Due to the pandemic and greater tech adoption, Match Group believes singles are finally ready for one-on-one video chatting.
Perhaps paving the way for other Match-owned apps, Tinder is expected to add a video chat feature some time this year.
It’s one of “a bunch of product and marketing pivots to make sure we are helping our users navigate these crazy times,” according to Sharmistha Dubey, Match Group’s recently-appointed CEO.
Dubey addressed the timeliness of adding video to dating apps during Match Group’s first-quarter earnings call, on Wednesday.
The move was not without precedent, since Dubey said Match experimented with a one-to-one video feature back in 2011.
“We’ve made several attempts [to popularize video chat], but [they] never really got much adoption,” she said. “I do think this time, however -- as people are being forced to use it -- they’re seeing the benefits, and are likely to continue using it even after all this is over.”
During the first quarter, Match said it saw a spike in overall activity, along with a decline in consumers’ willingness to pay for its services.
Thus, while total revenue was up 17% over the past year (to $544.6 million), it still failed to meet analysts’ expectations.
“We had a great start to the year … and then, of course, COVID happened,” Dubey said on Wednesday.
The result was what Dubey called “softness in new sign-ups, and propensity to pay [for services].”
For some users, the pandemic has contributed to a sense that dating isn’t a priority at this point in their lives.
As much of the world continues to shelter in place, the health crisis has also cut into word-of-mount marketing, which Dubey said is essential for many of Match’s properties.
Overall, Dubey said that Match has also reduced its marketing spend.
“We wanted to make sure that channels that no longer made sense [where ones that] we pulled out of,” she said.
Demographically, older users have become less likely to sign up for Match’s services, according to Dubey. As such, subscriber slowdowns were most pronounced on platforms like OurTime.com, Meetic.com, and Match.com.
By contrast, Tinder added 1.3 million subscribers during the quarter, which represented 28% growth -- and grew direct revenue by 31% -- year-over-year.
Overall, “Engagement is up, especially among young [users], and especially among women,” Dubey said.
Going forward, the increase in women signing up for services bodes especially well for Match, she said.
As of April, all of Match’s brands experienced at least some year-over-year growth in sign-ups.
Looking back, Dubey said that most of the company’s metrics were not impacted by the health crisis until around mid-March.
By and large, she also said that the company’s roughly 1,700 employees successfully transitioned to remote work environments.
“The teams have managed to maintain their connectivity and productivity,” Dubey said.