Cat people vs dog people, explained by Facebook
Well this one sent the office into a frenzy: Facebook’s research team recently reported on the behaviours and affinities underlying dog people compared to cat people.
Using a data sample of 160,000 Facebook users, who all shared stories of dogs and cats online, the research team were able to unlock some precious audience intelligence insights into – let’s be honest here – the only factor that splits humankind in two distinct groups.
So. What did they find out?
Dog people are more popular
Like their extroverted pets, dog people make more connections online and, on average, have 26 more Facebook friends than cat people. Having said this, cat people get invited to more events. Another nugget: cat and dog people roughly check in to the same number of places each week.
Who shares the food bowl
Cat people are more likely to be friends with other cat people, and dog people with other dog people. Cat people are 2.2 times more likely to befriend other cat people, but cat people also like other animal-friendly people. Similarly, dog people like other dog people: they are 1.8 times more likely to befriend other dog people.
Can we dispel the crazy cat lady myth?
Unfortunately, it’s true that cat people are more likely to be single than dog people. 30% of cat people in the sample are single, compared to 24% of dog people. Plus, cat people are more likely to be single, at any age… or even gender!
Overall, we can see that cat people do seem to express a wider variety of feelings on the site compared to dog people, who are more likely to express excitement or pride. Who’s a good (or simple) boy!
Perhaps cat people just enjoy doing things a little differently…
Whether you enjoy reading books, watching TV and movies, or carrying your beloved cat around the house, cat people in general tend to enjoy doing more indoor activities according to the data.
In terms of watching material, they are especially fond of fantasy, sci-fi, and anime, with movies like Dracula and World War Z being firm favorites.
But while cat people are disproportionately fans of sci-fi and fantasy, dog people show a preference for love stories. Well, that and Marley & Me… we’ll leave it up to you to cast judgement on that one.
Does your pet preference depend on where you live?
This graph below shows ratio of dog to cat people in the U.S.A. Cats (red) are more prevalent in cities, while dogs (blue) are more prevalent in rural areas. Note that these colours have nothing to do with certain political party preferences (as far as we know, but that’s a different study).
It seems to make sense that Facebook data shows dog people enjoying life in more rural areas. To illustrate this, here is a picture of our Senior Research Executive’s dog, Berkeley, enjoying his W-A-L-K in style.
Meanwhile at Pulsar HQ
Seeing these results, it definitely looks like the characteristics we attribute to certain animals – goofy, outgoing dogs and mysterious, aloof cats – are mirrored in their owners.
With that in mind, we did a quick survey in the office to see who sits in team Crazy Cat Lady, and who in team Simple Sub-woofer. It turns out a whopping 59.1% prefers dogs, 18.2% cats, and the final 22.7% of our colleagues refuse to take sides, nobly saying they love both cats and dogs equally. That, or they’re afraid of the consequences.
So now that we all know and understand each other a little bit better (one voice went up saying they like hamsters best, this person is still a complete mystery), let’s zoom in on the most amazing thing here: using data, you can uncover not just what people are saying online, but rather what kind of behaviours, preferences and attitudes people display.
This opens countless doors for marketers and insight teams to fully grasp who their audiences are – not just what they’re saying online. And this, in turn, will help organisations become more relevant every day.