Unique Visitors Metric: Not Enough on Dating Sites?

Website popularity is often measured in terms of “unique visitors” but:

On dating sites, the unique visitors metric is not enough.

Why? Let’s compare three dating sites. All three get millions of unique visitors but only two of them made it into our Million Club.

Unique Visitors per Month

Today, we will compare web stats for:

To maintain an objective comparison, we will rely on third-party traffic data.

Compete triangulates multiple data sources, including ISP, Panel & Toolbar to estimate U.S. traffic. It is a free service that provides traffic information, including unique visitors per month. The charts and traffic data used throughout this article were provided by Compete.com but all comments scribbled on top are ours:

Unique Visitors for Plentyoffish, Match and WealthyMen

The following table shows the unique visitors for September, 2008:

Dating Site Unique Visitors
Source: Compete
Plentyoffish.com 2,962,299
Match.com 4,938,370
WealthyMen.com 2,647,693

Match got about 5 million unique visitors. Plentyoffish and WealthyMen had about 3 million and 2.6 million, respectively. All three sites get excellent traffic in terms of unique visitors.

Total Visits per Month

Let’s look at the total number of visits and see how it compares to the unique visitors:

Total Visits for Plentyoffish, Match and WealthyMen

The following table shows the visits per month for September, 2008. For reference, we included unique visitors. We also calculated visits/month divided by the unique visitors:

Dating Site Visits/Month Unique Visitors Visits/Visitors
Source: Compete
Plentyoffish.com 36,179,852 2,962,299 12.2
Match.com 28,337,925 4,938,370 5.7
WealthyMen.com 5,582,673 2,647,693 2.1

Note: Visits/visitors does not necessarily mean visits/person. To get visits/person, you need a MyCompete Pro account.

Match had more unique visitors but Plentyoffish visitors visited much more often.

According to these traffic estimates:

  • Plentyoffish visitors visited twice as often as Match visitors
  • Match visitors visited almost three times as often as WealthyMen visitors

Plentyoffish visitors seemed more loyal than Match visitors. WealthyMen seemed to have mostly casual visitors.

Average Stay per Visit in Minutes

How long did each visitor stay per visit? For a dating site, this is key:

Average stay is directly proportional to time spent viewing profiles and/or communicating.

Average Stay for Plentyoffish, Match and WealthyMen

This table shows the average stay per visit (in minutes) for September, 2008:

Dating Site Stay/Visit
Source: Compete
Plentyoffish.com 18:55
Match.com 13:55
WealthyMen.com 00:37

On average:

  • Plentyoffish visitors stayed 5 minutes longer per visit than Match visitors
  • Match visitors stayed over 13 minutes longer per visit than WealthyMen visitors

Wealthymen visitors only stayed for an average of 37 seconds. That’s less than 1 minute per visit!

Average Pages Viewed per Visit

How many pages did each visitor view? This is important because:

“On dating sites, pages viewed is directly proportional to profiles viewed.”

Average Pages Viewed for Plentyoffish, Match and WealthyMen

This table shows the average pages viewed per visit for September, 2008:

Dating Site Pages/Visit
Source: Compete
Plentyoffish.com 32.0
Match.com 22.2
WealthyMen.com 1.6

On average:

  • Plentyoffish visitors viewed about 10 more pages per visit than Match visitors
  • Match visitors viewed about 20 more pages per visit than WealthyMen visitors

Wealthymen visitors only viewed an average of 1.6 pages/visit! How many didn’t even log in?

Best Site or Better Odds?

Many dating review sites try to answer the question:

“What is the best dating site?”

We feel the question is moot. Here’s why:

  • different strokes for different folks
  • what works for some people may not work for others
  • the only person who can answer that question is you

We prefer this question:

“What dating site gives you better odds for finding a date?”

We like it because:

  • finding a date is more important than the dating site itself
  • user interface, design, and features are difficult to quantify and compare
  • web stats and demographics are easier to quantify and compare

So which site would give you the best odds for finding a date? It helps to think of them as night clubs.

Night Club Unique Visitor: How Often She Visits and How Long She Stays is Important, Too!

Club Poissons, Chez Match and Maison de la Richesse

Let’s say there were three night clubs in your city:

  • Club Poissons (not the best looking club but serves drinks quickly and is free to enter)
  • Chez Match (looks slick and advertises often but has an expensive surcharge to get in)
  • Maison de la Richesse (exclusive club with surcharge and dress code for men)

Club Poissons isn’t visited by as many people but:

  • people visit more often (12 times/month)
  • people stay longer per visit (about 20 minutes/visit)
  • people make eye contact with more people (32 times/visit)

More people visit the slick looking Chez Match but:

  • people don’t visit as often (6 times/month)
  • people don’t stay as long (about 15 minutes/visit)
  • people don’t make eye contact as much (22 times/visit)

Maison de la Richesse is an exclusive club visited by many people but:

  • people don’t visit much (2 times/month)
  • people don’t stay long (under 1 minute/visit)
  • people don’t make a lot of eye contact (2 times/visit)

Where will you meet more people?

What club gives you the best odds for finding a date quickly?

People are Product

Unique visitors are important but they are not the whole story. This is especially true in online dating because:

“People are not just visitors. People are a dating site’s product.”

People are a dating site’s primary commodity. They are its life and blood.

“Millions of unique visitors” doesn’t mean as much if people don’t:

  • visit often
  • stay long
  • view many pages

On dating sites:

  • more visits per person = greater odds of making contact and less time waiting for a reply
  • longer stay per visit = more time spent reading profiles and communicating with people
  • more pages per visit = more profiles viewed

That’s why we always look at more than just unique visitors when deciding who to add to our Million Club.

That’s why WealthyMen needs to increase visitor engagement before we can welcome them into the club.

And that’s why you should always refer to our Dating Site Web Statistics page when comparing dating sites.

Related Article:
Millions of Members: Medal of Honor or Badge of Shame? (http://www.giveyourhandabreak.com/articles/millions-of-members/)

Related Pages:
Dating Site Web Statistics (http://www.giveyourhandabreak.com/web-stats/)
Million Club Comparison (http://www.giveyourhandabreak.com/million/)

Sources:
Web Stats by Compete Site Analytics (http://siteanalytics.compete.com/)

Internal Resources:
Plentyoffish.com Review (http://www.giveyourhandabreak.com/sites/plentyoffish/)
Match.com Review (http://www.giveyourhandabreak.com/sites/match/)
WealthyMen.com Review (http://www.giveyourhandabreak.com/sites/wealthymen/)
Articles on Dating Sites & Online Dating (http://www.giveyourhandabreak.com/category/articles/)

External Resources:
Plentyoffish.com Website (http://plentyoffish.com/)
Match.com Website (http://match.com/)
WealthyMen.com Website (http://wealthymen.com/)
Compete Metric Descriptions – Unique Visitors (http://www.compete.com/help/q5)

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