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The Hike: A FOMO Story



Sitting on his chair Mr. XYZ overheard a part of his colleagues’ conversation and immediately turned to ask, “Hey, what are you guys talking about?”

Yes, the fear of missing out, FOMO is real! Be it social media or real life, people want to know everything their relatives, acquaintances, and friends are doing. In fact, 69% of millennials are proven to experience strong FOMO. This fear keeps them constantly checking their phone notifications, and messages, which they do even when they are engaged in a personal conversation.


Brands and marketers nowadays are tapping into the sales generation power of this acronym by engaging people in experiences they didn’t know they were missing out on.


“It’s my picture from the hike I took this weekend” XYZ’s colleague replied. He kept thinking about his colleague’s picture while scrolling Instagram, when he saw an ad from a travel website that said “Missing out on your favourite travel destinations? Book now to avail of our limited period offers. Up to 40% off”.


When offers are for a limited time period, urgency and scarcity of the product is created in the customer’s mind. When people think that they will miss out on a chance to get a better deal, they tend to act quickly and purchase the product. Also, when they see that their favourite product is limited in stock, it makes sense for them to avoid procrastination and actually make the purchase.


Here’s where the push notifications and exit pop-ups come to play as well. As soon as a customer leaves the website without completing the purchase, a dialogue box or notification on their phone comes up with a ‘Special offer code’ that they can use to get a discount on the products. For instance, when you leave the RedBus app without completing a booking, a notification on your phone appears with a discount offer code which will lure you into completing the purchase rather than missing out on a chance to get a discount.

Clicking on the ad takes XYZ to a website where he finds videos of the destinations that the organisation had organized tours of. With inspiring music and fine cinematography, the videos say, “Come, fall in love with nature”.


FOMO has the most effect when brands are able to provide their audience an experience, rather than emphasizing only on the product. Consider how prominent sports brands like Adidas and Puma tap into the experience of their product- the ease and empowerment. Their advertisement campaigns project how one has to give it their best to reach their goals, and the shoes or the gear will provide a boost to this process. And the factor that finally initiates the purchase is the fear of missing out on this experience of feeling empowered when one reaches their goal. For instance, Puma’s ‘Propah lady’ campaign sparked fire among uncountable Indian women to pursue their athletic passions and certainly, drove sales to the brand. In this way, FOMO is not the sole instigator of the purchase but the facilitator of it.


On social media, especially, when brands show the user and service experience, they attract more customers by making people attached to the experience and sparking a kind of craving for it.


Scrolling the page, XYZ sees a lot of photos that other people who had used the website’s services had posted, with the hashtag #MyWanderlustStop.


User-generated content, when combined with FOMO, has the power to turn website visitors into customers. Apart from being interested in what others are doing, people also want to be a part of that event. When brands allow their customers to add UGC to their pages, a certain trust builds up for potential customers and invites them to join others in the experience. And who wants to miss out on such a ‘Fun’ experience?


Hashtags help your content trend, are relevant to the audience and can tell potential customers that your product is in demand. It’s safe to say that they are the transportation portals of social media. With just a click, the user is taken to a completely new world where they can see a plethora of users indulging in a product or experience. That’s why brands create specific hashtags so they can show their audience what they are missing out on.


So, how long could he resist? Mr. XYZ availed the offer just in time, and took the trip! While returning, he posted a picture of the trip with the travel brand’s hashtag and thought about how much he was going to enjoy sharing about “the awesome experience he had with this amazing travel website”.


A satisfied customer is the brand’s most loyal ambassador. Be it FOMO or any other emotion, when a customer’s expectations are met, there is a strong possibility that he will share about the experience with his peer group or even on social media. He could also become one of the testimonials that would pass on the FOMO to other users.

A product or service is meant to curb the needs of the customer that has been created by marketing. This way a cycle of feeling the need and fulfilling it continues and is passed on to other potential customers.


XYZ’s notifications chime with a comment that he got on Instagram saying, “Bro, where is this place”. To which he replies, “It’s the view of a mountain, from the hike I took this weekend”.

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