When Rita said ‘I do’ to Suresh it wasn’t over a lavish wedding with 1,000 guests, it was over a zoom call. What’s more, in New York ‘Zoom marriages’, has been legalised by governor Andrew Cuomo. Back at home, from Bumble to Tinder, dating apps and even online matrimony platforms like Bharat matrimony, among others have been advertising online, in an effort to cash in on the social distance maintained by people. Interestingly, the game plan seems to have worked. “Our data shows that in this current environment users are talking for longer. This has led to better quality chats, including incorporating things like voice calls and video chat into their conversations,” Priti Joshi, vice president, strategy, Bumble said. The dating app claims to have witnessed an 11% increase in Gen Z registrations, a 29% increase in messages sent, and a 17% increase in video calls on its platform post lockdown.
Quack Quack is yet another dating platform which claims that its revenues, which initially stood between Rs 1 crore -1.5 crore have increased by 20% post lockdown on the back of very less marketing spend. Moreover, the number of chats have gone up by 40%. “With an increase in organic demand from users, the cost of new customer acquisitions have reduced by 30-40%,” Ravi Mittal, founder, Quack Quack explained. OkCupid, too, has seen a 10% uptake in matches worldwide since March 2020. According to the company, virtual dating brings the focus on the quality of conversations and time spent together, making it easier to figure out whether the person you’re talking to is compatible with you.
As for the married couples, it’s apps such as Gleeden which seems to be drawing the attention. It claims a 300% increase on the website traffic, while subscriptions in India grew by 70% post lockdown. “We have seen an increase in the number of members connecting from the app instead of the desktop version. This is because it’s easier and more discreet to connect from the phone, where members can activate the ‘discreet mode’,” Solene Paillet, marketing director, Gleeden noted.
Moreover, matrimonial platforms such as Jeevansaathi through its survey revealed that 46% of respondents would like to meet their prospective partners for the first time over a video call. “The platform has witnessed a 60% hike in the number of voice and video calls in this lockdown period,” Rohan Mathur, business head, Jeevansathi.com, stated.
So now to further build on the userbase, these platforms have expanded their products and offerings. For instance, Bumble expanded its distance filters to allow users to match with anyone in their country. Typically, the app allowed users to connect with people within one to 100 miles of their location, but now users see the option to connect with people “nationwide” in their app settings.
Players opine that the upward trend will continue to exist post lockdown. “It’s possible that this behaviour will continue once restrictions are lifted, as connecting over video becomes a more familiar part of the routine of getting to know someone online,” Joshi added. Add to that, the finding from Jeevansathi which stated that 52% of the respondents have confirmed that they will continue to meet prospects over video calls even in a post coronavirus world. “Subliminal advertising is the need of the hour. For dating platforms to stay equally relevant in a post-covid world, it is important to reposition their narrative and promote the platform as a means of creating ‘real’ and ‘meaningful’ conversations,” Harish Bijoor, brand expert, said.
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