Marketing the Online Dating Game in the Wake of the Ashley Madison Hacking

Ashely-Madison-Online-dating-site-HackingOnline dating has become the preferred method to find dates, hookups, relationships and possible life partner. USA Today reported that more than a third of recent marriages started online. The growing number of singles and fading social stigma of online dating give the online dating market an expanding consumer base. Free and mobile-focused services is the main driver of this growth.

Online dating sites cater for every age and income brackets. Niche online dating sites specially cater to ethnic and religious groups, today there are specific sites for every kind of single. Online dating sites use many marketing tools and techniques to attract viewers to sign-up. Choosing the best target audience is the first consideration when they make a marketing plan because each audience responds to different form of marketing. The online dating app Tinder focuses on the younger generation of daters, while eHarmony tends to market to the 35 and up group.

Popular and profitable dating sites spend millions in advertising. eHarmony one of the industry’s trendsetters charges $50 fee per month for membership, uses radio and television advertisement to leverage internet presence; while match.com uses radio and online advertisements. These companies recognize the increase in advertising budget results in higher annual growth.

Online dating today is more prevalent than traditional dating. People are meeting their mates on the internet. However, online daters looking for love online, face privacy and security risk they might not expect. Ashley Madison an online infidelity site that promise discretion and security fell victim to hackers. The attack was revealed by computer security blogger Brian Krebs. The hackers threatened to expose the company’s user database, financial records and other information if they do not heed to their demands.

The Ashley Madison incident puts online dating on spotlight. Marketing the online dating game in the wake of the Ashley Madison hacking incident becomes a challenge. Telling viewers that their personal information is safe with the dating site is the primary marketing technique used today to convince viewers to trust their site. Security is very important Zoosk, RSVP and eHarmony are some of the dating sites that use HTTPS, meaning their logins and passwords are encrypted. This protects user’s browsing history, messages and links to other activity. Some dating sites are even deleting all data upon account closure, this gives users an assurance that their data are not hanging on the internet for weeks.

Content marketing is also used by dating sites. Landing pages copy is written short and to the point. Their blog usually discusses dating tips, advice, trends and share success stories of happy couples facilitated by the site. The writing quality and story topics keep these blog posts fascinating and shareable. Social media is also used in content marketing strategy. Blogs are being shared in social networking sites like Facebook  and Twitter. Some take advantage of the power of video by running fantastic YouTube channel that gives online dating tips with viral quality that garner million views.

Majority of the online dating sites have a monthly service ranging from $20-$50 a month, depending on the plans and kind of services offered. Monthly flat rate fee seems to be more appealing to most audiences. Some sites offer more creative marketing techniques like LavaLife which allow a pay-per-communication method. Some sites allow non-subscribers to reply to subscribers to give them a better feel of the kind of service the site offers.

Providing perfect match through a specific compatibility and personality testing is the marketing strategy commonly used by online dating sites. Offering free sign-ups and giving possible matches convince people to subscribe to get the site’s full service. Some online dating sites are using promotions such as “Money Back Guarantee” if the user is unable to find a match within a specific amount of time. Match.com gives 14 day money back guarantee while eHarmony offers six months free subscription if they have not found a suitable mate after six months.

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