One of the biggest online advertising verticals, revenue-wise, is online dating; however, with the personal nature of the category, Internet dating sites have become both very popular and also controversial. Read on to get informed about this very lucrative industry for affiliate marketing, and by the end, I hope to gain your confidence and get you to start pulling some great dating offers to run!
A Bit of Background
The first Internet dating sites originated in the mid-nineties and allowed users to create a profile and search for matches. Internet dating sites went on to introduce more options for communication such as instant messaging and webcam based video dating. Dating sites these days allow users to provide their personal info in order to encourage people to look at their profile or by searching other individuals using criteria such as gender, location and age range.
When discussing the potential of the dating industry, there are over 100 million singles in US&CA and over 100 million singles in Europe. 30 million people visit a dating site homepage per year, 3 million subscribe to any dating site per year. Last year 17% of couples who married met on a dating site (US). 1 in 5 singles have dated someone they met on a dating site and 1 in 5 singles are currently in a committed relationship with someone they met on a dating site J
Internet dating has generated a growing number of users since the mid-nineties. In 2010 the online dating industry was worth $4 billion worldwide. Piper Jaffray Investment Research estimates that Internet dating sites generated revenues of $1.3 billion in 2008 in the USA, rising to $1.7 billion by 2013 (Friedlander, 2010). According to mobile research group Ground Truth, mobile dating saw a 92% increase in users since the summer of 2010. Jupiter estimates that the overall mobile dating sector will grow to $1.4 billion worldwide by 2013. Mobile dating is the next big thing that is taking the industry by storm these days. Given that internet dating and the use of cell phones are already so popular, this technology is really an evolution rather than a revolution, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be mega-big, or that it won’t change the dating landscape yet again.
Some of the brands that are included in this category are eHarmony, Mate1, Match.com in US vs. Eden Flirt, Smartdate, Meetic and Flirtcafe in the European market. Some of the advertisers have 2 types of brands – soft (aka dating) and adult.
It’s important to note that the lines can be thin between dating and the adult categories. Dating sites services have one goal in mind – to get their customers into something long-term, meaningful, and serious. “Adult” dating services, on the other hand, cater to different clients that are looking for something more sexual, without a lot of emotional attachment. Such offers will differ by campaign names, images that appear on the landing pages and so on. We’ll discuss dating services as these are the only offers Matomy Market promotes.
User Behavior and Relationship to Dating Sites
Dating advertisers are looking for user value by encouraging users to become paying members so they can reach out to others and access additional features on the site.
In terms of the user’s experience, most sites require users to register to the dating service for free but require them to pay for monthly membership fee. Users are offered 1/6/12 or 1/3/6 month subscriptions – the longer the subscription the cheaper is the membership per month. Most advertisers let female users to browse for free on the site (like the best nightclubs), therefore are looking for male traffic.
There is a diversity of user flow types the user has to complete before a conversion is created – DOI (email confirmation), SOI (registration without email confirmation), FB connect and FB apps and mobile connect.
Opportunities for the Advertiser
From our experience, there are a few important things advertisers should create in order to increase and keep interest and motivation from both the users and the affiliates.
- Seasonal promotions – Valentine’s Day, Christmas
- Niche programs – dating for Christians, Asians etc.
- Mobile offers – for WAP/iphone/Smartphone and Android
- Connection of online campaigns with offline promotions – such as discount on subscriptions etc.
- Explore new markets and localize offers accordingly
- Refresh marketing tools on a regular basis – the next thing to focus on is smart banners that pull your Facebook profile data where you can choose your requested dating profile and then to be redirected to the relevant LP. Video banners are showing great CTR so it’s a good idea to explore their potential as well
Opportunities for Publishers
Dating advertisers are looking for good user value, so it’s highly important that publishers focus on targeting to the right audience. Publishers should be able to do specific targeting of users by age, gender, data, time and day, and measure their performance so that they can optimize traffic accordingly. Behavioral and retargeting campaigns can also be interesting here and publishers should have the ability to send relevant traffic to the offers.
To summarize, dating seems to be growing from quarter to quarter, competition between offers is high. Advertisers should continue offering new innovative offers and publishers should keep working on optimizing traffic so that both sides maximize their revenues.
Veronika Livshits, Matomy Market Account Manager – Performance
Veronika is in charge of the dating category within Matomy Market and is also known as the “dating expert” (in terms of offers in the vertical)
Reach Veronika: firstname.lastname@example.org and on Skype – Veronika Livshits