Key Insights from iDate Sydney

Set against the beautiful backdrop of Darling Harbour, iDate Australia was another fantastic chance to catch up with the rest of the dating industry, and find out about some of the latest developments in the Australian market.

Dave Heysen, native CEO of popular Australian site, Oasis Active, kicked off an insightful session by highlighting that 30-40 % of the Oasis development resource has been dedicated to fighting scammers; as a result, they now have fewer scammers on their platform than they had two years ago.

Dave cited that he sees the key growth areas for Oasis Active as South American territories like Brazil and Mexico. He also noted that Columbia is slowly starting to take off and that Australia is no longer a growth market for them, where they still dominate and rank as number one for site visits according to Hitwise data.

Google’s Lucien Schneller gave an excellent presentation on suitable strategies and resources that should be employed in order to succeed in the Australian dating market.

As an affluent country, tablet penetration is strong in Australia and will reach a staggering 40% by the end of 2012, with a growth rate that that is four to eight times the growth rate of mobile. Tablets are changing the way people consume and use media and you need to be on top of this in order to successfully work in the territory. Interestingly, Google highlighted that the Melbourne cup saw more mobile search queries than desktop, meaning that for the first time, mobile search figures overtook desktop, demonstrating the extent of mobile domination of the Australian market. What’s more, Google identified that an impressive 40% of searches on tablet and mobile devices are for online dating.

Samantha Krajina from Relationship Rocketscience gave her perspective on what makes a successful email marketing campaign, in her interesting session.

Her crucial pieces of advice were:

  1. All marketing material must be in language that people use every day; avoid marketing jargon.
  2. You need to be in contact with the consumer frequently in order to gain trust.
  3. You must be congruent with your message across your entire website and Google presence.
  4. Do not send anymore than one email per week and not less than one a month.
  5. Appeal to all key modalities – appeal to visual, auditory and kinesthetic senses.

Samantha also identified that a clear and compelling call-to-action, alongside credibility are essential to ensuring a high click-through-rate.

Max McGuire, CEO of RedHotPie, gave a highly entertaining and thought provoking speaker session on ‘Social Discovery and Online Dating’, asking ‘What does social actually mean? Is it just a buzzword?’

Max delved into the topic of social dating, pondering if social dating can be the same as social discovery, looking to brands like Badoo, Zoosk and Twoo as examples.

Max concluded that ‘social’ is a safe middle ground. It’s free from the stigma attached to online dating that remains in certain circles and, due to the popularity of social media sites, social dating suddenly becomes a lot more acceptable. In all, this was a really stimulating session from Max.

Isabel Arnaud, of Enforcement for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), outlined the policies and processes used for dealing with scammers in the Australian territory. The governing body use education, information sharing, disruptive activities and where appropriate, enforcement action in dealing with scams.

Interestingly, dating and romance scams account for only 2.5% of the complaints that the Commission receive. However, dating scams do have a high conversion rate, and are responsible for the second highest monetary losses reported in 2011, demonstrating the need to take them seriously.

The ACCC have found that the most effective way of addressing the scams is to work closely with dating companies themselves. The commission introduced a set of guidelines in February 2012, highlighting what they consider best practice. The guide is designed to be adapted by individual dating companies to best suit their needs.

The key takeaways from this session were that sites should have systems in place to detect scammers when they join and that there should be a tool in place to enable members to report scams when they spot them. In addition, the terms and conditions of service should be clear and testimonials appearing on dating sites should be truthful. This was a highly interesting session and it’s reassuring to know that are doing the right things to keep our members safe.

As usual, iDate provided some excellent networking opportunities and it was great to see some old faces, as well as some new ones. A big thank you to Max and Mark from RedHotPie, who were very generous with their hospitality towards all iDatee attendees, to ensure they received a warm welcome in Sydney.

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