Dating Apps & Advertising: Should You Swipe Right Or Left?

Happy Valentine’s Day! Or, Single Awareness Day depending on your current relationship status. But, TBH Valentine’s Day is truly the most important day in February. Thank you Leslie Knope. The dating scene has completely changed in the last few years. Gone are the days of meeting a handsome stranger at the bar or being set-up on a blind date. Now, my dating life is dependent on swiping left or right. 

I once swore to never embrace the ever-growing online dating scene. Thought it was something for older generations. I value meeting somebody in person, where you can immediately determine if there is any interest before committing.  However, for better or worse, I have caved. After being bombarded by constant advertising for online dating sites, such as Match and eHarmony and increasing presence of dating apps in my friends’ lives; I decided to take the plunge. 

How do you know which app is best suited for you and will get you the best results? This is when advertising comes into play. The popular dating app, Hinge, created a campaign just to differentiate itself from the competition to showcase its value to someone like me. The “Let’s Be Real” campaign used Hinge’s questionnaire feature, a tool that allows users to answer questions about themselves, which is then used to find a connection, all to showcase their matchmaking abilities. 

A consistent concern for those who use online dating apps is being catfished. The term is pinned from a documentary about a man who forms an online relationship with a woman who happens to be a different person than he is led to believe. This documentary and an MTV series about the topic has made it a staple term in pop culture. Bumble, a dating app with a feminist spin, implemented a facial recognition software to help prevent this. To promote this feature, they launched the “The Great Catch” campaign. Bumble placed a food truck that served catfish on busy intersections in NYC. Customers were told to download the Bumble app and show it to workers before eating. Copy on the food truck read, “Catfish just got served.” 

OkCupid recently rebranded with their “DTF” campaign. Embracing the millennial tendency to shorten any phrase into an acronym. OkCupid took a phrase that is meant for one thing and redefined it for something completely different. The vibrant campaign also took advantage of the political landscape, with some ads reading, “DTFight about the president,” or “DTFilter out the Far Right.” 

Besides using advertising to promote themselves, some of these apps are utilizing advertising within their respective app. Of course, this is a separate way for the app to make a profit without relying solely on paid subscriptions by users. Brands that have taken advantage of this new advertising landscape consist of beer, wine and spirits, travel/tourism, retail, condoms and even networks to promote upcoming shows. These adverts aren’t just placed at the bottom of your screen in a banner ad format. If you use Tinder regularly, you may notice that ads have implemented mini “profiles” giving the user the option to swipe left or right.

Like any brand, dating apps, I believe, have the potential to utilize advertising in great ways. Especially for someone like me who may have some skepticism about the online dating world and what value it can hold for me.