Dating apps have evolved to enable users to find social connections generally as well as romance, and in doing so are giving brands more opportunities to create moments which are worth talking about.

Writing for WARC, Chase Buckle, trends manager at GlobalWebIndex, parses the figures from the research agency’s custom coronavirus research, which shows increased smartphone usage across 20 countries since March.

He reports that 46% of single millennials and 43% of single Gen Z say they’ve used an online dating app or service via any device in the past month. “Increased mobile usage, more time spent at home with fewer distractions, and the need to remain connected are likely key drivers of dating app uptake,” he notes.

The virus has also changed how people interact: the app is no longer simply an initial introductory space that is quickly left as singles meet up in person. Lockdown and social distancing has meant there’s a greater focus on “slower dating”. (For more details, read Love in lockdown: Online dating during COVID-19.)

Users are taking the time to get to know the other person, spending longer messaging or video calling, and they’re doing activities together virtually. This has all led to a greater demand for more sophisticated features and support from dating apps that go beyond mere matchmaking, Buckle notes.

Tinder, for example, recently announced that it will begin to test video chat in its mobile dating apps in select markets. It had previously tested video chat before the COVID-19 outbreak and didn’t see any significant adoption, but that will change – this behaviour is one that will stick, says Buckle.

“In our latest wave of coronavirus research, 41% of Gen Z say they plan to continue video calling more frequently after the outbreak. Expect to see this behaviour become the norm.”

Brands looking to leverage dating apps in their marketing campaigns need to recognise this change of pace and rethink what makes them unique environments to advertise in.

“People are using these apps to enjoy themselves, and they’re more likely to engage with brands that celebrate this idea of fun,” he says.

Sourced from WARC