Interview: HubStars Sales and Marketing Manager on 305% US Growth

HubStars is a top global provider of white/private label and ready to run dating offers. The platform hosts over 8 million customers across its Unity, Excite and Affinity networks.

At last month’s biannual partner event in Dublin, the company announced 100% Revshare on all UK Mainstream initial and rebill payments between April and September 2019. To further boost traction in Mainstream in the UK market, Hubstars has since extended this 100% Revshare offer to all partners.

The software firm has also been gaining impressive ground in the US over the past 12 months. To find out more, GDI caught up with Sales and Marketing Manager Andy Croghan.

Read the full interview below:

How has the past year been for HubStars? What have been some of the highlights?

AC: “We’ve had a great year. We have been doubling the company size and revenues every 10-12 months for the last three years and I’m happy to see this trend continuing.

One of the highlights has been the achievement of our in house traffic acquisition team. I set up the team in early 2018 with the focus of investigating the best traffic sources for our platform and to invest in new markets to build our user database, particularly in the USA. The team has taken this knowledge and by sharing our insights with partners we have dramatically lowered their CPA costs and turbocharged their returns. This has allowed them to grow much more rapidly when they reinvest their profits into scaling up.

Despite all of the experiments and speculative tests we have run in new areas this team has also managed to make a 30% profit over the year and it’s still growing.”

Your firm has made significant progress in the US. Can you tell us a bit about the scale of the success, and describe some of the patterns therein?

AC: “We have grown our initial revenues in the USA by 305% over the last 12 months compared with the same period in 2017-18. This has made the USA our number one geo. The US market is vast and can easily eat any marketing budget if you do not target wisely. It’s like the old saying; ‘How do you eat an Elephant? One piece at a time’.

Rather than thinking of the US as a single market its much more useful to think of it as a diverse melting pot of interests and cultures. If you can offer a brand and dating experience that appeals to each of these groups you can deliver something more compelling than a single brand with a unitary user experience.

Our recent acquisition of OleDating has been pivotal in providing English/Spanish and Spanish speaking dating solutions as part of the mix, particularly in the southern US states.”

What kinds of strategies and decisions were key to this expansion?

AC: “The acquisition team completed extensive research on demographics, culture and population of all the regions in the USA. Using this information, our approach was to focus marketing spend jointly with our Partners and Acquisition team on a metro/region basis.

Once we were happy with conversion in a state we moved to the neighbouring regions to create a large contiguous region with good conversion. Migrating along the US/Canadian border has helped as we already had a solid and highly converting user base in Canada. We have also applied our Spanish language resources to allow us to target the southern states in two languages simultaneously. This has given us a much broader appeal to complex and culturally diverse regions such as Texas and Florida, and has provided a substantial boost to platform activity.”

How does the American market differ from the European? And what are some of the similarities you’ve seen?

AC: “We find that free to paid upgrade rates tend to be lower than in some other tier one markets like the UK, however this is balanced with the fact that user subscriptions tend to be much longer. This means it can take longer to break even on a marketing spend but once you do the long tail revenues are very satisfying. With our commitment to providing partners with the data they need to target more efficiently, partners can see the amount of live subscriptions and recurring transactions against any campaign to give them complete confidence to expand in these areas with lower conversion rates.

You also need to have really good customer care if dealing with the USA as customers just expect you to available any time of the day or night. We have 24 hours phone/chat/email run from our headquarters in the Isle of Man with both native Spanish and English speakers which can really help users and provide an added level of confidence in the service.”

What other initiatives can we expect from the company over the next few months?

AC: “We have launched a number of fresh initiatives in the last few months. Our revamped Affinity mainstream dating platform is currently growing rapidly in the UK (aided by our current 6 months 100% rev share promotion on all transactions without any caveats*). We have new versions of our Excite/Unity platforms with some massive UX improvements for casual and niche communities in the works at the moment and expect them to drop over the summer.

We also have plans for later in the year for dedicated platforms in Southern Asia. It’s a vast market but there are some specific cultural considerations that we feel need to be part of the dating experience to maximise the growth potential. Having successfully proved our approach to culturally diverse regions works, we are excited to continue to open new regions for our partners to expand their portfolios in to.”

*This promotion is available to all Hubstars partners, new and existing. Please contact

Visit the HubStars website here.