Memes are everywhere these days. You can’t even watch television without a meme popping up occasionally; even if they don’t, the show or movie you’re watching will eventually become a meme or two. But with something so popular, surely there must be a way to monetize it? There are several ways for you to earn money from memes. Let’s look at the best ways to do so!
The easiest ways to earn money from memes involve printing and selling meme merchandise, using memes to attract customers to a business, or getting advertising revenue from meme pages and apps. Some meme creators have sold their memes for large sums, but it’s difficult to achieve.
Making a meme worth hundreds of thousands of dollars (like the “Overly Attached Girlfriend” meme that sold for over $400,000) is a hit-and-miss process. With the massive number of memes on the market, it’s nearly impossible.
But you can earn a decent income from memes if you go about it another way. Here are the twelve best ways to turn memes into a money-making machine.
Table of contents
- Can You Really Earn Money From Memes?
- 12 Profitable Ways To Earn Money From Memes
- How Much Can You Earn From Memes?
- Tips On Earning From Memes
Can You Really Earn Money From Memes?
Memes are usually distributed free of charge, but with some creativity, you can use them to earn money. It doesn’t usually happen by directly selling memes, but if you can use memes creatively, you can make some good money from them.
You can earn money from creating and selling valuable memes, but that’s not usually quick. It’s better to use a passive method, like creating and selling meme merchandise or running a meme page that sells products or provides ad revenue.
12 Profitable Ways To Earn Money From Memes
Let’s get down to the important thing: how to make money from memes. Some of these options will be easier to pull off than others, so choose the one that’s right for you and go with it!
PicturePunches is a website that pays you for uploading original memes and funny pictures. It works on a like / dislike system whereby you get paid according to the number of views and likes.
How It Works
Simply go to the PicturePunches website and create a free account. You can then start looking at other people’s memes and either like or dislike them. When you’re ready, and if you’re creative enough, you can post your own memes to the website for others to view. The more views and likes you get and the more memes you publish, the more you will get paid.
You can even help to promote your memes by sharing them on Facebook directly from PicturePunches. Unfortunately, there’s no option for sharing to other platforms.
The site uses advertising revenue to pay for its meme posters, and the amount you get paid per view will depend on the bids that advertisers put in. Still, a particular Reddit user (who has since deleted their account) claims to have earned $400 by posting memes on PicturePunches. However, all the evidence they provided has also been deleted from the relevant websites.
How It Works
Once you’ve downloaded the app, you can sign up for a free account and start watching and liking memes. There’s also a handy sharing function to share the memes with others. You can upload new memes or edit existing memes and upload them, but you don’t have to do so to earn.
Yepp receives ad revenue from its sponsors and shares that income with all who use its app. You can earn points by simply using the app to browse memes, but you can earn even more points when you upload and share memes.
Though Yepp does not pay in cash, you can redeem points for Amazon gift cards at 450 points for $10. So, even though you won’t earn a fortune or replace your day job with Yepp, it’s a great way to get some extra money from doing something you’re probably already doing in your spare time: browsing memes.
MemeChat is similar to Yepp in some ways, except it pays in cash. It’s intensely focused on the Indian market, but it is also available in other countries.
How It Works
- Paid Templates. This is a way to create memes and new original meme templates and get paid whenever someone else uses the template you created.
- Requested Memes. Users can request memes about specific topics and offer to pay for those memes. You get paid if you make a meme about that topic and get approved.
- Sharing memes. You get paid each time you share a meme with someone who is not a registered MemeChat user.
- Stonks. MemeChat has a daily Stonks session where you get paid more for uploading original and creative content, and it’s the fastest way to get good money.
- Upvoting memes. When you’re a new user with less than 200 points, you get points for simply upvoting memes you like. Spamming the like button may get you banned, so only upvote memes that you really enjoy.
- Paid keywords. Ad partners sponsor specific keywords, so if you create memes that incorporate those keywords, you get paid more.
4. Print On Demand (POD)
Print On Demand (POD) is a simple way to set up a meme merchandise store. In some ways, it’s similar to drop-shipping.
How It Works
You can sign up and partner with a Print On Demand supplier like Zazzle or RedBubble. These platforms let you submit original creations, like memes, to print on various items ranging from mugs and t-shirts to bags, stickers, and posters.
It’s similar to how drop-shipping works. People order your product and make payment, you order it from the POD service provider, and it gets delivered directly to the customer. This method removes all of the logistics and manufacturing headaches from your shoulders.
Most of these suppliers also market your products on their websites, so you don’t even have to do that if you don’t want to.
The amount of money you make depends on your provider. Many let you set your own royalty rate, but approximately 20% is a good guideline.
Etsy is a great platform to sell hand-crafted or third-party products, and you can use it to sell meme-related merchandise.
How It Works
Etsy lets you create your own online store and offers the added benefit of marketing your products to some extent.
You can sign up on Etsy’s website, build your online store, and then load your meme-based products. Though Etsy does provide some marketing by displaying selected products on its website, you should do what you can to market your products yourself, too. Meme pages are a great way to do that (more on that later).
When you get an order, Etsy will take a percentage as an admin fee and pay the rest to you through your chosen method. As mentioned earlier, you can just prepare the product and ship it to the customer or use a POD provider.
6. Social Media Meme Pages
Memes are extremely popular on social media, especially photo-specific platforms like Instagram, and those who know how have found ways to turn their meme pages into money-making machines.
How It Works
First, you have to choose a topic. Generally, generic meme pages don’t perform as well as those targeting specific issues or subjects. Successful meme pages specialize in popular TV shows like The Office, movies and books like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, famous fandoms like Star Wars and Star Trek, and even religions and current events.
Once you’ve chosen a topic you’d like to make memes about, create a social media profile for it. YouTube and TikTok work very well for video memes, but most prefer Instagram for pictures. Facebook also works well for memes that target specific groups of people, like the rush of Minions memes that took over the platform around 2020.
These social networks don’t generally pay you for content you publish (except for YouTube and possibly TikTok), but once you’ve grown a large enough following, you can earn money in two ways:
- Get sponsors to pay you to post ads on your meme page.
- Sell meme merchandise, like the options mentioned above, by marketing it on your meme page.
7. Manage A Company’s Social Media Presence
We’ve already established that memes are some of the most popular content on social media platforms. Businesses are always trying to get a better following on their social media pages, and memes are a great way of doing that.
How It Works
If you have a business, you can grow its social media presence by making meme-related content for its channels. If you don’t have a business of your own, offer to manage someone else’s social media presence. Meme-based posts and ads can often go viral, growing their following and improving their marketing.
This way, they can pay you for creating memes and other content so that you can turn memes into an immediate income stream. An example of someone doing this brilliantly is the Opera GX browser’s Twitter page. Since the web browser’s target market is gamers, memes and other comedic posts are the perfect approaches (even though they are sometimes a bit offensive).
8. Become A Fiverr Or Upwork Designer
If you have excellent design skills and a good sense of humor, you can earn a good income by designing memes for others using a platform like Fiverr.
How It Works
Companies, especially small or home-based businesses, don’t always see sense in employing full-time designers and social media managers. These businesses like to outsource their design work to freelancers, and services like Fiverr and Upwork are popular places to do so.
First, go onto the website and register. It’s quite an extensive registration process, but it’s ultimately worth it. Once it’s done, you can search for jobs that fit your purpose, like searching for the word “meme.” You will find a list of currently advertised jobs where people want someone to design memes for them.
You can then give a quote or estimate for those jobs. It’s usually a good idea to provide evidence of work you’ve done before, so have a profile of your memes available online. If they like what they see and find your quote affordable, they will contact you, and you can negotiate the terms of the job.
It can take a while to find your feet on these platforms, as there can be a lot of competition, but eventually, you will build up a good trust rating, and people will be more likely to assign their jobs to you.
9. Give Meme Training
Meme marketing is becoming popular as businesses learn to embrace this modern phenomenon. But not everyone knows how it works, so you can turn your knowledge and experience with memes (that everyone thought was useless) into a training course to earn money!
How It Works
The first step is to create your course. Draw up an outline, write the content, then generate eBooks, videos, and maybe some audio files. That’s the part that will take the longest.
The next step is to publish your course. Platforms like Udemy are great places for anyone to publish courses on what they know, but there are many others.
Remember that such platforms also rely very strongly on trust and ratings, so you may have to offer massive discounts on your courses initially. Perhaps start with a shorter and cheaper introduction-level course, after which people can continue to your more advanced courses (that also cost more). And the best thing is that you can use memes to market your course!
10. Video Meme Compilations
Some of the most-viewed videos on YouTube involve memes somehow, and one of the awesome things about YouTube is that it’s monetized.
How It Works
Many people make videos dedicated to memes. These could be meme compilations like this Best Memes Compilation 2023, which are pretty easy to make. But some take it even further.
For example, Dallas, AKA Infurness from TheTekkitRealm, likes to use the Rickroll meme in new and creative ways, like finding ways to Rickroll celebrities. He has already caught Elon Musk and even Rick Astley himself in clever and innovative ways. Because of this, he has a sizeable YouTube subscriber count and earns quite a bit through monetization.
Meme videos are popular. Make them entertaining and not too long, and you will find that people will share them with everyone they know, and before long, you will have a booming YouTube or TikTok channel.
11. Use Memes To Gain Traffic
It’s not always easy to monetize a meme channel on social media. But if you can use the social media channel to funnel traffic to another website, that could be an easy way to earn some money.
How It Works
If you have a blog or other website that’s monetized in some way, you want to get as much traffic as possible to that site or blog.
The first step is to get something to monetize. Some examples include:
- A blog with an advertising system, like affiliate links, Google AdSense, or Bing Ads.
- A YouTube channel with monetization. YouTuber ThioJoe does this brilliantly by posting original memes on his social media pages that link people to his YouTube channel.
- An online store, especially one that sells specialist products related to the meme content you create.
Now you can set up a social media page and regularly post memes that draw attention to you and the page you want to send people to. Be sure to include links to that page everywhere.
12. Sell Meme NFTs
NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are a hotly-debated topic. Some love them; others hate them. But the fact remains that you can sell memes as NFTs and make a sizeable amount of money.
How It Works
An NFT is just a digital image that someone buys the rights to. You can use almost anything as an NFT, and some people have already sold the original templates of many popular memes as NFTs.
The problem is that some of these templates could be copyrighted, but there are two ways you can still use this within legal boundaries:
- Create your own memes until you find one that’s successful, then sell that template as an NFT. You will still retain the rights to use it.
- Make original artwork with some of the meme templates and sell those as NFTs.
Once you have the NFT that you want to sell, OpenSea is one of the most popular marketplaces to buy and sell them. Depending on the meme’s popularity, you could make considerable money this way.
How Much Can You Earn From Memes?
Your income will depend on various factors, including the type of meme business you run.
- Designing a good meme template could earn you a six-figure income, either through licensing it, using the celebrity status that comes with it, or selling it as an NFT. For example, the Overly-Attached Girlfriend meme sold for $411,000 in 2021. This requires plenty of trial and error, though, and there’s a possibility that your meme may never be as valuable.
- You can earn any amount of money by selling meme paraphernalia or merchandise through an online store. Many businesses do this by creating meme pages dedicated to a specific topic, like Harry Potter or The Office.
- Advertising revenue is the most common way for people to earn an income from memes. Creating a meme-sharing website or app can help you do that, or you can use one of the multiple existing ones. Advertising doesn’t pay as much as the other options, but you can generate a sizeable income over time.
Some platforms only pay around $2 per day, but it depends on how many memes you share and their quality since more and better memes generally mean more money.
Tips On Earning From Memes
When you’re ready to start earning money from memes, follow these tips:
Make Sure They Apply
Posting memes for the sake of posting memes isn’t always profitable. They tend to be most effective when you choose the right meme for the right purpose. Determine who your target market is. Gen Z prefers entirely different memes than Gen X, for example. Make sure that your memes are relevant if you want to monetize them in any way.
Do Your Research
Some memes may contain copyrighted or licensed material. Do your research about that since simply sharing a meme is generally not a problem but monetizing it could be. Virgin Media almost ran into trouble a few years ago when the company used the Success Kid meme for an ad campaign without the mother’s permission.
Your business could fail before it starts if you’re not careful.
Follow The Trends
Using an old meme is pointless when the world has moved on. Stay in touch with meme culture and follow the trends, then base your memes on those trends.
Use Free Meme Generator Tools
There aren’t many things that fail as quickly as a bad-quality meme. You don’t have to play around with Photoshop when there are so many free tools available that can do a very professional job. You can search online for a “free meme generator” to find some excellent results or use the built-in features in apps like Yepp.
Is It Legal To Earn Money From Memes?
It is legal in principle, though you must be careful not to infringe on copyrights or violate a platform’s terms and conditions.
Do Memes Offer Passive Income?
It is possible to start earning a passive income from memes by using a Print On Demand service combined with an online store like Etsy. You will have to do a lot of work to get it up and running first, but it will be entirely passive after a while.
Can Memes Be Used For Advertising?
You can use memes in advertising as long as you ensure that there are no legal restrictions on the content you want to use. Also, be sure to do it tastefully because an ad that misuses a meme can have the opposite effect from what you want to achieve.
Can Memes Be Copyrighted?
The original creator of a meme or the owners of the underlying material may enforce copyright law if they wish. Most meme creators don’t care too much, and they know that memes that go viral will never be gone from the internet, so there’s no point in trying. But it’s still crucial for you to ensure that you have permission or pay the necessary license fees before using any material.
There are many easy ways to earn money from memes. Some are as simple as installing an app or visiting a website, while others can become full-time careers or home-based businesses with six-figure incomes. Decide which method works best for you, then start earning by doing something you love: browsing and making memes.
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