Liftoff Dating App Report Shows Cold Seasons’ User Behavior and Geographic Trends

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For local marketers, dating apps are prized for their location-reliable data. In a report released last week by mobile app marketing and targeting company Liftoff, the best time to register a dating app user is in August.

In August 2017, the cost to acquire a dating app registration dropped to its lowest of the year: $4.07 – and in Liftoff’s analysis across 4.4 million app installs, install-to-registration conversion rates reached 66.6%. Then, as cold weather set in, the cost to acquire a registered user shot up 33 percent, while registration rates dropped to 63.7 percent.

Some of these numbers, and the decisions that can be made based on them, are being socialized for users via an Urban Dictionary-level term popularized in a 2013 rap single: “Cuffing Season”.

“[It’s] a season specific to dating services and apps that starts somewhere in the fall when the weather changes, kids go back to school and people take stock of their lives,” the report states. “It’s also a busy time as singles start looking for someone to accompany them to parties, office networking events and family get-togethers as the holiday season nears.”

Liftoff’s report uses this trend as one way that advertisers can angle for a more developed, genuine connection with the consumer. As September approaches, a window of opportunity appears for dating app users and for marketers: Users anticipate hearing “So, are you seeing anyone?” from family members, and advertisers will see subscription rates shoot up 50 percent while acquisition costs drop down from the year’s high in June.

The report found that iOS users may cost nearly 70% more than Android users to acquire, but they are also more likely to commit to a subscription – the install-to-subscribe rate for iOS users is 80% higher than for Android users.

In North America, install-to-register and install-to-subscribe rates are high (65.8% and 4.1%, respectively) – but with those come higher costs to acquire, and in turn higher costs for advertising. Additionally, the cost to acquire a dating app install in North America ($4.66) is 96% more than it is in Asia-Pacific – where Singles Day is not only a huge shopping day, but also a target for dating app advertisers.

Marketers could see better results by casting a wider net, especially since the Asian-Pacific and European, Middle Eastern, and African regions offer low-cost conversions for high potential.

“With the right approach and localized content, marketers can acquire users at low costs with high potential,” the report states. “Dating apps are seeing growth because they offer value that encourages users to make them part of their routine. Liftoff data reveals a wide range of months (May through August) and seasons (especially fall) when users are eagerly organizing vacations and festivities and making companionship is part of the plan. Costs are moderate, and conversion rates are impressive. It’s data that should convince marketers to review their spending and open the aperture of how (and when) they view and pursue growth opportunities in 2018.”

Liftoff’s report lays out the numbers around storytelling in advertising: how understanding the consumer journey is key to engagement. Excelling at engagement with the consumer begins with understanding the consumer, and deepens with participation in trends such as cuffing season.

Liftoff’s report data comes from more than two dozen of the top dating apps, and draws from an analysis of nearly 12 billion ad impressions across 4.4 million app installs from December 1, 2016 to December 1, 2017. The data shows behavioral differences between men and women and geographical differences between users in North America, Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Asia-Pacific.

April Nowicki is a staff writer for Street Fight.