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Puppy Love! Pet Brands & Retailers Engage Consumers With Digital Advertising

May 10, 2021 Sarah Cavill

Many major pet product retailers and brands saw gains in 2020. “The pet industry reached a milestone in 2020, with total sales of $103.6 billion, a historic high, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA) State of the Industry Report released last week. That marks an increase of 6.7% over 2019 retail sales of $97.1 billion,” reported Michael Browne for Supermarket News. People love their pets, and, from high-quality pet food to toys, treats and pet insurance, the pet products market is growing. To reach pet owners, many brands are leaning into the popularity of ecommerce to create seamless purchasing solutions for consumers. 

Boutique Online Pet Food Brands Use Digital Strategies To Promote DTC Platforms

Feeding pets isn’t just a bag of kibble anymore, at least not for many pet owners who are becoming more interested in the complete health and wellness of their pets. Direct-to-consumer (DTC) boutique pet food brands provide cat and dog owners with options from freshly made meals to customized menus. With innovative digital strategies, including online subscriptions and smart discount programs, many boutique online pet food brands are able to offer consumers what they want, driving engagement and recurring sales. 

Spot & Tango Promotes New Subscriber Discounts To Gain New Pet Food Subscriptions

Quite a few online boutique pet food brands are sold through subscription models, creating recurring revenue for brands and seamless shopping and shipping experiences for consumers. Spot & Tango, which sells only “fresh dry” food for dogs, billed as “unkibble,” offers new subscribers 20% of their first orders and two-week trial periods. 

NomNom Personalizes Pet Food Selections 

Anyone with cats or dogs knows they can be finicky, turning their noses up at foods that don’t meet their approval. At NomNom, pet food subscribers can choose personalized meal plans created by answering a series of questions about their dogs or cats. NomNom then offers suggestions for the foods that might be the best fit. Shoppers can also save money by choosing half-portions that can be mixed with a pet’s current diet. New subscribers get 50% off their first orders and can opt for the variety packs to help their pets transition to new foods. 

Farmer’s Dog Offers Expert Advice With Blog For Pet Owners

Content marketing can reassure consumers that brands are to be trusted, particularly when it comes to something near and dear like pets. Farmer’s Dog, a dog food brand that leverages the growing interest in home-cooked meals for pets, created an online magazine called Digest. Digest offers answers to questions plus articles about nutrition, health, training and behavior, while also directing readers to discounts and Farmer’s Dog products. In addition, shoppers can sign up for the Farmer’s Dog enewsletter for more information and, likely, more opportunities to make purchases.

Darwin’s Natural Pet Products Promotes Corporate Social Responsibility

For many people, feeding their pets well is linked to caring for the earth and ethical practices. Darwin Natural Pet Products reflects the increasing consumer desire to shop with brands that match their values, and taps into that desire with a dedicated section on the Darwin website. The pet food brand explains their commitment to fair and conscious sourcing, ending animal homelessness and the brand’s investment in service dogs. A strong and well-communicated brand purpose can help companies connect with like-minded consumers.

Hungry Pet Nutrition Offers A Diverse Range Of Products

In a crowded market, differentiation is essential. Hungry Pet Nutrition, which sells products under the Hungry Bark brand name, offers a variety of different products that may set them apart from competitors. In addition to offering kibble and protein “mix-ins,” Hungry Pet Nutrition sells a number of supplements including calming chews, probiotics and multivitamins. Supplements for pets were up 21% in 2020, making the supplement product line from Hungry Pet Nutrition an ideal item to promote, alongside the brand’s premium foods.


Pet Product Retailers Reach Consumers With Email & Push Campaigns

In order to maintain momentum after a banner 2020, retailers like Chewy and Petsmart are deploying digital advertising strategies to reach consumers with deals and promotions. Chewy, for example, has a current email campaign offering $15 off for orders over $49, while also promoting its pharmacy services. Another digital tactic brands can deploy are push campaigns, reaching consumers on desktop and mobile with reminders about full carts and upcoming promotions. SMS campaigns can also be effective. For example, Petsmart shoppers can sign up for mobile messages that share deals, reminders and updates on upcoming grooming appointments.

Pet Insurance Brands Prioritize Digital Enrollment And Outreach To Align With Consumer Behaviors

Pet insurance is a growing market, with market valuation expected to reach $10 billion by 2025. Many pet insurance brands are promoting digital tools to encourage quick enrollment and claim reimbursement. At insurtech brand Lemonade, pet insurance shoppers visiting the Lemonade website can quickly enroll and, once enrolled, efficiently get claims paid out. A “hassle-free digital experience” that eliminates time-consuming paperwork and phone calls, as explained by Lemonade, is what many consumers increasingly want when shopping for insurance. Many insurance providers are now also leveraging app usage to create portals for claims filing, reminders and payments. Pets Best insurance promotes its app features, including uploading photos of invoices, a 24/7 pet helpline and referral rewards. 

It doesn’t take much to convince pet owners that their animals need the very best, but in a crowded market that’s continuing to grow, creating lasting relationships with seamless, direct digital strategies that encourage loyalty and recurring revenue can be the key to standing out.

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Senior Marketing Communications Writer, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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