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The truth about social media dating sites

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Match and eHarmony are two of the oldest and biggest players in the online dating game. Even with newer dating apps disrupting the industry, Match and eHarmony are still leaders in their niche. Their Alexa ranks correlate to their revenue numbers too.

Alexa gives Match a global rank of 2, while eHarmony comes in at 16, Match is the clear winner between these two companies, but we wanted to find out whether there were areas where eHarmony could make up ground against its much bigger competitor.

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To do this, we dug into the website analytics of each company. What we found was that social media presents a huge opportunity for eHarmony. Let's set the stage to give you an understanding of the traffic breakdown for both websites: The main things to take away right off the bat is that both websites do well with direct traffic.

Noticeably absent from eHarmony's traffic breakdown is any amount of social media traffic, which should be a concern for the dating site. Organic traffic: eHarmony looks like the winner, but they're still losing.

Match's organic traffic makes up In the other corner: eHarmony. Its organic traffic makes up Similar to what we saw with Airbnb vs.

VRBOeHarmony has an advantage in nonbranded, organic keywords. Nonbranded organic keywords are keywords where the brand's name does not appear in the search term. It gets even worse when we compare the data from SpyFu.

Match ranks for 17, keywords.

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Of those keywords, Match ranks on page 1 for 4, of them. That leads to about 3. Looking at the same SpyFu data for eHarmony, they rank for 14, total keywords, and ranks on page 1 for 5, of keywords.

Those page 1 rankings look pretty good compared to Match, but all of eHarmony's keywords only drive 1. Social media traffic: Both companies lose.

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Match's social media traffic makes up 3. Its social media traffic makes up 0. Dating is social, and the stigma around online dating is virtually dead. This combination should mean that both eHarmony and Match have the ability to get a large percentage of traffic from the social platforms. The truth is, as you can tell from the numbers above, they're both terrible at driving traffic from social. What's even more surprising is that neither website gets traffic from Instagram.

Driving traffic from Instagram is difficult for most companies, but the photo-sharing platform doesn't even appear in the top 10 social traffic referrers for either website. Both dating sites get more traffic from the Russian social media website VK than from Instagram. It's a strange problem, and one that they can correct. Match and eHarmony need to develop better social strategies — specifically Instagram.

It's a perfect platform for both dating sites. Hootsuite reports that Instagram has million users over the age of Direct traffic: Match leads the brand round.

The truth about social media dating sites: the truth about social media dating sites

Match's direct traffic makes up Its direct traffic makes up Direct traffic is often overlooked, but it's important to understand a website's direct-traffic percentage because it can help you understand how strong that company's brand is. Typically, the more direct traffic a website gets, the stronger the brand. With Match and eHarmony, we see large percentages of direct traffic, likely because each company has spent years building up their brand.

Match may have won this round, but that doesn't mean eHarmony is losing.

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Dating sites are a hyper-competitive industry. Some estimates say that there are over 8, of these services worldwide. When you consider that most sites are relatively similar, it's hard for them to get a competitive advantage. That leaves one thing as the competitive advantage: the brand.

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Both brands do quite well in direct traffic because they focus on brand awareness. This focus on brand awareness means that people have likely chosen the site they're going to use before they even visit the website. That's the power of a strong brand. Returning Visitors: Match keeps them coming back for more. Match although it's a split decision. We're taking a departure from acquisition sources to look at user behavior.

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For dating sites, returning users are key. Ideally, dating sites want people to set up a profile, message people they're interested in, and come back day after day.

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That's why it makes sense to look at the new vs. But if we look at this number as a whole, it's not very insightful. It makes more sense to look at these numbers broken down by channel. We'll set the stage by looking at the overall new vs. We'll start by comparing Match's new vs. The split for users from social media is This suggests that Match isn't focused on using social as an acquisition channel. Rather, they're doing something that engages current users of the site.

This is a bit surprising, considering the sheer number of people who use social media. Ideally, you would want a larger percentage of new visitors from social media than Match's This likely means that Match either doesn't have a good social advertising strategy or that their budget is very small. Direct traffic looks great for Match, with Ideally, they want users to directly return to their website, regardless of how they initially found the website.

But it's also important to have a healthy percentage of new users from direct sources. This signifies that your brand-awareness efforts are paying off. Now, let's compare those same two channels for eHarmony's New vs. With social, we're seeing a flip in what we saw with Match. This could signify that eHarmony is focused on brand awareness on the social platforms.

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It might also indicate that they're running ads targeted at people who have never used their service before. This is actually a good split to see, but when you consider the tiny amount of traffic eHarmony gets from social remember, it's just 0. Returning visitors are 4.

While that might seem like a small percentage, in real numbers it means eHarmony is losing thousands of users because they're not returning at the same rate as those on Match.

This could signify that eHarmony has an inferior product, or that their audience's expectations don't align with the service eHarmony is providing. Overall, both sites do a decent job of gaining new users and converting them to returning users. It's obvious that Match should use social as more of an acquisition channel to try to gain more new traffic from the platform.

That's not an easy task or a quick fix, but it is something they need to take a serious look at. Adding up the scores Match won rounds 1 and 3, organic traffic and direct traffic.

Their utter dominance on organic traffic makes it tough for eHarmony to make up any ground there. Rounds 2 and 4 were a different story. Round 2, the social media round, was a loss for both companies. If eHarmony can sort out their social media strategy, they have a great opportunity to gain some ground on Match.

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