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May 26, 2021 - By Barron Rosborough

The Rising Pet-tential of Animal Influencers

Connecting with your audience on social media has never been more important.

In the past 10 years, it is estimated that more than, or equal to 45% of the world’s population actively uses social media (InfluencerMarketingHub, 2021). This influx of web users has generated new forms of marketing for brands. This includes, though not limited to, social media posts, collaborating with online personalities a.k.a influencers, and even ensuring the brand’s online accessibility. 

Following the success of videos such as Keyboard Cat or Kabosu the Shiba Inu (a.k.a Doge), brands have also started to recognize the potential of engaging with online animal personalities. These influencers, or rather, pet-influencers introduce cute and adorable content that can help to elevate one’s marketing strategies to a whole other level of engagement. 

What is a pet influencer?

Termed by WorkingwithDogs, a pet influencer refers to an “insta famous” dog, cat, rabbit or critter with a large following on social media. Instagram in particular, is the preferred choice for pet influencers. These animals are then able to endorse, or provide their “paws of approval” to a product or service through photos and videos!

Just like human influencers, they endorse products that are believed to be beneficial for their community. The appearance of pet influencers is partially due to the changing nature of pet ownership, in which pet owners grow increasingly dependent on online information for tips and insight into pet parenting. These pet influencers utilize their audience’s need for advice and demonstrate innovation through promoting pet products on their platform. 

Pets have higher engagement rates!

In the world of social media, it is important that influencers actively engage with their followers. Likewise, it is just as important that their followers respond. An account’s ability to successfully engage with its followers is determined by its engagement rate. 

According to SpeakRJ, celebrity Kim Kardashian’s Instagram account has an engagement rate of 1.68%. In comparison, gorgeous wolfdog @loki has an engagement rate of 2.51%, garnering over 50k likes for each post. 

Photo Credit: Instagram @mercedesbenz

Mercedes Benz is one such brand that has taken advantage of the power of pet influencers. Working with @loki, the brand elevated the image of their all-new sports utility vehicles through featured Instagram posts as well as via Virtual Reality videos that showcase the vehicle in all its glory. 

The brand’s innovation in collaborating with @loki helped to reinforce the car’s suitability for high terrain as well as boost its image of being a pet-friendly vehicle. 

Humanize Your Brands Through Pets

Millennials are changing industries through their desire for humanization. In US pet ownership alone, millennials take up 35% of the total market share (Commonthreadco, 2021). As such, it is crucial to portray a brand image that speaks to and produces results for humanization.

For brands that practice ethical consumption and procurement, working with pets is a great way to validate the company’s moral systems. 

Such endorsements are exemplified through Urban Decay’s collaboration with @chloetheminifrenchie to promote a new line of makeup products that promise to be cruelty-free and ethically tested. 

Photo Credit: Instagram @chloetheminifrenchie

Likewise, The Body Shop reached out to multiple pet influencers to promote their newly implemented “Against Animal Testing” campaign. Their campaign hashtag #foreveragainstanimaltesting were used 3,470 times on Instagram and 2,173 on Twitter (Digiday, 2017). That’s a lot of people!

Photo Credit: Instagram @tunameltsmyheart

On their own, pet influencers also generate a sizeable amount of profit for the pet market industry. Social media has changed pet ownership as we know it, and pets are becoming more influential in swaying the purchase decision of consumers.

Pet owners, in particular, grow increasingly concerned about the diet of their pets and seek advice online for the best products for their animals. 

91% of pet owners in the U.S consider pets to be an essential part of their family. In 2016,  Australians spent $600 million on pet grooming alone! And that’s excluding daily expenses such as pet food. 

Gone are the days where pet owners pick up the first brand of pet food they see, now, pet owners scour every inch of the internet, locating the best brands for their pets.

Wet and dry pet food. Cat or dog pate on old table. Top view.

Transparency is key to success

The best way for pet brands to meet the demands of these pet owners is to maintain transparency regarding the production of their products. For example, pet food brands can (and should!) be clear in establishing the source of their ingredients, taking into account pet owner’s needs to have a healthy and sustainable diet for their animals.

Photo Credit: Instagram @moche_themochi

On top of that, engagement is also crucial in spreading awareness. In Singapore, pet food brand Kakato reaches out to 2,000 Singaporean pet owners for paid partnerships in exchange for product endorsements. Their food, which promises a preservative-free and all-natural human-grade diet, appeals to owners who desire the best for their pets. 

All in all, these fluffy and adorable pet influencers have proven to be viable additions for any brand that is hoping to engage a wider audience. Their influence and charisma extend beyond the pet market industry, promising to grip and entice any (if not all) humans who come across their posts.

This article was written in conjunction with The Woof Agency. The Woof Agency specializes in connecting global pet owners to pet brands to create an international hub of pet-related content. Reach out to us to discover more about the growing world of pet influencing.