opinion

Some Consolidation for Dating Sector

Stewart Tongue

Dating is already showing signs of an interesting year online in 2014. As the number and kind of niche specific dating sites continues to grow exponentially, within each niche there does appear to be some consolidation as categories becoming more clearly defined and the audience of each develops its own set of expectations.

“Due to the proliferation of so many white labels and new entrants into the marketplace there are dating sites that have micro-targeted most niches and the gap between mainstream or adult dating sites is definitely shrinking in the minds of many potential customers,” said Clement of VidoesZ.com. “That may soon lead to much more permissive rules about so-called mainstream dating companies accepting adult site traffic in the near future on a case by case basis, which may also alter the ability of newer adult dating sites to compete for the same clicks.”

Massive growth may still be possible, but as dating becomes an increasingly saturated market online, the moves made by established companies to secure a niche audience or improve the value per customer acquired are likely to be the big stories of the coming year.

“Probably because of the intimacy that a dating community is built from, matching the pitch and promotion of the site to the people already in it and the people who want to join it is even more important than it is with many other kinds of sites,” said an exec at DaddyHunt.com. “On the gay side of online dating an eye toward the larger goals and progress of the gay community is also essential. Our own awards for progressive businesses that serve the greater good were very well received in 2013 and in the coming year we have many other interactive events planned for our community. Dating in 2014 will be all about the direct connection sites create with the people that they serve.”

From an outside perspective, dating sites in the adult arena may want to take a closer look at some of the innovations mainstream companies have already rolled out.

“Marketing is marketing and I’d guess successful dating in 2014 will be on mobile, geolocalized and with a freemium business model,” said Richard Excoffier, CEO of TotemCash.com. “When I look at OKCupid or Tinder, I feel that our industry is not leading the game anymore in some ways and I hope it wakes up again soon.”

With plenty of experience coming from a mainstream background, Ralph of EvaCash.com sees the inevitability of people wanting to find dates as the real story that should never be overlooked.

“Unless Facebook decides to launch a fully functional free dating service, there will always be business to be done in the dating market for smart people who really care about their customers. Dating is more like hair salons and restaurants than porn — everyone needs to eat and cut their hair, the only questions are where they will choose to do it and why.”

Globalization is also playing a leading role in the evolution of online dating.

‘One thing we have been seeing is a much more global approach to dating,” said Colin of TranslationsXXX.com. “Having site tour essentials translated into other languages isn’t new, but many site owners and white label publishers want to go deeper with full tour translations or native language options within their members area.

The languages of choice are also becoming more wide spread. It’s not just a call for German, Italian and Spanish anymore — dating site content comes from the interactivity of the dating community they create, and many are realizing that having that interactivity available in the languages each customer is most comfortable with is an easy way to improve the value per acquisition of members areas, aside from the impact it already has on the conversion ratios of multilingual tours.”

Massive growth may still be possible, but as dating becomes an increasingly saturated market online, the moves made by established companies to secure a niche audience or improve the value per customer acquired are likely to be the big stories of the coming year. Whether you are a white label publisher finetuning your pitch to stay current, or are a social marketing strategist squeezing every possible join out of each platform, the success of your attempts to utilize audience feedback to craft a winning campaign while approaching each kind of client with the specific pitch they expect from “one of their own” is likely to be the difference between dating site growth and stagnation during this new year.

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