Online advertising has always fascinated me. Back in 1994 I was part of the group that posted the (arguably) first paid banner ads on a major network. The AT&T banners, part of the “You Will” campaign, had a 78% clickthrough rate on WIRED Magazine’s Hotwired network.
Lately I’ve been talking to a lot of people about the lack of optimized dating site advertising. It’s surprising how few sites do thorough A/B testing. We’ve all seen the ads, whether you’re single or not. Try as I will, it’s impossible for me to get these ads off my Facebook pages, maybe I just need to say I’m in a relationship, but something tells me even that will not be enough to stem the tide of nubile women wanting to meet me tonight.
Recently I had lunch with someone who has bought tens of millions of dollars of dating industry advertising and they said that Match probably wastes 50% of their ad spend on generic un-targeted advertising. Whether or not that is a valid statement is not the point. The point is that dating sites are stuck in the world of boobs-and-buns advertising, which, surprise, drives traffic, but is it really the kind of traffic coming to a dating site that converts well? I guess it does, which is why the industry is stuck in a rut, but I’m hoping that emerging forms of more targeted and memorable online advertising will be adopted by the dating industry, and none too soon.
Geo-targeted ads are old school, sites like Adult Friend Finder have used them for years. Their affiliate banners are incredibly customizable, a primary reasons why so many people visit the site. I’m surprised that more conventional dating sites don’t experiment with dynamically-generated ads. Milabra is doing it kind of stuff, right now, and the results seem promising.
A recent report stated that something like 18% of Internet users were responsible for the majority of ad clicks. Reminded me of the fact that there are 100 million singles in the US and only a third are using dating sites at any given time. Dating sites are leaving a lot of money on the table, in no small part due to these titillating ads that have remained in vogue for too long. It’s time to move on and target customers with advertising that we don’t have to be embarrassed about. Or maybe not. Maybe T&A advertising is the only thing that works, which is sad both for dating sites and the industry as a whole. 60 million un-served customers. Think about it.
Update: Forgot to link to the post that got this started. Displaying the best display ad with Teracent.