Jaelithe Guillette // Jul 12 2012
Kittens rule the Internet. From the Jedi kittens of YouTube to the caption-savvy LOLcats, kittens are delighting nations. Sure, the occasional video of a laughing baby ripping paper or Darth Vader unicycling steals the viral spotlight, but kittens (and their older box-loving cat friends) have everyone from angsty adolescents to greying grandmas chuckling in pure bliss.
“They’re cute, so what?” you ask, twirling your mustache.
The reaction those cute little kitten photos conjure can teach us much about human behavior—and provide a great study for internet marketers looking for better link bait and increased interaction.
Kitten photos take two seconds to enjoy and share. All integral information exists in a single image, rendering kitten photos perfect for Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter. Much like a well-executed infographic, kitten photos are clear, concise, and effective because they make their point quickly. Sure, kitten photos don’t include the powerful stats and graphs that infographics do, but you can’t cuddle an infographic while watching Downton Abbey either.
From ironic hipster to kind-hearted cat lady, kitten photos engage a wide range of personalities and demographics. Sure, there are people who don’t like cats, but most people can find a soft, gooey part in their heart for a fuzzy little kitten. Kittens appeal to a gigantic range of people. To make a piece of content easy to share, make sure it’s approachable to (almost) everyone.
People like to spread goodness (people worth talking to, at least). Even if their own heart is ravaged by the harsh reality of rampant poverty, gas prices, and the latest Bachelor episode—they still want to share things that have the potential to create joy. With every piece of content you created you should ask the question: will this enhance the life of the reader? If your content makes someone’s day better, you’re on the right track.
If you read our post on humor and sharing behavior than you already know this—humor is reflective. If we share something funny, WE become funny by proxy. Cats are really funny. They look weird in clothes, they put their heads in things, they fall off tables, and they’re completely enamored of boxes. How better to supplement your street cred than with some cat pics that show how light-hearted and hilarious you are? If you share funny stuff, the links will come.
If Pinterest has taught us anything (besides how to make homemade lotion and put our hair into an updo) it’s taught us that people love images almost more than kittens. Images instantly deliver, are difficult to misinterpret, and can be easily seen on a myriad of mobile devices. Most readers prefer instant gratification. Studies show that people browse in an F-shaped pattern when reading web content. People view kitten photos in a heart-shaped pattern.
OK, that last part isn’t true.
But, there’s no disputing that images only take a glance. They’re the quickest way to communicate an idea and people like quick.
Whether you read this to learn about internet marketing or to enjoy the greatest kitten photos the Internet has to offer, either way, I hope it brightened your day.
Did I miss any critically-cute internet kittens?
Jaelithe Guillette is Associate Director of Content at Portent, Inc, an internet marketing company. She heads up the copy, social, and public relations teams and assists in creative campaigns, content strategy and driving traffic to client sites with out-of-the-box brainstorming and sharp SEO. Read More