What is Nomophobia?

Man on mobile phone looking at Twitter

Nomophobia. We’ve all been there, whether it’s because we’re running late or you were thinking about something else – you’re in a situation where you realise: you forgot your phone. There’s a sinking feeling, a panic. Can you go home to get it? Who’s been trying to get in touch? How will you check Facebook? Or get to the next level of Candy Crush (just me?..Ok).

You see the usual social media posts “it’s like losing an arm! I’ve forgotten my phone – contact me on here” and you get the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) in the pit of your stomach.

This is called Nomophobia – the fear of being anywhere without your phone. A phobia you may smirk at, but, in reality, probably have to some scale. Phones are used by people as a tool to browse content and fill idle time. When waiting for a bus, or an appointment, we instinctively get our phones out and subconsciously look for interesting things to enlighten, educate and entertain us.

We shouldn’t be surprised there is a term like this – as of 2016, 71% of UK adults owned a smartphone. A study showed that UK adults spend an average of 66 hours a month browsing on their mobiles – that’s just over 2 hours a day. It all adds up.

Facebook’s mobile-only active users has surpassed 1 billion worldwide, and as a result they are introducing mobile specific algorithms in their news feed; they even use bandwidth to dictate the sort of content you consume. For example, did you know if you’re in a 2G area, you won’t see as many videos in your news feed?

The fact that there is a name for the fear of being without your phone just shows the importance of mobile in content discovery.

So why should marketers be mindful of Nomophobia?

As the internet becomes more mobile focused – marketers need to think about the content they are publishing on social. Catch your audience’s attention in those idle moments; make your creative thumb-stopping, think about how that video will look on a mobile device, does the link you’re posting go to a mobile-optimised website?

And whilst Nomophobia sounds a bit daft – we marketers should be nomophobic when it comes to our strategies. There should be a fear that without mobile in our plans, we could be missing out.