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It’s (almost) Valentine’s day!

So we figured it would be good for this fourth post of our ad creative series to take a look at how dating apps advertise. And see what kind of a app install campaigns do they run on in-app ad networks.

If you want to check out previous post from this series:

To do this analysis we use data shared by the Mobile Action platform. This data gives us a sense of what kind of ad creatives they used on 7 different networks: Facebook Audience Network, AdMob (so UAC ads), Unity and Vungle.

The dating apps analyzed

The ad intelligence data from Mobile Action is especially strong for Android, so we focused on some of the biggest advertisers for the Android apps (a lot of the creatives are very similar for iOS and Android). Below are the apps we looked at and their rank in their respective category.

Dating Apps Android Ranking
Interesting to see how these apps categorized themselves depending on their approach

As an element of comparison, we also looked at the Facebook feed ads run by these apps (more about finding you competitors’ ads here).

Where they advertise and with which ad creatives

General stats about their advertising

Dating Apps Ad creatives count
Source: Mobile Action Intelligence Data

No surprise there: Facebook Audience Network (FAN) is clearly the ad networks where the most creatives have been tested. It’s the case for most apps, and for dating apps (very social apps) it makes even more sense.

If you’ve read some of our previous posts where we looked at ad creatives in different categories, you know that a lot of the ad creatives used on FAN are also (and often primarily) used in other Facebook placements (especially Facebook feed). In fact looking at all these apps it seems that they’ve tried FAN for some limited period of time and seem not to be using it too much anymore. So the analysis of these creatives is more relevant when considering how they are used for Facebook feed ads or other Facebook channels.

Only two other ad networks seem to be used: AdMob via Universal App Campaigns and Unity (by Badoo and Tinder).

What we’re seeing in the chart above is the ad creatives count, and it does not reflect how much each channel is used. For this, you want to look at the % of impressions indicated by Mobile Action for each app. For example Badoo’s top 5 ad creatives are all used on Unity and represent about 97% of impressions for the app. So they’ve never really used FAN much (however they run a lot of app install ads in the Facebook feed).

Ad Creatives Images vs video
Source: Mobile Action Ad Intelligence

As opposed to most other categories we’ve looked at so far, the spread between images and videos is pretty even. We can imagine that this is because just a photo of a potential “date” or a photo with a couple of indications can already be pretty powerful and compelling to someone looking to meet people.

Ad creatives aspect ratio
Source: Mobile Action Ad Intelligence

When it comes to the video ads aspect ratios, it’s interesting to see that it’s the landscape format that dominates, with the square aspect ratio being a close second. Even when we look at ad creatives only on the Facebook Ad Network the split is pretty even between square and landscape.

For the apps still actually using FAN, it might be interesting to also test portrait 9:16 creatives since the ads are probably often displayed in portrait apps.

Looking at the content itself of the video ad creatives in the top 5 for each app, here are the main types of content:

  • Feature focus (user experience, depending on the app: finding people around you, swiping, etc.)
  • Testimonials (people sharing their experience or couple pictures)
  • “Storytelling”
  • Person talking about concept (especially for localized videos)

Our favorite creatives from the most used video ads

Amongst the top 5 video ad creatives that have been used the most by each of the apps (using the percentage of impressions given by Mobile Action), we selected 3 we like and are representative of what seems to perform well.

Some are very simple and straightforward, and some required more work from a video production perspective.

Bumble

This is the typical “testimonial” ad for Bumble, who is using a lot of these in their Facebook advertising.

It is super simple, and meant to look user sourced (or maybe actually used). This ad creative already has had more than 1.5 million views and has therefore been used a lot by Bumble.

So they can have some consistency between ads of this kind, the caption has the Bumble colors.

It’s interesting to note that Bumble relies heavily on this kind of creatives, as well as on “couple testimonials” with 2 persons telling more about their stories.

With their recent super bowl ad, they’ve also spinned off a few high quality ad creatives with Serena that they are testing.

OKCupid

Like most other dating apps OKCupid also has video creatives that are testimonials or visuals of couples together, usually with the angle of “substance” vs. profile photo as this is their approach.

What they’ve been using the most however on Facebook Audience Network (and Facebook feed) are ad creatives on the DTF concept they launched more than a year ago now. If you’re not in the US and haven’t seen any OKCupid billboards or subway ads, the DTF concept is a twist they gave to the acronym (initially Down to F***).

OKCupid DTF Subway
DTF Ads from OKCupid in the subway

 The DTF concept in the NYC subway (source: Reddit)

This is a pretty smart approach and it must have worked fairly well since a year later they are still leveraging the concept and designs, at least in digital.

The ad creative with the most impression on Facebook Audience Network is the one below (even though they have since stopped campaigns on FAN), and multiple other versions (a lot in static) are currently used in Facebook feed ads.

This gives a sense of how a holistic approach can be implemented. It’s strong from a branding perspective and can last for a while.

It’s interesting to also see other dating apps like Tinder taking a strong “stand” with their approach (they now have #SingleNotSorry and #AdultingCanWait ads in live action video).

Happn

Although we feel the execution and quality of the live action shots would gain from being improved, it seems that Happn has found the type of creatives that work for them.

Here too they tend to choose something that’s in line with the unique approach of the app: reconnecting with someone you crossed path with.

They’ve been using multiple creatives around that “reconnection” concept, with versions in multiple languages. Because some versions do not have actors talking, they are also able to localize them fairly easily (as long as the actors could look local) by just changing the voice over and subtitles/end cards.

Here is an example with the most used ad creatives on Facebook Audience Network according to Mobile Action.

As mentioned earlier like several other apps Happn doesn’t seem to be using FAN anymore, however by looking at the creatives they use for Facebook feed ads this is an approach they are using a lot (with some videos totaling more than 500k views already).

It also seems that they’re upping the quality a bit, and their latest creatives there look less amateur.

 

We hope this post gave you some good insights into how some of the top dating apps advertise on in-app ad networks, what kind of ad creatives they use to acquire new users and how you can get inspiration from them.

If you’re interested in seeing more ad intelligence data, check out the Mobile Action platform.

You have comments on these creatives ads or you’d like us to take a look at a specific app category? Leave us a comment below!

Sylvain Gauchet

Hi there, I’m Sylvain and I’m one of the co-founders of Apptamin. Apptamin is a creative agency specialized in app videos (video ads, app store videos, etc.) where we find engaging ways to present mobile apps and games so our clients can either increase their conversion rates or improve their user acquisition.

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