Online dating apps have been around for over a decade now, keeping the same promise to help you find true love through statistics, geo-localisation and more, constantly trying to find new techniques to predict personal chemistry. However, some of the dating apps leaders are now adding a retro twist.
Several apps decided to get back to the good old-fashioned “flirting in a bar” way of meeting new people. You’ll tell me, how is that different from just going to a random party and meeting someone? Well, attending dating-apps events means you will be in a room full of single people, with a same purpose, which will avoid you the embarrassment of hitting on a married person.
So let’s recap: It’s on a dating-app but it’s not on your phone, it’s a dating event but it’s not a creepy speed-dating one, it’s a completely normal party but with a pre-selection of attendees. I don’t know for you, but it’s crystal clear to me.
Offline events as a growth strategy
What we notice, is that dating apps have taken on a new business strategy: organising offline events, members only, included in their monthly subscription or for a small fee. They realised there were too many people flirting virtually for months but when meeting in real life, could not even go through the whole date because of a lack of physical chemistry. In addition, the whole way these apps are structured, if you think about it, makes it sort of useless to give to much time to any person you get that is not exactly like you’d like him to be. And well, we’re busy people, no waste of time allowed. Therefore people end up spending a little effort on a lot of people, which is probably where the burnout comes from. They feel like they’ve done a lot of work, but they’re left with nothing. For all these reasons, major players decided to adapt to their users and added this new offline feature to their growth strategy.
While many of the events are held in bars or other creative venues, others are organised around commun activities such as cooking lessons, hiking and such. The expert in this field is Match.com , having acquired more than 21 million paying users, and organising more than a hundred events each month. OkCupid, which was bought by Match.com is even planning to put events at the center of their business strategy.
A study conducted by Northwestern University showed that the preferred meeting method still is face-to-face meeting and that matchmaking software were not proven to work better than more manual methods.
People using dating apps are also overwhelmed by the amount of choice they have, resulting in not really choosing anyone. Online dating businesses realised that organising events considerably restrain the number of possible “matches” with an obvious room capacity and time restriction.
In addition, dating online does not result in any social activity whereas attending events gives an extra incentive to users, adding a social aspect. Even if they do not find love at this particular event, they can still have a good time and meet nice people, while possibly learning new skills, if they attend activity-based events.
Some dating sites and apps have been ahead of the game when it comes to offline events. Grindr, a dating app for the LGBT community got their name out there in 2009 by partnering up with bars to plan crazy parties. They now have ten million members Tinder has even joined in the trend by launching Tinder Social, allowing users to plan group events.
But not every company is willing to allow their users to meet face-to-face. EHarmony, for instance, a long-established dating company has no interest in letting more space for chemistry and wants to stay committed to its algorithm. Indeed, some businesses established since the early days of online dating refuse to change their success method. However, according to The Wall Street Journal, dating websites revenues are expected to slow down, as the market is over-saturated and dating apps are taking over the industry. There is probably some mind for thought for dating websites to extend their strategy.
One thing’s sure, online dating apps make up one of the biggest sectors of the app marketplace- as well as one of the fastest growing, and it’s not going to stop. However, the market is slowly realising that the whole endeavour for swiping and talking to hundreds of people at the same time seems tired. For this very reason, many market leaders took the decision to go back to the basics of finding love, meeting in real life, at events. I cannot wait to see what they’ve got prepared for us in the future and how they will manage to implement smartly their new technologies to offline events. So if you’re feeling some swipe fatigue, the future may look a bit brighter.
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