Usage in the online dating category might be down, but revenues are up. Why? Because most of the prominent sites are subscription based with members paying up to $30 a month to use their service. With advertising revenues dropping over the course of this year, any subscription based business that provides true value to their customers will be in better position to weather the storm ahead. Still, what most online dating sites have not done is developed a Partnership Strategy to acquire new customers or members aside from using traditional direct marketing channels and leverage other sites with large and relevant demographic profiles to do so. It starts with understanding who your demographic profiles are and looking to effectively target those users somewhere else. Here is a recent study from emarketer on who is using online dating sites:
Given that the demographic of online daters is now pretty evenly spread from 18-64, it does provide the online dating service provider with many options for partnership. Partnering with other sites to acquire a new customer by way of a special offer and promoting their proposition in return is certainly more cost effective than advertising on your own. I know that Lavalife is looking more and more in to this strategy - should be interesting to see how this plays out.