3 Similarities Between Dating Apps and Marketi­­ng Analytics – And How to Use them to Build Stronger Connections

By Shane Paladin, CEO of Siteimprove

I was recently at dinner with a group of friends, having a very interesting conversation about the long-term impact of dating apps on future generations, and the parallels we are seeing in the marketing world.

The discussion started off around how surface level images and text can inform our decision-making in a matter of milliseconds. Of course, this is nothing new. Humans are hard-wired to interpret and act on external cues like facial expressions, food, headlines and so on. But with the rise of social media and algorithms, our actions, insights and results have shifted; the online world has permanently evolved human consciousness. Self-perception has become data-driven, concerned with vanity metrics and social comparison. With infinite scrolls, taps, and swipes, our decision making is becoming faster than ever.

Within this context, the conversation moved on to dating apps, a form of social media that, as we discussed, will have particularly significant long-term impact on our children and their attitudes towards relationships. According to Nielson, 10% of American adults spend more than one hour a day on dating apps and that is only set to increase. But what will be the positive and negative implications from years of swiping left or right based on curated images and text alone?

As we debated the points, I couldn’t help but notice some similarities in the marketing world – I am a Martech CEO after all. With my analytics hat on, we concluded that there is in fact much we can learn from the cross-over, and the potential downfalls can be countered to build a more meaningful, connected world. By looking at marketing analytics through the lens of dating apps, marketers can lead to a more successful approach by understanding what makes people connect, then use that knowledge to build stronger, more meaningful, human relationships with your target audience in the long-term. Here’s 3 ways to go about it:

1. Define your ideal audience, then explore a world of unexpected connections

Perhaps the most powerful thing about the internet is that it gives people the opportunity to reach audiences they previously couldn’t. That is very much true of both marketing analytics and dating apps, but with such a broadened reach, it’s even more important to know what you’re looking for. That’s why, before getting started, defining the right target audience is crucial for maximizing success.

Marketing analytics are powerful for gathering data, but useless without clear direction. Similarly, by having an idea of what your ideal customer or partner looks like and the values they might have, you target your efforts with more relevant messaging to the people most likely to be interested. And, in the case of dating – lessening the risk of heartbreak!

Once you know what you’re looking for, the benefits of being exposed to diverse audiences online can truly be enjoyed. With targeted messaging you can connect with more relevant people you might not have otherwise been able to, which increases your chances of finding more compatible matches – whether that be romantically or business customers. This level of exposure also has the power to combat biases and challenge stereotypes by speaking with a wider range of people from diverse backgrounds.

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2. First impressions make or break – so A/B testing is key

So, you’ve defined your audience. Now on to the next hurdle: making a good first impression. The struggle? Human attention is only getting shorter. In fact, a study from Microsoft found that since the year 2000, the average human attention span has decreased from 12 seconds to 8 seconds—a 33% drop. (This means that we now have shorter attention spans than goldfish)! Whether for a potential date or customer, decisions are made in milliseconds – and this can be deeply dehumanizing.

To counter that in the online dating sphere, A/B testing is considered an important tactic. Users can edit their prompts, images, and even conversation starters to understand what makes their profile appealing to the right potential partners. By defining the audience then testing what resonates and tweaking the results over time, there is much higher chance of forming genuine connection.

Likewise, when it comes to marketing, analytics is the way to go to building genuine customer relationships that last. By analyzing and A/B testing campaign elements like language, images, user journeys and even emotional triggers, marketers can gain valuable insights into what resonates to build a more personal, engaging brand experience to the right audience at the right time.

3. Get beneath the surface to build genuine connection

After defining your audience, optimizing and A/B testing, comes the biggest challenge of all. Dating apps and marketing content shows a person’s or a brand’s best self, but it’s not until you have a date in person – or have a meeting with salespeople – that you get to understand the real person or business. And that can take many meetings and much investment before deciding to commit to going further.

It goes without saying that in-person romance doesn’t suit a data-driven approach. While it can be useful approach to navigating the apps, getting to know a person ‘IRL’ is a complex social interaction filled with emotion, chemistry and unspoken cues. It goes without saying that it should be focused on quality connections, not accumulating numbers.

The good thing about digital content is that it is much more quantifiable than human interaction. Going back to the marketing analytics piece, it’s all about getting beyond the surface of what you see on a website. Clicks, impressions and even sales figures might look good, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Marketing analytics dives deeper to reveal customer behavior, campaign effectiveness and return on investment, customer preferences and hidden trends over time.

Digital connections are not going away: it’s up to us to shape the long-term impact

Dating apps and marketing analytics are similar in their ability to increase discovery, create perceptions and build relationships with people you may have never had the chance to connect with through traditional ways. Neither are going anywhere, and they will have a major impact on future generations, so it’s up to us to use them responsibly.

Ultimately, both dating apps and digital marketing are journeys of discovery. Embrace the power of analytics, but remember the human element is key. Let these tools empower you to forge meaningful connections, be it with a potential love interest or a lifelong customer.

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Also catch: Episode 202 of The SalesStar Podcast: The Importance of Soft Skills in B2B sales with Thomas Hansen, President at Amplitude

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