Whether you’re a dog person, a friend of felines or fish, birdies or something with scales, now’s the time to celebrate your pet (or pets) and the endless joy they bring to your life.
February 20th is actually Love your Pet Day. As a collective of animal lovers–and you’ll often find someone’s dog hanging out in our office– we wanted to mark the day by thinking about our furry friends. We decided to focus on pets and their affinity with the internet while considering how shelters can help abandoned or mistreated animals find homes through the power of social media.
Pets and the Net: The Perfect Pairing
Like cheese and wine, (or Netflix and pop tarts), pets and the Internet go perfect together. Not only do animals pull on our emotional heartstrings, but their amusing, unpredictable nature offers a wealth of web-based entertainment across a range of mediums.
Studies suggest that dogs are the most popular animal on the Web, with 44% of the planet’s most popular pet-based Instagram accounts being canine-related. This is closely followed by cats, the most famous of whom–Grumpy Cat–received her own obituary in major news outlets, so wide was her fame.
Pets and the Net: Helping Animals in Need
For as far back as anyone can remember, pets have been stars of the net, with posts, campaigns, and content that has earned droves of engagement or viral status—like Charlie Schmidt's famous Keyboard Cat which has earned over 57 million YouTube views since 2007 when it became an instant viral hit. Shortly after the video reached the heights of Internet fame, the content was re-edited, remixed, and spread across social media like wildfire—a testament to the power of pets and the net.
And the ‘snoot challenge’ became a social media phenomenon in 2018 as countless dog owners documented themselves teaching their four-legged friends this neat trick.
These ‘pets on the net’ examples are merely the tip of the iceberg. Our affinity for animals makes pet-based web content incredibly infectious—a powerful vessel for encouraging meaningful consumer connections, boosting brand awareness, and sharing powerful messaging.
From ‘Keyboard Cat’ alone (an advocate for the Shelter Pet Project), it’s clear that YouTube owes much of its early growth to cats in particular, as shown by this infographic. And the widespread human love of pet pictures and videos has even led to pet-inspired Spotify playlists launched in early 2020, and Fitbits for dogs. Pets of various types (and species) rank up there with some high-earning influencers (did you know, Esther the Wonder Pig makes around $1.5 million alone?), with Instagram the place to be if you think your fluffy friend might have what it takes to go viral, and profitable.
How Shelters are Using the Internet to Help Animals
Internet pet hysteria isn’t going anywhere Philippines Photo Editor anytime soon and by tapping into its ever-growing power, anyone involved in animal welfare can use social media to help build awareness, helping needy animals find the homes they deserve.
Take the case of the ‘New Jersey shelter dog’ for instance. When the Siberian Husky called Jubilee was abandoned by its breeder due to an eyelid deformity, Matawan, NJ's non-profit Husky House shelter took to social media to find the deserving dog a home.
To forge an instant emotional connection and engage potential dog lovers, Husky House produced a post in Jubilee’s voice, explaining her desperate situation and asking for a new home.
Pets and the Net: Helping Animals in Need
The heartwarming personal plea resulted in 40,000 Facebook shares, earning Jubilee a forever home quickly—and the follow-up post generated 30,000 engagements. In fact, the campaign was so popular that Jubilee’s new owners have even set up a social page to keep fans updated on her progress. An incredible outcome and a clearcut case of pet power.
Another interesting pet marketing angle is to take advantage of the animal influencer. Jetblue Airlines, for example, consulted the services of four-legged mascot, Marnie the Dog, to boost brand awareness. This post alone earned more than triple their usual level of post engagement.