FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out, is a psychological phenomenon and marketing concept describing the anxiety consumers feel when they perceive they might miss out on rewarding experiences others enjoy.

In sales, FOMO is leveraged to create a sense of urgency and scarcity, encouraging consumers to take immediate action, such as making a purchase, signing up for a service, or attending an event, to avoid missing out on the benefits or satisfaction that others are experiencing.1

Visual Representation:

FOMO Fear of Mossing Out


The primary purpose of utilizing FOMO in sales and marketing strategies is to accelerate potential customers’ decision-making process.

By instilling a sense of urgency and scarcity, businesses aim to push prospects through the sales funnel more quickly, converting leads into customers.

FOMO taps into the basic human instinct to belong and to partake in beneficial experiences, making it a potent tool for influencing consumer behavior.2

Importance of FOMO:

FOMO is a powerful motivator in consumer behavior, influencing purchasing decisions and engagement with brands and events.

It is critical in driving quick decisions and boosting conversion rates by creating a sense of urgency and exclusivity.

FOMO strategies can enhance the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, improve customer engagement, and increase sales.3


FOMO can lead to several business benefits, including increased conversion rates, higher sales volumes, and improved customer engagement.

By creating a compelling narrative around a product or service, businesses can encourage prospects to take immediate action, reducing the likelihood of cart abandonment and increasing the overall effectiveness of their sales funnel.

Additionally, FOMO can help create buzz around a product launch or promotional event, driving traffic and increasing visibility in a crowded market. 4

Key Components:

  1. Urgency: FOMO is often used to create a sense of urgency. Marketers might advertise that a particular deal is only available for a limited time, prompting potential customers to purchase more quickly for fear of missing out on the opportunity.
  2. Scarcity: This tactic involves highlighting the limited availability of a product or service. By showing that stock levels are low or that a special offer is about to expire, businesses can tap into the customer’s fear of missing out, encouraging them to act promptly.
  3. Social Proof: FOMO is closely tied to social proof, where people look to the actions of others to guide their own behavior. Marketers might showcase customer testimonials, user reviews, or the number of products sold to demonstrate the popularity of their offering, further amplifying the FOMO effect.
  4. Exclusivity: Creating a sense of exclusivity around a product or service can also trigger FOMO. This could involve offering access to a private sale, a members-only discount, or early access to a new product.


FOMO can be integrated into various sales funnel stages, from awareness and consideration to decision and action.

In email marketing, for example, businesses might send out a “last chance” email to their subscribers, informing them of a sale that is about to end.

On product pages, displaying the number of people currently viewing an item or the low stock status can create a sense of urgency and scarcity.

Social media platforms also provide a fertile ground for leveraging FOMO, with businesses showcasing customer testimonials, behind-the-scenes content, and limited-time offers to their followers.5


Imagine a popular online retailer running a flash sale on a sought-after gadget, with a 30% discount available for the next 24 hours.

The product page features a countdown timer, showing exactly how much time is left before the deal expires.

Below the product, notifications are popping up, showing other customers recently purchasing the gadget.

Additionally, the stock level is displayed, and it’s decreasing rapidly.

All these elements work together to create a strong sense of FOMO, compelling visitors to purchase before the opportunity slips away.

Strategies to Utilize FOMO in Sales:

  1. Limited-Time Offers: Clearly communicate that a particular discount, bonus, or bundle is available temporarily.
  2. Countdown Timers: Use countdown timers on your website to visually represent the urgency of an offer.
  3. Stock Levels: Display the remaining stock of a product to highlight scarcity.
  4. Social Proof Notifications: Show notifications of recent purchases or actions taken by other users on your site.
  5. Exclusive Access: Provide exclusive offers or content to subscribers or members, creating a club-like feel.6

Ethical Considerations:

While FOMO can be an effective strategy to increase conversions and sales, it is crucial to use it ethically.

Misleading customers by creating false scarcity or urgency can harm your brand’s reputation in the long run.

Ensure that all claims about limited availability or time-sensitive offers are truthful and accurate. 7

Related Terms:


1. Wikimedia Foundation. (2023, October 19). Fear of missing out. Wikipedia.

2. Sweeney, B. (2022). Digital Marketing Quickstart Guide: The simplified beginner’s guide to developing a scalable online strategy, finding your customers, and profitably growing your business. ClydeBank Media LLC.

3. Alfina, Hartini, S., & Mardhiyah, D. (2023). FOMO related consumer behaviour in marketing context: A systematic literature review. Cogent Business & Management, 10(3). 

4. Scarcity sells: Leveraging Fomo for marketing success. Mailchimp. (n.d.). 

5. Hayran, C., Anik, L., & Gürhan-Canli, Z. (2016). Feeling of missing out (FOMO) and its marketing implications. Marketing Science Institute Working Paper Series2016(16), 16-131.

6. Hogan, S. (2021, July 26). 10 effective FOMO marketing techniques to increase online results. The Daily Egg.

7. Przybylski, A. K., Murayama, K., DeHaan, C. R., & Gladwell, V. (2013). Motivational, emotional, and behavioral correlates of fear of missing out. Computers in human behavior, 29(4), 1841-1848.

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