Online dating service eHarmony has proved that using data-driven insight to increase your adspend during the Covid-19 pandemic can bring benefits, with the company witnessing a 60% surge in registrations following a quick turnaround TV campaign triggered by falling numbers.
The company had found out to its cost that love was definitely not in the air when Britain went into lockdown in March this year. With social distancing and restricted travel measures in place, online traffic plummeted 25% and while sign-ups and app usage also fell.
However, it immediately carried out an indepth study and discovered that one in five singles (22%) were planning a virtual date over the following weeks. while nearly three-fifths (57%) agreed that the current landscape would see a virtual dating boom, and a quarter (25%) predicted video dating would become the ‘new normal’ going forward.
Armed with this insight, eHarmony’s media planning and buying agency The Specialist Works went after Channel 4, ITV, Sky, ViacomCBS Networks International and independent sales houses to try to secure the best TV deals.
Within weeks, eHarmony had built and launched a new Video Date feature and partnered with The Specialist Works to develop an new media strategy for April.
Using The Specialist Works’ live data monitoring, eHarmony could see real-time performance results and consequently increased TV budget for the rest of April and May.
This success inspired eHarmony to launch a new TV creative, devised in-house in partnership with production agency 27KM. The creative strategy was centralised, with local execution (local scripts, post-production, VO, clearance), while the media strategy was once again handled by The Specialist Works and the eHarmony team.
The results have given the brand plenty of “afterglow”; registrations went up 62% YoY in the first three weeks of April, back to the level of growth seen in January and February which is typically peak season, and messages on the app increasing by just over half (51%) in the last three weeks.
eHarmony vice president of marketing Romain Bertrand said: “While the pandemic has undoubtedly brought businesses unforeseen challenges, for many online brands it’s also provided the opportunity to connect with new audiences and build market share.
“These brands, including eHarmony, have been able to leverage favourable market conditions with consumers across the board who are spending much more time online.
“In our case, we decided to keep investing in brand/marketing and product, both with the view to protect our short-term revenues, and lay the foundation for continued success once the downturn ends.
“Our experience has shown it is possible to build transformative products and launch new marketing initiatives very quickly at scale – if we’re working from strong consumer insight.”
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