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How became UK leader for online dating

How became UK leader for online dating

By Melinda Varley.

Dating site is launching a new television campaign this week (August 18, 2008), which will, for the first time, target men. The campaign carries the strapline “Too many women” a huge step on from its Cupid and Fate campaign last year that saw the site become the UK’s most popular online dating site. Can the brand continue its matchmaking winning streak?

Katie Sheppard, head of relationships at said that the sites proposition in the market is very simple, “People come to to find love. Our site is for people who are serious about relationships.”

While the proposition seems an easy one to translate, when it comes to finding love, people have only just begin to shake to taboos of online dating in the past couple of years.  

“Everything we do is about making love happen,” explains Sheppard. “We believe there is somebody out there for everyone and if you are up and open to meeting someone, you will find them on our site.”  

2008 is a pivotal year for the online dating category. Internet dating is certainly getting more popular by the day as more and more people decide not to wait for romantic notions such as Cupid and Fate and make love happen for themselves.

Latest research shows that more than one in three singles would use the internet to help them find love and we expect that to dramatically increase this year as the internet becomes an increasingly acceptable way to meet a partner.

At alone, there are approximately 160,000 people joining the UK site every month thanks to the success of its ‘Don’t Wait for Cupid and Fate’ campaign (2007), which has been the most successful campaign the site has run to date.

She said: “The campaign runs across online and offline and is focussed on urging singles to find love for themselves by joining our site instead of waiting for destiny. We wanted to show that online dating really works by highlighting its successes, tempt new people to the category with a strong call to action and challenge the British character which is not always naturally  predisposed to the openness and “self-marketing” that online dating requires.” said that the campaign delivered seven of its 10 busiest days ever and has dramatically increased its brand awareness, which according to’s latest brand study, is double that of any of their competitors.
“The highlight for me personally though, came when we teamed up with Isle of Wight festival sponsors BT and took the Cupid and Fate characters to the Isle of Wight as roving reporters to bring festival goers the latest news, gossip and goings-on from across the site,” Sheppard said.

The brand presence is what sets it aside from its competitors, according to Sheppard.

“It has to be about scale,” she explains. “Dating is a numbers game, it’s all about getting out there and meeting people you wouldn’t normally meet and because is the world’s biggest online dating site, you won’t find more people looking for love anywhere else.”

The biggest challenge, however, faces is to continue tempting new people to dip their toes into the world of online dating. With more people than ever online dating, is definitely making progress, but there are two myths that the brand must work hard to dispel, including; online dating doesn’t work       
Sheppard said, “This is absolutely not the case. I personally receive emails and letters every day from people who have found love on our site and am inundated with wedding invitations. alone successfully matches hundreds of thousands of people around the globe every year and a recent report by which? discovered that three quarters of those who used online dating sites did so successfully.
We really believe in our service and have shown our customers just how confident we are that it works through our original and best “Make Love Happen Guarantee.” This is our promise to our customers that if they don’t find love in six months, we’ll give them six months free. We want our members to be successful which is why our site is packed with advice and we work with leading relationships experts like Kate Taylor.”
The other myth is trying to tackle is hat online dating is a last resort. The site has had to position online dating as the new natural way to meet someone. Today, meeting someone on an online dating site is as popular as meeting someone through work.

“We’ve encouraged singles to take control of their own dating destiny rather than waiting for Mr/Mrs right to be delivered to their door step through our “make love happen” mantra and the work we’ve done with Cupid and Fate who provide singles with a powerful alibi to visit our site,” Sheppard said.
The majority of revenue stream is through paid subscribers generated through multimedia marketing with TV and PPC. The dating brand also looks for sponsorship partners that have an existing audience that have an appetite for dating.  

Sheppard said, “We currently successfully power the dating for some of the largest portals and brands in the country including MSN, Yahoo, Vodafone and The Sun. The key to any successful partnership is whole site integration coupled with a mutual understanding of each other’s brand values and promises. Individual creative and marketing will need to be tailored to each partner.
“All of our partnerships perform differently, what works for one partner may not work for another, which is why creative and marketing is tailored individually and rigorous testing is carried out on all of our partner pages to ensure we maximise performance and drive the very best conversion.” has previously had a brand presence at Glastonbury, where last year it had 14,000 people kissing at the same time to break the world record for the ‘Biggest Ever Kiss’.

This summer it took its Cupid and Fate characters to the Isle of White Festival as part of its strategy to create opportunities for its customers to interact with the brand offline.
The marketing strategy differs from territory to territory, and being such a big international brand, hires the best local talent on the ground in all its major territories to ensure each its marketing campaigns are put together to be relevant to the different cultures and ways of life.

“A good example is that in one of the territories we operate, the blood group of a potential match is considered one of the most important attributes, clearly that’s not a key priority in this market,” Sheppard said.
In the short term, Sheppard said is planning to invest in a new tactical Summer TV advertising campaign to capitalise on its successful first half of the year.

The ‘Too Many Women’ campaign has been designed to promote the fact that has millions of “really hot women” on the site in a bid to attract more men to the category and help them find love in the six months leading up to Valentine’s Day. has a proven record of success. It has pioneered online dating since 1995 and has been successfully matchmaking ever since.  

Sheppard said, “Everything we do is about giving people the best possible chance of finding love, be it through investing in marketing to attract quality singles to the site or investing in state of the art match making tools on the site.”

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