Should the online dating market worry about Facebook?



Facebook's arrival in the online love market threatens to redistribute cards


© DENIS CHARLET
Facebook's arrival in the online love market threatens to redistribute cards

Who will control the love market? The war to conquer the hearts of singles is raging on our mobiles and facing Tinder and others, a major contender appears: Facebook.

According to industry experts, online dating will become commonplace in 2030, the year when almost half of new English couples could get to know each other online. In this context, the arrival of Facebook threatens to redistribute the cards.

Launched gradually in 2019 on the American continent and in Southeast Asia, the new functionality of the social network already counts "among the first online dating services", welcomed in late January the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, adding that he expected it to "continue to grow".



Tinder the most used online dating app


© Martin BUREAU
Tinder the most used online dating app

It is expected in Europe "early 2020" indicated in September in a blog Nathan Sharp, the head of Facebook Dating. Contacted by hooly News, the company was unable to specify the schedule.

If the symbolic date of Valentine's Day, February 14, is about to be passed without the new functionality being there, the whole market is preparing to welcome a major competitor and completely free.

"From the social network to the dating site, there is only one step that does not require a huge technological investment", analyzes Julien Pillot, teacher-researcher at the Inseec business school.

According to him, Facebook "copied everything that worked well on other applications and added two or three features. What interests them is above all to encourage users to reconnect with the sharing of private content."

Until then the challengers were busy fighting the current mastodon of the sector: Match Group.

During an amicable divorce from the American internet giant IAC, the firm controls popular brands like Hinge, OKCupid, the Match.com site, the Meetic group. And above all the ultra-dominant and very profitable Tinder application, launched in 2012, and first in the ranking of user spending among all applications (excluding games) in 2019 according to the application market specialist AppAnnie.

With $ 1.2 billion in revenue in 2019, Tinder is carving out the lion's share of the mobile dating market, estimated at $ 2.2 billion.

"Tinder has redefined the entire user journey of the meeting", analyze for hooly News Jean-Baptiste Bourgeois and Kevin Pasquier, strategy researchers at We Are Social.

The reason for this success, "it is a rather clever mechanism which after a few + swipes + (a lateral movement of the thumb to move to the next profile) limits the user, frustrates him and generates in him the fear of missing the pearl rare ", to push him to pay a subscription and have additional choices.

This economic model has since imposed itself on the majority of competitors who at the same time try to stand out from the superficial and addictive image of the application.

Should the love giant fear the arrival on the social network market of the 2.5 billion monthly active users?

"Of course, we are not going to underestimate Facebook," Match Group chief Amanda W. Ginsberg told financial analysts in early February. Given the number of users on the platform and the ease of access, "why wouldn't people try?", She asked.

– Tinder sure of its charm –

"But for the moment we are not observing any consequences for any of our brands," she added, explaining that the uses of several applications in parallel were growing.

"The first returns (from Facebook Dating) to the United States are not crazy," adds Clémentine Lalande, co-founder of Once, the last application to want to seduce French people with the ultra selective concept of one profile per day.

"The big problem with general applications," she said, is that we end up with a mass of users who do not share the same communities of interest. "In particular on Facebook," there will be always the concern of + matcher + with his aunt ", quips another specialist.

The question then arises: do social networks and dating go well?

"In my opinion not, because the characteristic of the social network is to share information while the + dating + touches the intimate", estimates Didier Rappaport, founder and leader of Happn, the application of "dating" number 3 in number of downloads in France in 2019, which focuses on people encountered "in real life" during the day.

In December, a Piplsay poll of 21,000 Americans revealed that only 23% of respondents said they trust Facebook, which is at the center of several privacy scandals, to keep their personal data safe on their dating platform.

As for Tinder, he sees the danger more on the side of applications that capture the attention of young people like Tik Tok, Snapchat, Netflix and Youtube than among those dedicated to dating, said a spokesman for hooly News.

The application that revolutionized the market now encourages its users to tell their love lives in "Stories", kinds of digital photo novels, … a bit like a social network.

jub / pn / dp / plh