Want More Traffic? Time To Let The Dogs Out

I love animals. I try to incorporate them into my work whenever it’s appropriate. I’m also not alone in my obsession. Animal pictures are constantly being shared and there are whole sites dedicated to cute animal photos.

This got me thinking – will animal pictures and references bring more traffic for non-animal businesses? I thought it would… and I was right.

Operation: Animals = More Traffic

As a writer for a marketing blog, I realized I couldn’t go too overboard. People aren’t subscribing for cute animal pictures; they want marketing advice. So last year I developed a plan to create a few blog posts that tie marketing advice to cute animal photos. I would compare the traffic to those posts with the traffic to other posts in that time frame. And so it began…


Post #1: Animals in Email Design: The Trick to Grabbing Your Readers’ Attention?

It made sense to kick off with a post presenting the theory to our readers. I pulled examples from both big and small businesses to show how they use animals in their email design.

The Results: The post received 40% more traffic than average that quarter.



Post #2: I Can Has Subscribers? 10 Things LOLCats Can Teach You About Email Marketing

This post was a fun one to create. I took images from LOLCats and turned them into lessons about email marketing.

The Results:The post received 28% more traffic than average that quarter.



Post #3: Anatomy of a Compelling Email from Dog’s Best Life

I was able to get creative with this one thanks to AWeber customer Sara Hansen who runs the website Dog’s Best Life. I noticed she had cool emails, so I shared one and compared it to the anatomy of a puppy.

The results: This one had the biggest response with 112% more traffic than average that quarter.



Post #4: What Our Pets Teach Us About Marketing Relationships

This post was similar to the LOLCats post, but I used personal pet photos from my fellow AWeber team members.

The Results: This post received 14% more traffic than average that quarter.



The Science Behind My Theory

In January 2013, Yahoo! published an article called “‘I Wanna Eat You Up!’ Why We Go Crazy For Cute.” The article reported on a study where participants were given bubble wrap and watched a slide show. Whenever a slide with a super cute animal came up, more bubbles were popped.

Maybe these popped bubbles can relate back to my results. If people are eager to move their hands and do something, maybe on the internet that equates to clicking to share it?

So Am I On To Something?

It’s tempting for me to declare that I’m 100% sure the results I got were directly related to the animals. But, alas, I cannot. Some factors that may have played a role:

  • My writing tends to improve when I’m writing about something I’m excited about
  • People may be more interested in one topic over another
  • Certain subject lines are more catchy than others

Rest assured, I’ll continue to monitor this. And here’s something to take the cuteness level of this post up a notch:

What Do You Think?

Is this something you’d try in your own marketing? Are you more likely to read a post with a cute animal in it? And how cute is my cat Sassy?