The meme: one of the most beautiful inventions of the digital age, keeping users in laugh mode with just a few lines of text on a screenshot or image. Whether it’s a movie snapshot or a grumpy cat, we love our memes. From frogs to dancing babies to Harry Potter meets Jay-Z, we just can’t get enough. Then there’s the interactive memes and gifs like the Harlem Shake that quickly became a global sensation. One of the most popular sites for showcasing memes is 9GAG, so I took a look at the site’s most popular gags using SimilarWeb PRO.
9gag is one of the most visited websites for funny and irreverent humor. Similar to Buzzfeed, but a little bit weirder. Some of their posts don’t make a lot of sense, but in this case, the memes won out (and won us over). Apparently the rest of the world is inclined to agree – check out how 9gag is doing in terms of desktop visits and traffic stats:
As you can see, 9GAG is a very successful site with over half a billion visits between Jan ’14 – Mar ’14 and number 1 in their category (Top 100 sites – Humor), but who exactly are 9GAG? The website was the brainchild of a group of Hong Kong entrepreneurs and launched in 2008. Facebook was not popular in Hong Kong at the time and the team wanted to prove quick, easy access to funny memes. They’ve experienced issues with rivals such as Reddit and 4Chan, but they remain resolute in their simple philosophy of sharing fun. 9GAG’s success attracted the attention of Silicon Valley in 2012; they received $2.8 million of investment which helped pave the way for new products such as the 9GAG apps which bring memes to your phone with just a few swipes. Here are some stats about 9gag’s apps:
2014’s most popular memes
Using SimilarWeb PRO I was able to analyze the 10 most popular memes of 2014 so far. I also found the top gags of 2013 and by comparing between these two time periods I found some interesting insights. But we’ll get to that later. Let’s first have a look on the stars of 2014:
- They Ordered 5 Pounds Of Gummy Bears, And They All Came To The Same Hilarious Conclusion…BIG MISTAKE
Some interesting findings:
You may have noted that the top 10 ranking doesn’t necessarily tally up with the ‘points totals’ that are shown on 9GAG. SimilarWeb PRO has been able to analyze the popularity of each meme by how much traffic it has received. Many visitors who have visited these particular memes would have to register an account with 9GAG to vote either up and down on each meme. Most visitors won’t have time for this, so the ‘points’ aren’t entirely accurate as to how popular the memes are.
Another interesting thing is the type of memes which are popular – you can see for example that long memes, which take an idea and recreate it over and over again in different variations are working the best. Another interesting type of meme is the Twitter/Facebook conversation log – showing people commenting over an image or a post can be a powerful gag.
Now, comedy is one of the most subjective tastes, but I’m fairly sure there’s something in the top 10 memes that made you giggle. I began to wonder what was making people giggle 12 months ago – had tastes, technologies and mediums changed in that time? To find out, I set SimilarWeb PRO’s clocks for Jan ’13 – Mar ’13.
2013’s meme activity
The general overview figures for Jan ’13 – Mar ’13 showed that the number of visits was almost half that of what the site would achieve in the same period for 2014. Some significant growth had taken place, but first I wanted to look at the nature of the memes to understand what had brought about this change. The 10 most popular memes from Jan ’13 – Mar ’13 on 9GAG were:
The two most obvious differences between 2013 and 2014 are the length of the memes – 2014 contains extremely long memes (we brought you here selected parts of of them), and the medium being used to create the meme. 8 out of 10 of the most popular gags in 2013 use videos. This is in sharp contrast to 2014 which features none. I was intrigued by the disappearance of videos and realized I would have to set sail on the high seas of the internet to find an answer.
June 2013 saw the launch of 9GAG.tv to act as a home for all the funniest, trending videos. This segmentation of the original 9GAG site into two separate sites allows greater concentration on each medium from dedicated teams. Users looking for pictures to utilize now don’t have to scroll past videos and vice-versa. Pure comedy can be found on 9GAG where it’s more difficult to pitch interesting concepts in an image, whereas a mixture of attention grabbing and comedy can be found at 9GAG.tv.
The next big meme
The development of 9GAG.tv has allowed 9GAG to remain in pole position as the most popular graphic meme website. It’s done their figures no harm either – SimilarWeb PRO illustrates that total visits have almost doubled in a 12 month period and both global and country website ranks have scaled loftier heights.