Brands set Their Sights on Dating Apps

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These days, people are as likely to find a date on a matchmaking site as they are to find a deal. As the stigma against online dating is fades, brands are seizing on an opportunity to court consumers across matchmaking apps and websites.

These days, people are as likely to find a date on a matchmaking site as they are to find a deal. As the stigma against online dating is fades, brands are seizing on an opportunity to court consumers across matchmaking apps and websites.The Pew Internet Research Center recently reported that more people, young and old, are on online dating sites and dating apps. From a 2015 survey of about 2,000 American adults, 15 percent reported that they have used online dating sites and/or mobile dating apps, up from 11 percent in 2013. Much of the growth is being driven by two groups who have historically not used online dating services- young adults, as well as people in their late 50s and early 60s.

The share of 18- to 24-year-olds who report having used online dating has nearly tripled in the last two years. Last year, 27 percent of young adults reported that they have done so, up from just 10 percent in 2013. Meanwhile, the share of 55- to 64-year-olds who use online dating has doubled over the same time period (from 6 percent in 2013 to 12 percent in 2015).

The rise of consumers using dating apps and websites is a boon for advertisers. Whether it's out of boredom, loneliness, sadness or other emotions, users are looking to form a connection, and brands can participate in those conversations if they do so carefully.

Tinder, for instance, has over 50 million users, including a number of brands that promote their products and services with Promoted Profiles. If users don't like the look of their match, they can swipe left to move on. If they're intrigued, they swipe right to initiate a conversation. One out of five users swipe right on a brand's Promoted Profile and most of the brands that do well provide exclusive content or deals, the company says.

For example, on Valentine's Day in 2014, Domino's Pizza in the UK created a campaign on Tinder. Users who swiped right on the pizza brand's profile, which featured a heart-shaped pizza with the tagline, "Fancy a date with Domino's?" were invited to start a conversation and potentially win freebies and deals. The campaign was light-hearted and encouraged user engagement. According to Iris Worldwide, the agency behind the campaign, the Domino's campaign had a social reach of over 230,000 people.

To succeed, however, brands must consider each matchmaking site's unique user experience and audience. For instance, whereas Tinder tends to be used by young people looking for a hookup or casual date, eHarmony skews older and is aimed at people looking for long-term relationships. As is true with any medium or channel, brands that learn how to navigate a matchmaking site's demographics, contexts, and behaviors will be the most successful.

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