Acquisition best practices for dating apps as we head into the holiday season and New Year

Acquisition Dating

The holiday season is almost upon us and will quickly be followed by New Year.  This can be a tough time for people who are looking for a relationship or have recently ended one.  The desire to share the festive season with someone special, or to kick off 2024 with a dedicated effort to find that person, is strong.  Many people will turn to dating apps for help with that challenge, so at this time of year, there’s a role for dating apps to play, with not only matchmaking but helping people to feel included, wanted and hopeful, no matter where they are in the world.

Set your app up for success

The good thing about this time of year is that it happens every year!  So there’s little excuse for not being prepared for this ‘high season’ for dating apps.  Apps should be implementing tried and tested strategies, as well as using the holiday and New Year periods to test new hypotheses for audience targeting, features, and messaging.

Think local, not global

No matter whether a dating app is global or not, to resonate with people it will need to feel local; most commonly people are looking for people who are nearby.  Thinking about how you tailor your app’s storefront persona and your custom product pages to be locally relevant is really important to the success of your user engagement.

Remember too, that global events such as New Year happen at different times, depending on where in the world you are, and may have deep significance for some communities, or might just be a reason to party, for others!  Adjust your campaign timings and tone of voice accordingly.

Embrace Communities

As every dating app owner knows, it’s not just young single people on the platform.  People from all walks of life look for love and companionship, some with more confidence than others.  So, think hard about how your app’s UA strategy and promoted content connects with different user groups and communities, whether they’re single parents, LGBTQ+, divorcees, grads in a new city or just your everyday Joe (or Jo), seeking a partner.

Align your App Store presence with other media investments

By the time your potential user hits the App Store, there is a high likelihood that they will have been exposed to your other media investments, whether that be a social/digital/influencer strategy or a broad reach outdoor, cinema or TV strategy.  Their expectations have been set by your excellent campaign executions and now they’ve come looking for your app on the App Store.  Don’t disappoint or confuse them, or you’ll lose them!  

Optimise your App Store strategy towards this moment; include keywords and phrases from your media campaigns in your ASO piece and ensure that your paid App Store media reflects and complements your other media investments.  Continue the user journey to your app seamlessly and you’ll be rewarded with an improved conversion rate. 


Creativity for conversion

There can be little doubt that the next couple of months will be a highly competitive period for dating apps, which is why preparing new creative assets that align with all the points above and reflect users’ mindsets during this season, is key to improving acquisition.  It’s no small task to tick all those boxes – it’s the very reason why Redbox has such a heavy-weight creative team.   

Utilise custom product pages

A big game-changer for our clients this year (across all verticals) has been ad variations with custom product pages, in Apple Search Ads. The ability to create 30+ different custom product pages, tailored to different target audiences, aligned with different keyword strategies, or complementing other media investments, has seen user conversion take a +20% step-up.

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(L) Bumble default product page, alongside their custom product page (M), designed to mimic Tinder’s default product page style (R).

In Apple Search Ads, custom product pages can be tied directly to your search result and Today tab ad campaigns; this is the best of both worlds as far as audience reach and conversion are concerned.  The Today tab ads are a reach and awareness driver – they’re not reliant on a user actively searching, so present an opportunity to be seen by even more highly relevant people (thanks to Apple’s audience algorithm), who are not, at that moment, searching for a dating app.  Search result ads are exactly as named – user intent is high, so serving a ‘top of list’ targeted ad will improve conversion. Both opportunities are linked to custom product pages, so can be highly tailored to suit audience groups and occasions.

Create In-App Events

Creating In-App Events (IAE) is a great way to inject seasonality into the user experience and immediacy into your acquisition.  People who are searching dating apps at key periods may be attracted to your app simply because you are offering something that is relevant to their mindset at that time of year.  IAEs also create a sense of community and will appeal to those who have been motivated to try to meet new people during, what can be for some, a lonely time of year.

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Tailoring your App Store communication to the season: a festive In-App Event from dating app Pure, and the expanded event card.


Steer screenshots towards what your audience needs

Helping users to quickly understand how you can help them with their dating challenge, how your app might connect them with a community and help them to meet new people, or even just build their self-confidence, will create a connection that delivers conversion.

In this matter, screenshots are vital, but are frequently overlooked as part of a media campaign strategy.  If your dating app screenshots don’t relate to the promises you’re making in your wider media communications, your App Store campaign or the keywords that brought the user to your product page, conversion will take a hit. 


Invest in your keyword strategy

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, it’s no small task to tick all the boxes above and tie it all back to your keyword strategy – lucky for our clients that we have a crack team of ASO experts to assist!   

Remember – keywords fluctuate!

The popularity of keywords is measured by the volume of users searching for them, with higher volume generally indicating greater popularity. Regrettably, many app marketers overlook this essential data, often glancing momentarily at keyword volume and then disregarding it. Some marketers mistakenly assume that keyword volume remains static, when it's actually variable; others lack the time to regularly check it.

It's vital to keep on top of this, because during the holiday season and into the new year, the motivations for app search will change, and consumers will have been influenced by the key messages in wider media campaigns – yours and your competitors’.

Consider cross-localisation

If you’re running a global or multi-territory app, you’ll already be aware that in some countries, more than one language is commonly spoken.  Don’t neglect this insight when planning your strategies for paid and organic keywords.  Redbox clients have seen good incremental growth from cross-localisation keyword strategies, so it’s worth investing time to explore that potential. Harnessing the opportunity of cross-localisation allows you to use your keywords effectively across various markets and optimise your app in multiple languages and regions simultaneously.

Underpin your creative with keywords

If you’re investing in ad variations and custom product pages for different audience groups and communities; or if you’re focused on creating product pages that are localised, to appeal to those looking for potential partners close to home, make sure to adjust your target keywords to complement those targeting strategies.

When running your wider media campaign, give your App Store visibility a leg-up by including keywords that feature heavily across other media – your users may search for your app using some of the words and phrases used in your other media channels.

And finally…

Managing your UA strategy is like trying to find the perfect partner - it needs constant attention! 

You need to look your best, be clear with your messaging and be focused on the type of person you want to attract.  You’ll need to be brave when testing new ideas and if something doesn’t work out for you, learn from it, shake it off and try again. 

Beyond acquisition – what next?

Want to learn more about retaining users and monetising your dating app? Then head to Redbox Mobile, to discover holiday season paywall examples for dating app conversion and retention, by Purchasely.


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