The UK is well documented as a nation of animal lovers, so it should come as no surprise that we have just as avid an interest in our furry friends on social media as we do in the real world. However, with an uphill battle on its hands of rehoming thousands of abandoned pets each year, Blue Cross was more aware than most of how important it is to put love above likes when it comes to picking our new furry #bffs – so we decided to dig a little deeper into just how we decide on what pet to bring into our family, using a combination of consumer and desk research.
Our survey of pet-loving Brits revealed one in seven (14%) people would choose a specific breed of cat or dog based on the number of “likes” they think the pet will get on social media; a tendency which is arguably consequential of the explosion of pet content online in the last few years.
Our research also showed that over two thirds of Brits (67%) follow a feed on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest that is “run by” or dedicated to a specific breed or animal, while 10% of us follow over 10 animal accounts.
Now, we know a quick browse through our website is more than enough to determine that plenty of Cows probably fall into that category – so we’re not dissing a healthy appreciation of great pet photos!
However, the research did suggest a direct connection between the quantity of pet images on social media and the breeds Britons choose to bring into their homes: one in six (12%) pet owners or would-be pet owners said that although they conducted thorough research into a certain breed before choosing their new pet, they were initially attracted to the breed because of images seen on social media.
And you can’t point the finger at us there – office dog Maya is all mongrel, and we wouldn’t change her for anything.
Arguably in order to satisfy our love of pet photos, but mainly in order to back up our findings, we dove deep into the top Instagram hashtags to create a league table of the most Instagrammed cat and dog breeds today:
TOP 15 DOGS BY HASHTAG USE:
TOP 15 CATS BY HASHTAG USE:
The tables revealed a trend amongst dog lovers in particular to focus on breeds on social media: there are just 159,603 uses of #mongrel and 735,035 uses of #mixbreed compared to the tens of millions of breed hashtags – meaning they don’t feature anywhere near the top 15. The press release was packaged up with a few adorable photos of …er, “unique” pets in the care of Blue Cross rehoming centres and drafted some extremely helpful tips on capturing your pets’ best side, and getting ALL the likes on your post – no matter what the breed or cross, and the package sold in to all the usual suspects across national, lifestyle and pet media. The result was a big 👍 from the media – 48 in total including 3 national print pieces in the Daily Star, Metro and The Sun, 40-odd pieces of regional coverage in high-circulation titles such as The Yorkshire Evening Post, and a special piece on BBC Radio Kent.