Why Do Cat Images Get More Engagement Than Quality Content on Social Media?

Jan 22, 2014

All across the web, cat memes an animated animals are all the rage. But while these images do not gain a lot of attention on websites through SEO, they are extremely popular and seem to continually move up the ranks on social media. Many wonder why. What becomes popular on social media and what comes up in search results on Google are two different things. A lot of it has to do with the fact that the Internet as a whole and social media are two different venues and people are looking for different experiences. But to narrow down the possibilities as to why cat images seem to outrank quality content on social media, consider the following four reasons.


cats on facebookSharing an image is easy, and it’s extremely fast. There is no link the content to be read, and not a whole lot needs to be digested. People in social media can simply obtain the information, and then proceed to like or share it and move on with their day. Since the most shared items on social media tend to be seen as the most popular, they are moved up the ranks by social media algorithms.

Entertainment Value

Additionally, it bears keeping in mind that social media is largely existent for entertainment value, not for breaking news. While this has changed a bit in the past, and many think it will continue to change in the future, the vast majority of people who are on social media are there to be entertained. Consider the following:

  • Social media is not meant to be high-quality in the way that content marketing is
  • People searching the web are seeking information, while people on social media are seeking a good laugh for a cute picture
  • Pictures tend to generate a lot of comments, which also move them up in rank

Consider the Venue

high quality contentYou also have to consider the venue when you are looking at the content that is popular on said venue. In other words, consider the purpose of social media and it will become apparent why cat images often do better in the ranking than quality content or article links.

  • Social media is geared toward fun, fast, shareable items
  • Because social media is rapid fire, short form and relaxed content like cat images will do better
  • People often browse social media on their phones and don’t have time to read a full article, so they will favor images

Cats Are Low Conflict

Another reason cat images and similar material is so popular on social media may stem from the fact that social media is so public. Because of that, many people are reluctant to share content that might be controversial or make people think differently of them. Some articles and high-quality content are about such topics, whereas cat memes are usually low conflict and humorous, relating to noncontroversial items and topics, accelerating them up the rank as people share them.

Simply put, social media is not the venue most people turn to in order to find thought-provoking long form content. Instead, social media is likened to an online hangout session, where things that are fun, humorous, and casual are shared rampantly. Just as you would not expect to hear an in-depth conversation about the state of politics at a beach party, you wouldn’t expect long articles and content, no matter how high the quality is, to be circulated widely on social media.

  • http://richardmclaughlin.biz/ McLaughlin

    Caterdays are fast and easy :)

    • http://www.digitaleyemedia.com/ Gary Brewer

      I know right?

  • Edward Tay

    “Cats Are Low Conflict” thats a good point there

    • http://www.digitaleyemedia.com/ Gary Brewer

      LOL Edward so true!