Before we do anything else, take a look at this recent contest/win:


TFTB 11-20-2013
So three things jump out at me when looking at these ads:


  1. The winning ad focuses on benefits while the losing ad hypes features
  2. Claims of compatibility matching almost always lose in these ads
  3. Claims of “Meet Affluent Singles” always lose.


The first element really shouldn’t surprise anyone with more than like an hour of training in copywriting: benefits are more powerful than features. Do people want “compatibility matching” or do they want to “meet someone special”?


But the second and third elements are bit more interesting, psychologically. Why aren’t singles signing up for dating sites interested in compatibility matching?


The short answer is that online dating can be a bit scary and what prospects ultimately want is the reassurance of control. Matchmaking seems like it would require them to give up control, so it’s avoided. Instead, what people seem to want (based on ad contest results) is access to a pool of eligible dates, from which they can choose to initiate contact.


Then there’s “Meet Affluent Singles.” Apparently the dating sites think this should be a strong pitch. Fortunately, most people are not so shallow as to want to openly admit to being gold diggers. And that’s the position this ad is putting them in with its use of the term “affluent singles”


So even though the dating sites think people should want compatibility matching, they really don’t. At least not unless they think that such matching is nothing but an added data point for use by their own selection process. Similarly, while affluence might, in reality, be a real plus, very few people want to admit to it as a deciding factor in choosing a date.


In other words, take a tip from the boosters: make your ad copy about what the customer actually wants, instead of what you think they ought to want. And the best way to find out what they actually want, is through PPC ad testing.