Advancing Online Dating into the Future
Online dating is not a new concept, but with digital communication becoming an increasingly necessary reality, the dating-matchmaking industry is being vaulted to new heights of popularity. The question most dating app executives today wrestle with is: “How can we offer a flexible platform that remains on-par with industry trends while expanding brand and app offerings?”
To maintain a competitive role in meeting these challenges, many companies are considering transforming their existing platforms towards building their ‘dream app’ by utilizing flexible Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC)-based solutions. Let’s explore industry trends influencing dating app development and innovation and some key considerations when choosing a solution.
Dynamic Trends Driving the Online Dating Sector
Quality over Quantity
In the 10th annual Singles in America study, produced by Match Group, 58% of dating app respondents shared that, since 2020, they had shifted towards a more “intentional” style of dating and desired more organic, natural interactions with potential significant others, versus participating in multiple casual dating connections. Consequently, many dating apps have turned to digital solutions that offer video to provide users with more authentic dating interactions.
In the Match Group’s 10th annual Singles in America study, 59% of singles said they felt video dates provided them with more meaningful interactions with their online matches than phone conversations. As video dates more closely mirror the experience a user would have in the real world, video appeals to many users. In particular, Millennials and Gen Z figures are predominantly in the online dating pool, and both are considered “authentic experience seekers”, making them highly likely to use video chatting to evaluate matches.
Additionally, the social distancing measures implemented in 2020 contributed to the increase in dating app users using video chatting (versus in-person meets) to connect with matches. Correspondingly, dating app companies are progressively turning to flexible digital solutions that can deliver low-latency, high-quality live video streaming.
Across the board, conventional and niche dating apps are experiencing broadening user demographics into global markets. Inspired by the growing access to mobile device technology and access to potential subscription bases in regions or countries previously unavailable, many dating apps are actively seeking to expand into international markets “where online dating is less mature.” Dating app executives considering these expansion ventures recognize the need for digital solutions that offer the scalability required to facilitate the expected growth from reaching global markets.
Mobile Access Only
User access to online dating has shifted over time to become almost exclusively mobile, changing the way users use online dating products. Users now utilize dating apps downloaded onto their smartphones rather than engaging online dating sites via desktop computers or laptops. Statistics show an impressive 270 million global dating app users for 2020 alone! In light of this shift, dating app developers are seeking digital solutions that can provide the essential integration points to ensure their apps are optimized for mobile usage.
According to leading mobile and data analytics company App Annie, dating app users generated over $3 billion in spending in 2020, with the majority of prospective users located within “mobile-first emerging markets.” Dating apps face the need to efficiently handle considerable transaction volumes.
Whether using carrier billing, digital wallet platforms like Google Pay or Apple Pay, or other payment systems, dating app developers are leveraging digital solutions that allow for optimal system integration with their existing platforms. These solutions also provide access points for real-time data collection and telemetry statistics to deliver detailed and transparent user billing.
Dating apps across the board actively develop algorithms to determine better matches and reduce the number of unsuccessful matches to optimize user satisfaction. It is, therefore, imperative that dating app developers choose digital solutions with the data channels necessary to fully support the inherent artificial intelligence (AI) technology of these algorithms. As AI expert and Medium Top Writer, Jair Ribeiro, notes, “The most advanced online dating platforms…have AIpowered chat rooms, voice, and text messaging.”
Supporting AI-Driven Algorithms
In the digital dating sector, few things are as important to users as feeling confident that their information is secure. With Tinder’s recent “industry-first” achievement of ISO/ IEC 27001:2013 standard certification for its Information Security Management System (ISMS), dating app development teams have a new benchmark: implementing information security practices that meet internationally accepted standards both to ensure the protection of users and to mitigate any potential brand risks. Seamless system integration with existing security functionalities is important to ascertain when evaluating possible digital solutions.
Key Opportunities In innovation
How can we continue to develop our current digital platform to ensure that we remain on-trend and offer the features that will ensure our user base continues to grow? This essential question drives the digital strategy and planning for many dating app executives seeking the right solution to redevelop their existing app environment into their ideal platform. To help executives determine the best solution and ensure its successful implementation, provided below are some key areas to consider when evaluating vendors.
- The right solution is fully customizable, allowing the app development team to create unique and exciting platform layouts, including adding live video.
- Why? Unique, immersive experiences with clear audio and low-latency, high-quality video cultivate positive, lasting user relationships translating into brand and revenue growth.
- The right solution integrates with APIs and existing everyday administrative workflows to facilitate improved backend processes (i.e. billing, moderator support, etc.).
- Why? Accurate pricing models and responsive moderator capability, supported by comprehensive system integration, contribute to consistent user retention.
- The right solution supports multi-person dating scenarios and group sessions.
- Why? Providing flexibility in how users can interact with each other in-app fosters optimal user experience while positioning the app for industry distinction.
- The right solution can scale to support global growth.
- Why? Scaling the platform and infrastructure to facilitate growth into global and emerging markets can lead to significant revenue and brand expansion.
Device Compatibility and Network Scalability
- The right platform can support a broad range of mobile devices and browsers as well as facilitate connectivity across various networks.
- Why? Stable, secure operability across various browsers, mobile devices, and networks bolsters consistent app usage and optimal user experiences.
Future Proof User Experience
- The right platform will future-proof your app for new and exciting user-matching algorithms.
- Why? AI-driven algorithms implemented via a flexible real-time communication platform enable alignment to user engagement initiatives and help to consolidate the app’s market share growth well into the future.
Industrywide shifts towards mobile technology over the last decade have changed the way people use online dating products and services – now almost exclusively supported for apps and smartphones. Global interconnection means broadening user demographics and user connectivity. Customers expect to get “more” (more meaningful interactions, more compatible matches, more “fun”) out of their online dating experiences. And, particularly in light of recent social distancing measures, video chatting remains a lead driver in dating app innovation.
By considering opportunities for app innovation and implementing them accordingly, particularly in advancing the development of video communications, online dating app companies can position themselves towards best-in-class industry leadership and successfully sustain corporate growth well into the future.