Thursday, 16 August 2012

Social ‘Petworking’ on the rise

Social ‘Petworking’ on the rise
- Hounds are ‘top dog’ on social media compared to cats -
Andy Murray’s dog Maggie May has posed with his Olympic medal on Twitter and Karl Lagerfeld’s cat Choupette gives fashion advice to her followers. It’s 2012 and pets on the net are bigger, better and fluffier than ever; the nation’s obsession with their pets means we are increasingly likely to give pets their own social media status from sharing photos to tweeting their thoughts.

Research from Petplan, the UK’s largest pet insurer, and host to one of the most engaged Facebook pages in the UK,[1]  reveals a 36% annual increase of pets with their own social media profile, as well as a 25% rise of pet owners sharing photos of their pets online.

Cats have traditionally dominated the World Wide Web but now it’s the socially savvy hounds who are the true social ‘petworkers’ as 7% of pooches have their own Facebook page, compared to only 4% of felines. Boo, nicknamed ‘the world’s cutest dog’ started and still leads the online trend. Currently Facebook’s most popular pet, this adorable Pomeranian has more fans than the Dalai Lama.[2] Along with Boo, four out of the top five most popular pets on Facebook are dogs including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s pooch Beast. Since the explosion in popularity of Britain’s Got Talent winner Pudsey, dogs are now 12 times more talked about on Twitter than cats.[3] Dogs also dominate YouTube with ‘the ultimate dog tease’ being the most popular pet video with over 100 million views.[4]

Despite dogs’ dominance online, cats are still strongly represented. 83% of cat owners who put their pets online also regularly share photos of their felines compared to 69% of dog owners.  Although it seems that pup parents demonstrate a greater sense of humour with 42% posting status updates on behalf of their dog.

Francesca Keefe, Petplan Social Media Executive comments: “We’ve long known that animals are the stars of the internet, but in the last year since we started tracking pets’ presence online there has been an explosion in ‘pet pride.’ Increasingly pet owners are giving their pets a more active role in their life and spreading the joy that having a pet can bring. As well as the fun side of social media, we’re also seeing more and more pet owners take to Twitter as an effective way to look for lost pets.”

Jan Rezab CEO at Social Bakers comments: “As a global social media and digital analytics company we track online engagement levels across Facebook and Twitter and over the last year we have seen a significant rise in the interaction with pets on social media. There are many social media profiles dedicated to pets, but at the top of our Facebook pages, in the animals category, are dogs with cats coming in fifth.”

Case Study
Denver the dog, owned by Morgan Taylor
Someone who has experienced the phenomenon of social petworking first hand is Morgan Taylor, owner of Denver, a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. Morgan started taking photos of Denver because he was his first puppy, and he wanted to capture those moments before they disappeared into memories.  He added the photos to his Flickr account under his "Littlest Duder" set.

There was an instant interest in Denver and a picture of him in the
park made it to number 11 on Flickr’s Explore page. As page views of Denver went up, new people added him to their contacts, and Denver's fame train was solidly in motion. After that a number of people contacted Morgan asking if they could post his photos on their blogs, requests he always granted. was one of these blogs, and he regularly sees traffic coming through from that post. Another surge in popularity occurred when a friend posted one of Denver's photos to, resulting in 73,000 views to that photo in a single day and 147,000 total views to his Flickr stream.

The most recent surge came from the UK’s Daily Mail posting
an article on its website. Following this publication, The Huffington Post ran a similar piece, with further information about Denver; as a result Morgan received 248,000 page views of his Flickr page in a 24 hour period.

Notes to editors:

Pick of the best social media pets

Number of likes
Celebrity comparison
Number of likes
Dalai Lama
Gisele Bundchen
846, 086
310, 767
Stewie Griffin
306, 483
Mishka the talking husky
286, 450
Richard Branson
249, 964
Professor Meowingtons pHd
101, 870
Al Gore
81, 194

Number of followers
Maggie May
Choupette Lagerfeld

Number of views
The Ultimate Dog Tease

Statistics from a survey conducted by Vision Critical July 2012 and the Petplan Pet Census March 2011 both surveying over 1,000 respondents

*Facebook and Twitter statistics taken from August 2012
**YouTube statistics taken from June 2012

[2] Social Bakers figures taken August 2012 
[3] Radian6 figures taken between 1st April – 20th June 2012
[4] YouTube figures taken June 2012