Sitting in the hotbed of online dating development and watching new ideas fly around the conference rooms, there are three notable shifts in online dating that companies are taking in 2015.
This one has become quite clear – as all of us in the industry watched our analytics take a steep climb for mobile and tablet traffic, with an according fall on desktop tours and landing pages. Apps have been flooding the market, with the newfound expectation for mobile dating that Tinder created in the market demand, by not even having a desktop application. Users of online dating sites expect to be dating on-the-go, finding gaps of time in their day to be filled with the prospecting of hot dates – whether that be on the commute, looking busy while avoiding conversation in the real world, procrastinating through the work day, or to lull ourselves to sleep with the swipe of virtual matchmaking. The days are gone where users want to be tied down to a desktop for their dating deeds, but even more important is the consumer preference for mobile apps versus mobile sites. It is essential to develop a solid app in order to stay competitive in the industry.
From here there are two primary directions that I see the dating industry going, and that is more social/virtual community-oriented, versus a streamlined focus toward the end result, whether that be dating or a casual fling.
More apps are emerging in the dating realm that create a more social experience for their use. We saw the evolution of Tinder to include a Snapchat-like component, Luxy which includes an Instagram aspect – which is handy once your swipe limit is reached and you just want more – and then ON.com, which has a Frankenstien combination of Instagram, Tinder, and Twitter on a masonry layout much like Pinterest, and positions itself more as a social networking app dabbling in the dating sphere. More and more companies are fostering community engagement within their application. We can expect to see more apps popping up that incorporate others into the intimate experience of dating.
Last year we heard all about niche! Niche! Niche! This year, the industry is hyper-focused on cutting the crap. This means more profile verification, more exclusive online dating communities, and more filtering options. Users don’t want to deal with fakes, catfish, or risquÃ© “business” propositions – aka how many “roses” for a BJ on Tinder. People don’t want to show up to a date who is less than expected (or more because the number one fear for men is showing up on a date with a curvier-than-disclosed woman). It’s a waste of time, and hope, to not have the validation beforehand. Right now, many singles are back-checking their potential partner through social and search engines, so a dating app that removes that process could lead the way.
Similarly, there is a focus on the end purpose. Matching users by their goal, whether that is to have lifelong love or a one night stand, some apps want to lay it all out on the table. Fling.com is moving towards dominating the sphere of the one night stand, whereas we all know eHarmony is your go-to for lifelong love. Some people like ambiguity, others prefer to know that the person they are talking to is 100% on the same page as them. These apps are essentially building a catalogue of potential suitors that meet your exact needs, and cut down on the disappointment of wasted time and effort. It’s all about reducing risk and increasing reward.
By Jessica Kohl
Jessica Kohl is an Internet Marketing Professional with a background in Rhetorical studies, digital communication, and mass media persuasion. She’s behind the social media campaigns for 10 different online dating companies and provides a behind the scenes perspective on industry development and market trends.