Looking for that special someone? We've been chatting to online dating giant Lovestruck about how the world of mobile has helped match up more couples than ever before...
Looking for love this Valentine’s Day? Chances are you’ll be turning to internet dating via one of a myriad mobile apps. What was once an obscure last resort has become a multi-million-pound industry in the UK, with mobile apps leading a new charge of romantic hopefuls – and that’s great news for singletons everywhere.
But what’s the science of app dating? And how can you make sure your next date’s a roaring success? We’ve been speaking to London-based Lovestruck – recently crowned Online Dating Brand of the Year at the UK Dating Awards – to find out…
The rise and rise of mobile dating
“Over the years we’ve watched countless dating sites come and go,” says Lovestruck’s co-founder Laurence Holloway. “Some are weird and wonderful and lately we’ve seen a huge rise in popularity for faster moving but more ‘shallow’ dating apps. But we’re a romantic bunch here at Lovestruck, and we’ve never been tempted to stray away from our main mission – matching members with the most compatible partner possible.”
So how does Lovestruck go about doing that? In a variety of ways, depending on how you prefer to date:
“We enable members to arrange dates with singles that work or live nearby, which is great if you want to grab a quick coffee rather than be locked into a three course dinner date. We also offer smarter matching via our behavioural recommendation engine which suggests matches based not just on what you say you like in a partner but on how you and thousands of other people similar to you really get on with each other, based on the real data.
“Our profile verification service offers a greater level of trust by allowing everyone to share their social identity information with us and display a badge of authenticity on their profiles, while our regular Laissez-Faire parties for members and friends are the best mixer parties in town. And the fact that we recently scooped Online Dating Brand of the Year indicates that we’re successfully delivering a high quality and enjoyable experience for single people in the mobile age.”
Lovestruck is one of a now huge number of online dating apps, but the online dating scene hasn’t always been so mainstream. The thing is: they really work, and the way we think about online dating as a whole has changed as a result…
“There was a definite stigma attached to online dating for many years,” says Laurence. “But now dating online is pretty much the norm. Why? Because people are busier than ever and the technology is now in their pocket, and permanently online. Sure you might see people across a crowded bar that you find attractive, but you may not always have the confidence to approach them. Online dating enables you to discover and interact with other single people with the convenience and privacy that a smartphone brings, and then get to know them (or filter them out) before you meet up.
“The move to mobile has made fundamental and permanent changes to online dating,” he adds. “Yes, everything in modern dating is quicker and arguably more fleeting, but it’s also more personal, streamlined and convenient. And people can’t deny the success rates – thousands and thousands of happy couples, marriages and babies, all born out of connecting online.”
Laurence isn’t wrong. In 2013 a big Pew Research survey found that 5% of married or romantically committed Americans met their partners online (that’s around 16 million people!), while here in the UK, Match.com reports that one in five relationships now start online.
“The move to mobile has made fundamental and
permanent changes to online dating.”
That’s on top of a study commissioned by eHarmony in 2014, which claimed that half of new couples in the UK will meet online by the year 2031. And Lovestruck has already had more than its share of successes in its nine year history:
“We can’t accurately track success stats per se, but we’re incredibly lucky that many of our members think to contact us to tell us they have either got engaged, married or have just had a baby,” says Laurence. “Over the years there’ve been so many wonderful stories, moments and wedding photos shared with us.”
How to maximise your chances
Excited to find the love of your life online? You may want some top tips first; while the stats and insight above are pretty promising, there’s nothing to say that that your online dating experience will be smooth sailing from the off. As Laurence tells us, anyone wanting to get on board should be ready to exercise a good dose of persistence…
“Be prepared to put in the time and effort,” he says. “You might strike it lucky and find love with the first person you meet, as some of our members have, but you it’s more likely that you won’t. We often hear people say they don’t have time to date much because they’re busy with work or hobbies, but meeting that special person is worth the investment of effort. Stay positive, keep an open mind and give it time. The more you date, the more likely it is you’re edging closer to meeting someone who has that special thing you’re looking for.”
Luckily, Laurence was also more than happy to share some insider info on the kinds of profiles that get the most dates, too:
“Great photos are a must, as this is what people see first. We advise nothing too posed – no duck-face selfies! Keep it natural and smile with your eyes. Any photos that show the best, most interesting version of you also get a great response – from rock climbing, to playing music, to volunteering.
“People are drawn to a hint
of vulnerability and honesty.”
“A recent study found people are drawn to a hint of vulnerability and honesty, too. ‘I’ve not done this before but here goes…’ is a good kind of opener, in that respect. Don’t brag about material things like flash cars and holidays, either.
“Instead, state what you’d like to experience, and crucially, share with another person. Our advice is to keep your bio to two short paragraphs, or it’ll sound like an essay. Oh, and avoid politics until the second date at least!”
Are you a Valentine’s Day lover or hater? We’ve got your covered. Stay tuned all this week for the best things to do, download and stream this weekend – no matter what your romantic situation.
By Adam Bunker