As Badoo continues to grow, we are starting to see 5 fundamental changes in how guys and girls across the world are meeting, both online in the digital world and offline in the real world. We would like to share our learnings with you …
1) Location Based not Interest Based
The first major change we see is how our users are interacting based on their location, not their interests. Due to our location based technology, we show our users who is around and nearby, the option to increase or decrease the distance they are to people and more importantly who is online now. The result of these combining factors is more and more guys and girls are chatting, flirting and engaging online, then meeting up face to face in the real world. One of the main reasons driving this online to offline conversion is simply ease and accessibility, if someone is physically located near you, they are far more willing to take the time to meet due to its convenience.
This is very different to the traditional process of completing a profile, listing your interests, adding your favourite films, movies & music and then interacting with people because you share similar interests. We are seeing a big social change towards people's attitudes, they are now more willing to meet up for a coffee, drink, dinner and get to know someone, rather than trying to get to know them by reading through everything they are interested in and forming a preconceived opinion.
2) Casual not Serious
Guys and girls around the world, of all cultures, ages and beliefs are now meeting up with each other physically on a more casual basis having spent the last few hours, days or weeks chatting, flirting and sharing stories online. Social Networking appears to have broken down traditional barriers and help people accept the idea of casually meeting up with no set expectations, long term ambitions or outcome in mind.
Based on our user demographics and behaviour, this new concept of a casual approach to meeting someone online or offline has been adopted by "Generation Y" to a higher degree than other social groups. Guys and girls in their 20's and early 30's are meeting up more frequently with each other expecting a casual friendship or acquaintance, not a life partner, husband or wife. People are meeting on sites like Badoo.com as opposed to Facebook and other social networks because Badoo is a platform to create new friendships and relationships as opposed to managing existing and defined ones. Additionally, people looking for a serious relationship are more inclined to use traditional dating sites like Match.com, eHarmony, PlentyOfFish.com etc…
3) Winners not Losers
The social stigma of meeting people online is for losers, people who are shy, unattractive or boring is changing and changing fast. Culturally around the world, guys and girls are accepting the fact the internet is now an effective platform for meeting new people, somewhere you can chat, flirt and share your stories with strangers who can quickly turn into friends.
Social networks like Badoo.com are enabling guys and girls to meet lots of people in a relatively short period of time, based on their location. This has helped change perceptions from meeting people online is for losers to meeting people online is for winners. Data from a recent survey we conducted shows the average user has 8 online chats per month and meets up with 4 people offline in the real world. The ability to meet people quickly, consistently, near you and in relatively large numbers is now a reality, those who are doing so are seen as Winners, able to attract lots of guys or girls, not a loser who needs to use a website to make friends.
4) Fast not Slow
People are meeting each other across the world after shorter and shorter initial periods of interaction. Further data from a recent survey we conducted highlights a key trend by Badoo users towards chatting online during the day and meeting up in the evening or after only a few hours conversation. The ease and accessibility afforded by our location based service is resulting in faster, quicker face to face meetings as opposed to the traditionally longer periods of interaction.
If we look back to say 4 or 5 years ago, classifieds sites like the Gumtree and Craigslist had lots of posts from guys and girls looking to meet up, attend a party, find a gym buddy etc.. All of the interaction between people was email based and traditionally would take days to generate a series of email responses arranging a time, place, location to meet up. Users also had the opportunity to use chat rooms or message boards, however these too relied mainly on interaction and communication via email, messenger or maybe phone.
Badoo has fundamentally disrupted these user behaviours by providing a location based service where guys & girls can see who is online, near them and what they look like via photos on their profile, a messenger chat service to instantly communicate with people and most importantly of all the ability to connect cross platform using our website, desktop application, iPhone App, Android App & Facebook App.
5) Cross Platform not Web Based
Further to the previous point on how people were communicating 4 or 5 years ago, guys and girls now have the opportunity to meet new people and interact at home, work, on the beach, in the car, at the gym, on the move or in front of a computer. Before the advent of mobile phones, iPhone Apps and Facebook Apps, people were mainly using websites and email to chat, flirt, joke and tell stories. All of this has now changed, a typical Badoo user in Europe for example, can now check their iPhone first thing in the morning to see if they have any new messages, then log in to our website at work, activate the Badoo desktop App and leave it running in the background, check their Facebook account at lunchtime to see if they are interested in any new people, chat to a guy or girl on their iPhone again on the way home etc.. a cross platform user experience.
Web only based communication platforms will surely start to decline over the next few years in the more mature markets like North America, Europe and parts of Asia. Guys & Girls now have so many free networks of engaged users to choose from offering Web, Mobile and Application services that it is hard to imagine people only meeting via a website. Generation Y are young, connected, always on and mobile, looking for a platform they can use at any time during the day or night, regardless of their location.