2016 Outlook: Online Dating in the New Year

Professional dating services existed long before the advent of the Internet. But the digital era has taken the concept of professional dating services to a whole new level, making it considerably more sophisticated and diverse than it was in the past. As digital technology continues to evolve, so does online dating — and that includes adult online dating.

Major players in the adult dating sector such as AdultFriendFinder (AFF) and DatingGold continue to forge ahead technologically. And in 2016, adult online dating trends to watch out for include a heavy emphasis on mobile/wireless technology, an abundance of niche dating, and ongoing promotions in growth markets.

In 2016, adult online dating will continue to differentiate itself from mainstream online dating by offering niches that mainstream sites do not offer.

The mobile/wireless explosion has been having a profound effect all over the adult entertainment industry, from live webcam websites to membership paysites to sex toys and pleasure products. And online adult dating is no exception. As important as mobile optimization was for online dating companies in 2015, it will no doubt be even more important in 2016.

For online dating companies, traffic from mobile devices has increased substantially — and as it continues to increase in 2016, companies will keep striving to make their dating websites as mobile-friendly as possible. Some will develop and aggressively promote their own apps.

The popularity of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices has been opening new doors for adult companies: developing countries that haven’t had a strong desktop or laptop penetration are now growth markets for mobile devices. And as smartphones give more and more people easier or greater Internet access, adult dating sites will look to keep expanding in those growth markets in 2016.

Geo targeting will be vital for the online dating sector in the new year. Expanding in new markets will mean catering to the technological and linguistic needs of new customers in those markets. For South America — an important part of the world for mobile outreach — that will mean reaching mobile users who speak Spanish or Portuguese as their native language.

The Internet has given a huge boost to niche-oriented dating, making it much easier to zero in on specific interests. A variety of dating niches thrived online in 2015, from BDSM dating to gay dating to cougar/MILF dating to interracial dating. And niche dating will continue to be an important part of online dating in 2016.

With its broad portfolio of sites, AFF has been a huge player in adult niche dating. And AFF enters the new year with established sites that range from the BDSM-oriented (which bills itself as a community for “dominatrixes, masters, mistresses and slaves”) to the gay-oriented The popular continues to be a major destination for daters who are seeking casual encounters or hookups.

2016 marks the 20th anniversary of AFF, founded by CEO Andrew Conru in 1996. And 2016 marks another important anniversary for online adult dating: the 14th anniversary of DatingGold. Founded by CEO Allan Henning in 2002, DatingGold has long been on the cutting edge of online dating technology. In 2015, mobile was a high priority for the company — which continued to add features to its mobile dating platforms. And DatingGold’s mobile program will surely keep moving ahead in the New Year.

In 2016, adult online dating will continue to differentiate itself from mainstream online dating by offering niches that mainstream sites do not offer. DatingGold, for example, has fared well in the infidelity niche and enters 2016 with a portfolio of infidelity-oriented sites that includes (launched in 2013), and And DatingGold has been making its mark in the cougar/MILF niche with, which debuted in 2012.

Like other sectors of the adult industry, adult online dating has benefited from aggressive affiliate marketing. Known for having one of the strongest affiliate programs in the adult dating sector, DatingGold tackles 2016 with Fabian Jansen continuing to serve as the company’s affiliate manager.

2016 promises to be an exciting year for the online adult dating sector.