OK Cupid

Case Study

Business Situation
In the early 2000s OkCupid reigned supreme as the dating app everyone was on. But as younger, fresher and more nimble competitors like Tinder and Bumble emerged, OKCupid was well on its way to becoming “the dating app I used to use”. Despite dating apps being a growing category, in 2017 OkCupid install rates were down 22% from the previous year. We needed to increase brand perception and awareness and reverse usage declines.

OkCupid had landed on a provocative campaign which got people to rethink the superficiality of most swiping dating apps, reducing them to the worst of all dating terms: Down. To. Fu&#. or D.T.F. Instead, using OKCupid’s unique profile questions, the campaign gave DTF new meaning and encouraged people to seek out the sexy in substantive topics like politics, arts, and culture. You could be DTFire up the Kiln or DTFight about the President.

In media, SwellShark realized that the task was to ensure this provocative campaign was placed where people would have enough dwell time to understand the nuanced message and see it frequently enough to be reminded to download the app and set up a profile.

Young women are the lifeblood of any dating app. The apps that women talk about and use are the ones that guys will come to naturally. With limited budgets and a need to drive very high reach and dwell time, SwellShark helped OKCupid select Portland, Austin, and New York City as cultural hubs with the opportunity to create impact with plugged-in women 18-24.

To achieve the required halo across paid, owned, and earned SwellShark focused on Out-of-Home media that would be large and have substantial dwell time, giving the audience a chance to really understand the DTF story. We identified Moments of Influence where the audience of young women would be receptive, engaged and likely to share the creative. Moments like “new in a city and wanting to meet people” guided us to choose placements in trendy, nightlife-focused neighborhoods while the moment “coming home from a bad date” landed us in-car in the subway in New York City, and “newly single” had us running in nail and hair salons. These OOH executions were paired with dayparted and audience-targeted social and digital executions.

We saw double-digit increases in new users across markets including a 22% increase in NYC. These increases raised revenue for OkCupid by 25%. There were double-digit increases in both aided and unaided awareness as well as brand perception. Finally, the campaign created a massive impact in terms of cultural conversation, receiving extensive coverage from major news outlets and groups like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, which has resulted in 1 billion earned media impressions and a 30% increase in the brand's audience across social media platforms.