In a World Full of Advertisers, Be A Memer

As social media turns out to be an eminent part of everyone’s lives, memes have become one of the most effective forms of online marketing for all types of businesses. In 2020, the global meme industry was valued at $2.3 billion and is projected to grow to $6.1 billion by 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of 21.6%, as per the meme statistics report for 2023. Research reveals that memes can be an effective marketing tool, with more than 69% of people saying that they would be more likely to buy from a company that uses memes in their marketing strategy. 

As per the study by NYU Education, memes have about ten times more reach, with 60% organic engagement compared to regular marketing graphics. Big brands like Zomato, Netflix, Tinder India, and Disney+Hotstar use meme marketing to engage with their audiences. Since memes are funny or relatable, they are sharable and tend to go viral in a jiffy. According to one study, memes are specifically popular among Gen Z and Millennials; thus, 75% of people aged 13 to 36 share memes. For businesses that want to increase brand engagement and revenue, memes are a powerful communication tool with the ability to generate significant ROI. 

Just like emojis and online comics, memes impart more information and convey more complex ideas of mood or emotion. So, when brands use memes in marketing, they spread quickly, expediting the speed of enhancing brand engagement. A very famous example of meme marketing happened during the 2019 general elections. Popular news anchor Arnab Goswami mistakenly referred to Sunny Deol as Sunny Leone on National Television. Manforce, being sharp-witted, swiftly responded with a meme that Sunny Leone is their brand ambassador. They piggybacked and immediately shared a post on social media at midnight. Soon, there was babble on social media platforms, and well-established meme pages spread it like wildfire. 

As soon as Manforce released the post on social media, it generated 2 million organic impressions on Facebook, totalling an incredible 200K engagement. The post was shared over 7,000 times and got more than 82k likes on Instagram, with 27k shares. Likewise, on X (earlier known as Twitter), the brand generated around 350k impressions with 73k engagements, and the tweet received 650+ retweets. It was one of the most viral campaigns of all time on social media platforms. According to Forbes, the click-through rate (CTR) of a meme campaign is 14% higher than that of email marketing. Though email marketing has a higher conversion rate, the overall number of clicks is significantly higher for memes. 

Similarly, the most famous online food-delivery platform, Zomato, also engages its audience through meme marketing. For Zomato, this approach to marketing means reaching out to Gen Z and Millennials, who are notorious for spending their time online and are smitten with memes. Be it a new series, old dialogues, or anything else, Zomato seems to have a meme for all. 

According to Zomato, humour is crucial in its formula for engagement and success. Zomato’s use of humourous memes in marketing perfectly illustrates how companies can use humour to attract customers and increase engagement. The company has created a sense of community around food and has given people a reason to talk about it. However, being humorous is not only the goal of the company but also to leave an everlasting impression and build an exclusive brand identity. Not to mention that Zomato has successfully conveyed its brand identity, values, and philosophy via the use of humorous and interesting memes. 

Some meme studies have revealed that memes generate 10x engagement as they are easy to understand and share, so they drive higher engagement. For example, Netflix US shares 2-3 memes weekly using scenes from their own shows. They managed to get 10,000+ likes and 2000+ retweets for their “invention of brunch” meme. 

As per the research, memes are the second most shared content online, and 74% of social media users follow meme accounts. Brands that leverage social media meme marketing have been said to gain high engagement and sales. One of the famous fashion brands, Gucci, started a campaign called #TFWGucci in 2017 in collaboration with artists worldwide to create memes that range from absurd to hilarious.  

The #TFWGucci campaign aimed to promote their new watch collection. Luckily, the meme gained 2 million likes and over 21,000 comments on social media. After the campaign, the company recorded 46.6% year-on-year (YoY) sales by the first quarter of 2018. In synopsis, Gucci’s meme marketing strategy was a huge success. 

Memes are a fad in marketing strategy that isn’t going to stop. Brands that want to grow engagement and earn a high ROI must incorporate meme marketing. Don’t forget that memes are more than just online jokes; they’re a viral form of communication that quickly disseminates ideas and trends.

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