Will you get more views if you put a dog in your therapy profile photo?

Jeff Guenther on Jun 26, 2017

I’ll get right to the point. I run a therapist directory in Portland, Oregon and I have analyzed hundreds of profiles to figure out the answer to a very important question…If you put a dog in your photo, will more people view your profile? The answer is a resounding yes! To be exact, your dog containing profile will get clicked on 1.65 more times than a profile with no dog. How did I figure this out? Well, look at the therapists below. Who would you click on? Janet, right?

No offense to Heather, Sharnissa or Jacob, but they don’t have a fighting chance. Janet’s dog is just too cute. Look how happy that dog is with her tongue sticking out. I bet she’s having the time of her life.

Full disclosure, I recently became a “dog person” myself….after a lifetime of being the opposite. My puppy Josh is wearing the hoodie at the top of this blog. He is the best puppy.

Besides personally thinking that everyone would want to click on the cute dog, I also dove into the data to really figure out if my suspicion was correct. But before I get to that (and especially for you non-dog people… I know you’re out there), there are several other controllable factors that will lead to more clicks on your photo. If you want to find out what seven things your photo should feature, click here and I’ll email you the list

My Methodology

DISCLAIMER: I am not going to claim that my methods would be approved by the American Psychological Association. However, I did comb through the data extensively and I am confident in my results. 

Of the 452 current profiles on my therapist directory, 14 of them have photos with dogs in the picture. My goal was to take the 14 dog profiles and find ten other profiles of therapists that were very similar, just minus the dog. 

When people go to the therapist directory, Portland Therapy Center, or PTC for short, the vast majority of folks use the search function to find a counselor. People typically search by specialty, zip code and/or insurance provider. After you submit your search criteria, you are presented with rows of therapists to choose from. So I needed to find therapists that would show up next to the therapists with dogs in those results (i.e. profiles with similar zip codes, treating the same issues and accepting the same insurance). I think it’s a safe assumption that no two therapists are exactly alike on the site when it comes to these three different search criteria. My goal was to find counselors that were as close as possible to the ones with dogs. It turned out that six of the therapists with dogs were too unique and I was not able to find ten other therapists that I could compare them against. That left me with eight dog loving therapists to research. 

Of those eight therapists, I logged how many visits their profiles had over the last three months. I then compared them to the average amount of profile views the ten similar therapists racked up in the same three months. The results confirmed my hypothesis. See below. 

The results

“Dog” Therapist Views vs. Average of Ten Similar “No Dog” Therapist Views

Dog 1: 86     vs. Similar: 50
Dog 2: 200   vs. Similar: 96
Dog 3: 150   vs. Similar: 63
Dog 4: 51      vs. Similar: 75
Dog 5: 280   vs. Similar: 191
Dog 6: 330   vs. Similar: 151
Dog 7: 30      vs. Similar: 59
Dog 8: 143   vs. Similar: 79

Avg.: 159     vs. Avg.: 96

As you can see, therapists that had a dog in their picture were clicked on 1.65 times more often than a therapist with no dog. Six out of eight therapists with dogs were clicked on more often than their no dog counterparts. 

Why do dogs get more views?

I don’t have any data on why people click on profiles featuring dogs more often. I do plan to create surveys for clients so that I can figure that (among other things) out. My initial guess would be because dogs are cute and people want to look at cute dogs. Pretty simple, right? But there could be other factors at play. 

Another reason might be because the therapist posing with their dog is coming off as more authentic, and clients are attracted to people, and marketing, that is honest. Whether you put your favorite pet in your photo, or a picture of yourself gardening or simply use a facial expression that is true to your personality, you’ll probably attract more clicks to your profile because more people will connect with who you really are. Even if a potential client doesn’t like dogs, they might still click on your dog photo first because it’s different and they get a glimpse into what is really important to you. So the takeaway is not to go out and buy or borrow a canine friend if that’s not who you are, but to focus on making sure the photo you use online says something true and honest about you.

Photos with dogs also tend to jump off the page more. It’s the same reason red cars get more speeding tickets. It just might be that you are more noticeable and because of that, you’ll get more views. 

Like I said earlier, there are six other controllable factors that are important to have in your therapist profile photo. Click here to download that list.

Here is Josh sleeping next to me on the couch while I write this blog. 

And now here is Josh with Santa. 

Jeff Guenther, LPC, is a therapist in Portland, OR. He has been in private practice since 2005. Jeff is the creator and owner of Portland Therapy Center, a highly ranked therapist directory. Jeff, and his team, have launched a new progressive therapist directory, TherapyDen.

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