Back in the medieval times, the concept of social dating included princes on white horses, equipped with just a banjo and courageousness, singing for their ladies under their window, while hoping to mesmerize the princesses’ attention. Followed with the usage of newspapers, social dating moved to the personal advertisements on the last page of the newspaper. Then the technological trend switched social dating to late night chat rooms on TVs where you could send out Premium SMS and be matched with a person.
However, nowadays majority of social dating has digitized. Looking back the idea of finding a partner on the web used to seem rather creepy, but now it has become a norm. Smartphones are the bars of 21st century. Applications like Tinder, Badoo, Bumble and Tantan are specifically tailored for meeting the other half online, while overcoming the fear of actually approaching someone in person. Sounds hasslefree to just swipe yes or no, while not having the need to move yourself or face rejection in person.
Dating platforms give their users a fair preview of potential other halfs by highlighting similar interests, social groups and mutual friends. Interestingly over 17% of marriages start through online dating. According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, 1 in 5 relationships and a little more than 1 in 6 marriages begin online. Nowadays most of the people probably have someone in their social circle who just happened to match their other half on a dating platform.
Social dating platforms are the gateways to mutual introduction and saying hassle free ‘’Hi’’ to the desired potential partner. Ironically, it also shows the areas to avoid when being alone. No wonder there has been a such surge in development of social dating platforms, targeting different niches like Judaism followers, Christians, Muslims, Trump supporters or people who self-select themselves as intelligent and even people who have a beard (Bristlr).
Moreover, during the recent #MeToo movements, ex Tinder co-founder Whitney Herd created Bumble application, promoting women's rights and equality by letting only female users initiate the first contact. Bumble is already competing with the dating service giants and even rolling out strong marketing campaign with famous tennis player Serena Williams
The market accounts with a worth of $4.6B globally, growing fast and highly competitive. In 2017 during Facebook’s annual conference, it was announced that Facebook will be branching out into social dating and testing out their service in Columbia. There is definitely a strong trend in the usage of the platforms due to the mass availability of mobile phones and the access to the internet. While mobile phones are more personal, it seems more and more intriguing to swipe in order to meet new people or even get lucky.
While social dating is booming and more accessible than ever, platforms need to monetize their customers and majority of the platforms have an extra service for their users. Typically this involves input of their credit cards. However, 9 out of 10 users don’t finish inserting their credit card info. Also in case of the developing countries they lack access to them altogether.
Implementing direct carrier billing (DCB) as a payment solution, eliminates both problems with one stone. Users pay with their phone and are billed through their mobile bill or prepaid card. Another concern for the social dating platform is scalability and branching out to new markets. Fortumo tackles both problems by connecting telcos and merchants.
Eventually, platforms are successfully monetizing and scaling while its users are happily meeting new people - it sounds like a perfect match!
Read more about the digital dating scene and it’s monetization strategies from our recent dating white paper.