With less than a month away from the New Year, we look beyond 2019 and project the online dating landscape five years out. According to a new study conducted by Imperial College London and eHarmony, DNA will continue to play a role in online dating. Researchers concluded the following: “By 2025 battling over your profile on dating sites could become obsolete, with a combination of genetic matching and Artificial Intelligence predicting sexual chemistry and compatibility between singles.” Of course, we think so too; we spearhead the efforts by refining our DNA-based, data-driven online dating app. But, in the future, will we make deeper romantic connections via technological advancements? What trends in online dating will remain the same? We interviewed four professional dating experts, from a variety of backgrounds, for informed insights and predictions. And, the future of match-making looks promising.
Mark Brooks’ career in the online dating industry spans more than twenty years. He founded the Internet Dating Excellence Association (IDEA) to help online dating companies excel in the market. And, he’s the CEO of Courtland Brooks, an agency-consultancy with a team of 29 seasoned Internet dating professionals. Mark’s observed trends in online dating from solely desktop dating to mobile-based matchmaking. Marc sees potential with the online dating world integrating with virtual reality (VR) which allows users to engage in experiences through the use of software and specialized devices. Market sales prove that VR headsets are increasing in popularity. More than 22 million people living in the U.S. will experience VR monthly, and according to eMarketer, it is expected to grow to 40 million by 2019. “A media shift keeps the door open for a new player,” says Mark. In the future, whether we fully embrace VR dating or not, online daters ultimately expect utility and a viable product. Mark states, “A dating app should help people not fall in love with the wrong person.” (Double negative intended.) Meaning, companies should not play into technological novelty with hopes of skating by, and, pulling the wool over the eyes of a consumer.
“A dating app should help people not fall in love with the wrong person.”
– Mark Brooks
Lorraine Adams, Head of Matchmaking at The Dating Lab
Lorraine Adams started a professional matchmaking career by hosting popular speed dating events. Then, she launched a dating site to help young professionals find a mate. Lorraine is the now lead at the Dating Lab which provides dating and marketing services to media brands. She and the Dating Lab team predict online daters will increasingly expect valuable customer service as part of mobile apps and website. “Even a free site should offer online users a little guidance and insight. Online users are far more likely to spend money [on upgrades] if they are adequately helped,” she says. “That does not just mean help with uploading a photo or troubleshooting technological issues – but also some profile guidance and dating advice.” Providing exceptional customer service bodes well for customer engagement and brand allegiance. It may be the difference between a customer sticking around, or, a customer uninstalling.
“Online users are far more likely to spend money [on upgrades] if they are adequately helped.” – Lorraine Adams
Steve Dean, Online Dating Consultant, Dateworking
Steve Dean began online dating in 2011. To date, he’s tried over 200+ dating apps. He helps singles navigate online and offline dating experiences. And, he helps online dating business owners create better go-to-market products. Steve’s forecasts for the future are rooted in what is currently irks online daters: user interfaces that offer much of the same, and, do not stand out. When considering the sameness across mobile apps, he says, “It’s frustrating to have so much possibility and so little actuality.” The biggest problem among online dating consumers is that they are fatigued and overwhelmed. As a result, users do not know where to start engaging if it all looks the same. Steve is hopeful of companies offering a fresh approach to design or products. In an unsolicited comment, he says, “Pheramor is trying to strike a balance between data and matching criteria through compatibility algorithms and social profiles. That’s different.” Concerning technological advances, Steve is cautious about the market’s appetite for VR dating. He believes that users will ultimately desire a human connection over the prolonged usage of goggles. (Sorry, Mark.)
“Pheramor is trying to strike a balance between data and matching criteria through compatibility algorithms and social profiles. That’s different.” – Steve Dean
Marc Lesnick, Founder of the iDate Conference
Marc Lesnick is a veteran of the online dating industry. He started organizing iDate, an annual conference for professionals in the online dating industry, in 2004. Among the many trends observed, Marc anticipated “ghosting” to be a problem approximately ten years ago after examining the average customer lifetime value of an online dating user. He sees a big integration in the near-future of online dating: artificial intelligence (AI). He may not be far off. Take a look at LinkedIn where online dating companies are seeking out talent with machine learning, Hadoop, and Spark skills. The process may be slow in coming, and, the capital needs to be secured for AI to become a reality. “This is a huge investment in artificial technology. I predict will not see growth until 4-to-6 years from now,” says Marc.
“[AI] is a huge investment in artificial technology. I predict will not see growth until 4-to-6 years from now.” – Marc Lesnick
The future of online dating may bring the integration of VR, a fresh approach to dating app market structure, a customer service experience seamlessly integrated with design, and the onset of AI. With supporting research, we predict genetics will become commonplace in online dating. It is now. To learn more, visit pheramor.com and catch our Phearmor Phriday show, every Friday at 3 pm CST, on Facebook Live. Hosted by our lead geneticist, Dr. Brittany Barreto.