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Business intelligence meets mobility at eHarmony

John Moore | Nov. 12, 2014
As online dating site eHarmony has expanded its mobile presence, it has also made good use of its business intelligence platform. This provides better visibility into what mobile users are doing and what services are better off being scrapped.

Product managers at eHarmony monitor their channels and can determine how well different functions and features are doing based on usage. With that knowledge, eHarmony aims to improve its platforms. Successful features thus move from the desktop to mobile platforms.

A new app for Windows Phone, launched in March, represents the most recent example. (The iOS and Android apps were refreshed prior to that.) The mobile apps have inherited desktop traits in a couple of ways. Desktop users, for example, have had the ability to continuously switch their match settings, adjusting such parameters as distances, age and nationality.

Previously, those match settings weren't as finely tuned for eHarmony's mobile apps, but they have since received that upgrade. They can now alter match settings and preferences on mobile and have full dashboard functionality, Avedissian says. Other desktop features, such as an activity feed that lets users see who has viewed and updated their eHarmony profiles, are now available on mobile as well.

Aurimas Adomavicius, president of Devbridge Group, a Chicago-based software design and development company focusing on enterprise mobile and Web solutions, says eHarmony's use of data analytics is common among larger companies with "lots of information or a lot of interaction." He says the volume of data must be sufficient for a company's data analytics platform to find meaningful patterns.

John Haddad, senior director of big data product marketing at Informatica, sees eHarmony as a good example of a company that is monetizing its data assets. "Web-based companies like eHarmony, Yelp, LinkedIn and Airbnb ... gather massive amounts of data about their customers. If they can't create good data products and user experiences, they're not going to succeed."

Business Intelligence Can Give eHarmony Users a Gentle Nudge
Just as eHarmony can track user behavior, it can use business intelligence to try to influence it. For instance, if a user has only posted two out of a possible eight photos permitted, eHarmony can prompt the user within the app or via email to remind them of the other actions they may take, Avedissian says.

The data warehouse enables that guidance, pushing aggregated metrics and statistics back on to the sites. "Without the data warehouse, we can't put that kind of intelligence back into the websites," he says.

The company also uses business intelligence to monitor the marketing programs that drive users to its products, mobile or otherwise. The data warehouse absorbs data at such a rate that company officials can understand the impact of advertising campaigns (TV spots, online banners and so on) within 15 minutes of their appearance.

Data analytics also evaluates the effectiveness of those marketing programs. In one recent case, eHarmony mapped the cost of acquiring users via affiliates to conversion rates and lifetime value. The company determined that marketing approach brought low-quality traffic and decided to cut the affiliate program. The resulting $5 million in saving goes straight to EBITDA, Avedissian says.


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