The science of a meme: what makes you go viral?

Often created on the back of a major current event, memes have been the focal point of many group chats and social feeds for what feels like forever. But what is it about them that makes them go viral, and which country in the world goes the wildest for one?

The UK’s favourite memes feature… sofas?!

The USA rank as number one, drawing in the most engagement for memes, at 92.7 million from January to July 2021, with Brazil and India coming in second and third – and the UK in 6th place, at 4.91 million engagements.

For the USA, it’s memes that feature products rather than animals that draw in the most engagements: mobile phone related memes have the most engagement, followed by ties, bottles, cups and cars. Brazil is more animal-friendly, with the most engaged memes featuring dogs.

In the UK, it seems we find memes featuring sofas the funniest, with bananas coming in second place, and ties third.

Top tips to make your meme go viral

So, you’ve made your meme, and want it to take over the internet? These three tips will help you to increase your chances of it going viral.

1. Don’t be afraid to use humour

Most memes that go viral are shared because they’re funny. If you can relate that humour back to a particular current event that everyone’s talking about, then even better.

2. Make sure people get it

If you want people to share your meme, you need to ensure that everyone gets it and relates to it – in other words, it needs to have mass appeal. You might also want to consider the most popular meme cameos we uncovered… so if you want to go viral in the UK, then maybe you should consider somehow incorporating a sofa or a banana.

3. Share it where others will see it

If you want your meme to go viral, you have to put it in front of as many people as possible. Share it on meme groups on the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit and 9gag – if someone sees it and likes it, then they may well share it. Just be sure that if you want to keep credit for it, you add a watermark to your design.

So now you know which memes are the most popular in which countries, and how to get your meme in front of as many people as possible, it’s time to start creating one.

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If you’d like to find out about when you’re most likely to go viral on social media, you can find more information here.


  1. We used Linkfluence's Radarly Image Recognition function to determine which countries engage the most with memes that include objects and animals across social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. By analysing the total number of engagement actions (likes/shares/comments, and favourites) for this year (Jan 21-July 7th, 21) we've been able to determine the top countries that engage with memes that include objects and animals the most, over the last year, to unveil what it is that really makes memes trend within those territories.