Match Group’s Julia Estacolchic on the Evolving Cross-Channel Execution Landscape

Dating App Marketing: According to the first quarter 2021 financial report of the Match Group, the world’s biggest dating services provider, growth in North America average subscribers was primarily driven by dating services Tinder, Hinge, BLK, PlentyOfFish, and Chispa. Julia Estacolchic, Director, Brand Marketing, Match Affinity at Match, leads brand marketing for several brands including Chispa, the dating app for Hispanics in the U.S. Portada talked to Estacolchic to understand how her marketing efforts are impacting the above cited subscriber growth.


Julia Estacolchic, Director, Brand Marketing, Match Affinity at Match

In her position Estacolchic leads a team of 12 executives involved with online, offline, and brand marketing and ensuring a deep understanding of  audience and users, the role of culture in their lives, and what the audience looks for when it comes to romantic and social relationships.

During the first quarter of 2021 marketing  expenses, which include online and off-line advertising, at Match Group amounted to  US $179.5 million. In the Q1 2021 quarter, the Match Group reported a number of paid member count of over 10.9 million subscribers. Chispa, specifically,  announced that it achieved a total of 4 million downloads. Estacolchic also shares with Portada that daily users increased by 28% (q1 2020 vs q1 2021), subscribers by 25% and paid members by 68%. In addition, the total number of downloads grew by 85% between the first quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of  2021. Portada talked to Estacolchic to understand how her marketing efforts are impacting the above cited high growth rates.

Dating App Marketing: How Does Chispa’s Marketing Strategy Differ from Match’s overall Marketing Strategy?

Estacolchic emphasizes that Chispa is a community-focused app and that acquisition strategies are designed to attract the U.S. Latino market based on their specific media consumption habits, messaging, and creative nuances that appeal to their unique needs. “While we conduct tests and leverage/apply the learnings across all our brands, each brand implements and optimizes its strategy based on individual goals and performance. As we build our brands, each focuses on different messaging pillars and we establish different brand promises based on relevance.”

Evolving Cross-Channel Execution

According to Estacolchic, the market has quickly evolved in the last few years, offering many more options to intercept audiences and connect with them.  Almost nowhere is this truer than in dating app marketing. “This diversification of channels allows us to tailor and hyper-segment our messaging and targeting options to capture different tribes. This has forced us to quickly adapt our cross-channel strategies, learn and leverage these new touch-points and exciting creative formats depending on what works for each community. We think of our universe of users as subsegments, and we have the opportunity to develop relevant brand narratives for each. In our case, we try to quickly test each new social or content space and media opportunity, while we learn the best practices for each to maximize impact across the funnel.”

TikTok Activation

As an example of channel diversification, Estacolchic mentions TikTok: “TikTok is a great example, where we started activating the channel for brand awareness and content engagement, and quickly discovered those same brand-building assets were driving direct conversion/lower funnel impact.”

Dating App Marketing: The Role of Consumer Reviews

In the digital direct-to-consumer economy, online consumer reviews play a very important role. This is  obviously also the case for dating app marketing.  “We constantly monitor user reviews and they play a key role in helping us improve our product and enhance the user experience and communication efforts. Our Marketing, Care and Product teams are deeply involved in analyzing reviews to address key issues and determine the best plan of action based on general trends we notice. We also use this channel to connect with our Success Couples, which we feature on our social pages and advertising across channels”, Estacolchic notes.

Offline Marketing and its Attribution

Chispa has activated “everything offline, from TV, Radio, OOH, Live and Virtual Events, PR, and Promotions,” says Estacolchic. “Whenever we are not able to attribute results through direct conversion channels (digital/online), we look at the impact that a specific activation has on our brand installs: those who searched for the app on the app store directly. We are able to look at results very granularly by specific market, point in time, and target segment to do channel attribution.”

Upcoming Initiatives: Podcasts and New Bicultural Hispanics Campaign

Chispa’s dating app marketing evergreen initiatives include performance, social, and influencer marketing.  “Additionally, we are always planning for new and exciting promotions where our users can win unique experiences that always connect back to their culture. In addition, we will be testing more around podcasts, creating original and interactive content for social platforms, activating new brand partnerships, expanding our community involvement and support efforts, and launching a new brand campaign especially created for the bicultural US Latino audience by our agency partners.”

Estacolchic also notes that they recently launched a partnership with the Tragos Party Game, an initiative that includes a new product feature supported by a 360˚ marketing activation and we will continue to activate tactics to support that.

Investing in media partners who have a strong community  orientation is paramount to Chispa, according to Estacolchic: ” Being a Latino-focused product and brand, all of Chispa’s campaigns have been and are with media partners that are either fully dedicated to the community and have a specific arm that’s for US Latinos, regardless of their language of preference or the language of the content the media outlet offers.”