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Human Connection in a Time of Social Distancing: A Conversation with The Meet Group

By September 15, 2020 No Comments

Welcome to TripleLift’s Publisher Spotlight Series. Every month we’ll share an interview with one of our premium publishers, highlighting unique stories and uncovering valuable insights. This week, we’re speaking with Nick Hermansader, Senior Vice President of Advertising at The Meet Group. Read on to learn about how The Meet Group is rewarding both users and advertisers alike (literally).

Thanks for sitting down with us Nick. We’d love to learn a bit about you – can you tell us about your role at The Meet Group?

Absolutely, thanks for having me. I lead advertising at The Meet Group for our US based dating and livestreaming apps MeetMe, Skout, Tagged and GROWLr. Each app caters to a slightly different audience, but the end goal is the same – bring people together to meet, socialize, and have fun in a safe, online environment. That’s more important now than ever before. We’re meeting the universal need for human connection.

What do you love most about working from home? How have you kept your team engaged and motivated while remote?

It’s certainly been an adjustment and was a struggle to balance work, life, and family at the beginning but we’ve since hit our stride. My favorite part is when I’m working in my basement office and my two year-old sneaks down to show me an art project he made or (most recently) brings me a pizza bagel that he and mom made for lunch. I definitely don’t get those moments at the office.

The team has adjusted incredibly well. We were already partially remote with team members spread out across the country and the globe, so it was rather seamless. We still hold our regular meetings virtually and we have weekly coffee breaks where we talk about the latest TV and movies or play a quick online game for some fun competition.

While we’re on the topic of love, what are some of the activities that you’ve enjoyed while at home?

Surprisingly, I think we’ve watched less TV than before quarantine. Staying at home has forced us to spend more time outdoors since we’re inside working all day. In fact, we took the opportunity back in May to rent a house in South Carolina and isolate there for a month. My parents joined us to help take care of our son so we could focus on work during the day. It turned out to be a wonderful experience that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. He got to spend more time with his grandparents than he ever would have and we got a lot of time together on long walks and spending time together outdoors while the weather was still a

bit chilly up here in the Northeast. Other than making sure I was caught up on the Chicago Bulls documentary, The Last Dance, we didn’t have the television on much at all down there.

Have you seen more app downloads/user engagement during the pandemic, or less? 

We have seen unprecedented engagement during the pandemic, especially within our livestreaming product. All of us have been searching for ways to break up the monotony and boredom of quarantine, much of which is caused by our inability to socialize in person. Our products enable our users to do just that. Not only can they discover others to chat with, but in Live, they can actually see and talk to those people virtually.

The Meet Group is one of the largest providers of livestreaming dating games in the world. We have been experiencing over 195,000 dating games played each day across our apps, an increase of 104% since the declaration of a global pandemic in March. At the start of the pandemic, video was a replacement for real-life interaction. Now that things have opened up a bit more, it is a filter to screen potential dates for connection and compatibility before meeting in person. Daters are increasingly demanding a video chat first, to prequalify potential dates.

What are some of the advantages for advertisers of working with The Meet Group versus other publishers in your competitive set? 

First and foremost is scale and diversity. We’re managing over 10 billion impressions per month across the US portfolio of apps. Our users are coming back every day and this provides a great opportunity for advertisers to consistently get their message across. We also offer many different audiences with the various apps whether it’s US-centric (MeetMe), internationally-focused (Skout), African American (Tagged), or the gay community (GROWLr). Additionally, we have a great first-party data set because 100% of our active users are logged in. This is the way the industry is trending so publisher-owned data is only going to get more valuable as cookies and mobile ad IDs are being deprecated.

Does The Meet Group have any new and exciting offerings that advertisers should know about?

We have traditionally offered standard mobile ad products due to our size and reliance on open exchange demand. However, our livestreaming platform has allowed us to expand into other products – the largest of which is rewarded video. The influx of in-app purchases in Live has enabled us to introduce this opt-in ad experience in which a user voluntarily watches a video ad and receives in-app currency for doing so. It is great for the users because it gives them an opportunity to participate in the economy of Live without having to make a cash purchase. They feel included and it may even encourage them to make a purchase in the future. Advertisers benefit because the user is actively choosing to engage with their brand instead of it being forced in front of it. They may even form a positive subconscious association between the brand and the reward they received.

We’re also exploring unique ways for brands to incorporate into Live. The in-app currency is used to purchase virtual gifts so I believe there is an opportunity for brands to sponsor these items. It would not only elevate the perceived value of the gift to have a brand name on it, but the sponsorship itself could subsidize the cost for users so they don’t have to pay out of pocket for it – creating more good faith for the advertiser and possibly encouraging future purchases from users.

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