Diana Pet Food acquired a stake in the social network Yummypets in 2016. More than 400,000 people have created profiles on the platform for their dogs, cats and other pets. The company uses the resulting “big data” in collaboration with pet food companies and for marketing.

Lyra, the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog, had quite a delightful day in the park today. Patate, a white short-haired cat, is looking sharp in some new close-up shots. And Caramelle, the white-brown bunny can be seen happily hopping on several photos. These three are some of the stars on the internet portal Yummypets, where over 400,000 pets have profiles – particularly cats and dogs. Their owners comment on each other’s photos or gain interesting health, lifestyle and training insights from the online magazine section. The site receives over six million visits and 50 million clicks per year.

Great potential for Diana Pet Food

That sounds interesting, and it is – not just for the private users. Bertrand de Launay first heard about the social network in 2015. “We instantly saw the potential in it and how it could benefit us,” recalls the President of Diana Pet Food. One year later, the company, which develops and manufactures ingredients for pet foods with its 800 employees worldwide, bought a stake in the start-up that Yummypets had developed.

De Launay describes the reasoning behind the investment with a popular buzzword: big data. Users provide large amounts of data that Diana Pet Food can evaluate. That begins with the most popular pet-related websites that the owners like, the number, age and type of pets they own as well as the playing and eating habits of their furry friends. Brand preferences, along with survey responses, forum entries and comments, also provide valuable information. “Yummypets can use about 25 different parameters. We analyze and pool the information to learn the behavior of pet owners and can use this to improve our offers.”

“Users provide large amounts of data that Diana Pet Food can evaluate.”

Bertrand De Launay President of Diana Pet Food

Analyzing and using data

Yummypets anonymizes and clusters the results into profiles, which can be passed onto pet food manufacturers for their market research efforts. “We can also use the data in a very targeted way by helping our customers find the right pet owners for product testing, for instance.” Another use case applies to companies outside of the pet food industry: “Health insurers can market their products to dog owners whose pet has recently turned seven years old – as this is often when immunizations are renewed,” says Bertrand De Launay. “Another idea we have is to cooperate with cities that want to make their own internet offers. Our data would let them get to know this target group better.”

The investment in Yummypets therefore represents a promising business model, especially when you look at this constantly growing target group, which has about 680 million dogs and cats as pets worldwide. Millennials, or people ­between the ages of 18 and 33 years old, have a particular affinity for pets and for social media. It is therefore no surprise that De Launay sees a rosy future for Yummypets. He also has big plans. At the moment, the community primar­ily consists of French-speaking members, but soon the site will be expanded to include English and Spanish-speaking users. There are no limits to what it can do, says Bertrand de Launay. “We are confident that Yummypets with a several millions dogs and cats living panel will offer us major competitive advantages.”