The dating vertical will always be around, no matter what happens in the world. Despite the pandemic, activity on dating apps noticeably surged. In 2020, there were 26.6 million dating app users in the U.S. alone. But online dating still goes beyond applications. If you put the 2020 data together, the total number of local users surpasses 44 million. It can only mean one thing — online dating is here to stay.
Let’s face it, digital marketing offers multiple directions, but dating seems to remain the most popular one. Why is that? Well, there are numerous niche offers and products that allow reaching a broader audience. Besides, the dating market keeps changing, which triggers a vertical transformation primarily defined by consumer needs and user behavior. That is why marketers have to adapt, principally through new promotional approaches and unique ad creatives.
Let’s unpack this a bit more and look into the affiliate marketing trends, the most popular traffic sources, and how to work with them.
Most industry experts anticipate several changes to take place this year.
It is no secret that dating niche products keep resonating with numerous audiences. That is why marketers should expect more niche offers to emerge. Specific preferences like MILF, for instance, will continue to evolve and allow higher CR and ROI. On the other hand, it can complicate the process of designing ad creatives because marketers will have to make the message clear to attract the right audience.
At the same time, it should get easier to launch campaigns on ad platforms. Since several biggest platforms simplified their requirements for dating ad creatives, including push notifications, marketers will finally be able to breathe a sigh of relief. Effectively testing new approaches and launching ad campaigns faster implies that marketers will have the opportunity to earn more.
When it comes to social media platforms, however, things can get even more complicated. It is no secret that social media remains one of the top dating traffic sources. With dating services becoming a part of the social media platforms portfolio, the cost per click can increase. What does it mean for marketers? Well, it means a head-to-head competition with the most famous social media platforms, not to mention other affiliates.
Other than that, no major changes will take place. As for the mainstream dating ad creatives, ads imitating message notifications from girls and suggestive pictures will do the trick.
Aspiring affiliates are often worried about the cost of driving dating traffic when, in fact, entering the niche is possible with almost any reasonable budget. What they need to worry about money-wise is initial testing.
The first thing you need to know about driving dating traffic is that looking for traffic sources is not that complicated. You can use any available traffic sources like teaser ad networks, push notifications, pop-unders, social networks, or contextual advertising. There are also exotic alternatives like creating rating sites for dating offers, for example. But no need to worry because affiliate networks typically accept the majority of traffic types, except for motivated, trashy, or spam traffic.
Naturally, some traffic sources (social media, in particular) allow earning more due to the ability to customize targeting and create audiences. Push or pop traffic sources offer limited target settings. Even so, rookie affiliates can use them to enter the niche with, let’s say, $50. If we talk about Tier-2 and Tier-3 countries, it will be more than enough to understand the general principles, test, and optimize their campaigns.
As one of the cheapest traffic sources, it helps marketers make the ad message provocative and appealing at the same time. These ads typically consist of a simple image, intriguing headline, and text looking more like an announcement.
Affiliates should bear in mind that indicating this traffic type as main can make them look untrustworthy for affiliate networks. Why? Teaser ads are often associated with misleading techniques and lies. That is why they typically have a high click rate but low conversions.
It is a great example of an extensively used traffic type. In addition to being affordable, it does not have complex requirements.
To understand the basic principles and working approaches — offer+ad creative+GEO — affiliates need around $30. Besides, setting up and launching is never complex. Even newbies need up to 2 hours to create a campaign and set up postbacks. And the best thing is that you do not have to worry about being banned. Ever.
But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows when it comes to push traffic. It is often associated with click fraud. And while the percentage of click fraud varies, it is important to choose the network carefully, read reviews and articles. Besides, the competition is pretty fierce, especially if you run dating offers in Tier-1 countries.
We recommend spending at least half of your budget on testing. This way, you will determine the best-performing approaches and ad creatives. Otherwise, your campaigns will not be profitable.
Naturally, social media platforms have a huge and diverse audience. That is why it is relatively easy to fine-tune targeting, scale your campaigns, and get many leads.
Unfortunately, some of these platforms prohibit any ads or promotions related to online dating. If you are a beginner interested in promoting adult niche offers, it can be extremely difficult to manage on your own. Experienced affiliates, however, can take the risk and use multiple accounts along with cloaking.
The growing video-sharing platforms can also be used as dating traffic sources. Since ad accounts can now be easily created, all you need to do is run some tests. But bear in mind that you need to adapt your ad creatives to challenges and other formats allowed by the specific network.
Let’s be fair: SEO traffic is not that popular, especially when running dating ad campaigns. But it does not mean that you cannot use this type of traffic. If you type in a query like “top dating sites” or “top-rated dating sites” on Google, you will get a general idea of using this traffic for dating offers.
So, how does it work? Affiliates can create rating websites themselves, work with these websites directly or with the help of the affiliate network as an intermediary. The process looks something like this: the user enters the website, chooses one of the dating services, and the website owner receives money. Depending on the payment model, affiliates and website owners can make money from confirmed registrations, account upgrades, or other internal purchases.
If you have doubts about SEO traffic, they probably are reasonable. It is incredibly difficult to drive SEO traffic because you need to understand everything about website development, optimization, and SEO optimization. Yes, you can learn, but it will take a lot of your time.
It is never a bad time to start running dating ad campaigns. If you have doubts about the dating vertical and its earning potential, let the figures speak for themselves. The online dating revenue in the United States reached $577 million in 2019 and $602 million in 2020. And it is projected to reach $1 billion by 2024.
Considering that dating traffic can be found almost anywhere, the process does not have to get technical and complicated right away. Yes, you will have to devote time and effort to build your business from scratch. Yes, at some point, you might even have to deal with cloaking. Though one thing is clear: online dating is one of the best ways to make money in the affiliate marketing industry.
So the i dea of building a dating empire does not seem so crazy after all, does it?