During the height of the pandemic, dating apps took a major hit. However, the ones who thrived were the ones who were able to quickly respond and pivot to meet consumer demands.
Dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble adapted by taking a page out of other social media apps’ offerings, enabling users to find not just dating prospects but also platonic friends and even professional connections. They also developed new video features and went as far as creating new speed-dating games.
While many consumers initially remained isolated and resisted virtual dating, the rollout of such features encouraged users to slowly make their way back to dating apps making meeting and trying to find love on video calls much more natural.
As consumers embraced the idea of virtual dating, they also turned to their social media apps to make their day-to-day purchases, spending more and more of the 144 minutes they spend on social media apps shopping online.
That said, with new COVID-19 cases rising due to the delta variant, consumers might once again be resorting to virtual dating. So, how can dating apps go beyond their traditional offerings and monetize the massive social commerce opportunity?
Social media makes the first move
Social media apps are increasingly putting more focus on cutting themselves a bigger piece of the social commerce pie. Snapchat, for one, teamed up with Verishop last month to offer a curated shopping experience that lives exclusively within its mobile app. The company is also heavily investing in amplifying its experience through augmented reality (AR) solutions in an effort to put its own spin on social commerce.
Twitter is making it possible for brands and retailers to promote products at the top of their Twitter profiles through The Shop Module. Pinterest, meanwhile, has launched several new eCommerce features as part of its effort to streamline the shopping experiences on its platform. One of the key features being the Shopping List, which allows users to save product pins in one place and receive notifications for product drops.
And Facebook, the largest social media platform of all, has launched Shops, offering consumers a curated and personalized way to discover products by bringing brands and retailers to the platform and enabling them to sell items directly through Facebook and/or Instagram.
An opportunity for more than just brands and retailers
While social commerce presents a massive sales opportunity, there is more to it than meets the eye. It presents an opportunity to drive engagement and mobilize the user base. Take it from Express, which launched its very own social commerce offering to enable fashion enthusiasts to style, inspire and earn commission through its products.
LVMH Luxury Ventures and L’Oréal Bold have even looked to get a piece of the action through its backing of Replika Software, a social commerce platform that enables brands to activate their network of social sellers to sell online.
And then there’s buy now, pay later (BNPL) solution provider, Klarna, which is dipping its toes into social commerce through its acquisition of the Stockholm-based SaaS platform, APPRL. The platform enables content creators to work seamlessly with retailers and offer an immersive and informative content-driven shoppable experience.
Where dating apps fit in
Engagement on dating apps reached an all-time high in July 2021, with daily active users on the most popular dating apps, including Match Group Inc.’s Tinder and Bumble Inc.’s women-driven app, reportedly topping 15 million users, according to research firm Apptopia. As a result, there lies a tremendous social commerce opportunity for these mobile apps.
While some dating apps have incorporated quizzes to help personalize matching recommendations and have offered up gaming opportunities to help engagement during video dates, they can go a step further by creating thoughtful experiences relevant to their user base.
Case in point: Hinge rolled out a Date From Home feature and teamed up with quick-service restaurants (QRS) like Chipotle and delivery platform Uber Eats to encourage users to have socially distanced dinner dates.
With millennials reportedly spending 10 hours a week on dating apps, swiping left or right, liking, commenting, chatting and making connections, dating apps have a tremendous opportunity to motivate their users to make purchases that go beyond their subscription plans.
Furthermore, dating applications sit on a tremendous wealth of data, which can help brands and retailers get their products in front of the right customers.
So, which dating app will make the first move?