THE Ultimate Meme Marketing Guide For 2022
There’s an easy and efficient way to attract the audience’s attention in today’s digital marketing—memes.
What Is A Meme?
A meme is a viral picture with a happy blend of humor, sarcasm, irony, and a little bit of harsh reality. It works by drawing people's attention to your products.
Anyone who thinks it is just a picture with some random text is greatly mistaken. Memes relay messages on a different level. You can even skip using words – sometimes, images communicate your message in the best way.
Of course, you need someone with excellent knowledge of memes and some analysis tools. Great examples help too, and we will share some in this guide.
Digital marketing of the 21st century follows the rule that seeing is believing, and accordingly, “memes are eye-catching pics full of truth.”
Of course, such a shift from regular imagery to memes (not meemees) is related to the assignments of graphic design specialists. If this sounds foreign to you, our guide will help you understand why these pics work, how to make them, and what channels are best for this approach.
Memes In Digital Culture
At first, memes were only spread through social media platforms on the Internet. People shared funny pictures, GIFs, and other content.
Today, graphic design and digital marketing are impossible without quality video content for SEO and meme-like advertising used for brand development and identity. Such approaches humanize brands, bringing them closer to the public, which businesses need nowadays.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the etymology of the “Meme” term can be explained as an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.
At the end of the 20th century, memes became the trendiest form of online communication. Humor and relatability mixed in tweets or Instagram posts make more sense than hundreds of words. Now, we can observe how graphic design and digital marketing have erased any barriers between social and business memes.
What Is Meme Graphic Design?
There is a growing trend of using memes as media additions to branded content.
They help brands convey their message in a clear, modern way. Sometimes familiar images deliver messages better than large articles without visual content at all (although a handy long-read complements the approach nicely).
You also have to choose a proper one for the situation. Some are super-relevant one day, only to disappear from the Web soon after. Using it at the right time will gain attention, while using it NOT on time and as a retro-reference may decrease your authority as a meme-fluent brand.
This puts a lot of pressure on the graphic design niche. Now, you have to worry about the relevance and humor of it instead of the exquisite design of an illustration.
These changes the briefs designers get. They may be pretty vague, letting you choose one for the article or social media post. Or the brand may want a certain one adapted to their message.
Anyway, prepare to train your wit and knowledge.
You can’t just post a funny picture and write something related to it and the brand. It has to be the right meme, with the right wording, at the right place, and at the right time—more on this further in the article.
Why Do Memes Work?
According to the latest statistics provided by the GlobalWebIndex company, 54% of gen-Z users, 41% of Millennials, and 21% of the gen-X audience enjoy memes and are looking for new ones on the Internet every day. That’s about a third of the total population in the USA, UK, and other countries.
Memes are 100% fun, with a touch of irony. That’s why commercial memes, also called “meme ads,” really work. It’s easy to distribute imagery through the available digital channels and make it viral in just several hours. Younger demographic groups prefer making memes to share their pains through the prism of humor that millennials and gen-Z adore.
To sum up, memes (and meme marketing) have an impact because they:
- are viral, super-sharable, and easy-to-create
- attract audiences of all ages
- help marketers to reach younger users
- are suitable for promotions and brand development
- provide business projects with bigger media outreach
How Brands Incorporate Memes Into Digital Strategy?
The main task of marketers is to complement their digital strategy with reputable, relevant, and trending memes. This way, there is a good chance to run a viral marketing campaign on the internet with minimal investment.
75% of people 13 to 36 years old share memes. It’s no surprise to see graphic design and marketing use them as a channel of communication with potential customers. Millions of brands are searching for the hottest marketing insights and tips that fit their digital platforms.
Memes come in handy for any campaign on the internet. If you want to fill your website with high-quality and eye-catching content that corresponds to your brand personality and increases conversion, follow the meme-related algorithm:
Keep a brand personality – a good example is the epic fail of the Facebook app with its appetite pizza ads in favor of “National Pizza Day.” Most users were confused because this sponsored content didn’t fit the idea of the favorite social media platform and didn’t resonate with it at all. Don’t harm your digital strategy with irrelevant memes!
Share at the right time – remember that trends are ever-changing. Your task is to share your new meme ads on time, without delays. Sometimes companies lose millions of dollars because their digital campaign is outdated (no reaction from the audience, no conversion, no interest, and viral effect).
Encourage user-generated content – this brings you one step closer to your audience. People love when brands are in tune with them. Additionally, this is a great way to arouse interest in your company with the help of reposts. Many brands select a strategy where user-generated memes play the biggest role. For example, the furniture company Burrow (@burrow) successfully practices this approach and adds customer tweets about the best moments spent on cozy furniture to its main posts.
Adjust brand graphics to familiar trends – imagine if brands didn’t use social media to become closer to their target audiences. That wouldn’t be wise, right? Same with memes. Brands research and follow trends to keep in touch with their audience, incorporating them into their graphic design and marketing messages. In this case, memes act as a familiar element and eye-catcher for potential customers.
How to Make Memes In 2022?
We wouldn’t let you go without a clear guide on creating a top meme in 2022. As usual, it includes research and analysis, as well as your creativity and graphic design skills.
1. Do Meme Research
We can break down this step into a dozen mini-steps. Basically, you’ll have to research the market and, desirably, be fluent in it. Jumping quickly on fresh memes is a must if you want more content virality.
Besides, you have to understand a meme perfectly to use it properly for an article, tweet, etc.
It’s important to think about how it relates to your brand. Its tone and contents will be perceived as a part of the company’s message. It has to be not only funny and witty but relevant as well.
Make sure you spend enough time researching the topic and the templates you’re going to use.
2. Know Your Audience
Audience research is essential before you even choose a template for a meme. While we all want to live in a united world, the generation gap exists, even if it’s a 5-10 year difference.
Be sure to ask yourself whether the target audience you’re crafting the meme for will understand it. Memes featuring Among Us won’t be suitable for people 30-40 years old (we’re talking about the majority, no offense to 30-year-olds).
3. Create Content
To create the actual memes, all you need is a great meme constructor.
One such tool is Picmaker. It’s online, free, and can generate a meme for you in mere minutes. The feature set includes different sizes (for social media platforms, presentations, and custom sizes), free background remover, templates, and stock images, Brand Kit, and many more.
Animaker can be used to create memes as well. It’s specialized in gif memes, which are sometimes even more hilarious and relatable than usual pictures. It’s also free and offers features like one of the largest video libraries to get templates from, character builder to add more of your brand to the animation, and much more.
Our tip is to be as short and concise as you can. Write a joke, then shorten it as much as you can so that it stays funny and witty without losing its integrity. Play with words, make puns, and you’ll definitely come up with something.
4. Share Your Content
If you’re completing a task, simply send it to the brand that ordered it. But if you’re a meme maker on your own and create funny stuff for your brand, choose proper communication channels. To explain this important step to you fully, we’ve created a whole section. So, read ahead!
5. Analyze Results
You can offer several kinds of memes to test and determine which one resonates the most with the audience. It’s difficult to predict the results before you actually share the meme, so this way, you can do it later on.
It’s OK if one piece doesn’t work as well as the other, even if you think the first one was better. People are different, and it’s okay. Analyze the results and do better next time.
User engagement statistics are available in a multitude of digital tools. Of course, the most popular one is Google Analytics, but you can use others like Hotjar to literally see what people do on your pages and how they interact with your memes.
Make sure you stay tuned with the latest memes. For that, it’s enough to be a frequent user of Reddit or Instagram. Regular updates don’t take much time, but they will save a lot of it in the future when you, as a graphic design specialist, will have to create a witty meme for your next customer.
Besides, it’s so much fun to learn.
When Memes Can Hurt Your Brand: With Real Examples
Meme marketing can bring positive changes in statistics like audience engagement, increased media outreach, etc. However, if you provide inappropriate content and follow an incorrect strategy, it can hurt your brand. Here is a list of the most common mistakes marketers make in the context of ads and business memes.
Irrelevant usage (e.g., using inappropriate content for your business): A good example is a marketing campaign of the Cheez-It brand that produces cheese crackers. The marketers created a meme that Reddit users found too complex to understand.
Recommendation: It’s good to keep track of popular meme-like imagery online and find the best pictures for your niche. Use a special-purpose Meming Wiki library of memes with suggestions on each topic. Create your own set of relevant templates to speed up your marketing campaigns.
Plus, it’s best to analyze user engagement using Google Analytics (see the screenshot below). You can find useful information on user behavior and demographics in easy-to-comprehend graphs and charts.
This way, you’ll see if the meme is appropriate for your marketing niche.
Using a meme too late: When marketers don’t keep track of trends and popular challenges, the audience loses interest in the outdated content. For example, Wendy’s incorporation decided to add the meme Like a Boss to their social media in 2015, but this content was too outdated. Google searches for this meme spiked back in 2009 after the SNL sketch with the “Like a Boss” parody song by The Lonely Island, a comedy music group. Although this meme became a classic, it was ignored by their faithful followers.
Helpful tip: To track the latest trends, use online resources with hot-topic insights. Check Twitter and Reddit frequently - social media networks are full of exciting concepts. Follow top influencers and meme creators so as not to miss a trend.
Overusing memes: Too many funny pictures and other trendy content can also harm your brand. For example, a popular producer of chips, Doritos, failed at meme marketing when their posts led to a negative reaction from users. They started to create anti-memes against the Dorito brand.
Pro-tip for marketers: Don’t try to compensate for the absence of helpful information, quality services, or goods with the help of memes. Your marketing campaign should be based on your core benefits for customers, and memes are just a tool to highlight your company’s perks and make fun of some weak spots together with your audience.
Successful Meme Marketing: What Channels Are A Good Fit
There are four main channels for marketers to consider: SEO (search engine optimization), paid ads, email campaigns, and social media. Let’s take a closer look at each one. It will help us understand the impact of campaigns distributed through these channels.
Using memes helps improve the brand’s online presence by getting organic backlinks through simple perceptions. First of all, well-thought-out meme marketing can increase the click-through rate since more people check out viral content and are likely to share it with their community. When the number of clicks and impressions grows, the website’s search position goes up too.
The same story is about organic links. People often like, click, and share the content they like with their friends. This way, a catchy meme is an excellent tool for getting more engagement at a low cost. A great SEO tactic with natural link earnings is appreciated by searching engines. For example, SE Ranking, an advanced web-based SEO software focusing on SERPs check, uses memes in its blog, corporate accounts in social media, and advertising.
Take a look at this regular SEO guide to finding all web pages. The author used memes (the article was published in 2019, Game of Thrones memes were still cool at that time) along with lots of dashboard data, technical tips, and content uniqueness. Memes are here to break the monotony and highlight the necessity of various approaches. This article has collected 50,000+ page views, 100+ organic keywords, and backlinks, along with all these factors. Even though the article hasn’t been updated since 2019, it still ranks in the top 3 for the keyword search on "how to see all website pages". Reader engagement is increasing together with the website search engine position and other statistics. This way, with the help of memes and other SEO factors, SE Ranking gets organic links essential for ranking higher in SERP.
Advertising memes engage users and attract the target audience’s attention while making the conversion much easier. A good example is sponsored ads on Facebook. Suggested posts that contain memes are more click-friendly.
The latest Facebook campaign for the Website Audit tool by SE Ranking showed CTR 2.6 times higher and brought one-fifth cheaper leads than a regular ad.
Let’s be honest, users are tired of texts with tech terms, especially in ads. The ad example above shows that it isn’t enough to add the meme guy. The marketer also has to provide a catchy and sarcastic phrase to persuade the user to take action.
Email campaigns – memes simplify communication with users and easily showcase complex concepts that increase open rates and lead to conversion. It’s also best to use email marketing platforms for a more comprehensive approach. That way, it will be easy to track the results of your campaigns and segment users according to the peculiarities of your email funnel and marketing needs.
Catchy memes cultivate a sense of community, humanizing brands and increasing your audience’s engagement. Besides, many social media management tools can help you manage multiple social media networks and analyze content performance in one service.
For example, there’s ContentCal. This lets you create workflows and sync with your team so that you can come up with new content ideas together. In addition, you can analyze the SNS performance of your memes there and gather feedback from customers, uniting messages from all social media accounts in one place.
As for examples of brands with a great social media strategy that includes memes, the Gucci brand is a good example to model your social media strategy after.
Wheel out all the channels at once and improve your brand identity and conversion this way.
To increase conversion and media reach, meme marketing relies on using GIFs and imagery for blogs, social media, and online advertising. You should only use the market’s most relevant and trendy memes.
It’s important to keep track of reputable brands, popular influencers, and content libraries in your niche. A powerful graphic design expert familiar with modern trends can be a life-saver for many businesses.
Finally, don’t overuse memes or post outdated ones that harm your brand. And, of course, make sure to use digital tools that will help you create, post, and analyze your memes to gain more attention and positive feedback.
Vanessa Friedman is a content marketing expert who has worked as a marketing manager for a tech software startup and graduated with honors from Columbia University with a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing.