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Like many institutions, dating has changed quite a bit over time. For a long time, it was mostly a practical thing. No single person can both hunt and gather, after all. When the Industrial Revolution came along and adult life became factory life, all those households needed a couple rugrats to hold down the fort. Fast forward to the 20th century and things got a little more romantic: Thursday night dance classes at the rec center, double features at the drive-in, staring longingly into each other’s eyes in the backseat of super cool car while REO Speedwagon serenades the starry night sky. How could we go any higher than that?
Then, in 1998, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan starred in You’ve Got Mail and introduced the world to the unthinkable: the idea that love can be found on the World Wide Web. Two short years later, Y2K brought not the end of times, but instead eHarmony – an online dating service designed to match compatible users deemed suitable for long-term love. Toss in a couple social networks and some smartphone apps, and you’re looking at the $3 billion industry known as online dating.
The good folks over at Pew Research Center say that, as of 2016, 15% of all American adults have used either an online dating service or a dating app. It’s slightly more popular for men: 17% of men have logged on to find love, and 14% of women have done the same. Looking at the adult population overall, the trend slopes down as ages go up. 27% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 have tried online dating, compared to only 3% of Americans over 65 years old.
So, for marketers in the online dating industry, there isn’t much of a gender skew, but there’s certainly an age skew. Simply put, you’re speaking mostly to people under 30. Lucky for you, we’ve got a few pieces of advice.
Far and away, the most frequently searched keyword is “chat.” This tells us that, unlike the early days of online dating, people are uninterested in much of a time investment. Rather than fill out long questionnaires and detailed personal profiles, they’re looking to swipe right and strike up a quick conversation. So, when marketing your service or app, make sure to emphasize ease and quickness. If you’re using AdWords to bid on those keywords and show ads on SERPs, consider writing headlines like “Fall in Love Today” and “Make a Match Right Now.” Search marketers must keep in mind that consumers are looking for readily available solutions to their problems. A headline like “Looking for Love?” will not attract as many clicks because it does not offer help.
Mobile is most definitely the way to go. In 2013, consumers spent just over two hours per day on their mobile devices. Now, that figure is up to 3 hours and 23 minutes – almost 70% of users’ time spent with digital media is on mobile! 89% of that mobile time is on apps. This means two things. One, if you’re in the online dating business, having an engaging, user-friendly app is absolutely essential. Two, mobile time is often social media time. Market your service across social media platforms to capture attention where it’s most often being put!
You know what? We here at WordStream have a lot to say about social media marketing, so it gets its own paragraph. If you’re using paid social, create a seamless visual experience. Focus on transferring the messages and aesthetics of your social ads to your landing pages. Otherwise, the visitor will feel disoriented and bounce – giving you nothing for their click. And while you’re at it, use your best paid search ads as models for your social ads. This way, you convert Quality Score (Google) into Relevance Score (Facebook) and create a smooth cross-channel brand experience. Two birds!
For more industry news and marketing tips, read the WordStream blog!