Memecoins are transforming digital marketing

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The past decade saw the rise of video as the internet’s dominant medium, as social networks and publishers prioritized mass reach and viewership. Today, 93% of marketers include video in their content strategy. Peak video has transformed advertising. It’s also reoriented our experience of the web towards passive consumption: a world where we’re only watching. 


Video is a profound and powerful medium for storytelling. It’s undeniable that film and visual content will continue to play a vital role in reaching and engaging digital audiences. But increasingly, participatory media formats will capture mindshare in social spaces. The proliferation of memecoins reveals new codes for digital content creation—codes that will have a profound impact on traditional marketers. 

Over the past year, memecoins have exploded in popularity. Unlike conventional digital currencies, memecoins tend to function primarily as social experiments with limited utility. They’re based on internet culture. They unite people around a common idea (no matter how dumb, niche, or bonk). And their sustained, niche traction offers new insights for marketers. 

Recently, Variant Fund co-founder Li Jin described the memecoin explosion as an example of cold media’s resurgence. To thrive, they require communities to interpret and create content actively—which they’re doing in droves. Dogecoin alone has an X following of close to 4 million followers. It sounds like a joke. However, memecoin projects like Dogecoin use decentralized marketing infrastructure to drive virality and mass engagement, giving fans an active role in brand-building, creating community economies, and incentivizing user-generated content through tokens and airdrops. Here’s how memecoins are transforming digital marketing. 

Organic marketing is a powerful lever for reach and conversion. According to the eMarketer, formerly Insider Intelligence, report, 79% of consumers say user-generated content highly impacts purchasing decisions. But while billions of people use social media every month, fewer and fewer are actually posting. There may need to be more than just compelling content to create virality for brands. Memecoins use tokens to incentivize communities to post. 

Projects like Tip Coin allow users to earn points by posting to X. When you reply, quote, or tweet mentioning $TIP or #TIP, you’re awarded points corresponding to a percentage token allotment. Effectively, fans are paid to organize and advocate for their community. This approach allows projects to quickly trend on the platform as individuals spread the word about the new product. Organic content creation plays an invaluable role in driving awareness and trust. Points and token incentive systems can provide marketers with a new lever for user-generated content and community engagement. 

Memecoins are a participatory media format. As users co-create lore, they also create impact. A project’s social media mentions aren’t just a proxy for awareness; they become a predictor of value. As a result, fans are motivated to play a role in shaping a memecoin’s brand and marketing strategy. 

In 2019, the Dogwifhat meme became popular among esports personalities on Twitter (X). In 2023, the meme inspired $WIF, a new token that’s “literally a dog wif a hat.” $WIF’s community of holders directs the project through real-time content creation. They also drive the project’s advertising. In recent weeks, the community raised over $690,000 to brand the Las Vegas Sphere with their memecoin—a media buy that also launched its own news cycle. 

Today, for many brands, content and media strategy are centralized. Marketers can unlock new efficiencies by allowing fans to drive these decisions. Real-time community content creation allows for rapid messaging iteration and insight generation. Community-executed media buys can help ensure impact: reaching your audiences in the places that matter to them. 

The rise of gaming has changed our norms around content consumption. With Gen Z now spending more time engaging with video games than watching TV, audiences expect different experiences from digital storytelling. Gaming storyworlds unfold across multimedia in real-time. They fall outside simple scripts and finite frames. 

Memecoins function as open storyworlds that transform through user participation; their value and meaning can change dramatically over time. Memecoin leans into the visual cues of gaming, providing its community with the opportunity to shape the project’s success across a long-term roadmap and a real-time market. Because the project is open-ended and always updating, there’s a reason to return to it. For marketers, this type of game-driven story design can help retain audiences by treating them as players, not just passive viewers. 

While memecoins have exploded in popularity, their appeal is niche and absurd. It’s tempting to write them off as an artifact of this stupid, specific moment in internet culture. But their emergence challenges us to think about digital experiences differently: to imagine storytelling as an inherently participatory medium. Beyond traditional media, the formats that will increasingly matter to marketers and fans are the ones that encode and incentivize interaction.

Straith Schreder

Straith Schreder

Straith Schreder is the chief creative officer at Candy Digital, the go-to next-generation brand engagement platform, where she’s responsible for developing and producing breakthrough NFT experiences in collaboration with artists, institutions, and IP. Previously working at Candy, Straith was the executive creative director of Palm NFT Studio, a technology company that partnered with leading artists, creatives, IP owners, and entertainment companies to redefine fan engagement using NFTs. Straith has previously served as the executive creative director for VICE Media Group and the VP of Creative Initiatives at BitTorrent, Inc., in addition to working with brands including Mozilla, Amazon Studios, Nike, and more.

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