Love at First Swipe

Dating apps and the future of romance



With the online dating industry growing increasingly competitive by the day as companies like Facebook start to enter the field, the market is becoming saturated with newly launched apps that are testing novel and quirky features to stand out from the crowd. But it begs the question: are dating apps actually getting smarter and what are some ways they can stay ahead of the curve?


 Go global, think local


“Dating is extremely culturally sensitive, and this is especially true in Asia, where there’s a mix of many cultures that differ in dramatic and subtle ways.”


It is important to understand that no two Asian countries look at dating the same way, so relationship dynamics, dating practices, and history will determine how the product is built for each market.


It is crucial for dating apps to foster a DNA unique to their brand.  For example, Paktor plays to their strength in the localization of their name. ‘Paktor,’ which means ‘dating’ in Cantonese, is a word that is likely to resonate deeply with users from Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and maybe even Taiwan, but will be unknown in the South Korean market.


Hence, Paktor launched as ‘Swipe’ in Korea because it is a term that local users will understand. By dissecting culture-specific nuances and effectively capturing them in online and offline channels, apps will be able to drive high levels of localization and build a strong community of users wherever they are.


Make it easy



Here’s an analogy: you’re in a bar with a good band. The music attracts people and makes them inclined to spend more time in the bar. As guests visit more frequently, their chance of meeting new people will naturally increase.


Similarly, building user-centric features that are constantly engaging enables them to meet more people. The more they click open and spend time using the app, the more can be learned about their various user behaviors and preferences, thus allowing more targeted and effective recommendations to be made to them.


Singles may use dating apps for convenience and the size of its user base. To the shy and reserved user, it can still be challenging for them to start a conversation with a stranger online. App developers need to take this into consideration and design features that will minimize the user’s stress in finding a match, such as conversation starter features or gamifying online chat. In the doing so, features like gamification can also increase the fun factor in dating apps.


The future of dating


As the dating industry matures, companies will get to know their users’ dating preferences better than their best friend, parents, and even perhaps themselves. It is inevitable for companies to not only consider the swipes the user is making, but their personal history, appearance, habits, and even voice.


By taking all this information into account, matchmaking algorithms will advance to the point where the matches they recommend will lead to more successful relationships because of their accuracy in identifying compatibility.


Dating apps will also continue to tackle fake accounts with advanced machine learning and crowdsourcing. Currently, certain dating apps are still engaging manual review methods to target these spammers, but following the continuous development of enhanced algorithms, spammers or fake will be automatically detected and banned.



About the Author

Jing Shen is the Co-founder and CEO of Paktor Group, a dating company that provides a comprehensive suite of products across the dating vertical. Under his leadership, Paktor Group moved from a Singapore-based technology startup into a position of strength. He delivered record user growth propelled by 2017’s market entry into Korea and global revenue has tripled, which resulted in Paktor Group’s business becoming profitable for the first time since 2014.

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