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Marketer’s guide to online dating apps

Marketer's guide to dating apps

The pandemic has interrupted face-to-face social interactions, but it did not stop people from wanting to have social connections. Tinder recorded more than 3 billion swipes on March 29, 2020, which sets the highest single-day record in the history of the dating app. For Bumble, video and voice call usage has increased by 21 percent during the pandemic. As people stayed indoors due to state-imposed lockdowns, users are leveraging the messaging and video calling features of online dating apps to meet new people and expand their social circle.

With the increasing internet penetration rate, the Asia Pacific (APAC) market is catching up with other regions in terms of dating app usage. According to market research, APAC will show the highest growth rate by the year 2025. While the opportunities for growth in the online dating industry are significant, companies within the sector must take steps to know what works for mobile marketing in this emerging and highly-competitive market. A strategy that focuses on user acquisition, monetization, and retention will play a vital role in determining the success or failure of a dating app.

Knowing the app users’ behavior is a critical step. Online dating apps should find the right technology and leverage the data that they have to reach their target audience, and provide a user experience that is fun, unique and responsive. Brands that make data-driven decisions are more inclined to see a remarkable difference in parameters such as the number of users, session lengths, and engagement.

Here are some tips for marketers to improve their online dating app’s overall performance:

1. Find the right time to engage with users 

Anonymized user data from mobile measurement company Adjust’s top dating apps for the year 2020 shows that installs and sessions are highest on weekends. Installs begin to pick up on Fridays and are seen to be at the highest on Saturdays. Time spent within the apps is also significantly higher on weekends as shown in the spike of session length on Saturdays compared to other days of the week. Finding the right opportunity to engage with the target audience and users is crucial in improving installs and increasing user retention rates. By looking at data, online dating apps can adapt a marketing plan that can help achieve the desired results.

2. Keep the interest high

Session length spikes early for dating apps, which suggests that users of the app start looking at matches and interact with potential partners upon download. When compared with gaming or news apps, the session lengths increase as the users become more familiar with the game or begin to appreciate the benefits of the news app. However, for online dating apps, the initial buzz can wear off quickly and session length starts to drop off towards day 30. Online dating apps need to consider this difference in usage patterns to improve user engagement. Personalized, impactful, and perfectly-timed push notifications are a tried and tested approach that encourages and motivates users to come back into the app. By leveraging data, online dating apps can effectively segment users and tweak the frequency of the message to achieve optimal results.

3. Understand what brought the users to your app

Subscription is the primary monetization model for online dating apps. Unlike gaming or news, dating app users’ motivations are very different since the goal is to find a partner and leave the app. Investing in event tracking can help online dating apps understand the user’s overall app experience. Brands can measure the entire subscription funnel and leverage this data to build accurate lifetime value models that increase investment returns. It is essential to analyze the entire customer lifecycle – from what brought them into an app when they have activated their trial and the detailed journey behind each subscriber until they cancel and even reactivate.

4. Protect your app users

On forums and social media platforms, users of online dating apps complain about having their experiences ruined by fake accounts. Using bots, fraud actors are generating fake accounts on a big scale to be used for fake likes, views, and comments, and lure users into scams. Fake accounts are also being used to spread spam linked to other sites. Bots can take automatic actions and stay active for extended periods in the platform, which can cause substantial damage by interacting with many users.

To protect users, online dating apps need to ensure that there is a function within the app to report if the users have interacted with a bot. By installing this feature, users are able to help out in cleaning the app’s user base. Behavioral biometrics is the gold standard for bot detection.

Machine learning models that analyze various biometric indicators are so complex that it is almost impossible for fraudsters to spoof. By separating the patterns and behavior of real users from those of bad actors, online dating apps can ensure that users are protected.

With the pandemic drastically changing how people interact and with the growing acceptance of online dating apps, the online dating industry presents numerous growth opportunities. Dating apps aiming to make inroads in a highly competitive market must invest in maintaining a positive user experience, as well as building and sustaining a good reputation.

The article was written by April Tayson, Regional VP INSEA at Adjust.

Adjust is a global mobile marketing solutions firm.
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