eHarmony Delves Deep Into Data To Draw In Users

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Dating can feel like a spin of the roulette wheel. You could wind up a winner or go home a loser, and either way, your fate is in the fickle hands of Lady Luck. Run into a particularly bad string of dates and you might even think your odds are better in Vegas.

Online dating can't take luck out of the equation entirely, but matching algorithms attempt to add science into the mix. Much has been said about how data is used to help online daters meet their match, but what about the dating sites themselves?

Lynsey Tomkinson, senior marketing manager at eHarmony, spoke to CMO about how an audience segmentation project opened up a whole new world of possibilities for eHarmony. Tasked with increasing the effectiveness of the company's marketing programs, Tomkinson's team relied on data to find ways to better understand and interact with prospects and customers.

The team's investigation began with eHarmony's testimonials. In an age that's widely accepting of online dating, testimonials are no longer needed to persuade new prospects to try it for the first time. Instead, it's about persuading them to switch to eHarmony.

eHarmony also decided to dial down on its marriage-based messaging. Although the company built a strong reputation as a marriage-minded site, that motif becomes increasingly less relevant in the modern world. The company will now showcase that it's a relationship-oriented site without focusing on marriage specifically.

eHarmony launched an audience segmentation project late in 2014 to delve deeper into audience insights. The goal was to find better ways to target individuals using messages carefully tailored to their needs, interests and lifestyles. eHarmony drew on data from its 2.6 million Australian members and analyzed more than 70 million data points – the largest bespoke audience segmentation project in the company's eight-year history in Australia.

Ten unique audiences were identified based on profitability, volume and opportunity. Tomkinson's team emphasized the top three, most commercially viable segments. As a result, customer subscriptions and engagement rates leapt by double digits, while eHarmony improved the cost of its registration-to-subscription rate by 53 percent.

After the success of these data-driven experiments, the next step is to boost data analytics capability in-house. “This provides the business the case to get these systems running internally for us,” Tomkinson told CMO. eHarmony is now taking steps to build its infrastructure. Tomkinson hopes the company can produce more data-driven initiatives internally by this time next year.

“This work has set up a good foundation for us that hopefully will work well internally in the future,” she says.

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