why digital marketing is like online dating

Why Digital Marketing is like Online Dating and what we can learn from it

There, I said it. I tried online dating. For research, of course. If you run a consultancy focused on Digital Transformation and alike you obviously have to know what’s going on and where it’s going down. I’m doing this just for you.

So while I dug my way through the online dating world and saw things I might never be able to unsee, I realized something. Online Dating is a lot like digital marketing. How so you ask? Let me show you.

The Similarities of Online Dating and Digital Marketing

Quite often the expectations that were developed via online channels don’t always match reality once you see the actual person or product. Communication can work or is totally off. You like each other on the first click (interaction) or run away immediately.

Either you win, or you get left behind. This dating. This is digital marketing. Now seeing the similarities are there some takeaways we can get from this?

What Digital Marketing can learn from Online Dating

In order to actually learn something from online dating we decided to separate our learnings into two parts. Part one will highlight some of the mistakes that are often being made, part two will then focus on what should be done instead. Now let’s dive into part one!

The Prick

We all know that guy / girl / them from online dating. Super confident (for whatever reason), lacking the ability to be humble and thinks he/she/them know everything best. The prick goes from 0 to 100 and back (and forth) in no time. He thinks he’s the best thing since sliced bread and hence expects you to be always there for him whenever he pops up again. Do you let him / her / them treat you like that? Of course not. Bye, Felicia.

There are also lots of pricks in marketing (I know! Shock! Horror!). Lots of brands still think they are so awesome that the customer has to be happy they are in his/her/their life and a few ads here and there to remind them about how awesome the brand is is enough to retain them. They don’t realize they’re only one swipe away from being replaced.

Don’t be a prick! Put your match (customer) in the centre of things, give them the attention they deserve, don’t just appear whenever you feel like it or when you need attention. Aim for a real, long lasting connection to maximize the potential outcome of your interaction.

The Superhero

Wow such a great picture, ridiculously attractive, mid 20s, loves long walks on the beach, puppies, and working non for profit at the weekends. After you match with the greatest of all possible matches you start talking but never really get a deep conversation going. The superhero is alway busy jumping from topic A to topic B and so on as if he/she/them is afraid to be found out that those facts mentioned on the profile are all fake and don’t reflect who really is behind that profile. The superhero probably also always wears lots of brand clothing to hide insecurities. That’s also what the fake accent and overly exaggerated vocabulary are for.

The real person behind that fake persona might actually be quite nice – but you never know as it’s too hard to get through to that and you’re being put off by all the fake stuff thrown in your way 24/7.

When we look towards marketing that is exactly what most brands do all the time. Exaggerating to no extend. Instead of focusing on authentic connections brands try to impress all the time and don’t realize that, while impressing is nice once in a while, that’s not what keeps you at the dance.

The Yawwwwwn

“Did you get hurt? ‘Cause you must have fallen from heaven”. Sounds fun at first but after hearing that line for 207 times it’s just plain boring. The Yawn uses the same pick up lines over and over again, doesn’t change, isn’t creative, and basically refuses to innovate. If you’re desperate and think maybe what’s behind those lines is charming you even have to do all the work by yourself. Asking the yawn out, finding out where to go, what time to be there, etc. So. Much. Work.

This doesn’t only happen in the dating world but in marketing as well. You’re lucky to get a new customer / user / subscriber but after the initial interaction nothing else happens. The app remains unused, no email updates are coming, no follow up messages are being sent. Unsubscribe, uninstall, or simply being ignored is what follows.

Joe Goldberg (THAT guy from YOU)


Joe is super appreciative of you, eager to get to know you, and likes to talk to you. A lot. That seems charming at first, maybe he’s (sticking with he now as we picked Joe as example) just really nervous and makes up for that with talking. You meet but he still talks a lot. Even after you parted he ways he keeps texting, he follows you on IG and challenges you on TikTok. He even becomes friends with you friends, does their challenges and comments on their posts. And all of a sudden he’s all over your life and you can’t have a single quiet moment anymore.

If you do Re-Marketing / Re-Targeting. YOU are the STALKER. Don’t end up being too creepy!

The Ghost

I hate the word ghosting. It’s such a millennial thing to come up with. Simply ignoring messages and ghosting each other. Well done by us. Instead of facing trouble and arguments or discussing uncomfortable truth we simply hide and ignore the fact that there are unresolved issues to be dealt with. The Ghost enjoys that. The Ghost enjoys clicking with victims, make them trust him/her/them, goes on dates, and then, all of a sudden, disappears. Without any reasoning, leaving the previous match wondering what went wrong.

Sounds counter productive but even brands ghost at times. Brands push their marketing campaigns to ‘raise awareness’ (omfg), get lucky and actually find an interested audience but then totally ghost them as they’re not following up on the initial interaction until the users/potential customers feel lost and ignored and wonder what they might have done wrong to be all abandoned.

How to actually be a great match

Alright we now understand how we shouldn’t act. What, however, makes us a great match? Well it’s all about knowing what you want, who you are, and who you want to find. Not everybody is going to like (sorry to break it to you), neither do you want to match with just anyone. You want to appeal to people who will appreciate you and what you have to offer.

Therefore you shouldn’t be starting with how awesome you are, but with figuring out who you actually want to reach. Define your target audience. In detail. Don’t just say ‘guys’ or ‘girls’. Nail that audience (no pun intended), take your time segmenting the audience and make sure to always leave the best possible impression to make sure you get asked for a follow up date.

Let’s look into how to actually do that though:

Looks aren’t everything, but first impressions matter

Not to sound to shallow here but the first impression is always important. Everybody judges others based on the first impression. Stereotypes are something we can’t just turn off. Being that in dating or in how we connect with a brand. If you don’t look appealing I might just swipe further and go with the competition and buy my product there.

In dating we would steer clear from profiles with creepy serial killer vibe pics (until you got a weird fetish, not judging though ofc), in online business we steer clear from, pardon me, crappy websites. In 2020 there’s no need to have crappy websites that look untrustworthy. If you struggle with your website or your marketing approach overall, give us a shoutout!

Don’t hit on everyone


As mentioned further above, you’re not going to be everybody’s favorite so don’t try to hit on just everyone that’ out there. We usually start with an idea of who we want to meet but then we make our target audience broader and broader just to get more ‘likes’ or matches. Those broad matches however don’t get us closer to what we actually want to find.

The same goes for digital marketing. Just because you are online and ‘everybody else’ is online too, doesn’t mean that everybody else wants to see you or would be a good fit for you. If you get random audiences to click on you, all you do is increasing traffic / or ad spending without increasing the conversion rate. That doesn’t help you with anything besides stroking your ego. Focus on the audience that is actually looking for you and try to connect with them, rather than looking for short flings with no happy ending at the end.

Keep it real!

DO NOT CATFISH! I can’t believe I have to say that. I never understand how people on dating sites just plain lie. Do they think we wouldn’t eventually find out about that? Of course everybody does and then, obviously, it’s going to be over.

If you catfish in digital marketing that’s just as bad of course. So if there are any hidden fees in your offers, tell the customer beforehand. Don’t just be ‘it’s free’ and then add a setup or sign up fee etc. This is not only unprofessional but will result in irreparable image damage.

Be awesome instead


If you’re being honest, you never only talk to just one match. You talk to several at the same time. You can’t be mad at that as you’re not in a committed relationship just yet.

The same goes for digital marketing of course. Nobody is committing to you after just seeing your ads and you can’t be mad at anyone for doing competitor research.

So you have to make sure to trust in your qualities and highlight those so that the cheaper / fancier competition fades in comparison. The more effort you put into being the best version of yourself, the better you will come across.

Test Test Test


Testing your messages is important! Will you start with your favorite TV Shows (GoT might make you look like a ‘nerd’) or will you list your love for martial arts (‘bad ass’ or ‘violent person’) first? Depending on what you go for, the results could be vastly different.

If you do this in dating, you should also do that in marketing. Test your messages, test your Calls To Action, test your colors, button sizes, platforms, visuals, brand voice, landing pages, and so on. Keep testing until you’re satisfied with the outcome.

Now that you read those lessons / tips, go ahead and try (and test) and let us know how it goes! 🙂

10 thoughts on “Why Digital Marketing is like Online Dating and what we can learn from it”

  1. Attawat Lerdsangsuwan

    All I want to say is just wow. This is so fun to read, easy to understand, and lots of knowledge. I strongly agree that digital marketing is really similar to online dating. This also remind me that there are still many kind of people out there that you have never met. Thank you for the excellent article.

  2. Thipjutha Trakpiboon

    This context is easy to understand.This is very useful to people who looking for the girlfriend and boyfriend. Moreover, to not only get the new soulmate but it created the new relationship to each other. Sometimes, you may find the true friend from online dating.

  3. This article was very informative, it makes me more understand about DIGITAL MARKETING.

  4. Noppachat Rom M.

    Firstly, after I read this article, it make me realize that online dating is quite similar to the digital marketing, Also, this article is suitable for who are finding the information about digital marketing and this context is easy for understanding by a writer compare digital marketing with online dating, which is many people understand or even who didn’t study in this field. Moreover, I agree that first impressions is really matter!

  5. After I read the article, It has given me a better understanding of digital marketing because the comparison between digital marketing and online dating plus more images in the article gives me a better visualization and understanding. I agree that we should be honest whether it’s dating apps or digital marketing. Moreover, this article is not boring and I enjoyed reading it.

  6. After I read the article, It has given me a better understanding of digital marketing because the comparison between digital marketing and online dating plus more images in the article gives me a better visualization and understanding. I agree that we should be honest whether it’s dating apps or digital marketing. Furthermore, this article is not boring and I enjoyed reading it.

  7. Thanks for the article! It makes me realize the similarities between these two. It’s true that people get to see an online shop pop up but decided to pass because it was not a match for you like finding people on dating apps, people always find the best thing. for themselves so be yourself that people will be interested in you.

  8. This is so fun to read! After reading this, I think online dating and digital marketing are incredibly similar. I love “the yawn” topic and I agree that since someone talking to you with the same old pick-up lines is boring, it’s also similar to digital marketing that if you always redo old things and do nothing fresh or creative, it would be hard to reach more customers.

  9. Nabhopp Chiravadhanookul

    THIS IS THE KIND OF CONTENT I NEVER KNEW I NEEDED. This article managed to make me laugh my butt off while still being informative. It was super duper funny, easy to follow along, and made a lot of interesting comparisons between digital marketing and online dating. There are so many similarities it made me reflect on how fast the world is changing. 10 years back we would have never been able to “ghost” on our date or hit on a bunch of people at the same time. These striking resemblances are clearly formed by the fact that everything is done online. One thing I totally agree with is honesty is the most important thing! Whether that be traditional dating, online dating, traditional marketing, or digital marketing.

  10. kliao-ngern 6407640587

    Firstly, after I examined this article, it make me realize that online dating is very comparative to the advanced showcasing, Moreover, this article is reasonable for who are finding the data approximately computerized showcasing and this setting is simple for understanding by a author compare computerized showcasing with online dating, which is numerous individuals get it or indeed who didn’t think about in this field. Additionally, I concur that to begin with impressions is truly

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