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Summer of Love: Dating Sites and Post-Pandemic Digital Advertising

May 26 2021 by Matthew Bozin

Not since the 60's has a nation had so much pent up tension and longing for intimate connection - and back then, the only place you could swipe right was a rotary phone. Now, love is just a click away! Well, except for that whole pandemic-quarantine thing? But all that is about to change. It's been a long year, and the dating apps are preparing for "single and ready to mingle" to transition into, "vaccinated and ready to get the hell out of my house and meet someone who hopefully looks like their profile picture!" Or, some version of that, anyway.

First Impressions

Only a couple years ago, it seemed there was a new dating app popping up every 30 seconds. And, while some have maintained high marketshare, new apps have carved out a unique enough niche to break through the firewall (yes, that was a tinder joke...stay with us).

While the top 10 digital spenders, YTD, vie for users, each have chosen differing channel strategies to reach eligible singles. Match.com and eHarmony lead the pack, utilizing every channel, while Tawkify, Avanta Inc., and Hinge round out the top 5, primarily using Facebook and Instagram. However, Tinder, the most popular app with 57MM users, skips Instagram spend altogether.

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Disclaimer: We'd be remiss if we didn't mention that The Match Group currently owns 45 dating companies, including its flagship product, match.com, Tinder and Hinge, 3 of the top 10 digital spenders. A Match-opoly if we've ever seen one. 


You've Got Male

One notable trend is the use of Facebook for each advertiser. And, as the worlds largest social network, it stands to reason it's a hot destination for dating app ads. But what might be surprising is which gender is being targeted by each brand.

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Dominating once again, match.com spent nearly $2MM YTD in the channel, with 59% targeting men. In fact, all of the top brands targeted a higher percentage of men than women, save Bumble, who's philosophy is female-centric, allowing women to make the first move after matching. Who knew there was a shortage of men in dating sites this year?


High Tide in the Creatives Dating Pool

Like most categories, some dating app advertisers adjusted their messaging throughout the pandemic, and some chose to highlight their unique brand, to separate themselves from the deep end of the pool. 

Match.com made light of how awful a year it's been, creating a video campaign where Satan matches with two-zero-two-zero, or "Call me twenty-twenty," she exclaims. 

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Tawkify and eHarmony released ads positioning themselves as the anti-swipers, taking a more serious tone, with the slogans, "Dating for Men who know what they want," and, "Don't waste time on casual flings." 

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Bumble stuck to their brand, launching a video campaign with female celebrities Tiffany Haddish and Aubrey Plaza, reminding its users why it's not a good idea to text your ex, and answering typical questions you might ask a match.


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Back in the Saddle

Look, it's been a lonely year for us all, and especially for those who haven't had anyone to talk to. The good news: rotary phones don't seem to be making a comeback anytime soon. So, keep swiping, shed that mask, but not that virus, and get back out there! We're on the road to recovery, and dating apps are just the medicine we need to get back up on the horse. And, if you get a bit sick of swiping, and want more insights, try your hand at "clicking" and CLICK HERE!

Pathmatics won't "ghost you," or "dial-tone you," or "glamboozle" you - mainly because we don't know what those mean - but Pathmatics hasn't dated in a long time, soooo.  

About Author
Matthew Bozin

After earning his BS in Communications, Matt cut his teeth in the entertainment industry, spending fifteen years writing everything from feature screenplays for A-List directors, to celebrity bios for some of Hollywood’s top actors. That creative drive made it an easy transition to Marketing, bringing his eye for storytelling to the digital advertising ecosystem.

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