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: “The [financial] industry has been slow to adapt to the ways in which young people want to be communicated with and to communicate with each other.”—Ian Rosen, CEO, StockTwits (YPulse)

Instagram users can now purchase products without leaving the app. The platform’s shopping tags are evolving to allow users to check out directly inside the app from about 20 retailers using saved payment and shipping information. The move doesn’t just give Facebook a direct cut of each sale, but also allows the platform to collect data that they’ll leverage in their ad targeting. Instagram’s influence over young consumers’ purchases continues to skyrocket, and according to our Shoppability trend, 72% of Gen Z & Millennials are open to buying products on social media. (Recode)

Disney and MAC Cosmetics are debuting a nostalgic makeup line for Aladdin fans. The Disney Aladdin collection features lipstick, an eyeshadow palette, and bronzer in jewel and metallic hues that Princess Jasmine might wear with her bright turquoise outfit. The partnership is part of the lead-up to the live-action Aladdin’s debut, and isn’t MAC’s first time introducing fans to whole new worlds of Disney-themed cosmetics. In the past, they’ve also released Cinderella and Disney villains-themed lines. (Teen Vogue)

Google announced their ambitious plan to become “the future of gaming:” a cloud-based streaming service called Stadia. Gamers will be able to play across device (phones, TVs, tablets, etc.) without waiting for the title to load in a YouTube-connected setting. That means viewers can instantly play titles featured in videos and stream their own gameplay to YouTube—which could challenge industry leader, Amazon-owned Twitch. The Netflix-like service is set to launch this year. (The Verge)

Instagrammable dim sum is going global. The craze stared in Hong Kong, where Social Places serves up bao made to look like tiny pigs and charcoal custard bao filled with “a thick liquid that oozes out like lava,” introducing three or four new incarnations each month to keep customers coming back. Meanwhile at Disneyland Hong Kong, Crystal Lotus customers dine on buns that look like their favorite animated characters, including Frozen's Olaf. In the U.S., San Francisco’s Chili House and New York’s RedFarm are some of the first to take on the trend. (Bloomberg)

Netflix’s next choose-your-own-adventure series lets viewers chart Bear Grylls’ journey through the wilderness. Soon, Netflix viewers will have the chance to become outdoors experts from the comfort of their couches, as they make the survival show celebrity’s choices as he traverses tricky situations. Grylls himself says that he’s “giving viewers an all-access pass to explore the world and its landscapes in my boots” and that “For the first time, my survival is in your hands.” (THR)

Quote of the Day: “One of the biggest myths about Millennials is that they do not want to engage with human beings, especially if a chatbot, app, or a website can be deployed.”—Xiomara Lorenzo, Director, Society of Grownups (YPulse)

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