Telltale Hearts

heart_cam The news about big business marketing is never very surprising, given the rigid logic driving it.

Internet dating sites? Yep, like everything else on the internet that’s owned by corporate capitalists, they are designed, first and foremost, to be marketing data scrapers. The “matching” of prospective couples is merely a trick to get naive users to spill their guts into the marketing machine.

The latest Advertising Age has a story on OKCupid, a property started by those world-renowned flaming romantics, Harvard mathematicians. Recently purchased by the IAC conglomerate, here is what OKCupid does:

For brands, OKCupid utilizes its data in two ways. Not surprisingly, one is for ad targeting. Some marketers just want to target based on age, gender and ZIP code, for example. Mr. Yagan called that “super easy.” But, for others, OKCupid layers on psychographic targeting to reach daters of a certain lifestyle or value system.

“The average OKCupid user answers 233 ‘match questions,'” OKCupid CEO Mr. Yagan said, “so we can look at them across a number of axes and by seeing how they answered lifestyle questions, we can determine, for example, how adventurous they are.” Mr. Yagan, who now oversees ad sales for all IAC personals properties, said he is beginning to roll out this kind of targeting to other company sites. The challenge, Mr. Yagan said, is that there aren’t unified definitions around the web to bucket users into different psychographic categories.

OKCupid also mines its data sets to conduct market research for brands, such as big-box retailers. By examining the way women in certain target ZIP codes describe themselves on their profiles and answer questions on the site, Mr. Yagan believes brands can uncover findings that can help them market better to current and prospective customers alike.

Arranging dates? In the words of Ad Age, that function comes “lastly” at OKCupid.

These days, celebrants of St. Valentine get tricked into throwing themselves to the lions.

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