how to effectively target pet owners through paid ads

American pet owners are some of the largest online funders, with pet food and supplies second only to vitamins for e-commerce.

Pet owners are among the largest online donors

Online spending for this $ 70 billion industry is increasing year on year.

In fact, direct-to-consumer (DTC) pet brands have become increasingly popular, with online sellers of pet products growing at an average annual growth rate of 24 percent for five years.

From specialty foods to dog raincoats, desirable pet products can be very specific. With paid ads for search queries and social networks, you can bid on relevant keywords to reach an audience that is a perfect fit for your brand.

In this article, I'm going to give you nine ways to use paid ads that you can effectively market to pet owners.

9 ways to target pet owners with paid ads

Downtown Pet Supply, an Illinois-based company that makes its own products and sells them both online and in-store, wanted to improve their e-commerce sales and increase customer reach.

They reached out to the marketing firm Tinuiti (then called CPC Strategy) to help them do this through Amazon. Tinuiti decided to use Amazon coupons aimed at pet owners based on their Amazon search history.

After a year, Downtown Pet Supply's sales increased 40 percent and advertising expenses (ACoS) increased 18 percent.

This is the ability to use paid ads for pet owners.

Common Thread Collective reports that 13 percent of pet supplies sales come from e-commerce channels – and that this is expected to increase dramatically over the next few years.

Target audience for pet owners through paid ads - pet owners buy 13 percent of products online

The expected increase in ecommerce pet supplies purchases is largely driven by convenience and value. However, shoppers also appreciate being able to find more choices and compare prices more easily than in brick and mortar stores.

Even for brick-and-mortar companies, paid advertising campaigns can increase customer reach and raise awareness of their brands.

Here are the best ways to harness the power of paid ads and help your business grow sales.

1. Answer the questions from the pet owners

When pet owners go online, they are looking for a solution to an immediate problem. Your pet may be sick and you want to know why. You may need chew toys or a scratching post. Or they are simply looking for a convenient place to buy everyday pet supplies.

The most common question pet owners ask is "Why?"

Here are the top 10 questions pet owners ask Google:

Why do dogs:

  1. Lick?
  2. Eat grass?
  3. Eat poop?
  4. Howl?
  5. Humpback?
  6. Odor?
  7. Bark?
  8. Shake?
  9. Scratch?
  10. Bite?

Why cats:

  1. Purr?
  2. Knead?
  3. Lick?
  4. Meow?
  5. Bite?
  6. Rub?
  7. Scratch?
  8. Eat grass?
  9. Sleep so much?
  10. Like boxes?

Each of these questions represents a micro-moment that ads or content marketing can answer for brands. They also create starting points for keyword research.

2. Use content marketing

Typically, your content marketing addresses these micro-moments for your users. Blog posts and articles can answer these questions about health, feeding, grooming, and other questions.

However, you don't have to rely solely on SEO to find these posts. You can also use social networks to promote your posts on platforms that you know will be used by your audience.

PetPlate, a canine subscription service, created this promoted pin on Pinterest to post a blog post titled "Tips For Greeting A New Puppy Into Your Home."

Pet owners can find brands like PetPlate on social media

By directing users to their blog posts via Pinterest ads, PetPlate not only increases brand awareness, but also establishes itself as a thought leader in their field.

3. Research keywords usage by animal owners

A major benefit of paid ads is keyword reliability. With organic search, you are essentially making a well-researched guess as to which keywords will work.

With paid ads on Google, Facebook, and other platforms, you are bidding on keywords that are already performing. High-performing keywords cost more, but they may not be the keywords you want.

Instead of getting lost in a sea of ​​ads vying for the most popular keywords, try to find less expensive, lower but steady performing keywords.

For example, "pet beds" is a general, popular keyword that many companies are bidding on. However, if you sell "machine washable cat beds," for example, you should search for these keywords instead.

In any case, make sure that your keywords match your target audience as well as your product or service.

Pro tip: If you want to drive traffic to your products, add the word "buy" before a keyword. For example, for "Pet Beds", try "Buy Pet Beds".

4. Research your social media platforms

According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), millennials are the largest demographic of pets in the United States.

Bob Vetere, President and CEO of APPA, said, “We know this generation is willing to pay more for quality products and services to improve the health and wellbeing of their pets. Pet owners now more than ever consider their pets an irreplaceable member of their family and life, and it is thanks to this that we continue to see such incredible growth in the pet care community. "

According to a study by online retailer Zulily, 77 percent of millennials prefer to buy certain pet products – toys, accessories, and groceries – online. However, there are no pet products these days that are all in store. Hence, it is important to know where you can reach this audience.

Fortunately – or unfortunately, depending on how you see it -. “Millennials use a variety of platforms as many platforms were released during their childhood. Facebook is the platform they use the most, often several times a day, followed by YouTube and Instagram, ”said GenGuru.

Since growing up with the advent of social media, they have featured on pretty much every other social media website as well. Trying out all sorts of new media is normal for them.

All of this means that in addition to looking at age group, you should also find out where products like yours will fit best. Then put your money where it is more likely to reach your target audience.

5. Use pictures or videos in pet ads

Purina wanted to know if in-stream ads on Facebook could increase the brand's awareness among mobile users for a new product in their Fancy Feast cat food line, Fancy Feast Savory Centers.

In the first phase, they tested a variety of videos for other brands of pets they owned, playing with track and news. They learned that short, clear ads boosted brand recall, video views, purchase intent, and offline sales.

With that knowledge, they converted an existing TV commercial for Fancy Feast Savory Centers into a web video. In doing so, they cut it down to less than 15 seconds and made sure it had a clear message, with or without sound. They tested it on the television commercials to see which brand became better known.

Facebook video ad for pet owners

They ran the test for six weeks through Facebook In-Stream Reserve, a series of premium commercials, and found brand recall increased 11 points, brand awareness decreased 12 points, video completion increased 91 percent and revenue decreased 1.5 percent have increased.

You don't necessarily have to target the most expensive video packages online like Purina, but videos and pictures can have a huge impact on your paid online advertising.

Look at another example.

At the bottom, left and right of Google search results, are paid pet bed ads. There are text-only ads on the left and Google Shopping ads with images on the right.

Pet owners google search ad results

Google found that 50 percent of online shoppers are more likely to buy when there is a picture of the product.

6. Provide a service

In order to convert and retain new customers, you need to build relationships with them. Offer something that will make their lives and that of their pets easier.

If you're already a service-minded brand, this is pretty easy. If you are product oriented, you can still offer a service.

Let's take another look at PetPlate.

Their paid ads for their product are actually turning it as a service. They provide freshly cooked food for dogs so that owners don't have to.

Ad showing product as a service to pet owners

This ad demonstrated how PetPlate can solve a problem for its audience.

7. Target yourself to pet owners in a specific geographic area

Brick and mortar stores and services may consider targeting a specific geographic area. This is very possible with Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms that enable hyper-targeted advertising.

Of course, veterinarians, snow groomers and other service companies can benefit from geo-targeting on social networks. However, boutiques and small businesses selling pet food and other products shouldn't overlook the power of location-based social media ads.

According to Zulily's study, millennial pet owners prefer to purchase some products in person from smaller, locally owned pet stores. These products include treats, linens, and clothing items.

If you want to get super local, check out a social platform made for your area. With Nextdoor, a widely used app, advertisers can both pay for ad space and connect with users in their immediate vicinity.

Nextdoor might be a good choice because 45 percent of users have at least one dog and 25 percent have at least one cat. They also find that pets are a regular topic of conversation on their platforms. Why not join the Paid Ads conversation?

9. Use an influencer or celebrity to target pet owners

There are two types of influencers that pet brands can strive for: humans and animals.

There are plenty of human celebrities and influencers on social media who have their pets included in their content.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Nick Jonas, for example, regularly show their dogs Diana, Gino and Panda on their Instagram accounts.

Pet owners can listen to celebrities post about pets

The second type of pet influencer is the furry, scaly, and feathery type. Animal influencers, especially cats and dogs, are heavily represented on practically all social media platforms.

In fact, pet influencer content has a higher engagement rate than overall global engagement. While cats rule the internet as a whole, dogs are actually more popular on Instagram.

Ways to target pet owners with paid ads - content from pet influencers

There are all kinds of celebrities, from cats and dogs to pigs and hedgehogs.

For example, Waffles the Cat is a celebrity on Facebook with 2.4 million followers.

Pet owners can respond well to animal influencers like Waffles the Cat

Meanwhile, the dog has a fan base of 2.1 million on Instagram.

Pet owners can also respond to dog influencers like tuna

Take a look at your audience and their social media habits. Who are they following? Do you have two or four legs? Then choose the influencer that best fits your brand and goals.


Paid ads on search and social media are an effective way to market them to pet owners. It gives brands the opportunity to reach a very specific audience for their products and services and then measure the success of each campaign.

Pet owners spend a lot of money online. Knowing where and how to reach them can help you increase conversion rates for your own pet care page.

How Can Paid Ads Help Your Pet Supply Brand?

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