WASHINGTON, DC: Some 15% of American adults have used online dating sites and/or mobile dating apps, with the fastest growth coming at opposite ends of the age spectrum, raising interesting possibilities for digital marketers.
According to data from Pew Research Center, based on a national sample of 2,001 adults, not only are more people now turning to this method of finding a partner but more are doing so via mobile apps.
Over a two-year period there was a 4 point increase in the proportion of Americans using dating sites or apps, from 11% to 15%.
And while the proportion using an online dating site had risen from 9% to 12%, the percentage using a mobile app had tripled, from 3% to 9%.
"This growth has been especially pronounced for two groups who have historically not used online dating at particularly high levels," Pew noted.
Thus, the share of 18-24 year-olds who reported having used online dating had nearly tripled over the two years, from 10% to 27%; the share of 55-64 year-olds had doubled over the same time period, from 6% to 12%.
These shifts may encourage marketers to rethink how they can use such apps. Recently, for example, fashion brand J.W. Anderson chose to live stream its menswear show on Grindr, the gay dating app.
"For me it was: how could we reach 196 countries in one moment," explained designer Jonathan Anderson. "It's quite amazing to be able to access 7m people at once.
"I feel like it's very important that brands explore media, it's the only way forward. I don't see any differentiation between Grindr, Tinder and Instagram," he added.
More mainstream fashion brands have also decided that Grindr is a useful advertising platform where they can play with context. When users block a potential match, a Diesel pop-up, looking like a Grindr profile, shows a man in tight briefs and an invitation to try a pair.
"We are just bringing our advertising to where the traffic is the highest on the web, and it's there," Nicola Formichetti, Diesel's artistic director, told the Evening Standard. The app has a reported 1m users per minute worldwide.
Diesel also gained coverage for its most recent campaign by announcing it would be advertising on pornographic sites.
Data sourced from Pew Research Center, Evening Standard, Campaign; additional content by Warc staff