3 Stats That Show What Memes Mean to Gen Z & Millennials

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…


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Quote of the Day: “Retail should be a facilitator for experience, rather than just selling product.”—Sharmandean Reid, Founder, Wah Nails London (YPulse)

Millennials seeking portable booze are cracking open canned wine. Even though the category still only accounts for less than 1% of the Millennial-favorite alcoholic beverages’ market, Nielsen reports it spiked 69% last year and continues to gain ground. An exec at Delicato Family Wines explains, “Millennials have grown up in a world where consuming wine outdoors—or any location outside of the traditional table—is more acceptable than generations past.” (Wine Spectator)

Summer camps are cropping up to teach kids how to become YouTubers. At I-D Tech Camps, Level Up, and Star Camps, kids can learn all about how to, as the latter puts it, “Become an Internet sensation.” They offer courses in how to create and post videos, from shooting clips to editing audio, and how to build their personal brand. But don’t worry, most are framing YouTubing as a hobby, not a career, and setting kids’ expectations accordingly. (WSJ)

A new bill could change the free-to-play profit model that’s made games like Fortnite top earners. Senators have proposed the official ban of “loot boxes,” or items that players can buy (and sometimes must buy) to win a video game, often gambling on what’s inside. Senator Ed Markey explains that “Inherently manipulative game features that take advantage of kids and turn play time into pay time should be out of bounds.” For some, this will eliminate a key revenue stream and open the door to review other in-game purchases.  (The Verge)

A social media overhaul upped Corn Nuts’ sales by 12%—with no paid support.The snack’s sales were stagnant before a new exec took over their Twitter, infusing it with the personable tone food brands have become known for (and sometimes notorious for). Since then, followers spiked from 650 to 21,000, and what they’re calling a “scrappy” strategy “absolutely translated to sales,” reporting that retail sales spiked 12% and Millennials’ repeat purchases rose the same percentage. (Marketing Dive)

The retail apocalypse continues, with 7,000 more stores closing their doors in 2019. CoStar Group estimates that the square footage of retail space closed has topped its own record each year since 2017, and this year they’re “predicting more of the same.” PayLess ShoeSource, Gymboree, Dressbarn, and Charlotte Russe lead the list of number stores planned to shutter this year, as retailers learn to scale down size and up Experiencification for young shoppers. (Business Insider

Quote of the Day: “It’s a really interesting time at the moment in catalog [music]…Sometimes, it’s a question of how we make something out of nothing.”—Tim Fraser-Harding, President, Global Catalogue, Recorded Music at Warner Music Group (Rolling Stone)

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