Introduction to the Dating Vertical [+ expert opinion]

In the ever-changing landscape of affiliate marketing, it can be hard to truly follow all the trends and know what works — and more importantly, what doesn’t. Some verticals and niches become more popular. Others make it almost impossible to make good profit with after a while.

But why reinvent the wheel? There are certain verticals that stay afloat even when others are crashing. Dating is one of those verticals. Why? It’s easy — people never stop dating.

When the most romantic season is approaching, isn’t it a high time to get into dating offers and make some profit? To help you get started, we’ve prepared a comprehensive dating vertical guide

We have also added a bonus section to this article — an interview with the affiliate network that is absolutely killing the dating industry. TopOffers is a premium CPA network that offers exclusively dating offers. Read on to get plenty of great insights shared from a network perspective (p.s.: you would find a welcome bonus from our friends from TopOffers at the end of this article 😉 ).

It’s a proper long-read with plenty of guides and insights. No further ado…

What is dating vertical about?

It goes without saying, that gaining a critical mass of users is the paramount challenge for any dating website. That’s the reason pretty much every single dating site has its own affiliate program. They gladly accept new members that you, as an affiliate bring to their site. And they’re ready to reward you accordingly. 

Along with nutra, ecommence, and lead gen, dating is one of those evergreen niches that are here for a long long time. Among other things, it’s due to the enormous volumes of traffic and converting geos available.

There are a lot of questions you should ask yourself when working with dating vertical. First thing first — would you rather promote Mainstream or Adult dating offers?

Mainstream offers refer to dating websites/apps, where people try to find their match based on certain common interests and values. For ex., apps like Tinder, or Tindog, a very niched dating site for dog lovers.

dating vertical guide
Top dating apps by country. Source: Ogury.com

The word Mainstream is used to counterpart an Adult. Adult Dating offers are often dedicated to websites where a person can meet someone to have sex. In majority, adult dating offers have a bigger payment than mainstream dating. And it’s considered as one of the most profitable niches in affiliate marketing.

Dating offers work very well with almost all ad networks and sources, except Facebook that doesn’t welcome both mainstream and even much less adult ads.

Payout models

Dating vertical has its certain specifics when it comes to payouts.

The user conversion flow is similar amongst all dating sites — get a user to register, prompt them to complete the profile, and if succeed, to become paying members.

dating vertical guide

When running dating you usually have the following payout options:

CPL (cost-per-lead) or PPL — payout model based on lead generation (aka, registration or data submission).

To generate leads, advertisers apply the following models: Single Opt-In (SOI) and Double Opt-In (DOI).

— SOI. This is the easiest conversion flow. The conversion is count once the user enters their email in the registration form. This payment model brings risk to advertisers due to poor lead quality — it’s quite easy to make an error while filling an email/phone number in a contact form. Taking into account this kind of risks, SOI-model doesn’t offer high payouts.

Why advertise with SOI?

  • offers have high CR;
  • allows to split-test different banners and landers even with a limited budget.

— DOI. This is the next step from SOI model and requires a user to perform one more action. For example:

  • 1) fill in the email and 2) verify it;
  • 1) fill in the email and 2) create a profile
  • 1) fill in the email and 2) upload the photo

Once a user performs both actions, the conversion is count. In comparison with SOI, this lead submission model is more complex. Thus, it offers higher payouts.

Choose the CPL model, if you just start working with dating vertical.

Revshare — you get paid a certain percentage when a user purchases the membership. No matter how many leads (aka registrations) you bring unless they convert to paid members. Once they convert, you receive a percentage of the monthly fee they pay. The size of the payout depends on the advertiser’s or network’s conditions.

PPS (pay-per-sale) — you receive a flat rate for each paid member you bring to the site/app. Like with Revshare, the more memberships you sell, the higher the rates an advertiser will be willing to pay you. Payouts range from $20 to $100+ and depend on geo and the dating site you work with.

Which payment model should you choose? I’d recommend split test each payout form, as you never know which one works better for you. If you have a limited budget, then start with CPL, SOI, in particular. These offers are the easiest to test and optimize. When it comes to Revshare, you should be patient and willing to invest quite a sum of money testing campaigns for several months.

Some tips while promoting dating offer:

— choose geo wisely. If you decided to make money with a dating vertical, you have a big choice of geos available. Some affiliates start with top tiers, like the USA and the UK right away. The payouts are bigger there, but at the same time — the competition is really tough.

Start with less competitive countries (e.g. Italy, Norway, Netherlands, Canada, Russia) and master them first. Once making profit — try to scale it to other countries and traffic sources.

— dating works with almost all traffic sources. Social, native, push — all work with dating offers. Yet, keep in mind that Facebook has lots of restrictions on the promotion of dating offers. Revert to other social networks for dating offers, instead.

— check your stats constantly. As I said lots of times before, testing and optimization should become your mundanity. It’s important to let your campaigns run for a while before you stop any source, offer, banner, etc. The information you get with a/b tests is crucial when it’s time to scale your campaign.

— work closely with your affiliate network. As I said before, the payout size, among other things, depends on the network you work with. Sometimes its size can greatly depend on the relationships between an affiliate and an affiliate manager.

Choose one or a couple of quality networks, and work closely with them. Treat your AM as a friend and show them you’re serious to make money with them. By being responsive to your affiliate managers, you can receive more support for your affiliate efforts. For example, they might share offer tips on how to increase conversion rates or offer you higher payouts. 

 

interview with topoffersWith this in mind, let’s proceed with the bonus section of this dating vertical guide — the interview with dating kings, TopOffers. I’ve asked Nick Martsenitsen, User Aquisition Lead at TopOffers, 15 questions about dating verticals. He shared with us lots of network insights, recommendations, and tips. With no further delay, let’s dive into secrets and tips of mainstream and adult dating offers.

 

Nick, tell us about TopOffers. What distinguishes you from others and makes affiliates join your network?

TopOffers is a CPA Network that has been operating since March 2017, when the dating industry giant, Together Networks, closed their affiliate program and delegated exclusive rights to promote their brands to us. This provided the basis for the rapid rollout of TopOffers on to the global market. For affiliates this means – the better the traffic they send, the higher the payouts they get, with 24/7 support always ready to help.

 

Plus, at this moment we are actively expanding into other verticals like Sweepstakes, Games, Crypto, Finance and VAS.

 

Last, but not least, we have a friendly attitude to our affiliates. We like meeting them personally at the Affiliate Conferences and at our office. Affiliate marketing isn’t just about business, it’s a community of like-minded people who work together and have fun together as well.

Then how newbie friendly is your network?

We are super newbie friendly. In order to become simpler for beginners, the TopOffers team has created an advanced SmartLink technology – ProfitSocial. The SmartLink system helps our affiliates to monetize all traffic from all GEOs without losing a single cent. We also publish a lot of articles about affiliate marketing and different tricks and tips for our partners in our blog.

Do you offer the translation of landing pages for affiliates?

Sure, all the landings are adapted and translated for every country. In addition, we offer different types of landing pages for each type of traffic: mainstream and adult versions are available.

I’ve noticed the list of top offers and rates for different geos on your platform — how often do you update them?

Dashboard from TopOffers interface

We constantly keep close communication with all our partners through affiliate managers. Plus, we provide our affiliates with the relevant information and rates on the platform, so there’s always up-to-date information and news regarding new offers, verticals and promotions.

Since you see data in your network — what type of offers do convert better on TopOffers — adult or mainstream?

Talking about dating, we run both mainstream and adult offers in our network. It absolutely depends on traffic source and GEO. Adult converts better, just because this traffic source is good for dating offers. Talking about mainstream, there are wider varieties of traffic sources and types, so it’s harder to find the right one, but once you’ve found a great source, the CR could be much higher than in an adult segment.

Dating is one of the evergreen verticals. What future do you predict for dating?

According to Statista, the dating vertical is forecasted to grow 24% by market revenue and users in the next 5 years.

Online dating revenue in the United States from 2017 to 2023 (in million U.S. dollars). Source: statista.com

Talking about innovations in the dating industry, we could add that matchmaking will become more accurate with AI technologies (based on user behavior) and the dating process itself will move partly to VR/AR in the near 20 years. Humanity demands love and relationships; technology helps to ease the process.

It is said that mobile devices convert better than desktop and tablets do — whether this is the case or not? Or it largely depends on the traffic type?

Talking in general, mobile traffic converts better. Traffic volumes are higher as well as the variety of promotions. People are getting more mobile and less static. Although, the Bounce Rate is higher in mobile, and the Average Session Duration is shorter. This is related to the different user/device scenarios.

 

It’s important to know the target audience.

There are segments that play a more significant role in mobile than in desktop traffic. For instance, the OS version or connection type is not even tracked by the computer. And in mobile traffic, the type of connection, device model and screen resolution greatly influence the target actions of the user.

Is there any GEO (or tier) that works really great with dating offers?

Developed countries usually work better with dating offers. This is directly related to technological facilities and a country’s general purchasing power, so Tier 1 and 2 goes well with dating. In fact, TopOffers covers more than 50 countries on a PPL basis.

What do you think the secret of good performance of Nordic countries?

It’s a good question. Considering the climate of Nordic countries, we could say that these users spend a lot of time on the Internet and are up for any kind of entertainment there (dating, gambling etc.). Add to that the high solvency of these countries – you get the most attractive market for affiliate marketing to work with. In fact, Nordic countries are the leaders in Internet presence. 90% of people in these countries aged from 16 to 24 and 75% aged from 65 to 74 actively use Internet services.

What payment models do you work with? Any recommendations which payout model one should start with when launching a campaign?

TopOffers works with several payment models: PPL, PPS, Revenue Share, and allows benefit to be earned from any of the models mentioned. Usually, we recommend starting tests on a PPL basis, since it’s the fastest way to see how effective your campaigns are and to get profit faster (in comparison with PPS). Afterwards, we could individually discuss other opportunities for beneficial cooperation with each affiliate.

What are the top traffic sources to promote dating offers with?

There are a lot of traffic sources that convert well for dating. For example: adult ad networks, native, social, classifieds. Push traffic is also growing in popularity these days.

What to use: direct-linking or landing page?

Do you like visiting the gym? Let’s just imagine that you do. What is better for you: to begin heavy physical exercises right away or first warm up your muscles to prepare? LP warms users up correspondingly; it helps them to enjoy adult content to the fullest and return to our website in the future. The difference between direct-linking and a landing page is that in the first instance there is no possibility to be “correctly prepared” for the information.

Is there any secret of creating a highly-converting lander?

There are no precise instructions on how to make a highly profitable landing page. You have to take into consideration how your landing page fits all the requirements of the current audience, and by requirements I mean its goals and interests. It is important to understand and analyze all trends used by your main competitors in the present vertical. For example, speaking about mainstream products, there’s a trend that consists of using modest women’s looks, which helps to build confidence and trust among users. We can also point to high-quality and bright images as being one of the major aspects of any successful campaign.

Share your top 5 pieces of advice on promoting dating offers.

–          Creatives are crucial. The best looking banner doesn’t always mean the highest conversion rate. Test different styles and images to get your perfect CTR. Your banner has to be eye-catching and original, but the moment you create a great banner, be sure – it will be copied within the hour, so fast turnover of banners is essential.

 

–          Split test different offers. Choose 2-3 different offers for your traffic source for the same GEO.

 

–          Take less competitive countries. Such GEOs as USA, Canada and UK are already occupied with lots of affiliates. There are less competitive regions, such as mainland Europe, Latin America and Asia, with really high EPCs and payouts.

 

–          Communicate with your manager. You can always get some tips and tricks or just relevant info regarding GEOs and offers from the manager of TopOffers. Plus, always build a trusting relationship with the manager of your traffic source.

 

–          Test new sources. Affiliate marketing is dynamic. Once you find your perfect high-quality source, it doesn’t guarantee high performance every day, especially when you’re planning to scale. Invest some of your income in exploring new tools/sources etc.

Do you witness particular cases among your affiliates on how analytics and tracking tools affect their success?

There are plenty of tools that add value to our affiliates’ campaigns, such as competitor analysis tools (ad spy), market analysis services (web statistics), VPNs and trackers, like RedTrack.

 

Trackers are just super important for all affiliates, because when you run many campaigns from different sources, you need a single dashboard to monitor and control all metrics. Plus, some affiliate networks could send delayed data, and sometimes a 2-hour delay can be crucial.

Thanks for the answers, Nick!

For RedTrack users, TopOffers team is welcoming every new affiliate with a $1,000 Welcome Bonus when you reach $10,000 revenue within your first 3 months.

Please check the details with TopOffers manager.

Ready to launch your dating campaign? Try to follow the above tips and share your experience in our Telegram Community!

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