"the desire for a more permanent connection remains. At LOVOO we know that the majority of users want a permanent relationship based on faithfulness and trust."
Dating-Experts has been talking to CEO Tobias Börner about Lovoo and the outlook for the dating industry in 2015
Dating-Experts: Which feature(s) make your product an outstanding dating experience and how do you drive growth in this competitive market place?
Tobias Börner: We offer singles a large community across Europe and our Live-Radar makes it easy to get in touch with people who are close by. Our app is both great for people on the go and gets couch potatoes up and out the house.
To generate new users, we focus on a performance marketing strategy. It’s a good mix of Twitter ads, Facebook ads, Adwords and affiliates with specific targeting, for example by gender, country or device. We supplement this strategy with successive influencer marketing campaigns.
Dating-Experts: The Online Dating industry provides people with plenty of options. Do you think your industry changed how people think about relationships over the course of the last 10-15 years? Do you think people tend to move from one relationship to the next faster than they used to before online dating existed? Is this a good thing?
Tobias Börner: Dating has become very flexible. You can meet new people anytime, anywhere. Dates can be arranged spontaneously and the choice of potential partners is huge. Of course people like to take advantage of the possibilities, which gives the impression of ever changing partners. Maybe they do, but the desire for a more permanent connection remains.
At LOVOO we know that the majority of users want a permanent relationship based on faithfulness and trust.
Dating-Experts: Do you think that online dating has become more sexualized in recent years as it has increasingly switched to mobile? Is casual dating mainstream and part of the normal dating experience now?
Tobias Börner: Casual dating is not the norm, but it has become socially acceptable. A lot of singles want to give it a try, but far from the majority. Most users don’t want that experience to become their long term dating strategy. At LOVOO, there are far more people looking for a serious relationship or friendships, which sets us apart from casual dating.
Dating-Experts: Do you and - if so - how do you use and analyse user data / user behaviours (Big Data) in order to improve matching and become more efficient? Can you provide examples?
Tobias Börner: LOVOO works with an intelligent algorithm. It analyses a user’s preferences according to clicks within the app. The smartphone registers, whether “Anja” in the West and “Franzi” to the North can be a match for this user. Long questionnaires and personality tests can’t deliver the same results, as studies have shown. User behaviour is a better indicator of preferences.
Dating-Experts: What do you think is the next big thing in data use for matchmaking? What will dating firms be able to do in 3-5 years from now that they don’t do today?
Tobias Börner: In the near future, technologies like iBeacons and Wearables will take location based dating to a new level. They will show who crossed my path during the day. Apps will be able to analyse a user’s location and preferences better and update them as soon as someone they might be interested in is nearby. Apps will also communicate with locations (like bars, clubs or boutiques) to suggest dating points to the user.
Dating-Experts: In the last two years we have seen a rise of free dating apps like Tinder. Are you concerned that these free apps destroy value in the marketplace and re-define usual market prices?
Tobias Börner: At LOVOO, we feel we have profited. Tinder encourages us on a daily basis and we are glad of competition from the USA. It’s good for business and encourages us to increase our efforts in our own target markets DACH, France, Spain, Italy, UK and Brazil!
Dating-Experts: Do you envisage wearables changing the way people use online dating, the way smartphones did?
Tobias Börner: The watch technologies show interesting potential uses and offer added value to smartphones and tablets, but they won’t have an immediate effect on the dating business specifically.
Dating-Experts: Are you preparing a mobile version of any of your sites specifically for the Apple Watch or other wearables?
Tobias Börner: For wearables, the focus will be on other uses like communication, fitness and health. Nevertheless, dating products have to continually be developed and adapted to new technologies. If in future a critical mass starts using wearables no app will survive without adapting and optimising accordingly.
Dating-Experts: What do you feel are the most important success factors to ensure your dating service will still be a big player over the next 10 years?
Tobias Börner: To be a relevant player in the business, it’s important to be one step ahead of the competition at all times. We try to convince with technological advances and continue to surprise users with each update. An open dialogue with LOVOO members is also important in order to take the wishes of our users into account when developing the app.