The market for online dating is incredibly crowded, with more than 1,400 digital options in the UK alone. Demand for digital dating initially spiked at the onset of COVID-19, when people sought relationships while isolating and social distancing. The increase in demand led to this product-filled market promoting the same thing: connection.
Brands looking to differentiate and stand out from this crowded market can draw inspiration directly from their business: dating. What makes a good date? A good date is an active listener and a great conversationalist. A good date prioritises the needs of their partner above their own and takes steps to build trust. Over time, this attention to detail and effort builds loyalty and…connection.
To leverage this methodology, and connect with customers, brands must turn to customer data. By intelligently leveraging customer data, brands can identify key areas that dating apps should focus on. This will help brands to cut through the noise and connect with customers.
People care now more than ever when it comes to how their data is used. Almost 9 out of every 10 people report being concerned about personal privacy when interacting with apps. More than twice as many people say they are very concerned, compared to those that are not concerned at all.
While concerns are high, consumers are still largely willing to share vulnerable information about themselves in the quest to find “the one”. This only means that online dating is full of sensitive customer data! Consumers are willing to put information about themselves on their profile and, of course, are likely to use the app for conversations that they would want to keep private. On some level, this requires trust in the app to keep this data secure.
But trust is in low supply across the board, even in the dating app arena. 60% of online daters report that they are concerned about online dating privacy issues to some extent. These apps are quite quiet when it comes to discussions on trust, privacy, and transparency.
This privacy-market gap creates an opening for a digital dating brand to stand out. A business should convincingly show that it cares about its users’ privacy and will only use their data in a responsible way. These brands would then be in a strong position to attract users to favour it over its rivals.
Securing an app download is not the end of the journey - for either the consumer or the brand. However, it could be the end of the journey for brands if it is not handled with care and creativity.
More than 39% of people reported downloading a new app at least once per week. Yet, two-thirds of people say they use no more than 6 apps daily. Brands don’t want their app to be left unopened and unused. But how can you keep consumers engaged, and consider your business a valuable use of storage space?
This is by making your brand memorable (and omnipresent), of course. Brands should be using every channel available to engage with their users. This “omnichannel” approach involves the use of email, push notifications, SMS alerts (when it makes sense), and in-app notifications. Just because a brand is everywhere, however, doesn’t mean it needs to be ever-present. Nearly 95% of users opt out of notifications after having previously agreed to it. This means that messaging needs to be strategic to have the most beneficial (and least detrimental) effect.
Individualisation is the key to a successful omnichannel approach. You should be striking the balance between notifying people enough to keep them engaged, but not so much that they are overwhelmed. 38% of people prefer messages from brands to come through push notifications. In contrast, 26% prefer in-app messages and 31% prefer SMS alerts. To keep users happy and engaged, you should have a system that adjusts to what they prefer.
In a market as fluid and dynamic as the one for dating apps, it does not take long for something which was once exciting – ‘swiping’ to find matches, for example – to become stale and outdated. It is easy to see how: more than 55% of people report spending at least 4 hours per day on their phone. For much of this time they will be bombarded with new gimmicks and ideas.
Once a concept has some success, there can be a tendency to not feel the need to innovate or change. In relationships, this is called being in a “rut”. But ruts can be fatal. For a dating app, complacency will just lead to being swept by the wayside. Continuously rethinking your product and challenging your assumptions can be arduous, but it is necessary to stay relevant.
It is simply not enough to just do what everyone else is doing. The most successful dating apps will capture the lion’s share of demand. New apps will have difficulty in getting any purchase unless they are willing to go into unfamiliar and uncomfortable territory.