Reviewed by digital marketing experts

Definition of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out, is a psychological phenomenon where people experience anxiety or concern over the possibility of missing out on opportunities, events, or rewarding experiences. In digital marketing terms, FOMO is leveraged to create a sense of urgency, motivating consumers to take immediate action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a limited-time offer. This tactic often generates increased engagement, sales, or conversions.


The phonetic pronunciation of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is: /ˈfoʊmoʊ/

Key Takeaways

  1. FOMO is a feeling of anxiety that arises when one believes they are missing out on potential rewards, experiences, or social interactions that others are experiencing.
  2. FOMO can impact mental health, leading to increased stress, social media addiction, and anxiety in a person’s life, as they constantly compare themselves to others.
  3. Dealing with FOMO requires cultivating self-awareness and self-regulation, setting realistic goals, and focusing on personal progress and well-being, rather than striving to keep up with everyone else’s achievements.

Importance of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is an important term in digital marketing because it taps into a powerful psychological principle that drives human behavior – the fear of missing out on experiences, opportunities, or valuable information.

Marketers capitalize on this emotional response by creating a sense of urgency, exclusivity, or limited availability for their products or services.

This compels the audience to engage or make a purchase to avoid missing out on potential benefits or special offers.

FOMO can be leveraged through various techniques such as time-sensitive promotions, limited stock alerts, and showcasing customer testimonials or social proof.

By recognizing and utilizing FOMO effectively, digital marketers can boost engagement, increase sales, and enhance overall marketing performance.


FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out, is a psychological phenomenon that plays an essential role in the world of digital marketing. It involves evoking a heightened sense of urgency and exclusivity, which prompts consumers to act immediately to avoid missing out on a valuable opportunity, whether it’s a promotion, product launch, or an event.

Marketers strategically use FOMO to stimulate their target audience’s innate desire to be part of a special group or in the know, encouraging quicker decisions and increasing customer engagement. This marketing technique is particularly effective in the age of social media, as seeing friends and connections enjoying exclusive experiences or products can intensify the FOMO sensation.

Techniques commonly used to induce FOMO include limited-time offers, flash deals, exclusive access, countdown timers, and showcasing others’ positive experiences through testimonials or social media content. By leveraging the insidious fear of missing out, digital marketers successfully create a sense of urgency and enhance consumers’ motivation to engage with their brand, ultimately boosting sales and fostering long-term customer loyalty.

Examples of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

Limited-Time Offers: Flash sales or special discounts with a deadline, such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals, create a sense of urgency in potential customers, causing them to worry about missing out on great savings or discounted products if they don’t make a purchase immediately.

Exclusive Events or Content: Many businesses create exclusive webinars, workshops, or social media content available only to a limited number of participants or subscribers. This can promote FOMO among the audience, as they may feel excluded from valuable information or experiences if they do not sign up or engage with the brand.

Social Proof: Brands often leverage user-generated content, testimonials, or influencers sharing their positive experiences via social media. This type of social proof can cause FOMO among potential customers who see others enjoying the benefits of a product or service, making them eager to join in and not be left out of the experience.

Frequently Asked Questions: FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

1. What is FOMO?

FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out, is the anxiety or feeling of dissatisfaction that arises when you believe others are having more rewarding experiences than you. This feeling often occurs due to the continuous usage of social media and the desire to stay connected.

2. What are the common triggers of FOMO?

Common triggers for FOMO are scrolling through social media, seeing friends or acquaintances at social events, witnessing others’ achievements, and comparing oneself to others online.

3. How does FOMO affect mental health?

FOMO can lead to stress, anxiety, feelings of inadequacy, and depression. It could also result in the need for constant validation from others, lower self-esteem, and a decrease in overall life satisfaction.

4. How can I manage FOMO?

To manage FOMO, limit your time on social media, focus on your own personal goals and accomplishments, engage in activities that you genuinely enjoy, and create a healthy balance between your online and offline life.

5. Is FOMO only related to social media?

No, FOMO is not only related to social media. It can also be experienced due to other factors like hearing about a missed opportunity, being unable to attend events or social gatherings, or even missing out on a promotion at work. However, social media tends to exacerbate FOMO due to the increased exposure to others’ lives.

Related Digital Marketing Terms

  • Exclusivity
  • Urgency
  • Limited-Time Offers
  • Scarcity
  • Digital Peer Pressure

Sources for More Information