Statistical study: Pet videos increase adoption interest by 135.3%

Posted by Jennifer on February 23rd, 2016

Los Angeles, February 23, 2016 — A new study of 157,228 pets for adoption listed on shows a pet video increased inquiries by 135.3%.

A new statistical study conducted by shows the tremendous impact a video can have on adoption interest in a pet listed on In our 50-day-long study of 105,534 dog listings and 51,694 cat listings, data analysis revealed that, on average, a pet listed on with a YouTube video link generated 135.5% more inquiries than a pet without a video. That’s more than double the amount of inquires for pets without a video!
Below we present our detailed statistical analysis of the data.


We want to see if the presence of a video correlates to more inquiries for a pet listed for adoption on

A simple calculation could be misleading, because pets with videos may get adopted faster, which could also mean they have less time to collect inquiries. To normalize for this effect, we look at the number of inquiries as a function of the number of days since the pet was added/uploaded to We break the population of pets into two groups – with and without video. We can then compare the effect of the video across the number of days, by only including the active pets for each day.

We pulled in all adoptable dogs and cats that were added/uploaded to from 2015-12-01 to 2015-12-31. We filtered out pets from shelters where a contact email is not displayed on the pet listing page, as we are not able to track phone or walk-in interest.

This left us with a sample of 157,228 pets for the analysis. 2,451 of the pets (1.6% of the total) had a YouTube video link on their pet listing page. That was 1,920 of the dogs (1.8% of the 105,534 dogs) and 530 of the cats (1.0% of the 51,694 cats).

Because some pets are deleted from the site when they are no longer available for adoption, we must take care to construct the remaining active number of pets on the site by day after being added/uploaded. Here is a plot of the active number of pets by day for this cohort (note that it has been at least 50 days since add/upload for all pets). The top panel shows pets without video, the bottom panel shows pets with video:


Similarly, here is a plot of the number of inquiries by day:


And here is a plot of the cumulative number of inquiries for active pets each day:


By combining the first two charts above, we can plot the number of inquiries per day per active pet, for each day since the pet was uploaded. The pets with video have more inquiries on average than the non-video population. :



Also note the shape of the curve, where the number of inquiries is highly peaked at 1 day after uploading, and then falls off gradually. To make the effect more clear, we can add in a smooth fit to the data, to see the trend beneath the fluctuations, though this is somewhat qualitative:


To quantify the effect of having a video, let’s calculate the lift, or the percentage change, in inquiries per pet due to the presence of a video. The chart below shows there is a significant lift in inquiries due to the video, upwards of 50%. Again, we add a smooth fit to make the trend more clear:


Another way to view the same effect is to look at the cumulative number of inquiries per pet since being uploaded:


And again, let’s look at the lift in the cumulative rate by day:


The above chart shows that videos have a dramatic increase in the number of inquiries per pet, such that, by 50 days after being added/uploaded, the pet with a video has collected 135.3% more inquiries on average than the pet without a video.

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