Marino Fresch, marketing director for the UK and Ireland at Eventbrite, talks about how event organisers can utilise FOMO for ticket sales


With our lives splashed across social media, people are more afraid than ever of missing out on something amazing. It’s this “fear of missing out” that has become the cultural phenomenon known as FOMO.

The concept of FOMO was originally explored by marketing strategist Dan Herman in 2000, but only started to gain traction four years later when a student at Harvard Business School, Patrick McGinnis, co-edited an article about his colleagues and their inability to commit to anything far afield for fear that leaving town would mean missing out on something. Since then, the term FOMO has become so widespread that it officially entered the English dictionary in 2013.

For millennials, FOMO is not just a cultural phenomenon, it’s an epidemic. In 2014, a UK study by Eventbrite revealed that nearly 73 per cent of millennials experience FOMO. Given the pervasiveness of social media, this is hardly surprising – events and experiences can be shared on social media in an instant, for everyone to see. More millennials are spending their cash on experiences rather than possessions, which is partly driven by the desire to show off their latest, greatest experience to friends, colleagues or family on social media. For event organisers, this presents a real opportunity to tap into.

To start with, you should set up a socially integrated page, making sure that you enable social sharing on your website, any emails that are sent out to consumers, and on your event app. You could also run competitions encouraging people to share your event on social media, which can quickly rack up a number of shares and help drive attendance.

Where possible, display tweets and Instagram photos on your event page to grow excitement and encourage conversation around your event. You could also allow people browsing the event page to see who has already signed up, enabling them to identify events their friends are attending or a good networking opportunity.

Another tried and tested method is exclusivity; consumers will naturally feel FOMO if they feel like they’re missing out on something exclusive. Take Secret Solstice, for example, who are upping the ante for 2017 by throwing a gig in an underground lava tunnel over 5,000 years old. Only 50 tickets are on offer for The Lava Tunnel Showcase, priced separately from the main event.

Finally, creating a sense of urgency has always been a smart marketing tactic but it’s even more effective when used alongside FOMO. One way to achieve this is by organising a flash sale, which encourages people to act impulsively, fearing that the offer might not be available to them later. You can also introduce tiered ticketing and inform prospective attendees when each tier of tickets are running low. Gig goers are more likely to purchase tickets if there is a risk of the last remaining tickets selling out imminently.

FOMO is a powerful tool for event organisers. Used well, it will enable you to sell more tickets, create excitement around your event and build up a strong following for next year’s event. After all, you wouldn’t want to let your prospective attendees miss out on your great event.