I have a few confessions to make. This blog was not even meant to be. In fact, I was on a harmless search to find adorable animal memes related to influencer marketing (confession #1), and I stumbled upon a whole new world: the world of the furry influencer.

Second confession: I’m a sucker for those adorable animal memes as much as the next person. What’s more, I not only personally follow Boo on Instagram, the social media pop star Pomeranian, but his Facebook stickers are my favorite (confession #3).

Fourth and final confession is that I’m a bright gal, yet it had not even occurred to me that animals or as I am calling them, Petlebrities, are just as important and powerful influencer marketers as the next social media celebrity. Mainly because they are not human. Silly me, I should have known.

Experts aside, I will tell you what draws me into the world of pet stars. The animals themselves are irresistible, and combined with witty, sometimes #LOL memes, I am a huge fan. Looking at them is my daily dose of adorable. Just seeing Grumpy Cat’s face makes my day. Can you blame me?

Petlebrities Influen cers

These furry creatures are too adorable for words, but influencers? Really? You better believe it. Beginning with the basics, us humans are animal lovers, pet owners, and treat our pets as though they are children. In the past 20 years spending on pets tripled, estimated at $58.51 billion in 2014. Our history as pet owners reaches back about 33,000 years, when humans are thought to have first begun domesticating dogs. Not only do they increase joy, but it is also proven that pets can lower blood pressure and improve healing.

Enter the world of social media; pets are actually some of the most followed stars on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Would you believe that Boo has more followers than the NY Times, attention from celebrities, and a book deal? A mere 12M followers, #believeit. I even stumbled upon Grumpy Cat’s NY Time’s front page cover, featured in an article in The Social Petworkers, an e-magazine dedicated to the Petlebrity phenomenon. There are some awfully funny #petselfies floating around the net, and to answer your obvious question: NO! These animals are not running their own social media channels. There is a human behind every furry celebrity. A popular cat influencer, Annie from Meowkai, shares her thoughts:

Petlebrities Influencers

So what’s the real reason we care about pet personalities when all they really do is eat, sleep, and poo? Do you follow any of the pet celebs, and do you get tired of seeing their faces, day after day, sitting around doing nothing? Case in point. Not only are the owners behind the furry cuties taking prime time cuteness, they dress them up, use state of the art photography, stellar copy and catchy headlines. On top of that, the most famous pets tend to have a unique feature, such as a funny haircut or strange looking face that is laughable yet unbelievably cute. After only a few post viewings, it is really difficult to not follow these animal celebrities. Trend: in effect. Soon enough, one by one, people can’t help but jump on the adorableness bandwagon. I assure you, I thought it would never happen to me. Will you be next?

What are these cute little guys doing with their newfound celebrity and influencing power? Irene Ahn, Boo’s pet parent, has wanted nothing to do with his fame, and in fact did everything possible to remain anonymous. It was never her intention for Boo to become famous, though her open support of Boo could increase his success even more. Soon enough, however, this adorable pup’s own fame afforded him human celebrity endorsements by KeSha and Kim Kardashian, further bolstering his reach. Clearly his presence on Facebook denotes some serious influence, whether intentional influencer marketing or not.

Other famous pets are selling merchandise, writing books, and naturally, stepping into the role of influencer marketers for companies and brands. Grumpy Cat became the official “spokescat” of Friskies in Fall 2013. Funny-faced cat, Lil Bub has a deal with Urban Outfitters. What is most impressive is that Grumpy Cat and Lil Bub’s rise to fame was a result of an accidental front-page post on Reddit. Manny the Frenchie, French Bulldog, is an official representative for Barkbox, and his website supports ASPCA and American Cancer Society. He is buddies with Sir Charles Barkley, influencer for PetBox. Let’s be honest though, Sir Charles Barkley shows a lot of influence love: Cold Stone Creamery, Air Jordans, Gooby, Adidas, Spalding, Charles Barkley, natch. July 15th Boo jumped on the bandwagon in a big way announcing his partnership with Google Express.

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We all know that Influencer Marketing is the hottest new wave in digital marketing, and it seems these pets have been onto the trend for quite some time. Will yours be the next brand to join forces with one of the 23 Million pets working towards Petlebrity? Check out the top influencer marketing company.