In the beginning, there was Grumpy Cat
Animals have pretty much always had an indelible connection with the internet, whether it be videos of cats, accounts dedicated to pictures of pups or internet memes. A newer dynamic has been developing over the past few years and has now started to gain traction in the world at large. Pet Influencers.
Accounts for animals now often see higher engagement, reach and interaction than many human accounts, verified or otherwise, and it may seem that any pet owner with a smartphone and a bit of social media sense can get Instafamous there days. This is far from the case though.
In the modern day, Animal Influencers are uniquely placed to create the perfect formula of memes and clickbait, alongside adorable visuals and a bit of branding know-how, all of which can potentially be worth around $2000+ per post!
We’re all familiar with Grumpy Cat, the famous feline with big blue eyes and a scowl that could freeze a big grizzly biker in his tracks. Sadly Tartar Sauce passed away recently. Rising to fame in 2012, Grumpy Cat (also known as Tartar Sauce) became one of the very first internet pet icons, earning book deals, personalised emojis and an army of merchandise and over 2.5m followers.
Do they need millions of followers to be an Influencer?
Not all Pet Influencers need to be in the millions, however. These days there are tons of different pets who have earned enough of a following worthy of the title of Pet Influencer. Ranging from a couple thousand, right up to the stratospheric heights of Grumpy Cat – Microinfluencers (those with a smaller, but still considerable) number of followers are one of the main drivers behind the Influencer economy.
It would be easy to assume that it is just animal-related companies who employ Pet Influencers to market their products, but this isn’t true! From vacuum companies and hotel chains to high-end fashion companies like Ralph Lauren – Pet Influencers are being utilised by companies in every sector.
What is it that separates these Celebrity Pets (not to be confused with the pets of celebrities) though? Well nothing really, and that’s why people are so enamoured with them most of the time. It’s when the personality of the animal is allowed to shine through the account that people are attracted. Creating a distinct tone and character for the profile allows people to become connected and invested in the daily lives of their digital pet friends.
Some accounts specialise in showing off the mischievous nature of the pet, while some like to create their brand around being a fashionista, around performing amazing tricks, eating incredible food or simple around being cute and lazy.
At the end of the day…
Pet Influencers are simply part and parcel of our animal-crazed culture. We all love to look at videos of cats, at cute pictures of dogs and videos of evil Honey Badgers, and the world of marketing is using this to their advantage. While you can look at this in a cynical way, I still feel that if a company wants to get my attention I would rather they do this by waving a puppy or kitten across the screen rather than with a wall of text on the side of a bus.
Find out how exactly one becomes a pet influencer here.