Leveraging Pet Influencers To Reach New Customers
Pet influencers' furry faces, cute eyes, and paw-tastic personalities have won the hearts of millions on social media. Mostly because animals have become more than just pets. People now treat their fur babies as a part of their family, addressing themselves as pet parents rather than pet owners.
This shift in the pet ownership behavior has led to a massive growth in the pet influencer marketing industry. Around 66% of USA households now own a pet and the majority share snippets of their life on social media, encouraging non-pet brands to capitalize on the growing influence of animal content creators.
According to affable.ai’s findings, the content generated by pet influencers increased by a whopping 32% in the last 2 years, suggesting that even non-pet businesses have jumped on the pet influencer marketing bandwagon. While Instagram pet influencers generated 18.8k sponsored posts in 2021, it jumped to 23.1k in 2022, indicating that even non-pet brands have jumped on the pet influencer bandwagon. It comes as no surprise that dogs ruled the concrete runway of the New York Fashion Week Fall 2023 Street Style, the most-awaited fashion event in America.
Pet influencers are the ultimate showstoppers when it comes to attracting the eyeballs of millions. Non-pet brands, such as those in the beauty and fashion industries, can use these animal influencers to reach prospective customers through their pets.
According to affable.ai's data, the USA has already become a major market for pet influencer marketing. Brands like Dyson, Mercedez, Notion, Gucci, and more target pet parents through furry influencers, with micro-influencers (10k-50k followers) driving spectacular engagement rates. These influencers usually use Instagram to share aesthetic images, short videos, and stories with their followers.
With International Cat Day, International Dog Day, and World Animal Day coming up in the next few months, this is the perfect time for your brand to cook up exciting pet influencer marketing campaigns. You can also leverage them for your upcoming holiday season influencer campaigns like Nordstrom hired Boobie Billie, the most fashionable dog on Instagram, for their 2022 Christmas influencer campaign.
But before that, let's understand the booming pet influencer marketing industry. We've included how to use pet influencers for your brand, best practices, and Instagram's top 10 pet influencers.
Let's dive in!
Unraveling the surging pet influencers industry
Considering the growing pet market, the popularity of pet influencer marketing comes as no surprise. The landscape witnessed a surge in 2022 as the content generated by pet influencers jumped from 2.9 million in 2021 to 4.1 million. The number of sponsored content generated by pet influencers in 2021 increased by 20%, indicating that brands across industries are using pet influencers to share authentic content.
The micro pet influencers garner the most engagement and have authentic connections with their audience. These animal content creators help brands reach their target audience and boost sales by building trust in customers. According to affable.ai’s data, there are over 24.5k pet micro influencers on Instagram, followed by nano (5k-10k followers) and mid-tier influencers (50k-100k followers).
Among countries, the USA is the largest market for pet influencer marketing compared to SEA regions and India. With over 58k pet influencers in the region, the USA reigns in the industry as more and more pet parents get online to share their fur baby’s life experiences. Not just that. The pet influencers in the USA foster a high engagement rate of 3.42%, indicating that people in the USA engage more with animal content.
When it comes to sharing picturesque images of fur babies, Instagram is the top choice. Pet influencers typically use Instagram to share images, short videos, and stories with their followers. Instagram’s user-friendly feature updates, content monetization tools, and more allow these influencers to share authentic content and monetize it. It also enables them to build a community on the platform, helping them to facilitate genuine relationships.
After Instagram, TikTok and YouTube are the preferred choices. Pet influencers use these social media platforms to share engaging and educational content with their followers.
How pet influencer marketing can power up sales for non-pet brands?
Pet influencers are pet parents running a social media account with their pets being the star of the page. These animal influencer pages publish content to promote products, brands, and services across social media. These accounts can include dog and cat pages like @jiffpom and @nala_cat) or other unconventional pets like @hershell_the_turtle, @yaboi_toby_toad, @estherthewonderpig, and more.
Animal influencers are not just about viral cat memes and cute puppy videos. Pet brands know how pet influencers can help reach new market segments. Their influence goes way beyond pet food and toys. Businesses in the lifestyle, fashion, food and beverages, and even technology industries can boost sales and connect with prospective customers with pet influencers.
Pet content creators have a loyal and engaged fan base, which helps brands form genuine customer relationships.
Here's why petfluencers are the right choice for your next campaign:
1. They make great ambassadors for non-pet brands
Pet influencers target a wider audience segment. Since everyone loves watching animals on their feed, a diverse audience engages with the content shared by pet influencers. This means your beauty, fashion, lifestyle, food and beverage customers are following these pet influencers. By partnering with them you can reach this untapped audience, pulling in more traffic and leads.
2. They generate high engagement rates
Pet influencers garner more engagement rates than other types of influencers. People are more likely to hit the like button, share or comment on videos and photos shared by pet content creators. So if you’ve collaborated with an animal influencer and they talk about your brand, the audience is more likely to engage with and even buy your product.
3. They are trusted by consumers
Consumers trust pet influencers more than human creators. It’s just the way we are wired. Human influencers can often come off as unauthentic and salesy, but with pet influencers that’s not the case. Pet influencers foster positive sentiments from followers.
Nisarg Shah, Co-Founder and CEO at affable.ai, told Campaign Asia that pet influencers garner more positive reactions and higher engagement. He says. “Just the top 10 influencers across 10 Asian countries on Instagram give brands a reach of 308 million followers. There's nothing more thumb-stopping than cute furry friends to drive engagement.”
4. They help establish an emotional connection
Pet social media content often reminds people of their own pets, which instantly triggers an emotional connection in them. Brands can leverage this emotional connection to put forward their products and directly connect with the target audience.
5. They are great for posting educational content
Pet parents, who can be professional vets or animal rescuers who know what works or doesn't work for most animals, manage these pet influencer accounts. They are perfect when it comes to educating customers about a product or brand.
6. They boost brand visibility
Pet influencers have the potential to make your content go viral. Since consumers love sharing adorable cat and dog videos, your brand can reach millions of eyeballs. This also helps churn more traffic and leads for your product.
Leading industries leveraging pet influencer marketing (with examples)
Here’s how brands across sectors can leverage pet influencer marketing:
1. Fashion - Zales x Vera Wang
Zales, the American Jewelry retailer and luxury fashion company Vera Wang executed an interesting pet influencer campaign in 2021. The two companies launched a video series featuring Lola Wang (Vera Wang’s dog) and the hottest pet influencers on Instagram, including Boobie Billie, Mrs. Maverick, Pavlov, Darrell, Brodie, and more. The video series “Furever Love” features Lola Wang looking for her forever match among the pet influencers. The series was a hit amongst the animal loving community, engaging and entertaining thousands of viewers. This campaign is an outstanding example of how pet influencers target a diverse audience and can drive engagement across niches.
2. Automobile - Mercedes Benz
In 2016, the automobile giant Mercedes Benz partnered with Loki the Wolfdog, a popular pet influencer, and his pet parent Kelly Lund. Loki is a hybrid breed – a cross between a Siberian Husky and an Arctic fox, and boasts more than 1 million followers on his Instagram page.
Mercedes Benz released a short film named Loki, featuring the dog and his human parent in Colorado (Loki’s hometown). The short film engages the audience by sharing the story about Loki and Kelly's friendship. The video went viral and received a whopping 4 million views.
The campaign was a success as it stirred the audience's emotions and reminded them of the beautiful relationship between humans and animals. After the video’s release, Loki's social media page flooded with viewers and his post featuring Mercedes Benz received more than 57K likes.
3. Technology - Dyson
Dyson, a well-known technology brand in the USA, promoted its vacuum cleaners with pet influencers. Since pet parents are a key demographic for the brand, it collaborated with 5 dog influencers. The brand asked pet influencers to share entertaining posts and videos of how they cleaned up after their pets using Dyson’s vacuum cleaners. The outcome: Dyson amassed over 1 million views, 115k likes, and 10% engagement rate, according to Smartfluence.
The viral influencer marketing strategy enables Dyson to:
- Reach an untapped audience segment
- Boost social media engagements
- Create tons of shareable content
- Go viral
- Boost sales
Dyson has successfully become a must-have product for pet parents.
4. B2B - Notion and Boobie Billie
Who said pet influencers can only endorse consumer products? Notion, the B2B task management application hired Boobie Billie, the most fashionable dog on social media, to promote its software. The B2B company designed a template specific to Boobie Billie to get her followers to use their software. The campaign was targeted at holiday season shoppers looking to increase their productivity in the new year.
Notion’s campaign was a smart move to get animal lovers to download their own management template from the application and start planning their year ahead! Needless to say, Boobie’s followers loved the idea of a custom template featuring Boobie.
5. Food and beverages - Incogmeato
Incogmeato, the vegan food line launched by Kellogg’s subsidiary MorningFarms, partnered with several animal creators to promote their mock meat products. The campaign featured three pet influencers perfect for promoting vegan food - @SammiChicken, @Prissy_Pig, and @BuckleyTheHighlandCow. The influencers shared an image of themselves with the food product, encouraging audiences to go vegan.
Best practices to scale a pet influencer marketing campaign
1. Right branding and positioning
It is easier for pet brands to collaborate with pets and create relatable content. But for a non-pet brand, it might be tricky to win the consumer's trust through pet influencers. Consumers are savvy enough to figure out your marketing techniques, so your content should make sense and show consumers why you're using a pet influencer for a non-pet product.
Ulta Beauty did a great job at this in their pet influencer marketing campaign, where they partnered with JiffPom, a popular pomeranian influencer, to promote their products as animal and environment-friendly.
If you, too, want to follow the steps of Ulta Beauty and run a successful pet influencer marketing campaign, then affable.ai, an influencer marketing platform, can help. Its competitor analysis and market trends feature allow you to discover the latest content trends on social media and learn what your competitors are up to, giving you an upper hand in using the pet influencers correctly.
2. Thoughtful strategy building
You will need a well-thought strategy for a pet influencer marketing campaign to succeed. So making sure you have considered all the following elements will help you deliver the message in the right way.
- Communication: Smooth communication is key when collaborating with pet influencers. Similar to other campaigns, you will need to draft contracts, handle negotiations, manage product deliveries, and other processes.
- Right social media platform: Picking the right platform is equally important as your strategy will depend greatly on the channel and its target audience. For example, if you choose Instagram, then you will have to create different content formats like still images, reels, stories, etc., but if you choose TikTok, you just have to focus on videos. Or you can mix and match and use multiple platforms for your campaign as long as it helps you achieve your goals.
- Type and number of influencers: Based on the budget, brands can pick different types of influencers, including micro, macro, or even nano creators. For example, a brand may work with a few macro-influencers with more than 100K followers or with a more significant number of smaller influencers like micro or nano pet influencers.
For example, Frenchie Bulldog, a pet supply brand, uses a mix of micro and celebrity animal influencers. They have a dedicated team of 90 micro pet creators and 30 celebrity influencers who promote their leashes, harnesses, and other products.
3. Data-driven pet influencer selection
Like any other influencer marketing campaign, choosing the right pet influencers on social media is important. Picking just any cute animal won't do. It is crucial to find creators with the right target audience, high engagement, creative content, authentic followers, and whose personality aligns with your product's core features.
An effective way to make campaign management easier is using data-driven influencer marketing through affable.ai. It is an influencer marketing platform that helps brands and agencies connect with talented pet creators. You can discover, manage, and track influencers all in one place, so you can focus on community building.
Top 10 Pet influencers on Instagram based in the USA
1. Jiff the Pomeranian (@jiffpom) – 9.7m followers
Jiff is the most popular dog influencer on the internet. This cute little furball has more than 9 million followers worldwide on Instagram who loves to see him living his best life. Jiff is a stylish dog who likes to play dress-up and has been approached by numerous brands in multiple sectors, including Ulta Beauty, Farmville, JUST RIGHT by Purina, Cadbury USA, KVD Beauty, and more such brands.
2. Nala Cat (@nala_cat) – 4.5m followers
Nala, a shelter-adopted cat loved by 4.5 million followers, is a top pet influencer on Instagram. She is the cutest Guinness world record holder and owns her premium cat food brand – Love Nala. She has also worked with multiple brands, including Chicken and Klink, OmletUSA, HappyandPolly pet supplies, and more companies in the food and pet supply industries.
3. Tucker The Golden Retriever (@tuckerbudzyn) – 3.3m followers
Tucker is a healthy and happy golden retriever who lives in Michigan, USA. This furry influencer boasts 3.3 million followers and collaborates with brands like Lucy & co., TruDog, Big Barker Dog Beds, BarkBox, and more, in pet accessories, food, and other sectors. His social media displays content related to dog lifestyle and fashion.
4. Juniper & Friends (@juniperfoxx) – 3m followers
Juniper is a rescued exotic fox living her life with pet raccoons, dogs, and possums. Her cute activities have won millions of followers on Instagram. Her brand collaborations include Farmville, BarkBox, We Feed Raw, and more brands in the pet industry.
5. Venus The Two Face Cat (@venustwofacecat) – 2.2m followers
Venus is a pretty little USA-based cat famous for her distinctive two-colored face. Venus's Instagram page has content about her cat friends, brand collaborations, and lifestyle. Venus has collaborated with Litter Genie, Vetster Inc., The Catfe, Fancy Feast, and more brands.
6. Coby the Cat (@cobythecat) – 1.9m followers
Coby is an Instagram and TikTok pet star based in California. This blue-eyed cat is famous for her beautiful white fur and blue eyes. Brands like Litter Robot by Whisker, Zoetis Petcare, Edible Pets, Purina, Spotify, and more have reached out to her to endorse products in pet and other industries. Her Instagram page shows her dressed up in several cute attires. She is a true fashionista!
7. Hamilton the Hipster Cat (@hamilton_the_hipster_cat) – 741k followers
Hamilton is famous for his unusual human-looking curly white mustache, which makes him look hip and stylish. His sensational mustache has made him become a social media star with thousands of Instagram fans. PrettyLitter, FancyFeast, Pet Armor, and FreshStep, are some brands that have reached out and collaborated with Hamilton. His Instagram page features him living a spoiled pet life with other kitties and dogs in his family. He is also an advocate for #adoptdontshop.
8. Geordi La Corgi & Scotty (@lacorgie) – 549k followers
Geordi and Scotty are two corgi brothers who live in Los Angeles and are one of the top pet influencers in the USA. The cuteness of these corgis has bagged more than 15K likes on their social media pages. Their educational content includes topics like their favorite treats, nail grinding tips, behavior medication, and breeding practices. Brands like Catto Outdoors, Bark, Primal Pet Foods, and Chewy have collaborated with both the dog brothers.
9. Hamlet The Piggy (@hamlet_the_piggy) – 330K followers
Besides cats and dogs, pigs can also be social media celebrities! This cute little pig, Hamlet, is one of them. She's a fashionable piggy who has her social media followers in awe. Her content mostly includes snippets of her life with her pet parent. Based in Nashville, she loves posing in front of the camera in cute attires. The Vegan Box, Vegan Bowls, Cadbury USA, and Chewsy, love her content and have collaborated with her for their pet influencer marketing campaigns.
10. Remix the Dog (@remixthedog) – 145k followers
Remix is a hipster fashion-loving dog who loves to dress up. His mustache and cute little face covered with fur make him a social media sensation. The bearded pup flaunts dog hoodies and more dog world accessories and apparel. This Miami-based dog influencer has been featured on ELLE, Mr. Porter, Glamour, and many more. Besides fashion and grooming pics, his content includes brand promotions with Cesar, Curex, Dream Bone, TruDog, and other brands.
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To Sum Up
Pet influencer marketing is an effective way for brands in multiple sectors to reach their target audience. But landing the right petfluencer and managing the entire campaign can be challenging for some brands or agencies.
There is always a likelihood of pet influencers not having the right audience or being unable to create engaging content. Their pet parents are busy and don't understand the hard work behind creating a successful pet social media account.
However, an influencer marketing platform such as affable.ai can help brands and agencies find authentic petfluencers, manage influencer relationships, and analyze their success.
Get a free trial to learn how affable.ai can help you run a world-class pet influencer marketing campaign.