Written by Bret Cameron and Charlotte Gifford. This article is part of the 'Snapchat Marketing' Mobile Games University course, in partnership with Fanbytes.
Memes are inside jokes that millions are in on. They're the viral, captioned images that you see everywhere on social media.
Whether you find the endless stream of them exhausting, or just can’t get enough, memes have become a big part of youth culture. Tapping into this culture can be great for apps.
Once the joke is out there, it quickly gets reproduced, with each newcomer embellishing the image with their own individual twist. Memes are immediately understood, replicable, and they have a contagious quality that makes them easy to use in online conversations and share with friends.
Using memes in marketing can feel like a bold move when you first start, but anything that has such innate virality is worth taking seriously.
We have plenty of evidence to show that it can yield brilliant results for your app. As long as it’s done in the right way, bringing memes into your content strategy can immediately improve ad engagement, driving up app installs while driving down CPI.
At Fanbytes we’ve run hundreds of successful app install campaigns and we’ve found that the simple act of including memes in our adverts has led to an average increase in CTR of 50 per cent.
We’ve seen this play out for numerous apps. One of the most striking examples was the video app, Oevo. This app showcases extremely short-form video content (each video is just seven seconds long) and it wanted to drive as many installs as possible from teenagers.
The Oevo team spent several months optimising their creatives for Facebook Ads and Snapchat Ads, but they were unable to bring their CPI below $3 using Facebook Ads and $4 using Snapchat Ads.
This was far too expensive to be sustainable. It made a huge dent in their marketing budgets without bringing enough users to the app, and so they hit a brick wall.
The solution was memes. If that sounds like an overstatement, the addition of memes to their creative material also inspired a general shift in the tone of their creatives – one which made their advertising much more appealing to their target audience.
When Oevo distributed their new, meme-focused creative, their results were transformed: with a CPI of just $0.50, they were spending six to eight times less than before and acquiring higher-quality users.
Oevo aren’t the only ones to benefit from this strategy. We’ve seen similarly high levels of engagement using memes to promote the app MyMyMusic, which allows users to discover and rate hip hop music.
With the help of memes, MyMyMusic reached a CPI of just $0.49. So too, the gaming app Plato clearly resonated well with a young audience, but it was an advert containing a meme which brought in an eye-wateringly low CPI of just $0.33: among our best ever results.
So, what’s the catch? The risk of misfiring can be high if you’re not confident about which memes are popular and the tone you should be going for.
In particular, taking yourself too seriously in your memes could be a recipe for disaster: a bit of self-deprecation can, by contrast, can get a much more positive response from the online community.
Most of these risks can be alleviated by testing your memes in advance on people from your target audience.
One of the biggest benefits of running meme campaigns at Fanbytes is that, with an average age of just 22, we’re avid meme consumers ourselves and so we have a strong sense about what’s going to be received well. It’s an advantage that has helped the apps we worked with get such great CPIs.
It’s clear that using memes is becoming increasingly accepted as a bona fide marketing practice and the apps who have been benefitting from this trend are not alone.
Big brands have also been turning to memes in increasing numbers, among them Nickelodeon, US diner chain Denny’s and even Gucci, the first luxury brand to use the format, who are incorporating memes to advertise their latest range of watches.
There’s no doubt that each of these brands is well aware of what they’re doing and the app marketing world should be taking note.
Audiences look for content that relates to them, and for young people today, the most relatable content is memes.
Not only will it help your app look young and in touch with modern culture, but it can also make your content something that users will enjoy for its own sake.
To learn more about Fanbytes and how they can help you win with Gen Z, visiting their website, www.fanbytes.co.uk.