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Meme Marketing: What It Is and How to Use It

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By Judit Hernán, on 23 April 2024

Meme marketing is a type of marketing strategy that utilizes memes to capture the audience's attention, create closeness with users, and serve as a comedic resource to boost interaction on the channels where they are published.

Meme marketing has proven to be a viral marketing strategy, meaning it reaches a large audience rapidly through various platforms. However, to understand it well, one must know exactly what a meme is.

A meme is a graphic resource composed of an image or video and text (which can also be found in GIF format), capable of conveying an opinion, feeling, or information with a humorous touch.

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Meme Marketing_ What It Is and How to Use It

For the image or video, fragments of well-known series or movies are often used, as well as familiar photographs or images of popular public figures. This image usually expresses or represents the feeling or concept intended to be conveyed.

As for the text, it is not very lengthy and can be presented as dialogue or phrases, which are seamlessly combined with the image. However, while the image is an essential part of the meme (as there's no meme without an image), the same does not apply to the text, as many memes exist without it.

Of course, the meme is a resource that originated in the internet environment and has gradually become part of the marketing strategy for some brands, both occasionally and consistently. Below is an example of what a meme is, so you know exactly what we're referring to:

Now that you understand what a meme is, and therefore what meme marketing is, let's move on to explaining the benefits of integrating this type of marketing strategy and how to do it.

Benefits of Meme Marketing for Your Brand

  • Viral Potential: Memes are more likely to go viral than any other type of content primarily for three reasons. First, they are quickly understood, as users grasp the idea with a single glance or a quick read. Second, they are composed of an image recognizable by the majority of the audience, which captures their interest. And third, because humor is always a powerful tool for virality.
  • Ease of Creation: While creating a meme requires wit and originality, designing one is relatively simple compared to editing a video or writing a text, which takes more time. Therefore, integrating it into a marketing strategy is a way to create content in less time. Additionally, as we'll see later, you can use existing memes in your marketing strategy.
  • High Number of Interactions: Memes are one of the types of content that users are most inclined to interact with, which is why they also go viral very quickly. But we're not just talking about commenting; sharing is also prevalent.
  • Increased Brand Awareness: Memes are not only easy to consume but also easy to remember. In short, they are memorable. This means that using meme marketing increases the likelihood that users will remember your brand.

When To Use Memes in Your Marketing Strategy

Many brands wonder, "Should I integrate memes into my marketing strategy?" And the answer is, it depends.

Although meme marketing is a very interesting resource with many benefits, it's not for everyone. By this, we mean that memes may not have a positive effect on all brands or may not integrate perfectly with the communication style of all companies.

Depending on your niche, communication style, and target audience, meme marketing can be a great idea or a mistake in your marketing strategy.

For example, if your brand belongs to the healthcare sector, such as a dental company, a healthcare clinic, or a brand dedicated to nutritional counseling, adding a comedic touch to your communication strategy may not be the best idea. The healthcare sector is a very serious field that people turn to when they have a problem, so humorous content is often not well-received. Instead, informative and expert content is more welcomed.

On the other hand, if your target audience is younger, meme marketing will undoubtedly be well-received, as memes are closely related to the millennial generation and beyond.

Lastly, you shouldn't abandon an established communication style that works just to integrate memes. Memes are very interesting, but they shouldn't be forced into your branding if they don't align.

How To Create a Meme

In case you've decided to integrate meme marketing into your strategy, here's how to get started.

First, you should know that there are three ways to implement meme marketing: using an existing meme, making some changes to an existing one, or creating one from scratch.

1. Using an Existing Meme

In this case, you can turn to platforms hosting a large number of memes such as GIPHY or GIFER, among others. Another option is to search for memes in the image search engine of Google or another search engine, as well as on social media.

2. Making Changes to an Existing Meme

In this case, you can follow the same procedure as in the previous section but add the changes you deem necessary to adapt the message to your goal.

3. Creating a Meme From Scratch

For this option, you can use meme generation tools like Meme generator or Mematic. You can also create them yourself using image or video editing platforms.

4 Successful Cases of Meme Marketing

1. Netflix

Netflix is the master of meme marketing. Across their platforms they are continually staying up to date on social media trends and meme. In this Instagram post they are able to both remind users of different titles that are available on their platform while also creating a fun lighthearted post.

2. Dunkin

Dunkin commemorated the first day of spring with this Instagram Reel. It’s short, funny, relevant, and capitalizes on internet humor while also promoting their own product.

3. Burger King

Burger King deserves their crown when it comes to meme marketing. Like many other fast food chains, Burger King has mastered the art of fun memes.

4. Spotify

In this X post, Spotify picks up a on a popular meme that highlights what the future could be like if something were to happen, in this case the release of Shakira’s new album. In this example we see that meme marketing doesn’t have to be over the top the be effective.

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Judit Hernán