How to market a dating app in 2020: Everything you need to know

Anne Verhoeven

Feb 7, 2020

How to market a dating app in 2020: Everything you need to know

Over the past decade, online dating has overturned stigmatic attitudes and become one of the most prolific mobile app categories. Our 2019 Global App Trends report found that Dating is among the fastest growing app verticals (just behind gaming and ride-hail apps) while other reports show that the global dating app market is expected to surpass $8.4 billion by 2024.

Despite this demand, over 90% of online dating startups fail. Your dating app marketing strategy has to be air-tight, ensuring you show users what makes your dating app unique, fun, and applicable to their individual needs. In this guide, we explore how to market a dating app in 2020 and push toward your most ambitious targets – including where to start, managing your online presence, paid user acquisition and best practices.

Dating app marketing strategy: Where to begin

Users won’t waste time on a dating app without active users, so it’s critical that your audience is exposed to user-generated content the moment they open your app. This presents a predicament for developers looking to release a new app that hasn’t yet built up a loyal, active community, but there are ways you can optimize your app’s momentum prior to launch.

Find your niche and define your message

Apps such as Tinder, Bumble and Grindr dominate the mass market, but there are plenty of opportunities to find your niche and build a loyal community. Defining your target audience is a critical step to ensuring your community will build organically and is an effective way to improve your value to users.

Once you know your unique selling point and what defines the users who need your app, you must develop how your vision will be communicated to potential users. For example, The League is a dating app aimed at users looking to “find love with elite dating.” To ensure they attract their target audience, an application process is in place to prove a user’s eligibility. The League’s website states that “an advanced screening and monitoring system keeps our community well-balanced, highly-engaged, and full of high-powered (and empowered) people who are ready for a long-term relationship.” The app positions its community as an elite group, thereby attracting similar users to submit an application. The company has also considered ways in which searching for a date with users from a similar education and career could be problematic: “authenticating with LinkedIn will protect your privacy and block you from your business connections and coworkers who also authenticated.”

In contrast, Bristlr – a niche dating app designed to connect “those with beards to those who want to stroke beards” – is marketed as a more light-hearted experience.

Dating app marketing: organic traffic from your website

Because people love to talk about dating, you can’t afford to ignore the interest that can be generated by promoting your app with an official website. It’s essential that your landing page conveys your vision and includes a registration form – especially if you haven’t launched yet. This will enable you to keep interested users up-to-date with your launch and any other updates that may be of interest. This approach will also help you solve the initial challenge of launching a dating app with an enthusiastic community from day one.

Setting up a regularly updated blog on your website is another way to generate interest in your approach to online dating. This creates several opportunities to attract users to your app. Below are four best practices to perfect your dating app’s blog, including examples of how it can be done.

1. Dive into the nuance of your dating philosophy:

Your blog is the perfect space to share your position in the market. Fortunately, there are great examples to learn from, such as OkCupid’s announcement that they would include preferred pronouns on users’ profiles. The blog entry states that “OkCupid is proud to be the first and only leading dating app to create a dedicated space on profiles for LGBTQ daters to share their pronouns.” Not only does this update users of the feature, but it also promotes the brand’s focus on inclusivity. The blog entry includes the story of how they collaborated with GLAAD, a leader in the promotion of LGBTQ acceptance, to achieve their goal.

2. Creating content for SEO

Dating culture provides plenty of opportunities for dating apps to rank high on search engines, and there are some great examples of how companies have harnessed people’s interest to drive organic traffic. Bumble’s “The Buzz,” for example, created this guide to “ghosting”, which currently ranks on the first page for the term. This is a cost-effective way to raise brand awareness.

3. Viral content for social media

Your blog also presents an opportunity to create viral content that can be shared across your social media channels. For example, OkCupid uses data stories that share attention-grabbing statistics. This includes the revelation that “50% of people fantasize about hooking up with a coworker,” and how many times George Clooney is mentioned in users’ profiles.

4. Share your users’ success stories

Across your landing page and your blog, it’s important to share your dating app’s success stories. Users need to know that you are worth their time, and showing real-life examples of app-crossed lovers is a persuasive tactic. Take Match.com for example, the dating app that has a testimonials page on its website. Here you can learn that 1.6 million couples have met thanks to the company, with specific stories detailing what sparked their interest and the couple’s plans for the future. Note that the type of stories you tell should align with your app’s unique selling point.

App store optimization (ASO)

ASO is another essential practice that will help you get the edge over your competitors. With a saturated market, dating apps must use ASO to prove their value and share their unique selling point. Moreover, quality ASO will boost organic installs, bringing you the most valuable users.

Here are five all-important areas to focus on when implementing ASO.

  • Include keywords (dating and your niche) in your app’s name
  • Add keywords to your app’s description
  • Localize content for best results
  • Use primary and secondary app categories to reach more users
  • You must include screenshots and other useful images to attract organic installs

You should also encourage satisfied customers to review your app in the app store, giving your app another reason for users to install. For example, you could prompt users to rate your app after they have matched a certain number of users, ensuring that the most active users are promoting your product.

Paid user acquisition: Identify your most valuable users

Paid user acquisition is another critical component to successfully marketing your dating app. It allows you to reach your target audience, identify which users are the most valuable, and learn which channel they came from. This is where an attribution partner can help. With the right insights, you can learn from behavioral patterns and optimize your campaigns for long-term success. With Adjust’s Audience Builder, for example, you can segment audiences using your Adjust data. This enables you to create lookalike audiences and build upon your most successful results. This has seen proven success, with Jeff Gurian, VP Marketing & Ad Monetization AT Kongregate, stating that the main benefit is showing ads to users you know are valuable. To learn more about how Audience Builder works, take a look at our landing page.

4 best practices for your dating app marketing strategy

  1. Develop your app’s gamification
    If you’re not considering how gamification can improve your dating app, you’re missing out on a fundamental method to retain users and improving the user experience. In his TEDx talk, gamification pioneer Yu-kai Chou describes the term as “harnessing the power of play,” which perfectly describes why you should want to gamify your dating app. This can be particularly powerful in the dating market because – just like gaming – dating apps are designed to be fun.

    You can identify areas that should be gamified by discovering how your app can be more competitive, entertaining, and simplified. For example, it could be as simple as introducing GIFs and emojis to your chat function. Listening to user feedback on any features that are damaging your app’s gamification should be considered.

  2. Share user-generated content

    User-generated content is an effective way to share your message in a manner that your audience will see as authentic. Because of this authenticity, user-generated videos on YouTube get 10x more views than branded content, and 45% of people will unfollow a brand if they do too much self-promotion. Tinder’s Twitter account is a great example of how user-generated content can be harnessed to start a discussion and grab the attention of potential users.

  1. Use social networking functions to your advantage

    Dating apps are designed to be social, and can, therefore, benefit from embedding social networking functions. Tinder’s integration with Facebook, for example, allows users to sign up with ease. It’s smart to make use of social media outlets’ APIs so you can use features that users are already familiar with to your advantage.

  2. Harness the media’s interest in dating

    Dating app developers are fortunate to be marketing a topic that has widespread appeal to a variety of media outlets. Word-of-mouth is immensely valuable to dating apps, and raising awareness of yours in the media is an opportunity you can’t afford to miss. This topic has been covered at length at Mobile Spree, the conference for mobile app marketers. Leigh Isaacson and Casey Isaacson, co-founders of Dig, outlined ways in which you can get into the media and share news of your app for free.

Dig is “the dog person’s dating app,” where users can connect over their mutual appreciation of dogs. CEO Leigh Isaacson was previously an investigative reporter and used her inside knowledge to promote Dig in a cost-effective way. During her Mobile Spree talk, she told marketers not to miss opportunities in local news: “when you’re pitching a story, don’t discount local news. They have a lot of connections and your story can quickly take off.” However, Leigh also makes the distinction between a news story and a business pitch: “you’re not just pitching your business, you have to discover what is newsworthy.” This means it has to be timely and audience-appropriate. To learn everything she shared at the event, be sure to watch the full video.

For more insights into how Adjust can help, take a look at why dating tops the growth chart in the U.S., how to develop a social media marketing strategy, and everything you need to know about A/B testing. You can also learn more about how we provide essential mobile app attribution and analytics.

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