Dating is one of the oldest affiliate marketing verticals. It serves as a steady flow of income to webmasters, many of whom have been working with it for almost a decade. Dating is especially attractive for beginners, since it doesn’t require much financial investments on their part. In this article, we will take a closer look at dating as well as define the traffic sources and types of offers.
How it works
Promoting dating offers involves attracting users to dating websites and apps. Dating is often combined with adult – the vertical with mature content. To a certain degree this makes sense, since there are different types of dating, many of which are downright bannable (more on that later).
People meet other people their whole lives, it’s in our genes. Pairing, making friends and finding short-term relationships to satisfy one’s physical and psychological needs is normal in our society. And some people of enterprise decided to make some money on this and began offering online partner finding services. This is how the largest dating resources were born: Tinder, Badu, Mamba and many others.
The dating niche rakes in insane profits: in 2020 they exceeded $10 billion and continue to grow by 5-15% annually. And half of that went to the top global actors. The rest was divided -between smaller online companies. As of today, there’s more than 10,000 of them, with new ones springing up literally almost every day. This is mainly due to the fact that starting one doesn’t require much financial investment: just $5-15 thousand and you have yourself an ideal website with an engine, attractive landing pages and a mobile app.
Regardless of the scope of the resource, everyone wants a bigger flow of visitors. This is exactly why 90% of these websites also participate in affiliate programs. Speaking of affiliate programs: dating offers are featured in any given one, it’s actually a challenge to find an AP without them. Highly specialized programs that act as leaders in the field of dating:
- Los Pollos.
There are multiple features such websites introduce to make money: paid gifts, VIP statuses, anonymous viewing of profiles, various limit removers, premium features, etc. More traffic means higher chances that the user will make the company a profit.
Target audience for dating offers
Dating is one of the few verticals where drawing up the portrait of the average user is challenging. Each person meets dozens of new people every year. Teens more often than not look for new friends or “relationships”, grown-ups and the elderly – for a life partner, and those in between – for a one night stand.
In any case, categorizing traffic is still a good idea. You can segment it by:
- Age, sex;
- GEO – country, sometimes city;
- Language (usually linked to the country);
- Interests, dating goals;
It’s no secret that everyone has their own preferences and ideals, both sexually and psychologically. For example, some men prefer other men, some guys like it a little “harder” and others are exclusively into milfs. There are special resources dedicated to each “kink”, since even a narrow audience can be monetized. Classic heterosexual dating services for people of about the same age, without any specific appearance restrictions are offered on large resources: they don’t focus on a specific branch or niche. You should realize that working with, say, gay offers will require an entirely unique approach.
Another traffic classification is based on the reason the user is looking for someone:
- Friendship (rarely);
- One night stand (casual);
- Long-term relationship (that may lead to marriage – mainstream);
- Sponsors – mistresses ((more often rich men are looking for pretty young girls).
Webmasters usually work with a male audience – it’s easier to hook and encourage to perform the target action. However, given the correct approach, you can make money off women too.
Payment methods for leads and types of offers
Dating offers typically have 2 main and 1 additional payout model: SOI, DOI, Revenue Share.
- SOI (Single Opt In) – a single target action – registering on the website. To get a lead, the webmaster need to simply convince the user to register;
- DOI (Double Opt In) – 2 or more target actions. Minimum – registration and email verification. Some offers demand the user, for example, purchase a paid subscription or something else;
- RevShare – an uncommon, but nonetheless real remuneration variant when it comes to dating offers. Some resources may offer partners a percentage of the profits made of each user they attract.
SOI and DOI are the most common payment models in the dating vertical. They are used in the same way but have some differences. Working with SOI is easier, since the user needs to perform just one target action. However, DOI will bring more revenue per lead (despite fewer conversions). For example, SOI payments on average range from $0.01 to $8. As for DOI – twice as high. Both options are GEO-linked – advertisers are willing to pay more for users from rich countries (Europe, America). The CIS countries come in second, and the least valued traffic comes from the 3rd world.
There are situations when it is simply impossible to sort the traffic. And since webmasters rarely use targeting or contextual ads to drive traffic to dating offers, we need a different way to analyze users. And if you attract a user to an offer from another country, the advertiser won’t count it as a lead. This is where Smartlink comes in. It’s a regular looking link provided by the affiliated program. It is filled with different elements and leads to several redirects, and when the user visits them, they automatically give up information about themselves. Smartlink determines their GEO and sends them to the appropriate offer.
Often a smartlink is given for a specific offer with a specific payment model, but sometimes webmasters use links that lead to multiple offers. This makes analyzing harder, since the link can lead to, for example, a DOI offer, while the webmaster is waiting for his payment for 10 registrations without email verification that just isn’t coming.
Smartlink is also used in the gambling and sweepstakes verticals. And in very rare cases by bookmaker offices. You can make one yourself if you have skills working with redirects, TDSs (traffic distribution) and GEO detection. But best to just use the affiliate program’s link.
Any existing platform (website, application, online game) can be used as a source of traffic for dating offers. However, if the resource is small, it has a tendency to burn out – the traffic just runs out. After finding a new source, the affiliate starts to test it – tries out various approaches. If they work, they scale the campaign. If they don’t – looks like the source is all dried up. This is how working with, say, forums looks like.
Large advertising networks (Facebook, VK, Google, Yandex) prohibit promoting dating sites, especially if it is done by a webmaster, and not an official representative of the company. However, these sources are still used nonetheless.
For example, a while back, the Russian segment of the Internet was stunned by the new method of passing VKontakte moderation – the targeting settings would allow ads with completely naked girls. Traffic was driven to all sorts of verticals, but mostly to dating. The bug was patched, and this meant that the source (in this case VK’s targeting) burned out. Though you can still distribute spam with links to the offers. In this regard the source is very much alive.
The classic approach to all social networks (VK, Instagram, TikTok) is to create an account that posts pictures of attractive girls or is “owned” by one. You place a link in the description (sometimes cloaking or spacers in the form of redirects or landing pages, for example, from Tilda, are used) for some users to follow. There are multiple ways to attract users to your profile page:
- TikTok – getting your clips into the recommended section;
- VK – likes, reposts, messages, comments;
- Instagram – a combination of both.
There are many original approaches. For example, Instagram sometimes does not ban a photo of a naked girl if she is dressed in transparent clothes or if her breasts are almost covered. Youtube doesn’t block videos with completely naked people (regardless of sex) as long as they engage in “naked yoga”. TikTok is fine with naked women if they’re breastfeeding.
Telegram is a popular traffic source. Here, webmasters use classic spam-ads. You can send up to 40 messages a day before automatically getting banned (if someone complains, your account may get deleted altogether). Some specialists buy up porn-related channels and natively place links to adult resources and dating sites in them. These are all free and shareware traffic sources. The only thing you spend is your time and some money on distribution means (accounts, mailing services, etc.).
Porn sites are also used to generate dating traffic. They usually don’t provide a separate ad account, but they work with third-party ad platforms. Ads on such sites are launched through them.
Teasers, ClickUnder, PopUnder and desktop and mobile notifications are still used due to their low cost. The conversion rates have dropped compared to a few years ago, but some webmasters still manage to use them to turn a profit. These are paid traffic mining options
Each source has its own merits and demerits. The only way to figure out what works is to test it out. The advantage here is that you can’t go too much into the red here.
The dating vertical is profitable for seasoned professionals and welcomes newcomers every day. This is the vertical most webmasters start off with since it’s not necessary to invest actual money. Experts manage to pull in multiple figures dollar incomes from a single quality source. Still, this doesn’t mean the vertical is easy – you’ll need to test out options, learn, do the “dirty work” (chat “on behalf” of the girls). But it’s definitely worth it.