This is a guest blog by Bojan Ninic, Head of Sales at Digital Performance GmbH.
The year of mobile – 2015, right? Or was it 2014? Whichever the case — every (online) marketing enthusiast, professional, semi-professional, student or blog reader has stumbled across this sentence at least a few times in the last couple of years. But what is really happening, and what does it mean for the dating industry?
The master-device: smartphones
We are right in the middle of the digital revolution. Let’s just take one step back and realise for a second how the online marketing world has changed in the past 20 years. From dial-up modem connections on 75MHz computers, to 4G LTE on quad-core 2.2 GHz smartphones, every aspect of life is becoming digitalised. Writing letters? How about an email. Searching the yellow pages for a plumber? Hairdresser? How about Google. Searching for the right partner for a romantic and passionate relationship in a dramatic-acting class, bar, nightclub? You get the point.
As fast as the devices and connections develop, user needs, expectations and the sheer amount of people online ready to date, experiment with each other, or simply hook up, rises as exponentially and even quicker. The reason? Going back twenty years, almost nobody owned a laptop. There was “the” desktop in the living room. Internet-ready mobile phones? GET OUT!?! Impossible! Devices have become incredibly personal. So personal, in fact, that you would be really upset if someone took your smartphone. So personal, that you are flirting on them, searching for partners of any kind, stalking your crush, organising your life, writing emails, calling friends, working — everything. Now that’s what I call a marketer’s dream come true!
What does that mean for us?
Staying on top of revolutionary developments – yes, revolutionary – is the key to establishing sustainability. Whatever you might think, numbers undeniably tell the truth and leave little room for personal interpretations. And they only say one thing — mobile. Yes, desktop will remain a strong force in online marketing. Just as any other medium, it will develop differently however.
In my opinion, desktop and mobile are two fundamentally different channels. Why? Because of mobile’s characteristics, as outlined above. Being mobile means that having a responsive design is simply not enough. Yet, sometimes even this proves to be a struggle. Being mobile means engaging users on their most valuable and emotionally-attached device and communicational tool. It’s the Champions League of user acquisition and monetisation challenges. Endless opportunities are connected to endless challenges.
And from your experience — how is a company / site / project / agency becoming good at something? By adapting as early as possible. Learning by doing. Everything else is just talking and would-like philosophy. Let’s face reality, your personal opinion is not what matters, what matters is what the market dictates. No, we are not the market. We are participants in it. You can try forcing your thoughts and beliefs about your product onto a market for as long as you like. It’s a battle that you will lose 110% – it’s just a question of when.
Mobile and dating — how, what, and why?
Mobile and dating go hand in hand, naturally. Dating = emotional, mobile = emotional. One might see an undeniable connection between the characteristics of dating and those of the mobile device. All major sites have a mobile version, and white label services have started recoding all their sites in a responsive manner. Apps like Tinder, Grindr, Happn and many more, have shown the big boys in dating how it should be done. Fast, easy, and perfectly usable with just one or, worst case scenario, both thumbs. The simple reason why mobile is so crucial for the dating industry is the following: the sheer amount of mobile users rises as exponentially as its new features and characteristics. Not being mobile means fact ignoring, plain and simple.
Matchmaking, connecting users according to their preferences — all those features require as much information about the user as possible, in order to develop a satisfactory service for the end customers. And all this information can be found on each and every mobile device. Analysing the data is a key aspect here. No information can be extracted without data, and no data can be transformed into information without knowledge and detailed profiling. So yes, being mobile is a tough subject, but it is not being dealt with by simply providing sites that are accessible from every device.
A mobile product is unique and, as mentioned previously, can not be compared with anything that applies to desktop dating, because the user perception per device is fundamentally different. Now that we live in an era where more Google visits are being generated from mobile devices, more Facebook logins happen on the go, this trend will continue to grow on mobile devices as well. Dating will mainly occur from mobile devices. Not being mobile means missing out on probably one of the biggest opportunities the industry has seen since the short reg form. Reevaluate everything that was mentioned in this post and think about it for at least a couple of minutes. I’m sure you’ll come to the same conclusion.
Pick your battles wisely. Don’t waste your time on a fight you cannot win. Instead, pick a battle you can shine in. Get your product mobile. Or get another product for mobile-only purposes. No, not responsive — mobile. No doubt, this is a battle that will be hard, breathtaking and challenging. But when is the time to pick this battle if not now? Your cash-cows are settled. Your desktop products are generating the dollars you need in order to get your mobile products sorted. So do it. Invest to get mobile. Not in a year or two, now. How? Now that’s up to you to figure out. My only tip: Stop thinking from your point of view, and start thinking from a user’s perspective.
By Bojan Ninic,
Bojan is Head of Sales at Digital Performance GmbH.