What is a meme? Everything you need to know to make the best memes

What is a memeWith the continuous growth of the internet and social media, nearly everyone has come across memes by now. While meme culture may started building in the early 2000s, its clear now that memes are incredibly popular and influential. But what is a meme, exactly? What do the best memes have in common? And how can you leverage memes to promote your brand? 

We offer a comprehensive overview on memes to give you all the information you need to make a meme that’s popular with your audience.

Meme definition: What is a meme?

A meme is a cultural piece of media that is shared online, often with the intention of invoking certain emotions, such as being humorous. Memes are most often images or videos, but can be just text on its own or other forms of media as well. Most people believe a “meme” is a completely new, post-internet phenomenon, but the term was originally introduced by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, even though modern internet memes have just gained widespread popularity more recently. 

The best memes can focus on a wide range of topics, such as cat pictures with captions text, and more general cultural memes, such as fads, catchphrases, fashion, and behaviors. They can be based on existing media, such as a stock image or short clip from a TV show, or they can be original creations, such as a personal photo or illustration. 

One of the most common types of memes is image macros, which are edited images that have text superimposed over them. The text is often relevant to the image or can be a clever pun or play on words. Video memes are also becoming more common, typically animated GIFs or short clips from movies or TV shows that have been video edited, often with humorous subtitles added. 

Meme gif

Why make a meme

It’s pretty easy and quick to make a meme, so they are used by a wide range of creators including businesses, individuals, educators, and more. They provide a quick and easy way to communicate a message and help people bond over shared interests and experiences. As a result, people create and use memes for a wide range of reasons. 

For some, it is simply a way to make others laugh. While they are often shared for entertainment value, they can also be used to convey a message, emotion, opinion, or simply to connect with an audience in a relatable way. They can spread awareness about important issues. And businesses may also use memes for marketing and promotion, especially if the meme has already proven to be popular. There’s even a term for it called memejacking, which is when businesses leverage one of the best memes at the time and “hijacks” it by editing the image to be relevant to their business and audience.

Memes have become increasingly popular in recent years, and they are now one of the most widely-shared types of content on the internet. Businesses, educators, individuals, and more can leverage memes to convey culturally-relevant ideas that resonate with others, making them a very popular form of media that catches people’s attention and can be likely to be shared.

Best types of memes

Theres no doubt that memes are extremely popular all over the internet. Theyre funny, theyre relatable, and they always seem to brighten up our day. But have you ever wondered why certain memes become more popular than others? 

Quite a few factors go into making a meme successful, but ultimately, it’s important for the best memes to be understood and relatable to as many people as possible in order to be shared. Here are 10 categories of the best types of memes that are currently popular to create and find across the internet.

Funny memesFunny memes

Funny memes are among the best meme categories for people to create and share, because who doesnt love a good laugh? Many people browse the internet for entertainment and checking out funny memes are a great way to improve your mood. An example of a funny meme compares an idea to a powerful dragon from Game Of Thrones and a basic pixel dinosaur that doesn’t seem nearly as impressive. It’s a relatable concept to many people who think they have a great idea in their head but it doesn’t seem as strong when trying to explain it to others. 

Happy Birthday MemeHappy birthday meme

These are great for wishing someone a happy birthday in a more creative and personal way than a standard birthday card. An example of a popular birthday meme right now is an image that combines the Lord of the Rings “One Does Not Simply” meme with a meme-related birthday message. It’s fun because it’s a meme about memes, and people can relate because they’re popular to send to someone on their birthday. 

Spiderman memeMovie memes

Movie memes are usually popular because the movie is popular or because they are based on a pop culture reference. One popular movie meme comes from the 1960’s episode of the cartoon Spider-Man, in which multiple copies of the hero are seen pointing at each other because a villain is trying to impersonate Spider-Man. The meme typically depicts concepts that are similar to each other. This meme also gained popularity when Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland played three versions of Spider-Man in a recent Spider-Man movie.

Spongebob memeTV show memes

Memes about TV shows are very popular because fans of the TV show often find them fun, easy to understand, and relatable. TV show memes can be about anything – from a funny scene to a characters catchphrase. For example, it seems like every other day, a new SpongeBob meme is making the rounds on the internet. One popular TV show meme is a SpongeBob meme called Ight, Imma Head Out”, which typically conveys someone leaving an awkward situation.

Cat memeCat memes

Cats are always a popular subject for memes, likely because they’re so adorable and cute, which can put a smile on anyone’s face. Many people love browsing through pictures of cats, even when they’re not in meme format, to brighten up their day. One of the most popular cat meme is the gray cat saying “I can has cheezburger?” images, which show a cute cat “speaking” with improper grammar for humor. This is one of the earlier memes that became popular on the internet and is also one of the most famous. It is widely considered the meme that started the internet meme trend. There even became a popular meme website around the image called icanhascheezburger.com.

Crying memeCrying meme

Crying memes can be funny as well, or simply be a relatable topic to people. A popular crying meme shows a computer Task Manager not responding, and Obi-Wan Kenobe from Star Wars saying “you were supposed to destroy them, not join them”. It shows Obi-Wan crying because he felt betrayed. Many people use the computer’s Task Manager to close a program that becomes unresponsive, so they feel the Task Manager “betrayed” them by becoming unresponsive as well.

Friday memeFriday meme

Fridays are often considered one of the best day of the week, so its no surprise that some of the best memes created about them. One popular Friday meme is Its Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday,” which references lyrics from Rebecca Blacks notoriously famous song Friday.”

Will Smith MemeCelebrity meme

Celebrities are a popular subject for memes, especially when they do or say something funny or outrageous. Memes about the event are quickly generated and shared about it due to time relevance. An example of a popular celebrity meme at the moment is the Will Smith meme, based on the “Oscar slap heard around the world”. People have been making memes of everyone involved in the incident, including Jada Smith, Will Smith, and Chris Rock.

Anime MemeAnime memes

Anime memes are especially popular with anime fans, and theyre likely to gain traction because anime viewers have a strong online footprint. They can also be popular due to the message they convey as well though. For example, Ash Ketchum is a popular anime character for a meme due to Pokemon’s popularity, as well as how recognizable the character is. A popular meme shows Ash Ketchum wearing different types of hats shown throughout the series, and joking about how people can pretend to be different users by signing up for free trials with multiple email addresses. 

Monday memeMonday meme

Monday memes are usually the opposite of Friday memes. Mondays can be disappointing to some people because they need to leave the fun of the weekend behind them and head back to work. As a result, many Monday memes convey disappointment or tiredness. An example of a Monday meme is a disheveled, angry-looking cat saying Of course it’s Monday, does this look like my Friday face?”. 

What the best memes have in common

Having your meme go viral and get shared isn’t guaranteed, but there are some characteristics that popular memes often have in common. For example, memes should be relatable so that many people find it interesting. The more people who like it, the more likely it is to be shared with others and increase its visibility. Here are some more tips on how to make a meme become popular and go viral.

Leverage your (brand) personality

When done correctly, memes can be a great way to connect with your audience and add some levity to your content strategy. When you make a meme, its important to consider your brands personality, whether you’re an individual or a business. The best way to create a meme people will like is to follow your own interests and stay on brand. 

Certain types of memes may come more naturally to some people. For example, some people are known for their great jokes, some people are more serious, while others are warm-hearted, etc. Leveraging your strengths will make it easier when you make a meme, especially to start. Use the same colors, fonts, and overall aesthetic that you would use in any other piece of marketing collateral.

It’s also important to consider your audience when making a meme. If you’re targeting a younger audience, you can be a little more edgy and irreverent. However, if you’re targeting a more conservative audience, youll want to steer clear of anything that could be considered offensive, especially as a business. But dont forget to have fun! The whole point of creating a meme is to add some fun and creativity to your content strategy.

Check what’s trending

To create a meme with mass appeal, you must first understand what is trending. You can do this by keeping up with current news, events, pop culture, and anything else that might interest people. Pay attention to what people are talking about and what they find funny. If you can tap into what is already popular, youre more likely to make a meme that will be a hit because people will already find it interesting and it will be more likely to catch their attention.

Another important element is to make sure the meme is relatable. People must be able to see themselves in the meme to connect with it, whether it’s the topic, emotion, character, etc. This is why its helpful to create memes about current events or pop culture references. Timing is also key — if you create a meme that is timely and relevant to what is happening in the world, youre more likely to see success.

Choose quality images/videos

You need to start with high-quality images and videos. The image should be easy to see and understand, with a clear focus and good lighting. The text should be short and to the point, using a friendly tone. When choosing an image, avoid using something cluttered or blurry that could be distracting from the message you are trying to convey. Instead, try to find a photo or video that is easy to recognize and understand. The text should also be large, bold, and easy to read. Make sure you understand fair use guidelines and screenshots, or choose a relevant commercially-licensed stock image for your meme.

Keep it simple

When you want to make a meme that’s popular, it’s helpful to keep it simple. The text should be short and sweet, often with a witty or humorous message. People are busy and might even be multitasking with other activities when they come across your meme, so you want them to be able to read the text quickly and easily. Avoid using big words or long sentences. Humor is also important — if you can make people laugh, youre more likely to get them to share your content. Basically, keep it short, sweet, and simple!

Share it

You’ll want to share a meme on as many platforms as possible for maximum exposure. Here are a few tips to reach a wide audience:

  • Social media: This is probably the most obvious way to share a meme, but its worth mentioning because its likely the most effective. If you have a large following on social media, your meme will be seen by a lot of people. And even if you dont have a large following, you can still get some exposure by tagging friends or using relevant hashtags. Some relevant social media sites to share memes on are Reddit (r/memes), Tumblr,  Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other popular social media sites.
  • Meme websites: If you know of any websites that would be interested in your meme, contact them and let them know about it. They might feature it on their site, which would give it a lot of exposure. Some of the best meme submission websites include Cheezburger, KnowYourMeme, and more.
  • Tell others: The best way to get a meme viral is to get it in front of as many people as possible. So tell your friends, family, and anyone else you think might be interested. They can help you share it through their channels as well. You never know who might help it take off.

Make a meme with Screencast-O-Matic

Video Editor Screenshot

Screencast-O-Matic has great, free tools you can use to make memes easily and quickly. You can make a meme image with our screenshot tool by adding text overlays, or make a meme video with our video editor by adding captions.

Once you make a meme, it’s beneficial to save it as a meme template that you can use as a starting point for future memes, allowing you to easily create new memes. A meme template allows you to make changes to the meme as needed without having to design a new layout for it from scratch each time. You can easily switch out the image or text to speed up the creation process for future memes. Below, we describe some benefits of using Screencast-O-Matic to create your next meme!


Screencast-O-Matic offers free plans for many of our tools, including our screenshots, screen recorder, and video editor, to help get you started. Whether you’re making memes for personal use, business, or education, you can make high-quality memes quickly without having to pay exorbitant subscriptions.

Simple and easy to use

Screencast-O-Matic is an extremely easy-to-use platform for meme creation. You can upload an image from your computer or choose one from the Screencast-O-Matic stock library, then add text to it using the screenshots or video editor tools. Once you’re finished, you can share the meme on various social media platforms.

Image editing

Screencast-O-Matic allows you to take screenshots as well as edit images from your computer. This feature allows you to capture specific frames from popular movies and TV shows, allowing you to create viral memes that resonate with people.

Video editing

Screencast-O-Matic includes a comprehensive video editor that allows you to edit your meme videos and images. Furthermore, the video editor is seamless, allowing you to perform complex tasks without spending much time.

Large stock library

Screencast-O-Matic includes a massive library of stock images and videos. As such, you can browse the library to find popular and funny images and videos that resonate with your message, following which you only have to come up with the text!

Content hosting

Screencast-O-Matic offers content hosting capabilities, so you can store and manage all your memes for free on our platform. You can upload, host, and share all your image and video memes directly on our hosting platform, making it simple and easy to manage your memes.

Memes are undoubtedly the most popular and effective means of helping your message become popular and go viral. And Screencast-O-Matic makes it simpler than ever to create a meme. Start making your memes today!