Explained: Why dating apps should ‘swipe right’ for programmatic advertising

Updated: December 14, 2018 2:14 PM

Before the dawn of the technology-assisted dating era, people met their partners the traditional way.

apps, dating appsDepending on the age, gender, liking and stages of life, different product ads can be shown to these audiences.

By Ashish Shah

Before the dawn of the technology-assisted dating era, people met their partners the traditional way. The advent of internet has revolutionised the dating scenario. A decade down the line, many may answer, “How did you meet your partner?” with, “I swiped right”.

Up close and personal

Online dating has been quite rampant in the western countries with apps like Tinder, OkCupid and Match.com helping singles find their potential partners. India is one country where this trend is still catching up. With India’s total digital population standing at 462 million, the growth prospect looks quite bright. A recent report by Statista suggests that mobile penetration is at 430 million. Further, considering the Indian mindset, so far the matrimony apps have had a firm grasp on the market, but even that scenario is now changing as Indians are gradually shunning stigma and turning towards online dating.

This means advertisers can access and reach out to a different audience segment through these dating apps. Depending on the age, gender, liking and stages of life, different product ads can be shown to these audiences. This is possible with programmatic advertising. Either with the real-time bidding model or programmatic direct, these apps can be targeted seamlessly for advertising. Advertisers can combine first-party audience data with third-party audience data using data management platforms. Indeed, with this strategy, programmatic advertising can be very accurate. This can actually be the primary source of revenue for these apps, making the subscription model a secondary source.

New possibilities

However, as Indians are still ‘exploring’ this concept, they are more likely to consume the product for free. That puts the apps in a challenging position with respect to revenue generation. Indians may not be keen on investing in a subscription-based model at this stage. Also, with the market conditions slowly turning conducive for players to enter India, there are several companies offering similar solutions and services. This has resulted in an increase in the competition. Thus, the total share of the pie is divided amongst the numerous new players. Post this trend, following the subscription model as the sole source of revenue does not seem viable.

As a result, dating websites and apps are increasingly looking at alternative revenue streams. They can look at programmatic advertising — that employs codes and algorithms to automate the entire media buying and selling process — as a means of generating this revenue. It enables advertisers to reach relevant audiences and helps publishers improve their users’ browsing experience by showing relevant ads. Programmatic advertising has transformed the face of digital advertising in western countries, especially the US, where it enjoys a lion’s share in the total display advertising budget.

Through dating apps and websites, advertisers can gain access to niche audiences. Some apps may also offer services to the LGBT community. Thus, these apps can be a source of unique set of audiences, who may be difficult to reach elsewhere on the web. Thus, it is quite evident how programmatic advertising facilitates a win-win situation for both app publishers as well as advertisers.

Ashish Shah is founder & CEO, Vertoz

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