5 Things Kitten Photos Can Teach Us About Internet Marketing

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Jaelithe Guillette Jul 12 2012

cat licking pawKittens 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.

#1 Make content easy to share

cat playingKitten 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.

#2 Appeal to a large audience

Kittens huggingFrom 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.

#3 Spread warm and fuzzy feelings

Kitten paw in handPeople 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.

#4 Make people laugh really hard in their cubicles

The San Dancer CatIf 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.

#5 Use photos whenever possible

cat in boxIf 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?

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tags : internet marketingkittensMarketing

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17 Comments

  1. Great post. Both informative and entertaining. I wonder what else Kittens can teach us.

  2. You know, we spend all this time trying to teach kittens how to live, teach them right from wrong. You hope they grow up strong and wise.

    Only later do we realize that they have been teaching us the whole time.

    • Well put Jack. Any critical component of the human experience is a good study for internet marketing. And today, that critical component is, well, kittens.

      We’re really just scratching the surface here. There are still puppies, pet turtles and goldfish to consider. Phew, I have many more posts to write.

    • lol. I like that. :)

  3. Kevin

    Like you can get your hair into an updo anyway… :)

  4. Kevin

    Nuts, that comment was meant for Ian. That’s what I get for reading in a feed first and not looking at the original post before shooting off my mouth.

    • HA, that’s OK, I can’t get mine in an updo either.

      Not everyone who uses Pinterest has the hand-eye coordination to make updos or Seasame Street cupcakes that don’t look like blobs of frosting.

  5. Joel

    I’m definitely not a cat person but you’re right, kittens are pretty dang cute. Can puppies teach us anything? I think so.

  6. I’m partial to the cat photos that have cats doing “invisible things”, but other than that, great kitty selection and great information!

  7. I wonder what makes kittens very adorable. My guess is it’s in their eyes. They certainly have that stare as if it’s piercing right into your soul. And their fluffy fur really looks so huggable.

    • It’s a combination of factors: First, they’re fuzzy. Second, they have those staring, oh-please-will-you-just-love-me eyes. Third, they’re potty trained almost instantly. Never underestimate the cuteness of a creature that doesn’t poop on your floor OR require diapers.

  8. Louann

    For the ultimate submersion in cute, compelling kitten-ness, check out kittentoob.com

  9. Jaelithe,
    Great post, and you are right, images do speak louder than words when it comes to internet marketing. Pictures help to relay whatever message you put out. It helps reinforce messages and ideas while also brightening your day!

  10. It’s true, ultimately people want to feel good on the internet, even if reading about fairly serious stuff. You have written a post about internet marketing and made it fun. That’s a great example in itself of what you are talking about. Great article!

  11. I love this post! Studying human behavior is one of the fascinating parts about internet marketing. Most times anything that people flock to in the online world is worthy of attention as far as IM is concerned. So this post is very relevant. Well done!

  12. Joe D

    You asked “will this enhance the life of the reader?” It seems like words reach readers less and less and only images draw a reaction. I could write the most descriptive caption of any one of those pictures and never get the reaction desired.

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