menu

What Brands Can Learn From Online Dating

What Brands Can Learn From Online Dating
Advertising

OKCupid's recent analysis of successful dating interactions got us thinking: what can these lessons of online dating teach us about relationship-building on a larger scale?

Christine Huang
  • 9 october 2009

Dating site OKCupid recently published some interesting findings culled from an analysis of over 500,000 first contacts (messages or IMs) made through their free service. They looked at repeated keywords and phrases, how they affected reply rates, and other statistically significant trends in their members’ online courting practices. They compiled their findings into a set of nine ‘rules’ to help users successfully break the ice (or at least get a conversation going) with other members.

Their list got us thinking: what can these lessons of online dating teach us about relationship-building on a larger scale? What makes an online interaction feel genuine and appealing, whether it be between a suitor and his love interest, or a brand and its audience? Let’s take a few of OKCupid’s first impression rules and consider how they might be useful for brands:

#1 – Be literate
Netspeak, bad grammar, and bad spelling are huge turn-offs. Our negative correlation list is a fool’s lexicon: ur, u, wat, wont, and so on.

…Interesting exceptions to the “no netspeak” rule are expressions of amusement. haha (45% reply rate) and lol (41%) both turned out to be quite good for the sender. This makes a certain sense: people like a sense of humor, and you need to be casual to convey genuine laughter.

The lesson for brands: Don’t underestimate your audience. No one likes to be talked down to – whether by a suitor or a company. Speaking with humor and candor will sometimes work; but in general, what we want and expect is intelligent messaging, design, and services. We feel good about supporting smart brands (and dating smart people) – and your approach should acknowledge that.

#2 – Use an unusual greeting.
We took a close look at salutations…The results surprised us:

It’s smarter to use no traditional salutation at all (which earns you the reply rate of 27%) and just dive into whatever you have to say than to start with hi…The more informal standard greetings: how’s it going, what’s up, and howdy all did very well.

The lesson for brands: This goes without saying – but strive for originality, right from the get go. As with suitors, brands must earn their audience’s attention and stand out amongst its competitors. The most obvious way to do that is to be unique.

#3 – Don’t try to take it outside.
..An offer to chat or of an email address right off the bat is a sure turn off. One of the things online dating has going for it is its relative anonymity, and if you start chipping away at that too early, you’ll scare the other person off.

Also, don’t ask for or give away a cell number (10%). I thought that was a no-brainer. For the brainless among you who are doing this, my best advice is to paypal me 25 dollars and never use a computer again.

Lesson for brands: Desperation reeks. It’s hard to respect a suitor who puts his/her cards on the table too quickly (we all know a romance requires some chase). The same goes for a brand-consumer relationship; we want to feel like we’re making conscious decisions, not doing what’s easiest  (caveat: this really only applies to ‘serious’, loyal relationships: as with booty calls, some brands can capitalize on being cheap ‘n easy – but those relationships aren’t meant to last.)

#4 – Bring up specific interests.
There are many words on the effective end of our list like zombie, band, tattoo, literature, studying, vegetarian (yes!), and metal (double yes!) that are all clearly referencing something important to the sender, the recipient, or, ideally, both. Talking about specific things that interest you or that you might have in common with someone is a time-honored way to make a connection, and we have proof here that it works.

Lesson for brands: Be relevant. If a brand is cutting and pasting its message across segments and media, its audience can tell. In marketing as in courtship, making an authentic connection requires a true understanding of your potential partner and his/her beliefs, behaviors, interests, and passions.


#5 – If you’re a guy, be self-effacing.

Awkward, sorry, apologize, kinda, and probably all made male messages more successful, yet none of them except sorry affects female messages. As we mentioned before, pretty, no doubt because of its adverbial meaning of “to a fair degree; moderately” also helps male messages.

Lesson for brands: Be humble. This doesn’t mean simpering and stupid. It means being human and real. In OKCupid, men who were willing to share their vulnerable sides were taken more seriously than those who showered their recipients with generic compliments and pick up lines. A brand should think along the same lines – if you want to make an impression on your audience, try to behave more like a person than a corporation.

Read the original OK Cupid post on their findings here.

Advertising
Trending

How Indiegogo Is Becoming An Adult Product Destination

Retail
Home september 23, 2016

Watch This Fire Pit Dance Along To Your Favorite Song

Music City Fire is a system that is designed to flicker in time to ambient music

Automotive september 23, 2016

Slick GPS Navigator Gives Directions To Moped Riders

This small, round device attaches to a sideview mirror to display maps for safer traveling

Trending

Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Home september 23, 2016

A Clock That Beautifully Manages Your Information Overload

The wall-mounted timekeeper is made to help people maintain focus and stay up to date with their appointments

Arts & Culture september 23, 2016

Performance Piece Blends Dancers Into Folds Of Light

The work provides commentary on the increasing connection between programmed and analog dimensions

Related Expert

Nico Sell

Privacy, Trust, Communication

Design & Architecture september 23, 2016

Design Firm Adapts Childhood Homes For Unemployed Young Adults

The studio has unveiled three prototypes of transformed living spaces for people forced to move back in with their families

Health september 23, 2016

These Chocolate Squares Claim To Reverse The Aging Process

A group of researchers from Cambridge University have developed a candy bar that promises to give you a youthful glow

Cities september 23, 2016

Food-Producing Architecture Competition Seeks To Better Feed Cities

A design challenge in Copenhagen highlights the need and beauty of urban farming

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed september 21, 2016

Creative Agency Founder: Using VR As A Race Relationship Tool

Maurice Bernstein, CEO and Founder of Giant Step, explores the value in transforming headsets from high-tech entertainment tools into empathy machines

PSFK Labs september 22, 2016

The Future Of Work: Why Innovation Is Every Employee’s Job

PSFK Labs sits down with management at Johnson & Johnson to learn how the company comes up with their next ‘big idea’

Health september 23, 2016

Wearable Monitors Sun Exposure To Prevent Sunburn

The clip monitors UV rays to make sure you're not receiving too much sunlight

Op-Ed september 23, 2016

Productivity Expert: The Magic Of The Five-Hour Workday

Stephan Aarstol, Founder of Tower Paddle Boards, explains why the modern notion of office hours needs to evolve

Culture september 23, 2016

This Exhibition’s Crowning Jewel Is An 18k Gold-Plated Toilet

The piece, titled 'America,' is meant to raise questions about the country's wealth inequality

Culture september 23, 2016

Match Up With Dates On Tinder Based On Your Music Preferences

A new partnership with Spotify lets people pair up based on shared tastes in artists

Entertainment september 23, 2016

Capture, Cut Up, And Configure Your World In 360 Degrees

To meet a booming 360 and VR video-capturing industry, a multimedia software company bolstered its media editing suite for 360-video creation

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

Advertising september 23, 2016

These Trucks Drove Around In Circles For 24 Hours To Keep Time

The giant ticking clock was created by 14 Scania vehicles in a deserted airfield

Advertising september 23, 2016

Buy Movie Tickets Directly From Your Facebook Profile

The new feature is part of a campaign from Fandango to further imbed social media into the ticket vendor's digital presence

Asia september 23, 2016

Co-Working Space Brings The Calming Atmosphere Of Nature Indoors

An architectural firm in China has designed a new type of shared office that prioritizes the natural environment

No search results found.