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Apps like Bumble or Tinder make finding a match as easy as swiping right, and they help connect online dating with the offline world. For many users, these mobile apps have helped remove the stigma of online dating by pulling into the mainstream. Lonely hearts are no longer tied to a PC or a laptop to find someone. Instead, swiping left or right has become a social norm. Tinder clones have popped up by the dozens in the app store.
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For some, swiping through potential matches has even become a social activity of sorts. Now you can go out and have fun with your friends, and still look for a potential partner on the web. These apps also push a different agenda on the world of online dating. Niche dating apps have also started to appear in the past two years. Traditional dating sites like Match. But not all online dating businesses are created equal, especially when it comes to profiting off their products. Many dating apps and websites are free for users. So how do many of these apps profit from your quest for a partner?
Advertisers will pay more money to reach users whose profiles they can tie to real people. For example the rising dating app Coffee Meets Bagel claims to have resulted in 10, relationships and at least 80 engagements since it launched in April of In the quest to profit from online dating, businesses are being innovative and trying different approaches. For example, OKCupid allows users free access to their matching service.
It took OKCupid seven years to become profitable, however last year their paid subscriber revenue finally surpassed their ad revenue.
The Business of Dating — Start-ups are thinking big to change the industry
There are a plethora of dating apps on the market, making it difficult to distinguish one from another at times. And dating site algorithms are still far from perfect. India, though never a priority market, was just about getting started. A vast number of urban singles, shunning stigma and societal denouncements, were ready to date online. Slowly, but surely, armed with the ubiquitous smartphone, apps became the norm.
And then, the likes of Aisle, TrulyMadly and iCrushiFlush took the plunge into the million market with contrasting business models. Five years down the line, there is some evidence these companies might be earning money. Statista also says sectoral revenue is expected to show a compounded annual growth rate of Primarily because, Indians, for now, are happy to consume free online products but seriously hesitant when subscriptionbased payment models are thrown up. However, there are some who do not mind shelling out a few hundred to at least try and find their best match.
Tinder, for instance, is the third largest grossing app on Android in India, with industry estimates placing its monthly revenues anywhere between Rs crore.
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That said, the best may well be yet to come, say some founders, especially with the surge in language-first internet users expected over the next few years. The success of these apps will come from the number of authentic female profiles on the apps and how much time users spend on these apps. But things are changing for the better. Happn is focusing on Hyderabad, Pune, Jaipur and Lucknow beyond the big cities. It is about getting you to spend time on the platform. This business also works on successful failures.
So, imagine Raj speaks to Simran virtually but never meets her.
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He tries a few times but then moves on to another platform to meet a different woman. Companies lose revenue since repeat orders make money. This time, they know that there is a chance of success.
They stay on the app, keep subscribing, keep swimming and thus, keep buying new and expensive packs. We noticed that if a girl, however, messages him back, the user tends to stay there for at least seven months.
Until, of course, things go offline or most often to platforms like WhatsApp or Instagram. Single, needless to say, is preferred. For users, typical use cases are a mix of long-term, casual and platonic relationships, flings or even friendship beyond dating.
Another subscription tier, TinderGold, lets users see who liked them, besides TinderPlus features. The monetisation puzzle goes all the way from subscription to micro-transactions.
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For dating companies, social ecommerce is fast becoming integral to their long-term strategy, a key learning from the famed Chinese app design playbook, which reads somewhat like this: That is, once the user is addicted or has signed up for a monthly fee, these dating apps offer add-on paid features like virtual gifting of flowers, likes, champagne bottles and so on. Each of these transactions is charged.
The end goal here is to keep the customer engaged. Some companies such as TrulyMadly and The Inner Circle have tried out offline events with mediumto-little success. Industry insiders suggest Tinder has less than 0. The main source of revenue outside of subscriptions could still come from ads, a potential that is locked, say advertisers, though it needs a strategy.
Tinder has been known to show such ads here, through targeted Facebook and Google advertising. The popularity of Chinese live streaming products like BigoLive and others have come as a big fillip to these companies.