What Dating Apps Can Teach Us About Behavioral Segmentation


The big picture: 

Dating apps have revolutionized the way people meet, connect, and form relationships, leveraging sophisticated algorithms and behavioral data to successfully match potential partners. Interestingly, the principles underpinning these successful matches offer valuable lessons for marketers in the realm of behavioral segmentation.
So, what can dating apps teach us about behavioral segmentation?


By the numbers:  

  • 30% of U.S. adults say they have ever used a dating site or app.
  • 20% of partnered adults between the ages of 18-29 say they met their current spouse or partner on a dating site or app.


Catch up quick: 

The inception of online dating can be traced back to the early 1990s with websites like Match.com, which launched in 1995. These early websites laid the groundwork for the development of dating apps by creating new spaces for people to meet online. 
In 2012, Tinder popularized the swipe right/left mechanism, radically changing the dating app landscape by tapping into the target audience’s interest in gamification. Gamification’s effectiveness lies in its ability to connect with target consumers on a behavioral and psychological level, leveraging their innate human desires for achievement, recognition, competition, and social interaction. By incorporating gamification, Tinder demonstrated that it understood its prime prospects. 
By understanding the values, attitudes, and beliefs of their target audience, dating apps created a cultural shift in how relationships are formed. From mainstream apps like Tinder and Bumble to more niche platforms that cater to specific communities or interests, the dating app industry has demonstrated its ability to meet the wide array of needs and preferences of its 300 million worldwide users.
We can draw parallels between the world of romantic matchmaking and consumer-brand relationships to show how a behavioral segmentation study can enhance customer engagement, product development, and overall marketing effectiveness.


What's driving the success of dating apps?


They Understand Deep Preferences and Behaviors

The secret sauce behind successful dating apps is their ability to gather and analyze user data to understand deep-seated preferences and behaviors. How are they approaching their search? Are they on desktop or mobile? When are they most likely to swipe?

Similarly, in marketing, behavioral segmentation divides consumers into different clusters based on their attitudes, values, and behaviors, including category use and purchases as well as online activity. Just as dating apps use this data to suggest potential matches that align with a user's preferences, companies can utilize behavioral segmentation to tailor marketing messages and product offerings to meet the specific needs and desires of their highest-value customer segments.

They Deliver the Right Message to the Right Person at the Right Time

There is no doubt that data-based matches ensure a higher likelihood of compatibility and satisfaction. In marketing, utilizing data-driven insights from a behavioral segmentation study can inform marketing and product development strategies to significantly enhance the relevance and appeal of a brand's messaging and offerings. By analyzing behavioral segmentation data, brands can create more personalized and effective marketing messages that resonate with the target segments.

They Continuously Learn and Adapt

Dating apps continually refine their algorithms based on user feedback and interactions, demonstrating the importance of adaptive strategies in understanding and responding to human behavior. Marketers can apply this principle by employing adaptive segmentation models that evolve with consumer behavior changes. This continuous learning approach can optimize marketing strategies in real time, ensuring that the brand remains relevant and responsive to shifting consumer preferences.


They Enhance Engagement through Personalization

The personalized experience offered by dating apps, where recommendations are tailored to the individual's preferences, underscores the power of personalization in increasing engagement. In marketing, personalization is one of the key benefits of a behavioral segmentation study, allowing brands to deliver content, offers and experiences specifically designed to appeal to different consumer segments. This level of personalization not only enhances customer engagement but also drives higher conversion rates and brand loyalty.

They Build Meaningful Connections

At their core, dating apps are about creating meaningful connections between individuals. This objective mirrors the goal of marketers seeking to build strong, enduring relationships between brands and their target segments. A behavioral segmentation study provides the foundation to create more meaningful and emotionally resonant marketing messages that foster a deeper connection with target segments.

Why it matters:

Every marketing touchpoint, whether digital or physical, is an opportunity for a brand to deepen its relationship with the consumer.
Today’s consumers are no longer passive recipients of marketing messages or products. They are informed, discerning, and, above all, seeking to build connections that reflect their unique preferences, interests, and values. Their power is unequivocal: to earn my business, a brand must demonstrate a deep understanding of who I am and what I care about. This level of understanding goes beyond a demographic segmentation study — it requires data-driven insights that identify the individual behaviors, habits and desires of your prime prospects to create programs that resonate deeply with them.
A good behavioral segmentation study also allows you to confidently sacrifice low-value segments and marketing strategies to focus your resources on the most impactful segments, strategies and channels. After all, it’s not always about the number of people in your target segments; rather, it is the share of category purchases that those segments represent that’s most important.

The bottom line:

The message from consumers is loud and clear: "You better get to know me if you want my business." Brands must embrace a commitment to understanding the individual consumer, going beyond demographics alone to leverage behavioral insights that deliver the personalization, relevance and value that today's consumers demand.
The parallels between matchmaking in the dating world and consumer-brand relationships highlight the importance of data-driven insights, personalization and continuous adaptation in creating successful connections – all of which can be delivered through a behavioral segmentation study. This strategic focus provided by such a study will help drive deeper engagement, loyalty, and competitive differentiation.


Like what you're reading?


Learn more about what behavioral segmentation can do for your marketing strategy

Learn more about what behavioral segmentation can do for your marketing strategy

Click Here