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FOMO: Do you Have a Fear Of Missing Out?
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Some University club nights are run by a company called ‘FOMO’ — and rightfully so, FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out.

Amongst the students, a great deal of fear surrounds bailing on a club night out — what if you were the only one who missed out on a great event? Like they say the grass is always greener over the other side.

In psychological terms, FOMO is a cognitive bias defined as the fear experienced by individuals when faced with the thought that they might miss out on a social occasion, a new experience, a profitable investment or a satisfying event (Przybylski, Murayama, DeHaan & Gladwell, 2013).


FOMO: Do you Have a Fear Of Missing Out?

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Importantly, this cognitive bias doesn’t just benefit club promoters desperate to fill up their venue, it can be very beneficial to many different brands.

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For example, did you download Pokémon Go? Initially I didn’t have any interest in the game – but after many people around me downloaded the game, I wondered what made this app so attractive. And when speaking to many of them, I realised it was mostly their fear about missing out on a social occasion.

Furthermore, due to the MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) nature of the game, gamers continue to experience FOMO — if they don’t have the app open on their phone, how can they expect to catch the Pokémon they are aimlessly strolling past? FOMO causes the Pokemon Go players to not only download the game, but also assists in ‘hooking’ the player.

At some points in our life, we have all experienced FOMO — whether it is because you’ve stayed in to finish an essay rather than heading to your favourite club night or because your phone isn’t compatible with the Pokémon Go app — it is its everyday relevance that makes FOMO the cognitive bias of the week!

Jochen Grünbeck Jochen’s bonus tip:
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Jochen Grünbeck

by Jochen Grünbeck

Jochen is Associate Director at Convertize. After an MBA at INSEAD, he began his career at Airbus. Then, he moved on into Management Consulting, focusing on purchasing and negotiation strategy as well as cost optimisation projects for bluechip and midsize companies in France and Germany. His experiences led him to specialise in persuasion psychology, behavioural economics and conversion rate optimisation.

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