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8 August 2016

The moment your moggy becomes an online influencer

Written by: Terrie Barron, Senior Account Executive at Edelman

Consumer Trends & Insight

It’s a scientific fact that cats are poised to take over the universe, starting with a mission to fill the internet with fluff, paws and purrfection. Sorry I couldn’t help myself.

Today is International Cat Day, a public awareness day created by the International Fund of Animal Welfare. To join in with the festivities, I recently created an Instagram account for my cat Mr Jinks as a social media experiment. It’s not as bizarre as you may think it sounds. Famous pets are among the ever expanding list of online influencers. Grumpy Cat and Kuli the one-eyed surfing cat are a couple of names that spring to mind right away for me.

So what exactly made me want to write this blog? To be honest I’m cat mad. But also, because the world of communications we live in has drastically changed over the last few years and will continue to do so. As a communications professional, it’s important to be fully aware of all the main online influencers (albeit mostly human). Clients are now looking beyond traditional media outlets to drive awareness and results. And they’re looking towards influencers to do just that.

Influencers can be described as individuals who have the ability to sway the sentiments of their online audience in a particular direction, be it regarding a brand, idea, business or person. The 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer found that today, influence decidedly rests on the mass population. Peer-influenced media – including search and social – now represents two of the three most-used sources of information by the general population. And in terms of frequency and use, both search and social now outrank every traditional source of information, with the exception of television.

eMarketer recently reported that “as concerns about ad blocking grow, influencer marketing is becoming more important to brands” as “digital agency executives also report rising interest in influencer marketing among their clients.” Although there are no exact estimations of the scale of influencer marketing to business, a study by Augure’s found that 61 per cent of US marketers planned to increase influencer marketing budgets in 2015, whilst in Europe it seems the trend is still catching on with just 20 per cent of respondents expecting increases.

Now, as a communications marketing professional imagine that a cat is chosen to front your client’s next big campaign. And it turns out to be the most successful yet because of the influence that furry feline has over the digital landscape. Now there’s some paws for thought.

Cat GIF via GIPHY

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