Snapshot of the Mobile Dating App Landscape


Mobile dating apps are on the rise as all the online dating users have begun accessing these services on the mobile. Some of the reasons why this vertical has high potential are because:

  • From 2009 to 2012, revenue from mobile dating apps grew at an average annual rate of 70.3 percent.
  • The U.S. market for mobile dating apps generates an estimated $212.6 million in revenue.
  • Between 2012 and 2017, revenue from mobile dating apps is expected to rise at an annual rate of 14.3 percent to $415.3 million.
  • In 2010, men and women spent 3.7 minutes on dating apps compared to 8.4 minutes on dating websites.
  • In 2011, they spent 8.4 minutes on dating apps compared to 8.3 minutes on dating websites.
  • Between 2010 and 2011, the number of unique users for all smartphone apps grew 125 percent. During the same period, the number of unique visitors for dating apps grew 150 percent.
  • They combine the social network and chat/communication phenomena that have proven to be extremely popular among users
  • Users are in it for a particular focused reason and hence are open to making in-app purchases
  • By leveraging the power of mobile such as geo-location, these apps are able to provide true value to its users

Hence, due to all these reasons, I have dug deeper in to the mobile dating community to see who are the big fish and what are could be their future plans for user acquisition.

  • The client list among dating apps can be considered in 3 tiers:
    • Tier 1 – Match.com, eHarmony and OkCupid are the giants in the space that are also the most expensive dating apps. They have users who are in it to find long term life partners and are considered more serious and high-end dating apps
    • Tier 2 – Zoosk and Skout fall in this category. While they might not be as expensive as Tier 1 apps, they still have cases where people are able to meet their partners through the apps. They usually target younger audiences, especially compared to the Tier 1 apps
    • Tier 3 – Tinder and Grindr fall in this category where the apps are usually used for casual hookups

 

1.1 Match.com

Client Snapshot

  • Founded: 1995
  • Available Markets: Global
  • Funding: $61M total with $21M being the latest funding in 2012
  • Users: 15M users in 24 countries; 5M unique users/month
  • Description: Match.com is an online and app dating service that helps singles find a partner. It asks users to enter details about themselves and then search for similar profiles of users who might be a potential match.
  • Platforms: iOS, Android, Blackberry
  • Revenue Model: Paid subscription (to go beyond the basic features). $35 for 1 month subscription
  • Revenue: $194M in Q1 2013

What is Going Well

  • Match.com is well established and has the largest network of singles and their profiles available
  • They have nothing new or spectacular, but being the giant, they already have a strong network
  • They have managed to stay as a dating site for serious daters who are looking for long term relationships and love. Hence, these users tend to pay more for the services as well

Potential UA Plans

  • Match.com advertises very heavily and spends considerable amount of time on TV advertising and online advertising
  • Their challenge in UA is to find new users who do not already have the app since many users across the globe already have the app
  • LTV optimization of their dormant users might have strong value
  • Will be looking for a way to target single users who do not already have the app and target them

 

Match.com

Screenshot of Match.com mobile app

Similar Apps

 

1.2 Zoosk

Client Snapshot

  • Founded: 2007
  • Available Markets: Global
  • Funding: $61M total with $21M being the latest funding in 2012
  • Users: 40M active users
  • Description: Zoosk is a leading online dating company that learns as you click in order to pair you with singles you’re likely to be mutually attracted to. Zoosk’s Behavioral Matchmaking™ technology is constantly learning from the actions of over 25 million searchable members in order to deliver better matches in real time. Available in over 70 countries and translated into 25 languages, Zoosk is known for its global presence.
  • Platforms: iOS, Android and html5 on mobile, Facebook app and online website
  • Revenue Model: Paid subscription (to go beyond the basic features) and purchase of virtual currency (to buy gifts, to boost your profile in search etc.)
  • Revenue: $40M in Q1 2013; $90M in 2012

What is Going Well

  • Zoosk’s differentiator is its Behavioral Matchmaking™ technology, which basically keeps track of a user’s likes and dislikes and personalized matches based on that
  • Unlike its competitors such as Match.com, Zoosk targets younger users (18-35) who tend to stay on the platform for longer
  • Zoosk rode the Facebook and MySpace advertising options early on and got a lot of users through the social channels
  • Zoosk has 20+ open positions in the company showing that they are probably doing quite well.

Potential UA Plans

  • Mobile advertising traffic has grown over 200% in the last year only and over 30% of the transactions happens on mobile
  • Interviews reveal that Zoosk feels that they have to diversify supply beyond Facebook and MySpace if they want to get more users. Specially users using their mobile during different activities other than just social networking. Which means that we will begin seeing a lot more ads of Zoosk during casual mobile usage.
  • They are the #1 top grossing app on iTunes for iPad and iPhone in the social networking genre and #15 on Android
  • Demographic targeting (age and gender) would work well since they are looking for a specific age group. Site targeting is also a great way to reach the target audience, especially as they want to diversify supply
  • User LTV optimization might be another strong angle for them
Screenshot of Zoosk mobile app

Screenshot of Zoosk mobile app

1.3 Skout

Client Snapshot

  • Founded: 2007
  • Available Markets: Global
  • Funding: $26M
  • Users: 5M active users as of 2011
  • Description: Skout is a location-based mobile dating app and website to find available matches around you. With a simple sign-up process, Skout is easy to get started with. Skout allows you to meet people by preference and proximity, chat, see who checked you out, get updates from nearby users, buy and send gifts, save your favorite users, browse profiles and pictures, promote your profile with in-app features, earn points to unlock premium features.
  • Platforms: iPhone, iPad, Android and online website
  • Revenue Model: Paid subscription (to go beyond the basic features) and purchase of virtual currency (to buy gifts, to boost your profile in search etc.)

What is Going Well

  • By keeping the exact location information hidden, Skout tries to keep the creepy people away and secure privacy. This is making the confidence of users go higher
  • It was one of the first apps that launched using location data and has picked up momentum
  • After a rocky start where Skout got blamed for a few rape cases, they have enforced policies for minors using the app
  • To keep their edge, they have gone beyond just dating and have expanded to meeting new people in different situations. For example, meet new locals when you travel to a new city
  • Have managed to enter the global markets. In fact, Skout is doing extremely well in HongKong
  • They also facilitated more than 200 million connections between users last year, up fourfold from 54 million connections in 2011. In total, they’re adding about 1.5 million new users every month and their most active locale is Hong Kong.
  • Users of Skout are in their 20s mostly and tend to spend about 45 minutes on Skout everyday ranging across 8-9 sessions a day. Engagement on the app of loyal users is extremely high

Potential UA Plans

  • They have an opening for a User Acquisition Specialist who has to work with the likes of Ad Networks to find new users. So definitely looking at mobile advertising as a main stream channel to acquire new users
  • They will be looking for partners to expand and grow in the East considering that their most active market is Hong Kong.
  • Location based targeting will also be another strong angle since their app uses location information heavily
  • User LTV optimization will help improve the quality of users who tend to spend money within the app
  • With the launch of the services for travel, Skout will be looking for innovative ways to target frequent travelers
  • However, funding has not been very high and revenue numbers are not released. They also had some setbacks which might have made them wary. So, might not have too much money to spend on advertising and even if they do, will be very tight on budget
Screenshot of Skout  mobile app

Screenshot of Skout mobile app

1.4 Tinder

Client Snapshot

  • Available Markets: Global
  • Funding: $4M in November 2013
  • Users: 350M a day, each user checks app 11 times a day for 7 minutes each time
  • Parent company: IAC (same company which owns OkCupid and Match.com)
  • Description: Tinder is a mobile dating app which uses geo-location and facebook integration to find users a match. Once you login to Tinder using facebook, it picks four photographs and shares that with people who are close by. Tinder also shows you the the age of the person, distance from you and common facebook friends. You can either like a person shown by Tinder or dismiss it. If you like it, you have made a match and if both users have made a match, then Tinder sets up a chat between the two people. Tinder uses game-like controls to swipe through photos and either like or dismiss a person.
  • Platforms: iOS and Android smartphones
  • Revenue Model: None

What is Going Well

  • Very simple to use without long sign-up forms which were there on online dating sites
  • Involves game like control which makes it more of an entertainment app
  • Targets millennial generation – young, have abundant time and looking for casual hook-ups
  • Uses location information to find matches located close to you
  • Facebook integration immediately gives the feeling of authenticity, but keeps your data private by not posting anything back on Facebook
  • Visually appealing site with swipe functionality rather than click

Potential UA Plans

  • Tinder is backed by a big company. This means it has significant amount of money to spend on UA.
  • It is picking up momentum in terms of getting new users and is most likely willing to spend on acquiring new users.
  • Competitors such as Hinge are creating similar apps, which gives Tinder even more reason to acquire new users before Hinge does.
  • Targets the Millennial generation who are hooked on to their mobile and are also the target that are most receptive to mobile ads
  • They are already spending money on mobile and online advertising
  • Uses geo-location in the app and hence a will be looking for ways to find geo data and use it innovatively
  • On the flip side, they do not have a revenue model as yet
Screenshot of Tindr mobile app

Screenshot of Tinder mobile app

Similar Apps

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2 thoughts on “Snapshot of the Mobile Dating App Landscape

  1. Hi! This is my first visit to your blog! We are
    a team of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche.
    Your blog provided us useful information to work on.
    You have done a marvellous job!

  2. I stopped using okc a few weeks ago after one too many awkward dates lol. My coworker showed me cliqie.com and I’m a big fan of that over the others in terms of actually meeting people vs. just entertainment. It has a different approach that feels less sketchy cause you and your friends essentially act as “wingmen”. I like that it helps you find things to do too. Skout’s okay too, but still has it’s fair share of creepers

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