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Online dating services might not seem like ideal platforms for marketing.

After all, many are monetized primarily through paid subscriptions, and users, for obvious reasons, are probably more focused on finding a date than clicking on ads. 

But in recent years, brands have found ways to insert themselves into the online dating experience. Here are four examples.

Match.com and Starbucks

The coffee shop is a common location for first dates, so when Match.com announced a "Meet Me at Starbucks" feature in 2015, it made sense.

The tie-up, which continues to this day, allows Match.com users to invite each other to Starbucks for a date.

Users can also display a Starbucks badge on their profiles, highlighting their affinity for the coffee chain and making it easier for them to connect with other Starbucks aficionados.

The Match.com/Starbucks relationship has also been used in joint promotions by both companies.

While it's not known how much foot traffic Starbucks has seen as a result of its Match.com integration, Match.com says it knows of hundreds of couples who connected on its service and met in person for the first time at Starbucks.

Tinder Branded Profiles

Mobile dating app Tinder, which is especially popular with younger singles, has embraced native advertising like no other dating service. Its branded profiles, for instance, allow companies to set up profiles to promote their wares to Tinder users.

For example, FOX created a Tinder profile for Mindy Kaling, an American comedian and actress, to promote her television show, The Mindy Project.

When users match with a branded profile by swiping right, a marketing message can be sent. While some suggest that this pushes the limits of what is acceptable, other networks and movie studios have created branded profiles for fictional characters.

Tinder Promotions

Tinder has also worked with brands to run more conventional and less controversial promotions. For instance, pizza chain Domino's teamed up with Tinder to offer discounts and the chance to win free food.

Other brands using Tinder to connect with singles in a similar fashion include Bud Light, which integrated Tinder into its Whatever USA campaign last year.

Happn Branded Profiles

Happn, a dating app designed to help daters connect with people they have crossed paths with in real life, has its own branded profiles, which function similarly to those on Tinder.

While Happn's audience is smaller than Tinder's, the company has snagged advertisers like Fiat, which used branded profiles to promote the launch of the Fiat 500.

Happn has also run branded profile campaigns for a number of charities, including Equality Now and Plan UK.

According to Happn exec Marie Cosnard, charity campaigns have experienced "very strong engagement" with branded profiles and their campaigns are a good match for the app.

"When NGOs are fighting for a cause that’s linked to human relationships, such campaigns make people think about other types of relationship," she stated.

Other dating-inspired articles:

Patricio Robles

Published 18 July, 2016 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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