10 Things We Learned At The GDI Amsterdam Conference

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Last Thursday, GDI held its second dating conference in Amsterdam. It was a fantastic day in the heart of the Dutch capital, with talks from some of the biggest names in online dating & debates about the most important issues in the industry.

Below, we have rounded up a selection of some of the best insights, news and announcements from the GDI dating conference.

1. Zoosk Is Releasing Two New Apps This Summer

In the first talk of the day, Kelly Steckelberg, the CEO of one of the world’s largest dating sites, Zoosk, exclusively revealed that the San Francisco-based company was releasing two new apps this summer. The first is Cinch, a mobile app that puts a time limit on conversations. After a set time, a conversation between two matches will close, and they will be asked whether to “End Chat” or “Propose Date”. The other, called Lively, creates moving “story” profiles using photos and videos from your Facebook, Instagram & camera roll.

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2. Once Tripled Revenue With Virtual Currency

During Once CMO Eva Peris’ excellent talk, she revealed that after the French dating app switched its monetisation strategy from a subscription to a virtual currency model, the company tripled its revenue. The startup’s CMO said this type of monetisation was much more suited to its “one match a day” service. In the presentation, based around 10 lessons learned from building a mobile dating success, Peris also said the startup hit 1.2m users after just six months, with the active user count reaching 600,000.

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3. The Benefits Of AdEspresso

The founder & CEO of M14 Industries and Bristlr, John Kershaw, said using the online Facebook tool AdEspresso was an absolute no-brainer for optimising your ads to help push revenue and engagement.

4. Agile Wings Announced Acquisition Of LoveSystems

The second exclusive announcement of the day, the European tech incubator & investment firm Agile Wings revealed it had just acquired US dating coach business LoveSystems. This is the second big dating acquisition by the tech firm in the past six months, after buying white label leader Dating Factory last year. Announced by CMO Sam Van Campenhout, the Agile Wings exec then handed over to new LoveSystems CEO Derek Cajun, who spoke about whether date coaching and lifestyle products can work together with online dating services.

5. The Potential Pitfalls of Mobile Payments

In a fascinating talk, Venntro CEO & co-founder Ross Williams spoke about building an $80m a year online dating empire and almost losing it all in 7 days. This moment of near disaster came after the company was first blacklisted on SpamHaus, then dropped by its payment company Worldpay and having to find a new payment provider within 60 days. Describing the world of payments as an “absolute minefield”, the CEO revealed the company now employs over 12 payment providers, and said the story served as a reminder to dating companies that, in the words of JFK, “the time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining”.

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6. Paktor CEO Says Choose Your New Markets Wisely

One of the highlights of the day, Paktor CEO Joseph Phua’s talk on building the Southeast Asian mobile sensation was full of brilliant takeaways, whether advice about managing a fast-growing dating brand or tips on expanding into new markets. One top tip was the importance of looking at user density in key cities and markets when looking at expansion options. As Phua said, taking socioeconomic factors into account is absolutely vital, and think about focusing on the second & third tier cities in a country, where there are huge possibilities, rather than just focusing on the capital cities like everyone else.

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7. Today’s Tinder Users Could Be Yours Tomorrow

When looking at the impact of the casual boom in online dating, and how it affects premium and “serious” dating services, EliteSingles CEO Jeronimo Folgueira said this increase and “competition” can be a plus for the entire sector, because it has created so many new consumers. For EliteSingles as a premium company, he said Tinder users in 10 years time will be great customers for EliteSingles, as people search for alternative dating brands as they become more savvy and experienced.

8. The Importance Of Push Notifications

Sharing five mistakes that helped build their dating brand, The Inner Circle CEO David Vermeulen spoke about the huge success the exclusive dating platform has had using, testing and tracking push notifications. In addition to trying various different notifications to increase engagement, Vermeulen also said it was absolutely vital to track which notifications were opened and what actions they led to.

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9. Zoosk Isn’t Looking For A Buyout

Zoosk CEO Kelly Steckelberg said that the dating giant Zoosk is completely focused on building a great business and portfolio of excellent products, and is not simply waiting for “the white knight” of Match.com to come and rescue them with an acquisition.

10. Social & Dating Are Coming Together

In the final talk of the day, if(we) founder & CEO and former Badoo exec Dash Gopinath said he believed the world of online dating and social was increasingly colliding together, and in the future we would see a merging of the two. The Silicon Valley founder said we are already seeing this in Asia with massively popular apps like WeChat, where dating and social all form part of the same platform. Gopinath also said he believed the biggest dating site in the world was Facebook.

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In the next few weeks we will be announcing details about our next conference, so keep and eye on our Twitter & the GDI site, and sign up to our newsletter below: