Matchmaking is no longer what it used to be ten years ago. The dawn of artificial intelligence and machine learning has made it easier for people to find their life partners. In an interview with DataQuest, Murugavel Janakiraman, Founder and CEO, Matrimony.com, talks about how technology has changed matchmaking, dating apps and their impact on the industry and what more can be expected in the field in the days to come.
DQ: How has matchmaking changed with the advent of technology? How are artificial intelligence, big data and other new-age technologies being used in matchmaking in this era?
A decade ago, smartphones, mobile apps, and social media emerged as technology opportunities. Today, we have been leveraging the advancement in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning to enhance the quality and relevance of matches served to customers and improve their journey to finding a life partner. Big Data has impacted product (new ideas), sales (segmentation and pricing decisions) and marketing (insights for strategy).
DQ: What change can the industry look forward to in this decade?
Technology is changing at breakneck speed and we’re constantly evolving to ride the wave. Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and 5G technology will bring about some opportunities. The internet’s expanding reach into smaller cities and towns is definitely something to look forward to in terms of new users. In terms of the unorganised wedding services industry, we have our MatrimonyBazaar, MatrimonyMandaps and MatrimonyPhotography trying to leverage the huge $56B opportunity. We have always been early to invest and leverage new technologies and we eagerly await anything that emerges to make our experience for customers better.
DQ: Has the advent of dating apps impacted sites like Matrimony.com in any way?
No, absolutely not, we believe that India is a strong matrimony market. For Indians, marriage is the ultimate goal of a relationship. Moreover, a majority of the dating service users are less than 24 years and for matrimony, it’s 24 to 30 years. On the other hand, culturally, dating is not an accepted social practice, except in some urban cities…and that won’t change very soon. Besides, dating is not viewed as serious, it’s seen as casual.
Dating registrations have a skew towards males, whereas in online matrimony more than 30% are female registrants. It’s been difficult to make money through dating as strong business models are yet to be proven in the Indian market, whereas when it comes to matrimony, the Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) is in thousands. Finally, dating is quite exploratory in nature, but online matrimony is a commitment to marriage. All the above show that dating apps haven’t made any impact on online matrimony.
DQ: What are the future plans for Matrimony.com?
We have seen good momentum in Q3 matchmaking billings, and we expect to enhance this further. Our initiatives in product and customer engagement have started to yield improved results that will help us to drive better growth. As on 31st Dec 2019, we have 4.38 million active profiles. We will continue expanding the matchmaking business in India and abroad and growing our wedding services that include MatrimonyBazaar, MatrimonyMandaps and MatrimonyPhotography across India.