Online Dating Companies Spending Serious Cash on Marketing

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With all of the recent studies regarding the growing popularity and effectiveness of online dating (more than one in five married couples have met online), online dating sites are spending more money than ever to attract new users.

Among the top spenders are two of the most well-known sites: and eHarmony. In just the first five months of 2014, online dating sites have already matched the total category spending on national TV ads in 2013, according to data from research firm iSpot.

TV ads aren’t cheap, even though ratings have drastically dwindled the past few years thanks to on-demand services like Netflix and streaming video on YouTube. Still, spent over $71 million so far this year on TV ads, mostly to air during shows like Real Housewives on Bravo, and to capture more of the male population, ESPN and Comedy Central. eHarmony’s spending hasn’t been too shabby either. Through the end of May, they have spent over $59 million for ads aired on TNT, CNN, and TBS on shows like Anderson Cooper 360 and NBA Basketball games.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, of the online dating market’s 14 brands, the top five dating sites account for nearly 95% of the $214 million spent on ads so far in 2014. In comparison, dating sites spent $241 million on national TV ad placements for all of last year. TV ad spending for the industry last year was also heavier in the August-December period than in the first part of the year.

Unless you scroll through all the commercials on your DVR, you’ve probably seen at least one of’s 14 TV ads this year. They have created many different campaigns to attract users, and earlier this year, hired Perez Hilton and Patti Stanger to host a conference discussing the results of their “Singles in America” study about what singles are looking for today. The company spent $19 million on one 15-second spot called “Why not?” which featured female members, but their most popular has been its “Nikki and Joey; Kindergarten” spot, which starred a shy kindergarten teacher looking to get back into the dating world. That spot has aired more than 2,000 times since its Feb. 5th debut, and generated more than 40,000 online views and nearly 500 tweets, likes and shares.

eHarmony on the other hand, spent $18 million on one ad to share with audiences how many marriages have occurred through members who met over eHarmony (higher than any other dating site). But their most popular ad digitally was a spot that included the founder’s granddaughter, sharing how she advised her teacher to find “hot babes” on eHarmony instead of other dating sites. It had 6,000 online views and more than 1,200 social actions.