Social media influencers may not be a term anyone over the age of 40 fully understands, but it’s an important part of the digital ecosystem. For millennials or anyone that’s social media savvy, it provides an opportunity to bring in money in a new and creative way. It started with celebrities, then YouTube stars and, now, believe it or not — animals, dogs, specifically. Dogs can bring in hundreds of thousands of followers on social media, just like your favorite human celebrities.
According to AdWeek, “Dogs can fetch anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 per sponsored post on Instagram.” That’s a lot of money for a photo of your dog. So why are dogs getting all of this dough?
Also read: How to Make Your Dog InstaFamous
Loni Edwards, managing partner of The Dog Agency, an agency that specializes in brand deals for dogs, says, “There’s an innate positive feeling that a viewer has when they see a cute dog doing something. People feel a strong connection to animals that they see day in, day out on their feeds. You feel like you know them.”
Although $10,000 a post sounds like an absurd amount of money for a photo of your dog wearing a name-brand sweater, it’s a reality for many dog owners and almost anyone can do it.
Jon Huang and his girlfriend Amber Chavez own Manny the French bulldog. The couple started sharing photos and videos of their puppy for friends and family then slowly began gaining new followers every day. They now they have over 796,000 followers on Facebook and 643,000 on Instagram.
Also read: Does Your Dog Have a Napoleon Complex?
Manny has deals with Evanger’s Dog Food and Zico Coconut Water, among others. With all the merchandising, deals, fundraisers, appearances and travels his owners are now working full time with Manny. He brought in more than $100,000 dollars last year and went on a 15-state national tour.
Although these deals may seem lucrative, dogs are cheaper than hiring humans to represent your brand or product and they’re all around easier—they don’t speak, unless they’re asked to. But that may quickly change.
Animal-themed commercials dominated the top 20 advertisements in 2015. A BuzzFeed Video for Purina pet food was number 3 on the list and has been shared over 3 million times. The doggy advertising market is growing rapidly every year.
Also read: Are You a “Crazy” Dog Mom?
Dogs may seem like a far-fetched option for advertising executives but there’s a science to it.
According to the University of Hawaii, “Many marketing executives argue that advertisements using animals increases sales revenue by provoking positive emotions. Results of EEG studies have shown that when positive emotions were evoked during television commercials, the participants chose the product more often.”
“From a behavioral perspective, animals are important visual tools to prompt purchasing of the product/service. Simply stated, animals have a positive allure to them and they grab viewers’ attention. Research has shown that positive images provoke approach-related behaviors in humans. Therefore, advertisements using animals in humorous, symbolic, and attention getting manners are viewed as behavioral tactics. Similarly, the animal may be used as a symbol of power, strength, or status. Likewise, the presence of animals in advertisements places the persuasion process in motion and lessens the consumers’ resistance.”
Also read: 8 Laziest Dog Breeds
It’s not just smaller brands that are interested in social media dog influencers, either. JetBlue brought in several pet influencers, including Marnie the Dog, to set up a “Wooftop” garden in August 2015, an outdoor recreation area for travelers and their pets at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport.
United Airlines hired Sir Charles Barkley for its 2015 Christmas campaign. Also, Loki the Wolf Dog was the star of a new virtual reality campaign by Mercedes Benz for its 2017 GLS SUV, to name a few.
So is it really worth the time and effort to start an Instagram page for your dog? The answer is yes. Absolutely.
Speaking of Instagram dogs, here are the accounts you must follow: