The Future Of Dating Is Video: How Do You Keep Singles Safe Online?
When it comes to affairs of the heart – at a time when physical contact is off-limits – it’s time to get creative. And that exactly what online dating platforms are doing: using video interaction as the ‘date’ itself.
While it’s clear that dating is innovative, exciting, and evolving at a rapid pace, how can dating site owners ensure they keep users safe?
Necessity Breeds Dating Invention
Video dating is nothing new. Well, in its current, interactive form it’s brand new, but use of video as a way of introducing yourself to potential dating partners took off in the 1980s and 90s. But back then, agencies were involved. And like recruiters, it was their job to vet, interview, and engineer love matches based on compatibility and common likes and dislikes.
However, fast forward 35 years, and the ways in which we interact have shifted significantly. And they just keep innovating. Services like eHarmony, Tinder, and Bumble, each offer their own unique approach to self-service matchmaking. And while social media platforms (Facebook Dating, anyone?) have been dipping their toes into the dating pool for a little while now, nothing groundbreaking has taken the sector by storm.
Most industry insiders saw the use of video as an ‘add-on’ to dating platforms but no-one was entirely sure how this would play out. And then, in March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Lockdowns ensued internationally. Suddenly video took on a whole new role.
Communication evolved in one major direction – online video calls and meetings. Replacing face-to-face with face-to-screen encounters in a time of social distancing represents a huge cultural shift, unimaginable back in 2019.
Whether we’re learning at home or working remotely, how we stay connected has changed significantly. Substituting in-person conversations with video meetings is now par for the course.
Despite the ensuing Zoom fatigue, being advised to stay at home has undoubtedly led to a spike in online dating. And with traditional dating venues no longer a COVID-safe option, video dating has organically risen to the forefront.
Why Video Dating?
While not every dating site or user is engaging with video dating yet, many are trying it out. But what are the benefits of video dating? If your online dating platform is not already providing that service, are your users missing out?
Compared with traditional online dating, video dating has some great benefits. The most obvious reason to choose video dating is that it enables participants to experience the social presence that’s lacking in written communication. As a result, it can feel much more real and authentic than just exchanging messages or swiping photos.
With a video date, users have that experience of getting to know someone more slowly, finding out if they’re a good match in terms of personality, sense of humour, and other qualities. This means if you don’t click with someone, you’re more likely to find out sooner. Particularly at a time when in-person meetings are restricted, this is a huge advantage in terms of making the leap to meeting in person.
But swapping a bar or restaurant for a video meeting carries a different set of risks for participants. And for online dating platforms, video dating poses tough new challenges for content moderation. Especially when it comes to livestream dating with an interactive audience.
Dating Live & In Public
Dating in front of a live audience is nothing new. In the 1980s, television dating shows like ‘Blind Date’ in the UK experienced huge popularity. Contestants performed in front of a live studio audience and put themselves at the mercy of the general public – and the tabloid press(!).
In the 2010s, the television dating game show-style format was revived – though it followed a wider trend for ‘reality TV’ with dating shows such as ‘Love Island’ emerging and growing in popularity. However, the legacies of these shows have been tainted by a small number of poorly-vetted contestants – some even had previous convictions for sex offences – suffering serious mental-health conditions as a result of their appearance on the show.
Despite these warning signs, it seems inevitable that the trend for dating-related entertainment has been adopted by interactive online technologies – livestream dating. Often described as ‘speed dating in a public forum’, the trend for watching and participating in live video dating seems a logical extension of platforms like Twitch and TikTok.
But sites like MeetMe, Skout, and Tagged aren’t just a way of making connections – they’re also an opportunity for daters to generate revenue. Some platforms even provide users with the functionality to purchase virtual gifts which have real monetary value.
Needless to say, these kinds of activities continue to raise questions about users’ authenticity: in terms of dating in pursuit of love. This is why, over the last decade, many industries have made a conscious move towards authenticity – in order to build better brand trust. The dating industry is no different, especially since – despite exponential growth – there are still major retention and engagement issues.
Video offers that sense of authenticity, particularly as we’re now so accustomed to communicating with trusted friends and family via live video.
Dating also has universal appeal, even to people already in committed relationships. There is an undeniable voyeuristic aspect to watching a dating show or watching live streamed daters. And of course there are inherent safety risks in that.
Like other interactive social technologies, the livestream dating trend carries its own intrinsic dangers in terms of mental health and user experience. And just like any other interactive social media, there are always going to be users who are there to make inappropriate comments and harass people.
That’s where content moderation comes into play.
So How Can Content Moderation Support Safer Dating?
One-to-one video dating and livestream dating is happening right now. Who knows where they will evolve?
Setting your brand apart in an already crowded dating industry is becoming more complicated in a time when social media technologies are rapidly evolving. How will you stay ahead of the curve and keep your users safe?
Of course, video moderation is not the only challenge you’re going to face. The associated unwanted user-generated content that goes with running an online dating platform includes:
- Romance scams
- online harassment
- image quality
- underaged users
- escort promotion.
After all, brand trust means a better user experience. And a better user experience increases user lifetime value – and revenue.
On average, 1 in 10 dating profiles created is fake. Scammers and inappropriate content hurt your platform’s reliability. Left unanswered, undesirable content undermines user trust and can take a heavy toll on your acquisition and retention.
– but it does mean taking a leap in terms of your overall digital transformation strategy, and adding AI and machine learning to your service.
With an all-in-one package from Besedo, you can get your content moderation in order across multiple areas. It’s built on over 20 years experience and now has manual video moderation capabilities.
This means you can now review play, pause, timestamp and volume control videos. More importantly you can delete videos which don’t meet your site’s standards for user-generated content. Take a look at our short video guide to discover more.
Make dating online safer. Find out more about working with us and request a demo today.
By Martin Wåhlstrand
Regional Sales Director – Americas