Scroll through any social media feed and you’re likely to see at least one picture of someone’s pet. It’s not your imagination, increased pet ownership is shifting consumer preference and disrupting industries in unusual ways. Currently, 73% of millennials currently own a pet – the highest percentage of any demographic to own pets. And millennial preference towards pets is showing in purchase behavior. According to Realtor.com, “79% of pet-owning homebuyers who closed on a home in 2018 said they would pass up an otherwise perfect home if it didn’t meet the needs of their pets.”
Whether your brand is selling products intended mainly for pets or not, attracting this potential audience to your company could unlock hidden revenue that your brand would otherwise miss. How can your brand appeal to these paw-rents? The secret is in the content.
User-Generated Content and Pet Lovers
User-generated content is the perfect tactic for brands that want to feature pets and reach pet owners. With UGC, brands can highlight the ways pet lovers use products or services, whether the products are meant for pets or not. That content can then be transformed into marketing content that is authentic and makes users feel connected to the brand. Followers want to engage with brands they like, and user-generated content is a mutually beneficial way for brands to respond to that preference.
Brands Who are Winning with Pet Lovers
The key to sourcing effective user-generated content is making the ask clear and compelling. Social media is built on our desire to share our content and engage with others online and brands can harness that to create great UGC and drive engagement, but a clear call-to-action can have a major, positive impact on the quality of content that is created.
Brands can ask followers to post a photo of their pet with a specific product or to share content of their pet joining them in an activity where they use that product. Pets are an important part of many peoples’ lives, and brands can show that their product is, too.
Isle Surf & SUP
For example, Pixlee customer Isle Surf & SUP recognized the value of their community but wanted to do more to engage their audience. Isle used Pixlee-powered UGC in a blog post to highlight why customers love their inflatable paddleboards. The post led to a 7.6% conversion rate from blog post to purchase and source images that can be used in social ads, emails, and more. Many of these images featured Isle’s customers with their furry surfing and paddling friends and favorite stories from taking their pets on adventures.
The online furniture company, Article, recently held a contest called “Perfect for Sharing” that asked customers to post a photo of their Burrard sofa and finish the sentence “My Burrard is perfect for…” in their caption. Naturally, some Article customers shared photos of their pets enjoying the cozy couches in their submissions.
Radio Flyer–known for their iconic red wagon–celebrated “Little Red Wagon Day” earlier this year. The company invited fans and followers to join in the celebration by sharing photos, stories, and memories with the #LittleRedWagonDay hashtag. Customers shared adorable photos of cute kids and four-pawed family members to celebrate. These photos became part of Radio Flyer’s online, shoppable photo gallery–a great way to leverage UGC created by the campaign.
Traveling with pets can often be a challenge, but not with Kimpton Hotels. Every one of their boutique hotels is pet-friendly–whether those pets have fur, feathers, or scales. Kimpton takes “pet-friendly” to a whole new level, providing treats for pets and (at select hotels) special Directors of Pet Relations. Travelers and guests can rest easy knowing their pets are as pampered as they are. Kimpton highlights their pet-policy in their social media, most recently through their #INK48 campaign, which invites guests of the new Hell’s Kitchen, NY boutique hotel to share photos of their stay. Both human and animal guests get the luxury experience at Kimpton Hotels.
With today’s consumers treating pets more like members of the family, brands can engage with a big portion of their audience by featuring pets in their ads and marketing content. For brands that don’t sell pet products, sourcing photos, and videos through UGC is a great way to increase brand awareness, drive engagement, and interact with current pet-owning customers who may feel otherwise isolated by the brand’s content.