How Leaning into Data Helps OkCupid Differentiate Itself When Pitching

With the PRNEWS Media Relations Workshop coming up virtually December 7, we’re giving readers and soon-to-be attendees a chance to meet some speakers.

The event's theme is "Rebuilding Brand Reputation and Combatting Disinformation." It will cover the changing media landscape, maintaining journalist relationships and embracing emerging media, among other topics.

In this brief Q&A, Michael Kaye, global head of communications, OkCupid, previews his session about pitching in the shadow of substantial 24/7 news stories.

PRNEWS: Can you share a recent big news story that made your usual media plan difficult to execute?

Michael Kaye, Global Head of Communications, OkCupid

Michael Kaye: During the pandemic, Match Group supported the White House's effort to increase the amount of people getting vaccinated. At OkCupid, we released an “I’m Vaccinated” profile badge & stack, so daters could feel safe meeting in person.

It was incredible to see other dating apps, like BLK, Chispa, Hinge, Match, Plenty of Fish and Tinder, support this White House initiative.

It also meant we needed to find a way to stand out.

So, we leaned into data, which primarily comes from our in-app matching questions.

We saw that the phrase “I’m vaccinated” on OkCupid profiles increased more than 1,400%. And more than 7 in 10 daters said they will get the Covid-19 vaccine. Daters planning to get the vaccine, or who already got it, were receiving 15% more likes and 14% more matches. They also were having 4.5% more conversations.

By providing media with data we were able to get a feature story.

PRNEWS: What challenges are there when pitching around big stories?

Kaye: We’re in an extremely crowded market. There are now over 1,500 dating apps or websites. So, it’s a constant battle to break through.

Often, if there’s a dating trend the media is interested in, they want to hear from different apps. That’s why it’s important to unlock stories that [differentiate] your company.

An example of this was a story about the impact of climate change on online relationships. OkCupid’s in-app questions about climate change and the environment have been answered about 15 million times so far. 97% of OkCupid respondents believe climate change is real. 81% of 7 million people on OkCupid are concerned about climate change.

We leaned into this data and leveraged environmental activist Greta Thunberg’s popularity to create OkCupid’s first dating term, Thunberging. This is when two people match online over a shared belief in climate change and passion for the environment.

In less than three years, there’s been about 500 press stories around the world on this topic.

PRNEWS: How do you determine when to piggyback on a story?

Kaye: It depends on if we have a space in the conversation. Do we add value? Or will we take away from the people or organizations who should have a louder voice?

And if we choose to insert ourselves into the discussion, is there a way to lift up others?

For example, when we release features for LGBTQ+ daters we always partner with the Human Rights Campaign. We use our platforms to encourage donations to the organization.

For more from Kaye, register for the virtual PRNEWS Media Relations Workshop here.