This might sound an obvious prediction coming from a dating photographer, but the fact is a shift is slowly happening, which I believe will grow exponentially in 2015, as people recognise the ease and value in telling their story through the use of images, and we see the dating sites playing catch up.
Just as marketers have seen a substantial shift in consumer behaviour over the last few years — the transition away from text, to the much more compelling medium of images — then so will dating sites.
Clients will no longer want their photos kept in small, restricted parts of their profile, they want to see their photos playing a key role in showcasing their personality, their story. I predict dating sites like the new 21 Pictures will be ones that grow and thrive in 2015, as daters recognise the value in using imagery to support their written profile. The beauty of 21 Pictures is that it doesn’t just rely on portrait photos, clients can use a whole array of imagery to help construct a profile — photos of their favourite Converse, a few books piled on their bedside table, a snapshot of their vinyl collection etc. Sites like this will enable members to tap into the power of images and help create an emotional reaction from potential dates.
2. Using social media sites
In the time it takes major dating sites to recognise the increased importance of using photos to help build up a client profile, daters will turn to social media sites such as Instagram, either creating a separate ‘dating’ Instagram account — one they are willing to share with random people they meet online – or share their own regular Instagram account to help tell the story of who they are. Instagram is already becoming a popular way for teenagers to connect with people they like/love, because they can visualise their life more easily through their photostream, and I see this spreading through the rest of the dating population as the year progresses.
3. Investing in dating profile help
It’s common knowledge that most people seriously dislike writing their dating profile, and will do anything they can to whizz through that bit, and get on to the important stuff of dating. However, getting this crucial bit wrong ends up wasting time further down the line, as they attract the wrong kind of person. It’s my experience that many people are willing to invest money but not time in online dating, so I believe clients are going to invest more money in getting help creating a winning dating profile. Anyone offering a good quality service like this is in for a good year.
4. Improving the matching process
People don’t have time, or rather would prefer not to spend their time, searching through tonnes of irrelevant profiles, so dating sites are focusing on improving how they match people up.
Dating sites which move slowly on this are at risk of losing members to other sites like eHarmony or, just as likely nowadays, offline matchmakers. It’s my experience that if clients are consistently being sent poor matches by their dating sites, they are more likely to consider making the move from online dating to matchmaking, thereby getting someone else to do the hard graft for them. It seems this is no longer the preserve of the wealthy, but more and more it’s something that people from across the spectrum are choosing to do.
5. Understanding the importance of niche sites
As we head into 2015, I think we’ll see niche sites becoming more and more popular. By niche sites I’m not just referring to black, gay, Christian etc., but rather sites that are more specifically niche and aimed at particular tribes. I think sites like Bristlr (which connects those with beards to those who want to stroke beards) will gain in popularity as people search out their tribes – people with shared values, beliefs and lifestyles. The key thing is people want to find their potential partner as quickly as possible. Any dating site which narrows down the choice for clients, whilst keeping it relevant, meaningful and real to them, will do well in 2015.
People are keen to find love as quickly as possible, and in 2015 they will be more willing than ever to invest money into making that happen. They are cash rich, time poor when it comes to finding love. Any dating business or individual that understands this, and helps its members to achieve it, is in a great position for 2015.
Saskia Nelson is the talent behind the award-winning Saturday Night’s Alright, the UK’s only dedicated dating photography business. She is passionate about helping the UK’s eclectic range of single people to shine online and ultimately find love. She and her photographers specialise in creating gorgeous photos for her clients to help them build awesome online dating profiles that help tell the story of who they really are. Recently awarded Best Dating Individual in the 2014 UK Dating Awards, Saskia also puts her extensive online dating experiences to good use by sharing her experiences and wisdom on her blog and across a broad range of dating related websites.