Dating apps: Data shows an increase in Saturday installs, but bots cause problems

Dating apps -- and meeting people online -- has gone from a social taboo to the most normal thing in the world. But bots can infest apps, frustrating users and leaving them open to cybercrime.
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

Berlin, Germany-based SaaS platform Adjust has released its dating app marketing guide. The guide has benchmarks, spotlights on industry leaders, and has tips on how app developers can retain users by the use of gender targeting, and in-app video streaming.

Over 270 million adults worldwide used dating apps in 2020 and almost two in five (39%) of US adults reported meeting their partner online. However, a major risk to an app's reputation is the presence of bots on the platform which frustrate the users or exposes them to scams. Fake accounts are generated on a huge scale to engage users and spread spam, link to illicit or explicit sites, or lure people into scams or faker likes to boost specific profiles.

Adjust's report shows that dating app installs and sessions are at their highest on weekends -- Saturdays, in particular. App session length tends to spike early for dating apps, suggesting that users download the app, and quickly match with potential partners.

The buzz and excitement of the app start to drop off toward day 30. Additionally, the report shows that Europeans spend significantly more time in-app than North American or Asian consumers.

A bad romance data shows increase in Saturday installs although bots cause problems zdnetg
Sensor Towers

US dating app downloads have grown to reach a hew high in Q1 2020, despite COVID-19, according to Sensor Towers' State of Dating apps report, which also shows that younger users are turning to dating apps during the pandemic.

Although the average age for dating apps steadily declined in recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this trend in early 2020. The average user age among the top dating apps was around 27.2 years old during the first three quarters of 2020 before jumping back up to 28.2 in Q4. School closures and social distancing orders increased demand among a younger user base.

Unfortunately, dating apps are a hotspot for fake accounts that are trying to scam you. Adjust's Unbotify feature shows that bots can interact with up to 4,000 profiles within one session. In 2019, the FBI received over 467,000 cybercrime complaints that caused over $35 billion in losses. Approximately 19,473 of those were victims of confidence or romance scams.

So, how can dating app developers reduce the risk for their users? Well, apart from designing the app so that it does not use location-specific advice to track user movements, app developers could include a 'report' button so that users can point out when they have interacted with a bot so that it can be eliminated from the platform.

Developers can also use biometric indicators to differentiate bots from real human users and eliminate them from the platform. Users should get smarter about who they interact with and how much information they give away.

You never know, that fabulous potential new partner might be a bot designed to trick you out of your money and break your heart, too.

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