Fear-Of-Missing-Out boosts open rates by 39%, surpassing funny, ‘fail’ and NSFW content

Fear-Of-Missing-Out (FOMO), the worry that others might have more rewarding experiences in one’s absence, provides brands with a huge opportunity to engage customers, as new research from email provider Mailjet reveals that Brits are 39% more likely to engage with brand messages that promise to alleviate this social anxiety.

shutterstock_369875603Conducted amongst Mailjet’s database of over 15,000 subscribers, the research found that email open rates rose significantly when the subject line of an email played to the recipient’s sense of FOMO by offering insights and advice they “don’t want to miss”.

Alongside FOMO, the tests also compared the impact of successful online content themes such as Schadenfreude; pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune, more commonly known as ‘fail’ content such as YouTube compliations and funny memes. In this instance, subject lines promising top ‘blips’ and ‘most embarrassing’ content produced an 8% increase in open rates in the UK market, suggesting that consumers are less engaged by this type of third party content.

Nonetheless, the opportunity should not be downplayed. Research conducted by Mailjet over the last 12 months has found that 18% of us would open an email with a swear word in the subject line, whilst 1 in 10 admit to opening an email that explicitly mentions containing nudity. Over and above these results, nearly one third (29%) of us will open an email that plays to our sense of FOMO, highlighting an open door for savvy marketers.

However, at an international level, the reception for FOMO and Schadenfreude is completely contradictory. Across the pond, US recipients are no more likely to open messages that employ either tactic than an email with a normative subject line. In Europe, French audiences are actually 9% less likely to engage with this sought of campaign. Spain proved to be an ardent exception to the rule though, as local recipients are 59% more likely to interact with brands playing on FOMO, highlighting the importance of understanding regional discrepancies for any multinational organisation.

Josie Scotchmer, UK marketing manager at Mailjet comments: “As the world continues to be more and more connected, it’s important to remember that cultural differences don’t fade with globalisation. Yes brand consistency continues to be of the utmost importance, but as marketers, when it comes to engaging new and existing markets, deferring to local expertise and setting the right systems and processes to capitalise on these opportunities is key”

“This isn’t to say you can’t have fun. In a landscape increasingly dictated by metrics and data, it can be hard to see how marketers can be both scientific and creative. The next step for our sector is to push admin to automation tools and take back the creative reigns. It’s time to start testing campaigns that allow automation and creativity to work together and to devise engaging and relevant communications for your brand.”

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