Datingsite Lexa: 'Product innovation is the key to success'
Through his media strategy, managing director Stefan van den Berg guided Lexa to a record number of unique visitors. And thanks to the know-how of the American owners, he improved the effectiveness. "We really research and test everything." The Meetic head office is located on the Singel in Amsterdam, by employees invariably turned into Single
Through his media strategy, managing director Stefan van den Berg guided Lexa to a record number of unique visitors. And thanks to the know-how of the American owners, he improved the effectiveness. "We really research and test everything."
The Meetic head office is located on the Singel in Amsterdam, by employees invariably turned into Single. We move around the corner in Bistrot Neuf, Van den Berg's favorite lunch address when guests arrive at the Paris head office.
The Lexa acquired in 2006 is part of Meetic. The French dating empire that recorded 167 million euros in thirteen European countries last year, with six percent more paying members than the year before. "Our share of this has grown much faster in recent times, " says Van den Berg, who can not go into that for market and competitive reasons.
ComScore figures indeed show a significant increase to 466, 000 unique visitors; one hundred and forty thousand more than everlasting rival Relation planet. A combination of a better product and smarter marketing, says Van den Berg, who has been at the helm since 2007. "Lexa was not much more than a laptop in a small office. Meanwhile, we are fully focused on marketing and a piece of customer care with fifteen people. We spend roughly half of our income on that. "
The strong media focus means a difficult threshold for potential newcomers. Despite the fact that nearly a hundred new players appear and disappear every year, the top ten remains almost unchanged. "With the exception of Pepper, which as a part of the RTL group naturally has a privileged position in the field of media attention. We do benefit from the fresh way in which they position online dating. "Van den Berg and his team constantly look for opportunities for improvement. "From creative expressions, media emphasis to the most effective communication times, we research and test everything."
Previously, Lexa concentrated its above the line campaigns, just like the competition, on January and the summer months. The periods that the dating need traditionally peaks. Since July last year, Van den Berg has been expanding the budget for the entire year. "The peaks remained, but the valleys were less deep. We invested the extra income directly in new campaigns, especially conversion-focused radio lights. Previously we bought it only in the weekend, now we do TV every two weeks and then radio. "
And the online marketing strategy was also tightened. "Of course, the success stories of ambassadors on our Facebook page were already very important, but since last year we also advertise members who are single. We work closely with Facebook at European level. After all, they have an interest in making the ads as relevant as possible. Furthermore, we have shifted significantly from low eCPM to targeted campaigns in the display area. And retargeting based on previous site visits. That together produces very good results. "
In addition to continuous media emphasis, product innovation is, according to Van den Berg, the key to success. "Fortunately, Meetic is owned by the American market leader Match.com, which in turn is part of the media group InterActiveCorp", he gleams. "That also yields many valuable insights, for example in the field of search algorithms. In the United States, IAC subsidiary OKCupid is, for example, already doing very well. "Since searching the database of one and a half million members is rather laborious, Lexa introduced the 'Daily Six' last year. The daily list with six possible candidates based on interests, but also based on previous searches, matches and previous contacts. "Just as iTunes tips new music. We are the only ones in the Netherlands that do that. "
Mobile is also becoming increasingly important. In response to the worldwide success of location based gay dating app Grindr - with which members can quickly score a date in their immediate environment - InterActiveCorp introduced Tinder last year. Members log in with their Facebook account, and swip at will through an extensive range of profile pictures of members in the area. In the Netherlands, the media has been downloaded more than 330, 000 times by American media as pathologically addictive flirting-dating-hookup, especially by millennials. "In advance we took into account a possible cannibalistic effect, but to date there is no indication for this. Our 25+ target group sees it primarily as a nice addition. Our own app and mobile site meanwhile generate fifty percent of the total traffic. This is already 60% in the UK. "
Through a recent product broadening, Lexa also takes the dating back to the real world. "The US has thousands of dating events. And in France, Meetic is now the largest event organizer in the country ", says Van den Berg. "In the Netherlands we have now started organizing small-scale, regional events where our members are invited via the site. Now these are mainly drinks. In the future, it could also be cooking workshops or wine tastings. Ultimately an online date has to become as natural as a meeting in the pub or the supermarket. With the only difference that the chance that you meet someone with whom it really clicks is a lot higher. "
Photography: Vincent Boon (commissioned by Emerce)