route

Sometimes it is also beneficial to just keep it plain (That’s another way to stand out from the clutter). However this approach can build trust. For example: if you see a website showing stocks running out in 20minutes every time you visit it the chances of you trusting the information becomes very bleak. Your brain also subconsciously tends to turn a blind eye to it over a period of time. Using just the right mix of FOMO becomes very important to get the optimal results.

How do I stop anxiety FOMO?

FOMO can be stressful. It can take a toll on your wellbeing. Practicing to identify FOMO can be the start of recovery. Resisting the urge to act can be rewarded with something that is soothing.

How to Deal With FOMO?

If you feel that you are a victim of FOMO there are a few ways to cope with it or to even overcome it. Social media detoxification is one good way to get you back on track. This digital detox can not only help you overcome FOMO but also help you get a perspective of what’s important in life.

What is the opposite of FOMO?

While FOMO is the Fear Of Missing Out, JOMO seems to be the right antonym to fit this. JOMO stands for Joy Of Missing Out. Gen z’s are getting hooked on JOMO and could be the next big word to look out for.

Final thoughts

Although FOMO emerges as a new gen slang, it is very powerful and impactful. There is extensive research going on behavioral science and FOMO happens to sit on top of this list for marketers to leverage on. As more and more platforms are available for communication, as a consumer, it becomes important to stay aware of their responses to these situations. If you are a marketer, use FOMO wisely to communicate better and to create a brand everyone loves and not wish to stay away from.

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