Instagram is trying to change how we think about memes, the viral, captioned photos that comment on popular culture. Those static memes are fine, but video memes are even better. That was the takeaway from MemeCon, a summit hosted by Instagram at its parent Meta Platforms’ New York City office, which was held on Zoom last year.
The reason isn’t hard to fathom. Instagram has been prioritizing Reels, its short-video feature that seeks to rival TikTok. And memes are already popular on Instagram, suggesting Instagram’s audience would gravitate to Reels that combine the two concepts. Instagram during the event disclosed #memes is one of the top three most-followed hashtags on the app in the U.S., and said there are “hundreds of thousands” of posts mentioning memes every day. On average, accounts with both “meme” and “NFT” in the username or bio have received 65% more followers since February 2021, it said.