December Paid Search Trends in Online Dating

As we approach the end of the year, it’s important to consider natural online behaviour during this season in order to better understand the PPC trends in the online dating industry, which come about year after year. The first half of December is generally flat: people keep busy, focusing on buying Christmas presents, decorations and everything that goes hand in hand with the brief but intense festive period ahead. Then, with the thought of a New Year starting soon, personal resolutions and projects start taking shape and gaining momentum towards the end of the month.

If you’re an experienced online dating veteran, you’ll know from experience that searches and PPC traffic shoot up from Boxing Day onwards. The first week of January is generally the best of the year, setting the bar for the months to follow: the volume of impressions and clicks we receive in January gives us an idea of which search volumes to expect thereafter. Singles looking for a companion are eager to achieve their goal from day one and are more likely to pay for their membership so they can do so. After all, New Year’s resolutions are intended to last more than a month!

The ratio of searches for “dating” always peak during the second fortnight of December and there is an acute turning point in campaign impressions, clicks and conversions, according to our data warehouse. This year, we seem to be experiencing a point of inflexion for those searches earlier than usual, across all territories; this may translate as promising prospects for the beginning of the year in the dating sector.

Figure 1: Clicks (blue) vs. Conversions (orange). Increase of interest and likeliness to convert after Christmas. Note that the level of clicks after January remains higher than the previous year.

Moreover, terms like “iPad”, “tablet” and “iPhone” are showing high purchase intent in the weeks during the run up to Christmas Eve. Once those intentions materialise into actual purchases, we can expect to see an increase in the mobile search and conversions share. With ever increasing competition amongst advertisers, PPC mobile campaigns are set to become more targeted and aggressive than ever before.

Since dating is not a seasonal activity, do not expect to find high volumes of queries for “dating during Christmas”. However, searches for terms like “dating” are becoming more widespread, especially in marketplaces like the UK, in line with the growth of social acceptance and openness towards online dating. It also reflects a more knowledgeable user base, now searching for more specific keywords.

The AdWords Search Query Report will provide you with insights about possible niches, interests and longer tail keywords. Keep an eye on niche keywords; your users may now have a clearer idea that they don’t just want “dating”, but “Christian dating” or “dating retired singles”.

In a similar fashion, we are noticing a clearer aim for local dating, demonstrating an increasing number of search queries with reference to specific areas. Keywords like “dating in London” or “dating in Sydney” show how a person might be ready to find love within a certain distance or a particular area.

From a marketer’s perspective, December is also the time to think about New Year’s resolutions for yourself; look back on data from 2012, plan ahead and get your campaigns ready to reach those people looking for a partner. Go mobile, go niched, go local. Make sure you target the correct user, with the most accurate message, in the right device.

Nuria Gonzalez, PPC Specialist, Commercial team

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