Online Dating in Russia: Insights Into the Vertical

As Russia tightens control over the online content and privacy, affiliate marketers have no other choice but to work on fresh approaches to the promotion of the geo-specific dating offers. Today, online dating remains the most lucrative and, therefore, sought after vertical in the world of affiliate marketing. 

With new aspects of online lives emerging daily, Internet offerings become more diversified. No wonder that mobile gadgets are gradually becoming the indispensable elements of life on a global scale. The number of mobile devices and downloaded apps keep demonstrating explosive growth globally. As a result, online dating and relationship patterns transform. And now, they tend to begin with several swipes or likes. 

The online dating market is nowhere near stagnation, and while Russia can be viewed as a demanding GEO, newbies and experienced affiliates can handle the challenges resulting from traditional factors, dating culture, or solvency. The diversity of the target audience and its cyclical nature, therefore, make the testing process and optimizations imperative. 

Understanding the Russian Market

The early 2000s marked the formation of the online dating market in Russia. The successful introduction of local dating services was tainted by bad publicity and reputation-killing issues. However, the situation changed dramatically with the advent of mobile services and technologies. From that moment on, online dating stopped being a myth and equated to habitual digital consumption. As of today, more than 320 million people use dating apps worldwide, and the number keeps growing daily. By the end of 2020, the global dating market is expected to reach $2.725m, with most of the revenue generated by the US. From a global perspective, Russia is not the biggest market player in this case, but it can take pride in reaching the $92 million revenue in the online dating segment this year.

Naturally, the Western market leads ahead of the sector thanks to market saturation and, in particular, a wide variety of niche dating products. The presence of the LGBTQ+ community keeps getting stronger online and, therefore, advertisers are ready to pay more for high-quality segmented traffic. Since niche products respond to the specific requests from the target audience, niche dating offers are immensely popular in the US in particular. 

When it comes to Russia, the local authorities are against the open manifestation of homosexuality or the recognition of the third gender. As a result, there is a general reluctance to develop local niche dating sites or apps. Even though the country is associated with a lack of tolerance, the online dating market is slowly and methodically growing. 

Peculiarities of Running RU Dating Offers

The dating vertical remains one of the simplest ways to make money in the affiliate marketing industry. In a nutshell, it meets basic human needs that can never actually cease to exist. Dating offers are not only about searching for the soulmate. On the contrary, there are multiple options from physical goods like outfits and toys to webcams and online games. That is why online dating is so profitable and popular among affiliate marketers. 

While there is fierce competition in the dating vertical, getting dating traffic remains a relatively inexpensive activity for affiliates. Testing, on the contrary, requires at least minimum budgets. Depending on the requirements and restrictions of the offers, affiliates can use multiple free and paid traffic sources. Naturally, social traffic requires experience and involves risks. Therefore, we do not recommend newbies to start working with social traffic right away. The most popular traffic sources, in this case, are teaser networks, push notifications, social networks, Yandex traffic, MyTarget traffic, contextual, or display ads. Naturally, every dating offer has a list of requirements and restrictions and, therefore, affiliates should pay careful attention to offer descriptions. 

Monetizing dating traffic with a smartlink is one of the most convenient ways to make a profit in online dating. With smartlinks, there is no need to select offers manually. Instead, the system automatically selects the most profitable options by analyzing the data like the connection type, GEO, or devices. 

When it comes to driving RU dating traffic, affiliates can use popular exotic options apart from standard dating traffic sources. For instance, creating channels in Yandex Zen and posting articles or using Yandex Q for placing referral links. Naturally, Yandex Q is about looking for relevant questions and posting answers. Therefore, it might prove to be a time-consuming process. Boosting your performance in Yandex Q and attracting more attention can be achieved through exchanges and purchased likes.  

Other popular options are Telegram and VK. For instance, Telegram offers multiple channels with enticing videos and, therefore, the target audience can be easily reached through this messenger. It is possible to reach the audience for free in related PR chats and motivate them to join your directories. The only thing affiliates need in this case is quality content to attract more potential leads.
As for VK, it became an international social network a long time ago, so now it does not present many challenges to non-Russian affiliate marketers. It is possible to drive traffic for free from VK, but it requires time and extra effort. As for the paid option, affiliates need to find dating-related VK directories or groups and make paid posts. In this case, native ads will work like a charm.


Since it has settled in human relations, dating does not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. While the online dating market does not invent anything per se, it remains a handy instrument for reflecting gender agendas and the mental characteristics of different countries. When it comes to Russia, the feminist agenda and LGBTQ+ oriented local dating products are yet to come. For now, affiliate marketers get to figure out unique approaches to driving RU traffic to mainstream and niche offers. Fortunately, local Internet regulations still have loopholes facilitating the activity of affiliate marketers.

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