Since our founding in 2004, OkCupid has formed a massive community, where over 250,000 connections are made everyday. Because OkCupid profits from both subscriptions and ads, our top priority is attracting new users to the app, particularly millennials as they are the most active demographic on dating apps today. So in order to stay relevant among the younger demographic, OkCupid must stand out as the dating app that shows who our users really are, highlighting their interests and passions.
In 2017 more than any other year, singles cared about the political leanings of their potential dates. By looking at the data from our in-app questions, we found that over 90% of millennial women support Planned Parenthood, and their male counterparts weren't far behind. So we wanted to boost OkCupid user activity and make it easier for these supporters to find matches who felt the same way—raising money for Planned Parenthood, at a pivotal moment for the non-profit, at the same time.
Simultaneously, we wanted to increase both OkCupid's and Planned Parenthood's exposure among our respective key audiences, and remove the taboo around conversations on sexual health by providing evidence-based sexual education to a key target audience via shared Instagram posts, which would in turn grow the Instagram followings of both the brand and the non-profit.
This program had three arms, which all worked together to support the partnership and raise awareness: the #IStandWithPP Badge, the Instagram Activation, and the Matching Program. All arms were shared via blog posts, emails, in-app notifications, and social media.
OkCupid engineers created a unique #IStandWithPP Badge to appear on the profiles of all users who answered a question that they support Planned Parenthood. In order to generate matches between Planned Parenthood supporters, our engineers also worked to promote supporters to other supporters within the app—so when a supporter logged in, they'd first see all their matches who were also Planned Parenthood supporters.
Throughout the program, OkCupid and Planned Parenthood shared Instagram posts with approachable graphics (designed by up-and-coming artists) and captions. These posts were created to both remove the taboo around sexual health, and get daters the facts they need. Planned Parenthood is the leading provider of sex education in the nation, and research has shown again and again that very few adults benefitted from sex education programs that were accurate, comprehensive, or truly inclusive. Health tips from Planned Parenthood were coupled with OkCupid data in posts like one that read "Over 85% of OkCupid members say total openness is more important in a healthy relationship than maintaining privacy" coupled with a caption reading "Talking about your sexual history and safer sex doesn't have to be awkward. In fact, being open and honest about keeping each other healthy helps bring you closer together, and can make sex even better. @plannedparenthood shows you how to start the conversation at the link in our bio. #IStandWithPP."
As a surprise-and-delight soon after the program launched, we announced that OkCupid would be matching every dollar, up to $50k, donated to Planned Parenthood. After all, since so many of OkCupid users support Planned Parenthood, this was our chance to give back to them by supporting a cause they care about. We worked with CrowdRise to create a site to collect donations, and Planned Parenthood leveraged celebrity supporters, such as Chelsea Handler and Gabby Sidibe, to spread the word via social media. We were excited that, with user and follower donations matched by OkCupid, we were able to donate $100k to Planned Parenthood shortly after the matching program began.
This program far exceeded all of our key goals.
*By telling users about the #IStandWithPP badge and encouraging them to answer the question on supporting Planned Parenthood, the question's response rate grew over 10% and nearly 400k users (over half of which were male) had the badge, generating more user activity and reaching a new demographic for Planned Parenthood awareness.
*Users with the badge got 4x as many matches as they did before they had the badge, making for more satisfied users.
*We saw a great response from users and followers on social media, such as Catherine Ramos, Facebook: Omg all the dating sites should do this 👍and caileighscott, Instagram: I've never had a desire to join OK Cupid but I might need to now! 😍 🌺 💞
*We also saw a great response from press, with over 80 million impressions from female-focused outlets, generating an increased word-of-mouth referral.
*Thanks to the Instagram activation, OkCupid saw a 20% increase in followers during the program and our Instagram account's highest engagement yet.
*Most importantly, a $100k donation was made to Planned Parenthood.