After quietly rolling out a digital publication earlier this year, Grindr is making its push into digital media official today with the launch of lifestyle site Into, which it hopes will attract ad dollars from brands looking to advertise around LGBTQ content.
Into launched in March as part of a move to broaden Grindr’s brand beyond a dating app for gay men. In March, Zach Stafford was hired as editor in chief and the publication is now a stand-alone site that attracted 2 million monthly unique visitors in beta, according to Grindr. In addition to the site, Grindr’s app has 3 million daily users. Going forward, Into’s traffic will be tracked by measurement companies like comScore.
“We heard from a lot of them that this filled a white space for them—this was content that they hadn’t seen before, that they were excited about and that they were ready to return and engage with on a daily basis,” said Peter Sloterdyk, vp of marketing at Grindr.
The site covers a mix of lighter articles and more hard-hitting pieces about LGBTQ issues. For example, two headlines on the homepage Monday read, “Let’s Talk About Celine Dion’s Wardrobes Slaying Us Within an Inch of Our Lives” and “5 LGBTQ Executives You Should Know,” featuring Airbnb’s CMO Jonathan Mildenhall and Lloyd’s of London CEO Inga Beale.
In addition to creating editorial content, Into gives Grindr a revenue stream outside of its flagship app. Halo Top ice cream and American Horror Story: Cult on FX are Into’s launch advertisers, running display and pre-roll videos on the site.
“What this does for Grindr is expand our audience even further—it takes us into the LGBTQ [community] that represents everyone whereas our app is GBTQ-focused, so advertisers are really excited about being able to reach the entirety of that audience with no limits,” Sloterdyk said.
When asked how many of those advertisers are traditionally brands interested in LGBTQ issues, Sloterdyk added, “We’ve really seen a strong expansion in who is interested in working with us because we are no longer in a scenario—as an advertising business—where we’re just talking to the LGBTQ community during Pride Month.”
To celebrate the launch, Grindr is debuting a digital and out-of-home campaign in markets like New York, Seattle, Los Angeles and Chicago. The creative—which Grindr claims includes the first billboard in Times Square purchased by an LGBTQ publication—was developed by the brand’s in-house marketing team.
“One of the big reasons we took it in-house was because we are the experts in this space,” Sloterdyk said. “As opposed to engaging an agency and going through the process and making sure that they have all the information, we have a fully built creative team.”
Into’s new tagline is, “A digital magazine for our world,” and the campaign features individuals within the LGBTQ community such as Richie Shazam, a New York-based model, artist and activist; Love Bailey, a trans dancer and performance artist; and Zalika Parsons, a drag queen and performer. Each person featured in the campaign is from editorial content that Into produced over the past few months.
Grindr cites research from a recent survey from Ogilvy to back up its campaign. In Ogilvy’s research of more than 1,000 Americans, 68 percent said that brands “need to follow through on promises and plans” in order to be seen as an ally. A second piece of research from iHeartRadio found that 90 percent of Americans are open to seeing LGBTQ people in advertising.
A 30-second spot asks viewers, “What are you Into?” and then flashes calls-to-action like, “more safe spaces,” “more drama” and “non-conforming” across the screen.
Sloterdyk added, “It’s a strong connection to our editorial positioning. The campaign sparks an interest and curiosity that perfectly represents the inspiration and objective of the magazine.”
The videos and display ads will run, “across the entirety of the interwebs,” Sloterdyk said, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and publishers’ sites.
“We are certainly targeting the LGBTQ community based on their web behaviors but we’re also looking outside of just the LGBTQ community and making sure that our allies are also being exposed to our content,” Sloterdyk explained. “We’re targeting millennials—those who have identified as under 35—and of all walks of life.”
Into’s campaign will run for the rest of the year and Grindr plans to launch a brand-building campaign for its app this fall.
“The next project is to get the Grindr brand out there in the same kind of way,” Sloterdyk said. “We’ve done a lot of experiential marketing, digital marketing but haven’t necessarily gone to the full bredth of what we can do, so I’m looking forward to the September-October time frame when we’ll be launching a brand campaign specifically for Grindr.”