Online Dating: Should Advertisers Take Notice?

Apps like Tinder have made online dating the norm for today’s young professionals. What used to be seen as awkward, and only for those who couldn’t find a date on their own, is now the accepted dating standard. It appears unusual to find a single Millennial who doesn’t have an account on at least one dating app.

But what is it about dating apps that should have advertisers paying attention?

For one, they’re slowly creeping into advertising territory that’s currently monopolised by platforms like Facebook and Google. Advertisers and dating apps are now “swiping right” together, with apps like Tinder offering programmatic advertising solutions, and partnering with social media channels to gain access to their extensive databases and seamless native ads. Soon we’ll be seeing ads akin to this: No luck today swiping for love? Perk yourself up with a new hair colour or teeth whiteners to boost your chances of a match next time around.

Tinder’s foray into programmatic is enticing to advertisers due to the brand’s recognizability, global reach, and high levels of engagement. Since many users register using their Facebook accounts, the platform is a rich data mine for advertisers looking to corner the Millennial market, as 74% of users fall into this bracket. Advertisers don’t need to chase users for information because they happily provide their personal details in order to get the most out of the app. The more data you provide, the better your chances of a match. Just think of the custom audiences that can be built with all that data, or the accuracy of look-a-likes, targeting users as they swipe with creatives for perfumes, hair dyes, toiletries, and clothing.

Porsche's Valentine's Day Tinder Ad

Porsche’s Valentine’s Day Tinder Ad

In addition to commonly used data, like age, gender, income, location, and education, dating sites also give advertisers the chance to target based on highly sought after information, such as: favourite movies, TV shows, religion, body type, political views, and something as finite as whether they’re a “drinker” or “non-drinker”. Tinder has also recently stretched its search parameters to include gender identities outside of traditional male-female selections, allowing advertisers to access and meet the demands of a new, quickly rising, advertising demographic.

These apps are no longer just on our phones – Tinder is now on Apple TV, taking the app off the phone, and turning dating selection from a private affair, into a social event. Tinder gets friends and family in on the game by allowing dating to become much like the sitcoms of old, where everyone can sit around on the couch and weigh in on your potential love life. Tinder has even rolled out several light-hearted ads showing friends, parents, and even grandparents, helping singles swipe left and right.  The sky is the limit now that Tinder has crossed the device threshold.

Though it is still in its infancy, online dating is a fantastic arena for programmatic innovation. Advertisers have seen dramatic results in CTR and engagement after showing relevant, great looking ads on Tinder that suggest their product will help the user land, or have, that first successful date. Advertisers looking to take advantage of programmatic to boost awareness, engagement, and revenues may want to partner with online dating sites, especially those struggling to connect with this generation. These apps have easy access to the data and target demographic heavily favoured by many brands.

Using Data more Effectively with Facebook Custom Audiences

As advertisers strive to reach the audiences, and re-engage former users, Facebook has simplified this process. Using Facebook Custom Audiences, advertisers can reach old and new users in one fell swoop.

What are Custom Audiences?
Armed with a list of email addresses or phone numbers (CRM data), advertisers can upload the information as a CSV or TXT file into Facebook’s advertising platform, create a custom audience and target those individuals with relevant ads across Facebook. Information can also be captured from a website or mobile app using Facebook tags. Data collected on user site activity can then be segmented into different groups, such as users visiting specific products but failing to purchase.

Tapping into New Audiences
Instead of bombarding random users with irrelevant ads, Facebook offers a smart alternative to growing potential customer base through lookalike audiences. Lookalike audiences use custom audience data to reach out to similar users that are relevant to your business on Facebook.

Lookalike audiences can be based off the data collected from people who: like your page, have visited your website, are part of the demographic you care about, or live in/are visiting your desired location. Advertisers can also focus on milestone/life events such as weddings, new homes, or a new baby, or even target specific preferences, such as dog lovers, fitness buffs, and coffee aficionados.

Re-engaging with Former Customers
Consumers are far more likely to buy from a brand they have previously purchased from, making Custom Audiences an efficient means of making your advertising budget go further. You only spend money on people you know are more likely to convert, rather than casting a wide net and wasting ad spend on people who aren’t your target demographic, or interested in your products or services.

Benefits of Facebook Custom Audiences

  • Reach Relevant New Users – for those trying to expand their customer base, lookalike audiences, are an incredibly powerful tool. Target new people who have a similar user profile to your current customers, indicating a higher propensity to purchase the products or services your business offers.
  • Increase page likes – get more people to notice your brand.
  • Selling/Upgrading a product – capture users who have purchased an item or service and market accessories or extras that they may find useful.
  • Reach users who don’t open your emails – many people automatically delete product emails or send them to a junk folder never to be seen again. By using Facebook’s Custom Audiences, you can capture this user when they are on Facebook by putting the product or service from your email in front of them in their news feed.
  • Remind your audience of a call-to-action – remind users to continue with an action they may have forgotten about in their email.
  • Turn free trial/“freemium” users into subscribers – show freemium users the extras available to them in their Facebook newsfeed – let them know the features they’re missing out available via subscription.
  • Promote contests – have a contest in the wings? Capture interest with customer who you want interacting with your event through Custom Audience targeting.
  • Encourage customer feedback when launching new products or services – ask your custom audience to respond to the survey on your latest product by offering an incentive like a “freebie”, or discount on their next purchase as a thank you for participating.
  • Enhance email marketing efforts – catch people in their inboxes, and on social media, doubling you chances for interaction.

Points to Remember

  • For website and mobile created custom audiences, users are only kept in the group for a maximum of 180 days, unless they revisit the site or use the mobile app again.
  • Lookalike audiences can only use people located in one country at a time.

Want More? Read our two white papers on how to use Facebook more effectively and Turning Big Data into Smart Data.

Facebook Releases Canvas Ads for Mobile

Facebook recently launched yet another interactive, and vibrant ad platform: Canvas. Hot on the heels of it’s roll-out of Carousel Ads last year, Facebook has gone the extra mile for advertisers, and users with a new innovative, and immersive, ad experience. Big name brands such as Target, Wendy’s and Netflix, have been quick jump on-board and build stunning ad platforms.

Benefits to advertisers: Effective Mobile Ads
As most mobile ads are intrusive and provide little to no value or relevancy to the user, advertisers should endeavour to provide an actionable experience for consumers.

Canvas frees advertisers from restrictive ad measures and gives brands more creative control. The ad are easy to construct and implement. Advertisers can build beautiful, fluid ads using videos, stills, and calls-to-action that feel native and seamless. It also makes it less likely for users to abandon the ads. Cumbersome, clunky ads and slow load times have been cited as the main reasons potential customers abandon a website.

The biggest benefit seems to lie in retail, where the platform has the ability to become another quick access point shopping channel. Amy Worley, VML’s Managing Director of Channel Activation, suggested, “An ad format like this has the potential to become much more of a shopping experience.”

Canvas ads are a marked improvement on Carousel and autoplay ads. They are customisable and open quickly from a click on the Facebook newsfeed straight into an immersive experience.

Benefits to Users: Mobile, Fast, and User Friendly
The platform is tailored to mobile, and the ads are designed to be visually appealing, all whilst being built to load ten times faster than traditional web pages. This makes the platform fast and rewarding. Canvas is beautifully designed, and easy to navigate, making it an enjoyable experience.

Benefits to Facebook
It’s not just advertisers and mobile users that benefit from this new ad platform, Facebook will reap plenty of rewards because the entire ad experience remains squarely within Facebook’s platform. There are fewer links leading out – much like what we saw with publishers using Facebook’s Instant Articles.

Facebook will also see a nice bump in revenue as this rich media platform entices marketers to increase their ad spend to get in on the latest ad trend. Mobile comprises 73% of Facebook’s ad revenue so it’s no small wonder that they are keen to push this format out to brands.

4 Strategies to Get Creatives Noticed on Facebook

Facebook’s robust ad platform has the audience numbers and in-depth metrics that can help marketers drive real value to their advertising strategy. With so much happening on a single user’s newsfeed, it can be hard be heard above the noise. Advertisers have a split second to capture a viewer’s attention before they move on; if your message isn’t succinct, eye-catching and relevant, you’ve lost potential revenue. So how do you stand out on Facebook’s advertising platform?

 Video Ads

Facebook videos now get more reach than any other post. It is a real growth point for advertisers and has made a serious dent in YouTube’s monopoly on video advertising recently surpassing YouTube’s 7 billion daily video views by 1 billion. Brands interested in advertising on Facebook would be wise to take video ads seriously as a format to push their message ahead in creative, visual and memorable ways.

In addition, Facebook are favourable towards video advertisers. Auto play, and the launch of captioning for video ads, have made this marketing format accessible and more effective than ever to implement. 47% of Facebook users exclusively log into the social media site via mobile where 65% of Facebook video views occur. Video formats have to be adjusted for not only “viewability”, but for non-audio moments to capture attention quickly while scrolling through a feed.


Testing Visuals: The Right Image

Don’t make assumptions about what constitutes a “good image” for your Facebook ad campaign. Your personal preferences hold little weight here, it’s all about testing. Test several images to reveal the one that gets the most engagement and the most ROI. Jason Keath, CEO of Social Fresh offers this sage piece of advice, “When you have the ability to put a dozen or two images out there to test and see which image performs better, do it. You save money in the long run and create an ad that will get noticed more and create more clicks”

Getting the “Buy-In”: Why Should I Click?

It isn’t enough anymore to dump a picture on Facebook and hope for engagement. Your video, photo, or link, have to quickly tell the viewer why they should click on your ad. According to Hubspot’s Amanda Sibley, a good Facebook creative strategy includes not only a captivating image, but a clear reason that the person should visit your website, buy your product, or use your service. The ad needs to be believable and feel native and not intrusive. Back up your claims with text like “over 1 million happy customers!”, and last, but not least, have a clear call-to-action that conveys a sense of urgency.


Keep it Fresh

Consumers scroll rapidly through Facebook’s newsfeed and seeing the same ad day in, and day out, no matter how clever, can cause ad fatigue. If you have an ad that’s worked exceptionally well in the past, recycle it – use it as the springboard for ads that stem from the same value proposition. Split testing ads will help here – use an aspect of what made the ad successful and test from there. Same premise, different delivery in order to keep your audience interested and engaged.

Using Carousel Ads is another way to keep your messaging fresh. If you have images and copy that has worked, change it up by rotating your offer with different images of several items, or an in depth set of photos detailing one product.


To remain ahead of the pack, increase revenue and encourage meaningful engagement, advertisers need to adjust their marketing strategies to capture interest and offer relevant solutions and services to users rapidly scrolling through their Facebook feeds.


Automatic Ad Captioning Given the Green Light By Facebook this Month

Facebook announced that it will be automatically captioning video ads so that brands can still get their message across, but without being intrusive to the user experience. Later this month, Facebook will launch automatic captioning in the US and Canada. Brands can currently add captioning to their videos manually but this will put the bulk of the work in Facebook’s hands, with advertisers being able to edit before posting. In addition to doing the captioning for advertisers, Facebook will also provide brands with the number of viewers watching their silent ads.


The Issues
Facebook conducted testing that showed 80% of people reacted negatively to ads that automatically played with sound in their newsfeed. The reaction wasn’t just negative towards the sponsoring brand, but also towards Facebook.

Another issue plaguing advertisers is that most people leave their phones on silent or vibrate when they are in public spaces, such as on a bus, or in a restaurant, rendering videos reliant on sound useless. Catchy music and sound effects are wasted ad spend when the mobile user just scrolls past and there is no context for what they are watching. The problem is that 40% of video advertising is geared towards working with sound, so when a user bypasses an ad because it’s not interesting enough to capture their attention without blaring in their feed, the advertiser fails to hit the mark, and the ad loses its impact. Graham Mudd, Facebook’s Director of Ads Product Marketing, told Business Insider that 55% of people who watch the first three seconds of a video will watch the next ten seconds; that means advertisers have mere seconds to capture a user’s attention.

The Solution
Facebook is pushing brands to be mobile friendly and that means changing the way video ads are presented on smaller screens. TV ads are not constrained by size and mobility because they have a captive audience that must sit through a commercial to get back to their programming. While it’s true that viewers can skip ads or change the channel, they are still a stationary audience and more likely to watch the advertisement since they are already committed to viewing.

On mobile and tablet, where the user is often on the go, advertisers must earn their attention, as echoed in the sentiments of Mark D’Arcy, Chief Creative Officer of Creative shop, “Great mobile video is not about demanding people’s attention, it’s about deserving it.” This prompted the social platform to come up with a way where video advertising can still occur, but in a more native, and non-grating manner.

A few brands have been quick to jump onboard. Absolut Vodka created an ad that catered to captioning and ran it in a Friday night time slot on Facebook’s news feed. The result was a success; Absolut saw a four-point lift in brand favourability at the conclusion of their campaign.

Although it’s still the “early days,” silent ads with captioning have shown an increase in viewing time by 12%. Facebook is encouraging brands to tell their stories in visually appealing and versatile ways, by making the most of typography, images, and great graphic design that can be as captivating without sound.



Facebook: the direct competitor to Google

Google’s success has been achieved by helping users find what they want. You want ‘car insurance’, you find ‘car insurance’ listings in paid search and natural listings – ‘relevancy’.

Facebook is the social network of choice, and while not a search engine per se, one billion searches are made through their search function each month. I believe Facebook is going to replicate Google’s approach of relevancy in its own ‘social’ way, and create disruption in the market.  I believe there will be a shift in how people search online.

If you want to find product information you will still search in traditional search engines such as Google.  If, however, you are looking for recommendations of what your friends like or purchase, you will search in Facebook.

Facebook will provide the ability to search within a platform based on what you and your friends have ‘liked’ or perhaps even purchased.  As brands engage in Facebook commerce – enabling ecommerce to take place right on Facebook – purchase information could be shared and factored into the Facebook search algorithm.

Secondly, Facebook could directly challenge Google Display Network. Facebook could extend their internal Ads platform to third party sites and display behaviourally targeted adverts based on what you and your friends’ like.

Deloitte’s 2011 technology and media report shows that social media advertising revenue in 2011 is projected to reach $4-5 Billion.  That’s compared to projected 2011 revenue from paid search advertising of $30 Billion.

Facebook Ads aren’t a direct competitor to Google today, but one day they will be.