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The Blog

Marketing with Memes, Emojis and GIFs

Modern Marketing

April 6, 2020

Memes, emojis and GIFS are typically known for their use on social media. And while that is how they became popular, we’re here topasted image 0.png tell you that if used correctly, these can become tools in your marketing tactic arsenal.

These visuals are allowing marketers to create engagements and communication between their brand and their consumers. Understanding your target market allows you to use these tools in an effective way.


A meme is an image, video or text that references popular culture and is designed to be repurposed. Memes are allowing brands to go viral and reach audiences like Gen Z in a new and impactful way. The voice behind these posts sounds more authentic and relatable, which ultimately speaks more to the consumer as a person, rather than as a brand. The combination of visuals, simple text and pithy captions are designed to be quickly read, relatable and memorable. A meme can express a sentiment in 3-5 seconds, where a traditional graphic, image or text would take much longer.

Memes are relevant because people today love to self-identify. This is why BuzzFeed quizzes are so darn popular.

BuzzFeed: “Which Disney Character Are You Most Like Based On Your Food Choices?”

Inner voice: I’ve never thought about it, but now I have to know! (ps. I’m Gaston)

When we see a meme that perfectly describes us, how we’re feeling or something we’ve done, we instantly feel the need to share it. This is where using memes as a brand can be powerful. When a brand understands their target market and knows the appropriate voice to use, they can create memes as part of their strategy in order to connect and relate to their consumers.

Here are some rules to follow when integrating meme marketing:

  1. Don’t Brag: The best memes don’t come off as arrogant. Memes tend to look homemade and have a witty, world-weary tone, that are typically filled with inside jokes and pop culture references.
  2. Show Some Heart: Not all brands can rely on humour as a marketing tactic. If this isn’t you, consider creating memes about helping others, self-care or social change. Remember that brand cohesion is more important than referencing pop culture.
  3. Don’t Steal: Yes, many people are sharing memes all over the internet that aren’t theirs, but brands don’t have this luxury. If your ideal meme includes Kim Kardashian or Taylor Swift, you’ll probably need to ask for their permission and pay them a publicity fee. Brands must be careful around how they are using existing intellectual property from movies, TV and other sources.


Emojis are a small colourful way to present an approachable personality to your consumers. It is important to consider how emojis will be seen and understood. As with memes, it is important to consider your brand image before using emojis in your marketing. Be strategic, be creative and have fun! Add a heading.png

Emoji Use in Email Marketing

  • This can be a great tactic for promotional emails and seasonal emailing.
  • Specific emojis being used during certain periods of the year can increase an email’s effectiveness.
  • 56% of brands using emojis in their subject lines have a higher open rate.
  • If you are using emojis in email marketing, it must stay relevant to your brand.

Emoji Use in Social Media Marketing

  • 5 billion emojis are sent daily on Facebook Messenger.
  • 700 million emojis are used in Facebook posts daily.
  • By 2015, half of the comments on Instagram included at least one emoji.


GIFs have been around for a while, but using them as part of content marketing is beginning to be an exciting trend. They can be used as a visual tool to capture a reader’s attention and communicate a strategic marketing message. Fun fact: If you use GIFs to send a marketing message, they can be viewed anytime from any device since GIFs don’t require a separate download or the use of audio. Using GIFs in your marketing can potentially communicate your brand message in a fun and engaging way. giphy (2).gif

How to Use GIFs in Marketing

  • Use a small section of an existing video clip to relay your message.
  • Use them in email marketing to encourage click-through.
  • Use GIFs for product features.
  • Design GIFs to address users’ FAQs or how-to’s.
  • When appropriate, use GIFs on social media as a conversation or reaction tool to create engagement.