Guess what? FOMO sells.

What would you feel more acutely? The happiness associated with finding $100 or the frustration after losing $100? Oddly enough (despite both amounts being equal) research shows that in the human experience, losses are twice as powerful as gains.

This means that FOMO (fear of missing out) sells.

FOMO is traditionally called an urgency or scarcity tactic in marketing and loss aversion in cognitive psychology, but whatever you call it, it has the same end result. No one wants to lose out on something, whether it’s a product, a positive experience like an event, or $100.

Here’s how marketers have been banking on FOMO:

Use the scarcity technique for ticket sales, products, memberships, and more

Essentially, urgent situations cause us to want to act fast while scarcity triggers stress, propelling us to take action immediately. So, when you add a countdown to your online ticket sales for an event (like we did with Hopscotch) you’re persuading people to buy immediately.

Make the situation urgent (expressed by a strong call-to-action), and employ scarcity in the counting-down numbers of tickets available or time running out.

But remember: Always be genuine and transparent when using this technique. Your audience will see through false countdowns immediately, eroding your credibility.

Remarket with urgency to drive sales

You know how sometimes it feels like the internet is spying on you? You take one glance at a pair of pants online, then suddenly your entire Facebook feed is full of ads for that pair of pants? That’s actually just a clever form of marketing. Remarketing is online advertising that lets sites show targeted ads to users who have already checked out those products or that event.

You can target an audience through remarketing to drive sales. Say someone isn’t entirely convinced when they look at your event online. You can remarket your ads, targeting them to these people, as a ‘subtle’ nudge to purchase the tickets. Your targeted ads can become even more effective when you add scarcity in. If someone initially notices that there are plenty of tickets for your event in their first search, but suddenly another, targeted ad comes up stating that tickets are over 80% sold out, they might change their mind to purchase tickets.

Hopscotch event sold out

Use Instagram’s Countdown Sticker

If you’re not using Instagram to promote your brand, you should be. Recently, IG came out with a Countdown Sticker, usable on your story. The sticker embodies the scarcity technique by counting down the literal minutes.

Instagram Stories countdown sticker