Pets in the digital age: How cats and dogs have joined the internet

Since the dawn of man, people have kept animals in their homes for companionship.

From the historical renderings of cats and dogs by the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, to blurry polaroids of grinning dogs hanging out of car windows, pets have always held an important place in human life.

Human life is seeing a huge shift from the physical world into the digital world.

People are spending a large proportion of their lives on the internet, interacting with friends, family, and even absolute strangers. As pets are such an integral part of many people’s lives, they have found themselves dragged along for the digital ride.

Cats and dogs on social media

Millions of users spend several hours a day on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, and along with the increase in human user accounts, there has been an exponential rise in pet accounts as well.

The popular accounts nala_cat and Swaggy Wolfdog have garnered a combined 9.3 million followers on Instagram and TikTok respectively, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

An animal internet revolution that started with funny cat videos on YouTube has become an avalanche of increased visibility for pets on the internet.

A large number of these pet accounts are simply a medium for millions of pet owners to show off their cute furry friends and whatever antics they may get up to, but several accounts serve a more profitable purpose, which has led to the rise of the “pet influencer” or “animal influencer”.

The pet influencer’s role in digital marketing

In recent years, the social influencer has become a staple in digital marketing.

Brands have figured out that they’re missing extra revenue by not engaging with customers on social media and are now paying social media personalities with large followings and good engagement thousands of dollars to bridge that gap.

Influencer marketing has been particularly successful because the target audience already trusts and likes the influencer they’re following, doubly so when said influencer is the most adorable and lovable cat or dog.

Pet influencers have capitalized on the opportunity to earn millions, with popular influencers like Jiffpom and Grumpy Cat forming partnerships with big brands, targeting both people and pets, and creating their own merchandise for sale on their websites and in retail stores.

This has in turn created a niche for creators of pet merchandise, both for commercial and personal purposes. A pet-themed T-shirt or a customized phone case bearing a high-quality picture of your furry friend is only one click away.

A place for every pet

Does every furry friend have a shot at viral success? Probably not. After all, it takes more than cuteness to become a successful influencer.

But with more people following more pet accounts, there are several niches your pet can fill to create a brand that’s attractive to brands looking to work with a pet influencer.

 Gerald Ainomugisha is a Freelance Content Solutions Provider (CSP) offering both content and copy writing services for businesses of all kinds, especially in the niches of management, marketing and technology.