The Internet has radically changed the way we meet new people and find partners. Increasingly, this is happening online, rather than through friends, family, or colleagues.
In the next decade, more and more children will be born by couples who met on the Internet. It is now time to think about what the next stage of development of this fairly young industry will be and how technology will help people communicate.
The dating apps industry has gone through two key stages of development.
- The 2000-s. Online dating has become a business. The Internet became more accessible, and dating services began to appear in it: in 1993 Match.com launched in the United States, in 2001-in France. Marriage agencies were digitized: you could now upload your profile to the Internet and communicate online (and not pay for it). Mostly such services were used by people over 35 years old.
- The 2010s. Dating platforms began to operate as a supermarket. When online dating was still taboo territory for young people, Tinder managed to attract this audience by creating a simple and, most importantly, free service. Seven years after the launch, a whole generation of young people is using the app to get rid of loneliness. After a busy day at university, complicated 5 paragraph essay writing students turn to social media and dating apps.
The third stage is still ahead. The existing way to meet people on the Internet is not ideal: first, users are not always satisfied with the experience, which is difficult to call natural.
Although the topic of online dating remains taboo, the willingness of people to try new services here is higher than in any other industry (for example, in the United States, users of dating services install an average of 3.8 such applications on a smartphone).
Secondly, the existing format is outdated and needs to be updated. Each generation has its favorite social networks, and the most popular content now is videos and stories.
In any industry, there is an obvious way to create innovation: identify the customer's pain point, that is, the problem that needs to be solved.
For example, Daniel Chiib, a former senior adviser at the consulting company Arthur D. Little, says that when he launched his project, he interviewed 500 people aged 18 to 25 about their experience using dating apps.
Unexpectedly, two-thirds of the respondents said they were dissatisfied with the existing services. When talking about this, they most often mentioned such words as” supermarket”,” meat”,” superficial”,” disrespectful”,” dehumanizing”, “impersonal”.
To be as objective as possible and to better interpret these results, the survey organizers turned to a sociologist who specializes in this field and asked what could be the reason for these comments. Two conclusions were formulated.
Expectations must be met. Finding a companion is probably one of the most important things in life, and existing online dating services use a lot of marketing tricks and make impossible promises to attract users.
The reality is too cruel. A Tinder profile with a photo and a brief description completely ignores personality and what makes each of us unique. All attention is focused on the physical appearance.
At first, the assessment of random people may be flattering, but the reality quickly becomes unpleasant. The ease with which you can create an account prevents real acquaintance. Any conversation becomes shallow, impersonal, and insecure because we never know who we might meet.
End of Swipe culture
Swipe, which has made online dating more democratic, allows you to secretly like the profiles of other users — they will not know about it if they do not respond in kind. The application plays the role of a trusted party until it receives confirmation that the sympathy is mutual.
Although this feature seems convenient, it is not very useful, because the chances of meeting a special person in the app are very limited. And if the swipe scenario applies to real-life acquaintances, it won't work for someone we've never met, talked to, or even encountered. There are four negative points here.
Consumer attitude. We are forced to decide in a very short time. Sometimes it takes less than a second to evaluate a person.
- Superficiality. It is taken for granted that the first conversation occurs only if two people find each other attractive, based on a carefully selected photo.
- Evaluability. Random people judge us by our appearance, without giving any importance to other aspects of our personality.
- Deviant behavior. Some users, especially men, have started using special strategies. For example, they like all the profiles and then choose among those who found them attractive. The concept of matching likes becomes meaningless.
Content defines everything
To attract more users and improve their experience, apps must evolve to be more respectful of the individual. It is difficult to express it with a brief description or a selfie. Additional content should overcome the problem: only it can tell a story and convey feelings. The submission also matters, because no one will spend more than 20 seconds on each profile.
More and more facts suggest that we are ready to post personal information on the Internet to meet new people. Social networks encourage us to share any moments of our lives, and thanks to the increase in the memory of smartphones and cloud services, we have more than ever a lot of materials about ourselves. Online dating is no longer taboo, and the psychological barrier to sharing content is disappearing.
It will take online dating to the next level, and this is where technology can play an important role.
The impact of technology
While the tech industry is moving by leaps and bounds, the online dating industry has yet to master video. Big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, augmented reality, virtual reality, voice recognition, chatbots, blockchain-how can all this be applied in dating services?
Except for Badoo and Bumble, which have developed special tools to identify users for the sake of their security, fundamental technological shifts have not yet affected the online dating industry. There are several reasons for this.
Love cannot be explained by an algorithm. There are no studies that can prove that two specific people will match in real life. Algorithms and machine learning can recommend potentially interesting people based on their hobbies, education, and other characteristics, but the chemistry that arises between people is much more complex.
Dating sites offer a limited amount of content. Because of this, video, images, text, and sounds are not analyzed.
Users are cautious. They do this so as not to open up to a stranger. The problem can be solved by using augmented and virtual reality.
There are two options for introducing technology into online dating apps and increasing their value.
- Ensuring security and privacy through artificial intelligence and/or blockchain. Users are increasingly sharing personal content, and its theft is becoming a serious problem. You can protect people on the Internet and when meeting in reality with the help of technologies that scan content in different sources. Blockchain can come in handy if a global player manages to successfully implement a decentralized and reliable identification platform. Then we won't have to rely on Facebook, telecom operators, or any other third party.
- Content analysis using artificial intelligence and machine learning to label images, videos, sounds, and texts. As users of the service, we want to quickly determine whether this person is suitable for us or not. We make the same conclusion 20 seconds after we meet and talk to someone in real life. People are sharing more and more personal information, and the restrictions that prevent you from quickly forming an opinion about another person are not going away. This is why content management technologies could seriously increase the value of online dating as a service.
Innovations will not come to dating from the world of breakthrough technologies. Online dating will turn into an experience closer to what we do on social media. It will enhance the experience, make it more authentic, more close to real life. The next decade will see apps with more content, increased control, and new ways to present themselves, as existing apps are too static for the generation that expresses itself in the video.