Key findings:

  • Older Millennials (25 to 34 years) are the main users of mobile dating services
  • 1 in 5 mobile dating app users are already in a relationship!
  • The weeks around Valentine’s Day are the busiest time for dating apps
  • 10PM on Wednesday is the most active time for mobile dating
  • Dating apps are mainly used alone, but are also commonly used with friends or colleagues

With the use of online communications growing in every part of life, online dating – and especially mobile dating – has become an increasingly popular and accepted way of meeting a romantic partner. Today, more than a third of recently married couples in the US met online, and nearly half of them met their spouse specifically through a dating service, shows a study commissioned by eHarmony.com. But are dating app users always singles looking for the significant other? Our passively collected mobile data reveals that this is not always the case.

In order to find out about the consumer habits within the world of digital matchmaking, RealityMine has analysed passive mobile data of 1,568 American panelists, who used at least one mobile dating app*. 249 of these panelists also filled in our eDiary survey, to understand the contexts in which dating apps are used.

Profiling a typical dating app user

As Millennials are the most active mobile users overall, it’s no surprise that they also dominate the usage of dating apps. The younger generation is leading the trend of meeting people through technology and especially casual, fun and free-of-charge experience, around which the likes of Tinder has built its reputation, is preferred by this generation. Nevertheless, also older generations have increasingly swapped from online dating to mobile dating, and in fact nearly half of the dating app users are aged 35 and over, as seen in the chart below.

Dating app users by age

Although the majority (61%) of the mobile daters are single, we found that dating apps appear to be a common playground of people in a relationship too (See chart below). In fact, our passive data combined with demographics data reveals that 25% of the users are in a relationship, and more precisely, nearly 19% are married! Both married men and women are commonly found using dating apps, men being only slightly more active users.

Dating app users by marital status

Mobile dating peaks late in the evenings and before Valentine’s Day

Mobile daters are tuned in to dating apps actively during the entire day from 10AM to 12PM, usage slightly increasing towards the evening, as seen in the figure below. The main peak takes place at 10PM but some differences appear within different days of week. On Tuesdays and Sundays the main peak is slightly earlier, at 9PM. Overall, Wednesday evening at 10PM is the most popular time for seeking the significant other through mobile dating apps while Sundays is the most active singular day.

Dating app by time of day

On a wider scale, especially the time between early-January to late-February appears to be the busiest time for mobile dating. As the active dating season takes place roughly between New Year and Valentine’s Day, perhaps the activity is due to New Year’s resolution to find a relationship or to find a date for Valentine’s Day?

Dating apps usage Jan-Feb

Mobile dating apps increasingly used in social situations

Most online daters use dating apps on their own at home. However, as online dating is considered more socially and culturally acceptable today, we can see that many dating app users also use them in the company of other people. 34% use dating apps in a company of colleagues, 27% with friends and 21% when accompanied by their children.

But what is even more surprising is that 24% of the people (who also filled in the eDiary survey) actually used dating apps during the same half an hour as being in the company of their partner or spouse!

The social context is further supported by our location data, which reveals that 42% of users use dating apps at work, 38% while traveling and 18% at someone else’s home. In addition to working (49%), mobile daters are likely to be relaxing (56%) or having a meal (48%) when using the apps.

When using dating apps on their mobile device, users are highly likely to use other forms of media at the same time; 61% of users watch TV and 55% use computer at the same time.

Why should advertisers make a match with dating apps?

Dating apps offer a great opportunity for advertisers; they are not only highly popular but also require the user to be actively engaged. When it comes to Tinder, as many as 20% of the users “swipe right” on brands, which proves the high level of engagement in branded content on the app.

Whether during a lunch break or downtime, dating apps are often used in a relaxed atmosphere and more openly in social situations. However, multitasking is common, which may make it more difficult for advertisers to catch the attention of the mobile daters. Advertisers should therefore create campaigns that fit within this context and are informative and rewarding while offering entertainment for the users.

 

*Analysis based on panelists who used at least one of these popular dating apps: Badoo, Coffee Meets Bagel, eHarmony, Grindr, Hinge, Lovoo, Match.com, OkCupid, POF, Scout, Tinder and Zoosk.