As it is Valentines Day we thought we should share an article on the power of data analysis in our everyday lives …. even for those who are online dating!  In the article below published by Masons Stevens, author Paul Wylie demonstrates how algorithms are used and how detailed information can be gained to find trends or patterns.  These findings can be used to change behaviours, solve issues and in some cases find your perfect match….

Data analytics is being applied to more and more industries. For example, a friend who retired from high-frequency trading is now using those same algorithms in cancer research. Most people wouldn’t normally associate those two things, but a powerful algorithm can be applied to almost anything.

High-frequency traders develop algorithms to identify trends or patterns in data. For cancer research, it is exactly the same thing – an algorithm tries to draw out commonalities and trends from the genomes and cells of patients that do or don’t have cancer. Humans lack the capacity to analyse millions of data points, whereas computers can do that as a matter of routine. The key is to have enough data to draw meaningful conclusions, and to ensure that the data is of sufficient quality that anomalies or errors don’t lead to wrong conclusions.

A less serious but possibly more researched area of data analytics is online dating. Dating websites are releasing more and more data, and where there is data there is someone to analyse it. In the case of online dating, one such analyst used the available data to back-solve what would make him personally more appealing to women in his target group. The result was that he went from zero hits per week to becoming the number-one match for more than 30,000 women.

For those unwilling to go to such extreme lengths, the following are some key facts to help increase your online dating success:

  • Women get 60% more attention if their photo is taken indoors
  • Men get 19% more attention if their photo is taken outside
  • Full-body photos boost both sexes’ success by 203% (although there are exceptions)
  • Posing with animals or your best friends might seem cute but it actually reduces your popularity by 53% (men) and 42% (women)
  • Men get 8% fewer messages if they put up selfies
  • Mentions of words such as “divorce” or “separated” get men 52% more messages
  • Women who are more forward, using words like dinner, drinks or lunch in the first message, get 73% more replies, while men should play it cooler; men who mention the same words in their opening message get 35% fewer replies

You also need to have the right words in your profile. Based on the most popular words used on OKCupid, males who surf, do yoga, ski, and like the ocean do best. Similarly, women who surf and do yoga also do well, along with those who mention London and New York.

Once you have a match, the data show that men are lazy when it comes to the first message. The median message length sent by men is only 12 characters, compared to 122 characters from women. For men, 25% of messages are under 6 characters (presumably “hello” or “hi”), suggesting it is not love at first message!


Whilst online dating optimisation is one example of what data analytics can do, it is much more far-reaching than that. Facebook and Google are prime examples of companies that have embraced and monetised it.

High-frequency trading firms have done similar things in financial markets, and shopping centre owners are using wi-fi data to track customers in their malls. For one shopping mall group it takes on average 45 minutes for a customer to make their first purchase.

Companies that don’t utilise their data fully risk having competitors slip under their guard. Data analytics is now something they can’t afford to ignore.


Source:  Mason Stevens:  Name of the Game, by Paul Wylie, Fixed Income Strategist, Mason Stevens