As a data analytics company focused on consumer insights, we love talking to marketing and research professionals all around the world. In this series, we publish interviews from valuable marketers on topics such as "Use of Data", "Giving a Brief for Research", "Benefits of Social Research". Our latest interview is with Ezgi Ceren, Marketing Manager of Match Group. Match Group is mostly famous for it's applications such as Tinder, Okcupid and Hawaya. Ezgi has worked in various dating apps and she has worked in advertising agencies as well. So she knows both sides of brand marketing. We also discussed how we used social research for Okcupid for their launch too. Check our interview below for more and see here how we use social research to uncover consumer insights if you're interested!
Hello Ezgi! Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Of course. After graduating from college, Department of Public Administration in French, I started my career at Inditex in the textile sector in 2008; I switched to the digital industry in 2010. Since then, I have been in this sector for a long time. Since 2015, I have managed all communications of different dating applications since their launch in Turkey. I was on the Tinder team from 2016 to 2018. I moved to London in 2019 and managed international PR communications for a global technology firm. Then I returned to Turkey after receiving an offer from Match Group at the end of 2019. Since then, I have been carrying out the marketing operations of some brands in global markets, mainly in Turkey, of the applications within the Match Group. We can say that I have experience in project management on the agency side, on the brand management and the media side.
As OkCupid, I know that you have established the company's structure more prone to research; You have set a system where you can directly ask consumers, get answers, and turn this into PR bulletins. I think it's admirable; it's not something we see a lot. So what kind of research do you do? Can you tell us about your motivations and methods of getting to know the consumer -specifically, digital platforms-?
At OkCupid, we have questions to get to know our users and match users with similar preferences based on these answers. We can gather information from our users' responses to the questions we ask them over the app, from whether they like scrambled eggs with or without onions, what kind of music they listen to, where they prefer to travel. Apart from that, as Match Group, we regularly conduct both qualitative and quantitative research annually. We can run these researches both on a country-based and comparatively regional basis. These studies are being carried out in many countries at the same time. Thus, we can control the change in different metrics such as the rate of active use of the brand and brand perception over the years. In addition to these, as OkCupid, we also conduct A/B tests specific to user experience. These solutions are the solutions we developed ourselves. Apart from these, there are solutions we have made by Kimola; We are looking for answers on what is being talked about on social media, what does the potential users that we have not reached yet like, and whether if we can get them with the right message.
We first started our work with Kimola with social research and lifestyle analysis: We did comprehensive research on what our users like, why those who use other online dating and dating apps don't use OkCupid, or what their barriers and motivations are about these apps. We did this research right before our campaign. The fact that we did this research beforehand has helped us as follows: We were able to shape the creative part of our campaign according to this research. For example, we had the following insights; we learned that some of our potential users like to do sports outside, use bicycles, and listen to rock more than music genres. While we were thinking around the assumption that everyone is going digital, we learned that our potential users want to read more. We highlighted such details we learned in our brand film; we saw our main characters in our movie, holding books in their hands, riding bikes on the beach. For example, we noticed that sci-fi came to the fore among genres. The book in the cafe scene in the commercial was a science-fiction book. We have included such small details in our film. Thanks to Kimola, we followed reactions after the movie with the social listening method too, and we got good responses.
As a marketing professional who has been in this business for years, how do you think social data can be used other than product launch?
The point that most of the agencies we work with on OkCupid want to achieve is actually to provide local data and insights. Because when you go to journalists with data, that content becomes more newsworthy. We do these researches only to capture such insights; we do not share them with the press. However, the results of such research and social listening can be used as a part of social media content and press communication from time to time. It can be used in active communication and digital communication itself.
So what kind of brief did you give us for social research? I want to guide the marketing professionals who will provide briefs before the social research.
First of all, we talked about the brand. "The brand has an identity, but how does it resonate with the user?" We first introduced the brand to you to measure the subject. After this stage, we talked about what success is for us, what we aim for in our communication in Turkey, what we want to achieve. We tried to present the big picture on the brand side. We talked about our communication plan, campaign plans, and timings. Afterwards, we talked a little about the data on our side of our target audience, which we prioritized, consisting of women between the ages of 25-34. We have informed you about what people in this age range and gender focus like, which brands they follow, and what we would like to learn in addition to these. In fact, beyond our brief method, we talked about all this in a two-hour presentation. Before that, we received a sample brief from you; We held the brief meeting, which included what kind of things you expect. We discussed our target audience by combining our previous research and our sectoral background; we discussed which channels we use. Two or three weeks after this meeting, we talked about a draft research presentation and then the final presentation right after.
What are the differences between conventional methods and social research?
In conventional consumer research, we interview people who have "never used an online dating application before" or "have already used online dating applications", but still, even if they meet and get married thanks to our applications in our country and globally, they call their "friends". Some people say, "We met thanks to you". Therefore, although they know that they will encounter these questions in a face-to-face meeting, they may not share certain things openly, may think they will be judged during a face-to-face meeting and may behave much differently than they usually do... Of course, we will always continue our conventional consumer research, but in this way, we will always continue our traditional consumer research. It's like validating the results from conventional consumer research in line with considerations. In other words, it is also valuable for us to see whether the outputs of these interviews and the data we have match up.
So how far can we go in social data? In what other areas can data be extracted here?
For example, we do a lot of influencer communication. We can see which influencers our target audience or potential target audience follows. Thus, it can guide us about which influencers we can work with. Also, which magazines do they read, which brands do they shop from? This type of data provides valuable information for this brand collaboration and customer targeting phase - in terms of digital marketing. It has such benefits.
I would also like to ask a more general career question. Do you have any suggestions for brand managers who want to benefit from data and develop a strategy?
Of course. Remember after your presentation as Kimola, I gave you the following feedback: Your presentation was a fun presentation that went beyond "data is a boring thing". So it was like "analysis for dummies". It was such a beautifully illustrated and beautifully presented presentation that I listened to it with the excitement of "I wonder what will come next" as if I were reading a comic book. So having a report and presentation that could be understood so quickly was beneficial. If you ask where they should start, I'll say they should get a report from you :) (Laughs) Other than that; Match Group has a well-learned research method that has been integrated into its established structure over the years. By asking the same questions all the time, we see the change over the years - of course, new questions are added or removed, new competitors are added, we see some brands stand out from their competitors, we suddenly see that they are being talked about; new players come in and out… But for example, we ask positive or negative thoughts about application questions about the privacy and security policies of the application to both volunteers and non-volunteers. Thus, we can follow both new visions and ways of thinking that have changed and developed over the years. There is such an advantage to working at Match Group.
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