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Comparing dating sites through media analysis

by | Feb 12, 2016 | Analysis, Entertainment, Media Monitoring, Technology

Do you believe in modern romance?

According to statisticbrain.com, there are more than 54,250,000 singles in the United States—and 91 per cent of them have tried online dating.

Lucky for them, the stigma associated with online dating continues to decrease year after year. Since 2005 negative perceptions of online dating have decreased by 8 per cent, and positive perceptions of the Internet as a means to meet new people has increased by 15 per cent, according to the Pew Research Center.

Consequently, “5% of Americans who are in a marriage or committed relationship say they met their significant other online.” Many Americans are already down with digital dating, and there are many digitally-ignited relationships forming every day.

But with so many different online matchmaking services available (and even more being developed each year), how can a lonely heart possibly know where to start? Is one website or application better than the others?

We don’t want anyone to be lonely.

Looking to find out which online dating site was the most popular in the month of January, MediaMiser used its media monitoring software to analyze Twitter sentiment and online news mentions for five of the top online matchmatching services: OKCupid, Match.com, Tinder, PlentyOfFish (POF) and eHarmony.

Which site saw the most love? Read the results below.

Twitter sentiment: how do people really feel?
dating websites

MediaMiser analyzed nearly 30,000 tweets between January 1 and January 31 to see which online matchmaking service users spoke about most favourably. Positive mentions include success stories, positive experiences or positive brand mentions. Negative mentions are characterized by terrible dates, negative experiences, or negative brand mentions. All tweets were toned by an analyst and sarcasm was taken into account accordingly.

trophy-02Whereas eHarmony had the most positive brand mentions and associations, particularly with users finding or having found their significant other on the platform:

Common issues presented for all five online matchmaking platforms included:

  • Matches being discriminatory or demeaning once conversation was initiated; and
  • The quality of matches were sub-par to the user’s standards.

Word association: It’s not about playing games…or is it?

dating website, wordcloud, word cloud, dating, online dating, tinder, eharmony

Taking a look at the top words associated with each brand is telling of public opinion towards the website or application, or large events that influenced this public opinion.

Most notable are the common words found in tweets mentioning OKCupid and Tinder.

  • On January 9, 2016, OKCupid announced it was releasing a new feature allowing users to identify themselves as polyamorous, and link their profile to that of their partners. Most words found in tweets throughout the month of January reflected this news.
  • Tinder, though marketing itself as an online dating application, appears to be perceived as a sex-driven app according to Twitter. This is confirmed by the presence of words like “hookup” and “sex.”
  • Match.com contains mostly positive words associated with the brand like “love,” and “better.” Whereas POF and eHarmony contain more mentions of the word “single” in the context of still being single, or being single and willing to try either platform.

trophy-02In terms of word associations mentioned in tweets, Match.com appears the most popular in terms of positivity compared to Tinder, POF and eHarmony.

Online news sentiment: what are people being told?dating websites

MediaMiser monitored more than 4,000 articles between January 1 and January 31 to see which brand was being spoken about most favourably in the news.

eHarmony accumulated the most negative coverage throughout the study period due to ongoing articles written about a woman being raped at gunpoint by a man she met on eHarmony. Positive coverage was gained when On Dating Hub mentioned eHarmony as one of the Best UK Dating Sites of 2015.

Tinder received the most positive coverage due to its decision to integrate a STI Clinic locator into its application (in September 2015, the AIDS HealthCare Foundation publicly associated both Tinder and Grindr with the higher rates of sexually transmitted infections). Mentions of stories like fake profiles on Tinder leading to armed robbery and women being scammed by their Tinder dates fuelled negative coverage for the brand.

Both Tinder and OKCupid collected neutral coverage when online news sources started reporting on the best times to use these applications. According to the research, it’s 9 pm for Tinder and 10 pm for OKCupid.

The majority of OKCupid’s coverage was associated with the announcement of new features for polyamorous couples.

Match.com’s coverage remained mostly neutral, but negative coverage came from a story of a man being charged with sexual assault of a woman he met through the online dating website.

trophy-02In terms of online news coverage, Tinder appears to be the most popular in terms of positivity compared to OKCupid, POF and eHarmony.

When the honeymoon is over

From our Twitter and online news analysis, it’s evident that there is no clear winner in terms of which online matchmaking service was most popular in January. Each service has its own benefits and flaws, and experiences vary from user to user.

When it comes to online dating, most people are looking to find love—but everyone’s looking for something different. This is reflected in MediaMiser’s analysis of OKCupid, Tinder, Match.com, POF and eHarmony.

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Sara Chisholm

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