Forget the days when finding a date right before Valentine’s Day was a reason to panic and self-pity. Now your immediate soulmate is one swipe away from you. Of course, only if you have a smartphone and a dating app.
Tinder usage in the US set a record on last year’s Valentine’s Day with overall usage increased by 7% and messages up 5.2%. With the app’s estimated user base of 50 million people, the average time spent in app is 90 minutes, which breaks all other existing records of online dating.
How have dating apps become so popular? Should app developers take the risk to enter this market? Mobile advertising network GOWIDE sees into market trends and promotion methods of dating apps.
The secrets of the love potion: gamification and personalization
There is not a single article or post on dating apps that can properly analyze the market without mentioning Tinder. The main reason for this is that Tinder has destroyed the social stigma of mobile dating thus creating a huge opportunity for the mobile dating market in reaching a global audience. Tinder has created hype over mobile dating and changed the focus from programmatic matchmaking to a casual entertaining process.
Tinder was also one of the first mobile apps who had successfully added gamification into dating. Apps like OkCupid, Happn, Tinder, and Grindr made mobile dating immensely addictive for users. Here are four strategies they used in order to drive engagement:
- Gamification. The famous Tinder’s swipe feature had simplified the usage of dating apps and made the process fun. Users are no longer prisoners of obligatory detailed profiles and a fear of refuse. Tinder has recently added GIFs, bigger emojis, and photo uploads into its chat tool to make messaging more enjoying.
- Personalization. Dating apps still need personal user info in order to find the best matches, provide suitable content, and encourage engagement. eHarmony and OkCupid both ask users to share interests and preferences. Often users provide personal info in exchange for unlocking additional features.
- Photo-centric model. Dating apps are hard to imagine without user photos. The latest trends make focus more and more on physical appearance and images. Blume app allows users to contact each other after exchanging freshly taken selfies. Thus users have more trust in another person’s identity and can enjoy safe messaging.
- Niche dating is hotter than ever. You can find dating apps for literally any group of people based on industry, hobby, situation or interest. Need a friend to enjoy a glass of wine with or join you in a yoga class? Use Hey!Vina app that helps women find new best friends. There are also dating apps for Jews (JSwipe), for dog owners who want to match their dogs (Twindog), and for farmers (FarmersOnly Dating).
The market is flooded by dating apps of all kinds and niches, which makes it hard for new apps to get noticed. Tinder-like apps launch on app stores every week and compete for users. How should dating apps acquire and retain large numbers of users in a highly competitive market? Let’s find out.
Promoting dating apps: the charm of big numbers
Unlike many other app categories, dating apps require a large and active user base from the start in order to succeed. Here are the basic marketing strategy steps:
- Boost campaign
Securing a large amount of installs within the first couple days of launch is critical as it will allow to reach top charts on the app stores. This is an ideal option for dating apps that needs to create an active user base from the start and target a general audience. Position(s) in top charts generate free organic traffic and increase app discoverability. Proper boost campaign requires a sizable budget and an expert media buying team.
- Retention marketing
Retaining users is just as important as acquiring them. The two vital components of retention marketing are in-app analytics and the choice of media channel. Analytic tool (like Flurry Analytics or Localytics) will help you understand user behavior and reasons why they are leaving. Through media channels (email, push, in-app message, retargeting ads), you can reach dormant users and remind of great features or helpful updates.
- Media outreach
Although dating app marketing should focus on paid acquisition, PR outreach could amplify paid efforts and help build a brand around an app. This is especially true for niche apps. Through thematic bloggers, media outlets, and Youtube channels they can reach a niche community. Even Tinder (this is the last time I mention Tinder, I promise!) has started its promotional campaign with reaching student communities at colleges.