Aziz Ansari (and his co-author, NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg) are right: online dating and online marketing are very similar. The two launched their must-read Modern Romance: An Investigation this June and drew upon a self-evident fact. Regardless of whether we’re talking marketing or dating, we are living in the age of big data. Marketers have it, companies like Tinder and OKCupid collect it, too–so then why not put all this information to good use and derive some actionable tips on it?
That’s exactly what this page sets out to do: dole out handy advice, which works both for marketers, as well as for romance seekers. Because, at the end of the day, both are about promoting a strong brand, with the difference that, when dating online you get to market your awesome self.
1. Don’t try to guess what they want
In online marketing, trying hard to figure out the end-user experience will work just about as effectively as throwing cooked pasta against a wall. Something has got to stick, right? Instead of playing the guessing game, which often backfires, include user surveys on your site, try some SEO, and run A/B tests. Similarly, in online dating, it turns out that playing against traditional gender stereotypes is more likely to get you a date. Here are the top words by attractiveness:
2. Don’t get too personal too soon
Most online dating sites these days don’t encourage meeting someone you met online in person right off the bat. Similarly, for safety and privacy concerns, it’s not a good idea to list your personal email, IM handles, or phone number on a dating platform either. In fact, one of the more safety-minded dating sites out there, ArrangementFinders, will actually turn down your profile if it contains personal contact info. This makes sense if you think about it: after all, a dating website acts like a sort of guarantee of your safety. If you get into trouble, their brand will suffer, so the best ones out there try to help you minimize risk.
3. It’s all about that search optimization
No, seriously. Check out the graph below, which shows what words men and women find attractive. The intensity of the color varies according to the effectiveness of the word in question. Ladies, don’t live in London or NYC? How about mentioning how much you’d like to go there one day, then?
In online marketing there’s such a thing as black hat (i.e. unethical) SEO and then there are white hat (i.e. Google-approved) practices. While no one is likely to boot you off Tinder if you falsely represent yourself, what would be the point? Takeaway: Don’t over-embellish your profile just to make yourself look good, but do get out there and do fun stud like yoga or surfing.
4. Get them right from the outset
You know the (sadly, scientifically proven) clich: people will decide whether or not you’re attractive in 3 seconds. Well, a new study on websites has determined that it takes users far less time than that, namely 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds). So, even though many so-called experts will tell you that mobile technologies have killed the notion of Above the Fold, it still holds true, in the sense that what the user first sees will make them decide how trustworthy your site is. In dating profile terms, keep it short (your bio byline), sweet (your profile pic–eyes at the camera), and interesting.
5. It’s all about your values, really
For dating, online and off, this point really needs no further explanations. Down the line, everyone who ever reaches your profile with serious intentions will try to glean as much as he/she can about who you are and what makes you tick. So why not make it easy for a prospective partner to learn what you’re values are? Incidentally, this point still stands when applied to on-page optimization and UX design–check out the Three Click Rule as an example of this. I’m not suggesting you need to include a list of your ideal mate, because this might come across as exacting. But do give them a glimpse into your past, present, and future. For both marketers and daters, Steve Jobs probably put it best, in this oldie-but-goldie presentation on how marketing should be based on a brand’s core values.