You’re browsing the web, doing your thing, and you get hit with display ads for “Christian Matches Over 35.” Not only that, the – um – imagery is a bit odd. One would think these Christian dating sites would use fairly conservative images in their advertising. So, as you can see below, this case was a bit off.
Dating sites like to send discount offers every once and a while in an attempt to get non paying members to shell out for a paid subscription. Usually they’re offered based on your site activity (for example, x days since profile creation, but without subscription payment), but they’re also typically offered around special occasions throughout the year.
Most online dating sites have localized page content that attempts to draw in those searching Google/etc. locally (e.g. “Toronto Jewish singles” or “Toronto Jewish dating”). In most cases, these pages are programmatically created and are essentially a large browse directory that follow the lines of dating profile parameters (e.g. pages created that are organized by city, religion, etc. and usually with a mix between them all as well).
I proceeded through the eHarmony questionnaire the other day, which I was actually really impressed with. It’s no longer a long list of boring pull-downs, but instead a one-question-per-page-click-your-answer style. It’s visual, and seems shorter as well (20-30 minutes to take?). Also, you can quit at any time and continue on where you left off (not sure if the ‘old’ questionnaire let you do that).
Regardless, what I wanted to talk about here was eHarmony’s retargeting efforts. Oddly, I did complete the questionnaire (and logged into my account multiple times) so this retargeting effort is a bit incorrect (i.e. “complete questionnaire” call to action).
It’s a known item that online dating sites will eventually offer you a discounted membership, if you keep your profile active and don’t subscribe. Your discounted membership fee is better than no payment at all, they feel. For eHarmony, the discount can get to at least 83% it seems.
What about Match.com?
If you’re marketing a dating site via Paid Search no doubt you’re using Bing Ads in addition to AdWords and others. As with AdWords, Bing Ads allows your ads to be shown beyond just Bing and Yahoo! search — via “partners”.
The problem is, from my experience, this network of partners has a lot of bad apples. We’re talking click fraud. Normally click-fraud shows up with a high number of clicks and zero conversions. Thing is, the fraudulent Partners on Bing’s ad network are a bit smarter than that. Meaning that, for dating sites, they will actually click on the ads on their site (after they perform a search) and also follow through with the sign up process to have the result be a really nice conversion rate in terms of clicks to sign ups. Of course, the membership payment rate will be zero, but short term the traffic appears to be excellent quality.
If you’ve ever signed up with eHarmony then you’ll be familiar with the amount of email they send to you once they have your email address. I had an account on eHarmony likely around 5+ years ago. There was a time I paid for a membership with them (so, I suppose, I’m somewhat of a ‘quality’ lead still – i.e. I’ve paid them in the past), but haven’t had an active profile with them in years (again, likely 5+ years). There was a time span when I didn’t hear much from eHarmony, but then they started turning on the email tap to those accounts I’d consider ‘inactive’, it seems.
Ahhh, one of “the Major” online dating services, eHarmony, apparently likes to help their (formerly) owned sites manipulate the Google algorithm. How? Check out the “Some sites we like” listing near the bottom-right of the eHarmony Advice posts: