Influencer Marketing

The Rise of Ad Memes

By Editorial Staff

How Ad Memes Are Becoming Company Strategy

In the past decade, the way advertisers connect with their audiences has completely shifted. Magazine readership in the past year is down 13% and newspaper readership has declined around 12%. And although this presents many challenges, it also has given advertisers a significant opportunity to get creative. One of the largest ways companies have adapted their strategies is through the use of social media. Companies like Ashley HomeStore can reach 2.2 million in one month alone using Instagram ads. However, due to the increased usage of social media ads, the problem of ad clutter has been enlarged. With a large number of ads being present in the media, many viewers scroll past or skip through each simply because they have seen so many already that day. Ultimately, this challenges advertisers to get even more creative to develop unique ads. One of the ways they’ve been largely successful is through Ad Memes.

Millennials, on average, spend at least 153 minutes a day on social media. That’s just over two hours of their day. With the introduction of digital media ads, users are now on average exposed to 4,000 to 10,0000 ads per day. But what are they retaining? It’s been generally understood that Millennials and Gen Z are ad-adverse. Because of this companies have understood the need to reposition their ads into content users already interact with, like a meme. Realistically, a memes’ ability to go viral and reach new audiences is a huge opportunity for companies. If successful, an ad meme could potentially reach thousands of new people. 

Why use Ad Memes?

  •     Reach new audiences
  •     Receive a large number of viewers in a short period
  •     Lower costs
  •     Differentiate your ad in the clutter of advertisements


The difficulty with Ad Memes is that memes generally have a lifespan of about 72 hours before they are replaced by a new trend. If you are investing money into these ads, you have to consider their short lifespan. Other ads might give you more exposure for your dollar. However, ad memes might be worth it despite their short lifespan for fast and new audience exposure. 

Another difficulty is maintaining authenticity. With meme accounts, there is no person attached to the image of the brand. It is made for a differentiated audience. In partnerships with these meme accounts, companies need to be careful that they aren’t sacrificing their brand connections that drive their sales. Determining which accounts and campaigns are best requires a lot of determination, creativity, and research.

Consider asking yourself the following questions:

  1. When did the trend begin?
  2. Are other companies participating?
  3. Can I curate this meme post to fit my brand?

Popular meme accounts on Instagram have anywhere between 4.4 M and 17.2 M followers. Some conclude that meme accounts have more success advertising for a brand than a regular influencer. Memes are created in a way to be related to and shared, which is perfect for an advertisement when ultimately your goal is to have people to interact with your ad as much as possible. In addition, meme ads tend to have a more stable and consistent amount of high engagement versus regular influencers.

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SOS @mybestiesays

A post shared by Lola Tash and Nicole Argiris (@mytherapistsays) on

Tips for Creating Ad Memes

  • Brand Distinction

Companies need to stay true to their brand because consistency is key. If you have a niche audience, large scale memes may be less effective and could risk confusing your viewers.

  •  Create memes based on existing trends

Simply put, memes won’t be successful if they are outdated or confusing. The term “memejacking” refers to using an existing meme to market your brand. To create a popular ad meme, companies should use an established meme and then adjust it to fit their brand or message. 

How to stay updated on current trends:

  1.   Follow popular meme accounts like @daquan and @epicfunnypage on Instagram.
  2.   Check out the ‘Trending’ sections on Twitter.
  3.   Read social news sites like Reddit.
  4.   Read blogs about popular trends from NeoReach.

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Me 😂 👉🏽(via: nobunagvol2/twitter)

A post shared by Daquan (@daquan) on

Using humor makes your brand more personable and users are more likely to visit your site or share with a friend.

  •  Act quickly.

Remember: memes have a limited lifespan. The best time to post your ad meme is when it is trending but not yet overused. If you are too late to join the trend, it might reflect that your company is behind.

Popular Examples of Ad Memes

Many of the companies top in their industries today have taken advantage of the growing trend of ad memes and have had great success. Cleo, a financial service app has capitalized on this trend and has received almost 2.8 million views on posts.

Netflix is another company that has used memes to create excitement about their films. In the recent past, the company used memes to create a huge online commotion when the film Bird Box released in Dec. 2018. The memes surrounding the film grew so much so that a challenge titled the “Bird Box Challenge” emerged where people would complete tasks blindfolded and share them online. The evidence of the success of the meme can be seen by the 45,037,125 Netflix accounts that had watched the film within one week of the premiere, making it the most viewings any Netflix film has had in just seven days. 

Despite being a luxury brand, Gucci has also used memes to express their superiority on the internet. Using the popular meme “you vs. the guy she said not to worry about,” Gucci compared their watches to other basic watches. They received over 75k likes. They noticed the popularity of the posts and launched the hashtag #TFWgucci, where they encouraged artists to also share memes about their watches. 

Barkbox, a subscription box for dogs, uses popular memes regularly joking about life with a dog. They recently shared an Instagram meme that received over 8k likes. The post most likely drove new users to the site and may have even drawn in new dog lovers who want to treat their dogs to new treats.

Denny’s joined in on the “zoom in” memes that flooded Twitter and generated over 216,665 retweets, making it one of the most-shared brand tweets. They were one of the first brands to join in on the trend and since, have stayed fairly updated on the meme trends.

This article was written by Hannah Masten

Now that you’ve seen the benefits of using Ad Memes in your social media brand strategy, what are you waiting for? Get started with us today!

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