Memes have become a major part of young consumers’ visual language. Just how much are they using them, and what role do they play?
Last month, we told you about five meme accounts that reach over 46 million young followers on Instagram. Those accounts, which included F**kJerry and Daquan, are just the tip of the meme culture iceberg. Captioned images and videos (to bring it back to the basics) spread like wildfire on social media, where the inside-joke-esque media bring new life to nostalgic characters (like SpongeBob and Kermit), new personality to celebrities (like Keanu and Leonardo), and unexpected takes on the mundane (like stock images and Venn diagrams). The most popular memes find life offline on shirts, socks, bags, phone covers, and more.
Meme formats have certainly changed over time—meme generators used to be full of single characters (like Socially Awkward Penguin) on colorful backgrounds, and today they're more likely to be screenshots of social media posts commenting on a GIF, photo, or video. The Verge reports that Twitter and Tumblr posts are getting a new lease on life as screenshots on Instagram because the platform’s Discover tab allows faster browsing than Twitter, while Instagram images are displayed in full rather than being cut off. But while the last decade may have changed the format, the popularity of memes has only grown. As our meme account post indicated, there is now massive success to be had in being a curator of meme content. These meme accounts are even attracting ad dollars over influencer marketing. One talent strategy exec explains to Digiday that “Meme accounts get such a good return on investment compared to influencers, who no longer get the same results.”
Part of that has to do with their high engagement rates. According to YPulse’s latest…