It might be hard to imagine or remember, but there was once a time when going on a date with a stranger you met online was a strange concept—frowned upon, even. Today, however, millennials have led the charge on transforming the dating industry and making online dating universally accepted. If you continue to have doubts, consider that there are now over 1, dating apps or websites looking to draw single men and women to their product, and to match them with one another.
Though matchmaking is one of the oldest industries in existence, online matchmaking is now having a moment of its own. This article explores the business of dating: the market size of dating apps in the U. According to the Pew Research Centerbetween andonline dating usage has tripled among those between the ages of 18 and Beyond its existing users, dating services benefit from tailwinds such as an untapped market, increasing millennial spending power, young people delaying life milestones such as marriage and home purchasing, as well as working longer hours.
This is all on top of the growing ubiquitousness of broadband internet and growing acceptance and legitimacy around online dating. While few would be surprised to hear that young adults are active with online dating, they might be when they realize that those in their late 50s and 60s are also quite active.
According to Nielsen data, one in 10 American adults spends more than an hour a day on a dating app.
What do the s tell us? According to MarketWatchonline dating has become the most popular form of dating for homosexuals, and the second most popular way to meet partners for heterosexuals after meeting through friends. At its simplest, dating apps generally fall into two. On one hand, there are websites and apps like Match. On the other hand, services like Tinder, Hinge, and Bumble eschew these surveys and essays, instead requiring that users link up their other social media s Facebook, Spotify, Instagram.
Each app has its own competitive advantage or spin on the dating game: With its monthly subscription fee, Match. And, while Tinder is the most popular among year-olds, Match. Still, when it comes to actual ownership by company, these two models become more blended. Users might not realize that Match Group actually comprises 45 brandsincluding big names such as Match. There are two factors that have shifted the landscape towards the giants in the market, the first of which is the huge success of Tinder.
Very few of the newer apps will end up lasting. Most of them are gone almost as quickly as they show up. With so many dating sites, it can encourage customers to try out its other sites as well. According to PrivCo, while funding was up inthe size of individual rounds is declining.
Small amounts of funding are generally not enough for the large marketing budgets that dating apps require for user acquisition. While VCs are notoriously seeking loyal and longer-term users, dating apps tend to attract periodic users without much loyalty and who like to switch between services.
On top of that, monetization for dating apps has been slow, with apps wanting to focus first and foremost on the user experience.
We will discuss dating app monetization and business model in the next section. For the dating apps still seeking funding, all hope is not lost. There are some common traits among the ones who have received funding in the last few years.
Investors also seem to prefer apps that simplify dating options. While it might become more difficult for smaller players to succeed, the industry has been abuzz since Facebook announced its foray into online dating. Facebook users will soon be able to elect to create a dating profile on Facebook, and since Facebook has so much data on its users, such as mutual friends, dating preferences, and common interests, it claims it should be able to deliver better matches.
Users will be able to browse events in their city, but their activity and dating profiles will only be visible to others also utilizing the dating feature. Still, Facebook could face some obstacles in building enough separation between the dating service and the legacy social network; some users might not like having both activities live on one app.
And, Facebook has failed many times beforeincluding Snapchat copycat apps Slingshot and Poke, as well as Roomwhich was meant to be a pseudonymous app that allowed users to create forums about any topic. If Facebook sticks to simply helping people find events and groups to connect at, there may not be as much overlap between the two services. On an earnings call post-announcement, Ginsberg also pointed to the fact that only a quarter of Tinder users still rely on the Facebook platform to access the app. Other apps have indicated that they might actually move closer to Facebook.
A guide to popular digital spots to find love
For example, Bumble, founded by a former Tinder executive, said they had already reached out to Facebook regarding how to collaborate. So, how exactly do dating apps make money while keeping in mind the importance of utility to the user in the space? In general, the business model for dating apps falls into three broad : subscription plans and freemium, which utilize advertising and in-app purchasing.
The subscription model is the oldest model in the dating app sphere, requiring users to pay a fee to use the app for a set period of time usually a week or a month. The payments are typically recurring. The most prominent example of such is Match. These sites are focused on finding people a serious relationship and tend to skew towards an older population who are willing and able to pay. Zoosk, eHarmony, and Chemistry, and Our Time are also paid dating services.
Typically, the paid subscriptions are cheaper by the month if the user commits to a longer period of time.
The freemium model hinges on the concept where users can up and use the basic functionalities of the app for free, while the app generates revenue either via advertising or unlocking enhanced features for a fee. Without a barrier to entryfreemium dating apps often wait to build scaleloyalty, and active users until they introduce paid features. They typically use a combination of both options. In-app advertising is a way for the app to generate shared revenue with advertisers from clicks, views or transactions.
In AprilTinder launched its first ad campaign for Budweiser, where users viewed a Budweiser video within a few swipes.
The campaign went viral. However, Facebook has gone on record saying that its dating service will not include .
Though basic membership is free, users can pay for extra, enhanced features. As of SeptemberTinder was the highest-grossing app on the app store among US consumers.
It took Tinder about three years since its inception to start monetizing, as it was working to build its user base and loyalty before turning on the monetization engine. In second place is female-friendly Bumble, which also only started to monetize in August of The perks include Rematch, Beeline, and Busybee.
Finance All Blogs Icon Chevron. Filter by. View all. Finance Processes. Melissa Lin. Melissa has worked in ECM, tech startups, and management consulting, advising Fortune companies across multiple sectors. Still, it's a fast-growing industry. Dating services also benefit from tailwinds such as an untapped market, increasing millennial spending power, young people delaying life milestonesas well as working longer hours.
This is all on top of the growing ubiquitousness of broadband internet and growing acceptance of online dating. Online Dating Industry User Breakdown While few would be surprised to hear that young adults are active with online dating, they might be when they realize that those in their late 50s and 60s are also quite active. There's been much talk about the impact dating apps have had on perpetuating a " hookup culture " and instant gratification over a genuine or more serious collection.
All that data, ripe for the picking
The Online Dating Industry's Major Players Each app has its own competitive advantage or spin on the dating game: With its monthly subscription fee, Match. Tinder pairs potential hookups based on a mere glance and swipe of a photograph, is easy to use, and is user-friendly. Bumble uses a similar format to Tinder, but with a twist: only women can send the first message. The League is an elite dating app focused on accomplished, ambitious young professionals. Match Group actually comprises 45 brandsincluding big names such as Match.
The Online Dating Industry Business Model Membership subscriptions : The subscription model is the oldest model in the dating app sphere, requiring users to pay a fee to use the app for a set period of time. It's a higher barrier to entry for use. Freemium : The freemium model allows for users to up and use the basic functionalities of the app for free, while the app generates revenue either via advertising or unlocking enhanced features for a fee.