Animals or Micro Influencers: Which Marketing Strategies Do People Respond To?

Tuesday Sep 18th, 2018

Animals and Influencers Feature Image

With new trends come evolving marketing strategies. Advertisers are looking for modern, effective methods of reaching consumers.

Gone are the days of receiving positive responses through spammy direct mailing, infomercials with tacky testimonials, and pushy telemarketing from spoof numbers. Instead, marketing moguls are focusing their efforts on where the people are, which happens to be on social media.

But what kinds of branded messaging are people responding to?

What are the images that compel consumers to take the plunge?

Using Pets in Advertisements

Animals have been present in advertising as long as advertising agencies have been in business. This is likely due to the emotional responses that animals trigger in humans; in fact, Northwestern Oklahoma State University found that people may be genetically predisposed to be captivated by animals.

Marketers use this natural inclination to define brand identity, create brand mascots, and establish a culture directly associated with an animal’s symbolism.

Many major companies have successfully capitalized on their use of animals in advertising. A few well-known examples include:

  • Frosted Flakes’ Tony the Tiger
  • Geico’s Gecko
  • Aflac’s Duck
  • Energizer’s Bunny

Some companies establish an animal as a part of their brand’s logo, as seen in:

  • Twitter’s bird
  • TripAdvisor’s owl
  • Hootsuite’s owl
  • Lacoste’s gator

Other companies even decide to use an animal as their company’s name:

  • Camel
  • Dove
  • Puma
  • Jaguar

Perhaps one major reason for representing a brand with an animal is the use of symbolism. Animals are consistently associated with different human qualities, such as busy bees, sly foxes, and loyal canines.

Companies can use these common tropes to portray their products through a lens that consumers recognize, with the hope that buyers will then start to establish a brand awareness directly connected to these animals. However, pets are not the only avenue to reaching an audience.

Using Micro Influencers For Advertising

According to estimates by AdWeek, the influencer marketing industry is set to reach $10 billion by 2020, and there’s a reason for this rapid growth—it works!

Research from Twitter suggests almost 40% of users have purchased a product that was tweeted about by an influencer. This is likely due to the fact that consumers follow influencers on social platforms and invest emotionally in their lives, a commitment that establishes a trust in the information being broadcasted.

Influencers and micro influencers are able to seamlessly integrate a product or service directly into their online narrative. This usually improves consumer believability in a product’s worth, even if the influencer has declared that they are being paid to post about the item.

Instagram is especially popular for influencers, as the platform has seen incredible growth in sponsored influencer posts in the past two years (sponsored posts have more than tripled since 2016). Using influencer marketing has also created a way for advertisers to work around the ever-popular ad-blocker, which nowadays blocks ads that likely would not have convinced consumers to make a purchase anyway.

Seeing a product in use makes it much easier for a buyer to visualize the product in his or her own life, which possibly explains the increasing popularity of influencer marketing.

Employing micro influencers has become especially popular among businesses, as this type of influencer has around 25,000 followers and can use their high levels of engagement to promote relevant products that align with their personal brands.

Micro influencers can showcase products directly on their Instagram posts and stories, making room for consumers to instantly purchase the products being featured. So let consider what we’ve learned. Animals and influencers are statistically proven methods of reaching an audience. So, what can you do with that information?

Why Not Use Both?

Animals and Influencers Feature Image Onepage 2 Popular among Instagram followers are pet influencers, who combine animal advertising with social media marketing. Thousands of people have created Instagram accounts solely for their pets, and some of those accounts have garnered hundreds of thousands (and sometimes millions) of followers.

It follows then that these accounts would capitalize on this following and establish a social influencing campaign with their pets as ambassadors. Although the FTC regulations do require transparency, most people scrolling through Instagram either don’t notice that they are viewing an advertisement or they simply don’t care because of the fuzzy face in front of them. If your fluff ball is cute enough to take over the digital world, you might as well use the emotions that humans already associate with animals to promote relevant brands with those big ears and wagging tails.

Find A Pet Influencer

So how can you find some super cute, furry ambassadors to show off your cool products? ApexDrop can connect you with the animal micro-influencers that best suit your brand. We offer customizable, affordable campaigns that perfectly match those big bug eyes and tiny wet noses with your ideal marketing efforts. Contact us to get started and learn how your company can get noticed.