Tinder Wants You to Tone Down Your Right Swipes

Tinder is a matchmaking app that was launched in 2012. Today, Tinder has over 50 million active users, which swipe 1.8 billion times per day, resulting in more than 26 matches per day. The company states that on average users log in 11 times a day, women spending up to 8.5 minutes a day and men spending up to 7.2 minutes a day swiping. Tinder uses data analytics software from a start-up named Interana to analyze conversion, engagement, retention and root-cause analysis challenges.

Tinder is a matchmaking app that was launched in 2012. Value creation: Users download the app and create simple profiles for themselves composed of their phone numbers, pictures, age and summary text of whatever they choose. Following, users are shown images of other users that are within a specified distance and age range and of a specified gender. Users then swipe the pictures left or right, to indicate if they are “not interested” or “interested”. When there is a match, two users both swipe right, users are allowed to message each other through the app, potentially leading to a date.

Today, Tinder has over 50 million active users, which swipe 1.8 billion times per day, resulting in more than 26 matches per day. The company states that on average users log in 11 times a day, women spending up to 8.5 minutes a day and men spending up to 7.2 minutes a day swiping.

Tinder uses data analytics software from a start-up named Interana to analyze conversion, engagement, retention and root-cause analysis challenges. The software provides visual and interactive tools, such as sessions, funnels, metrics and cohorts to better evaluate and analyze data. Interana was founded by 2 former Facebook engineers, who based the software of in-house solution they developed at Facebook, which enabled Facebook employees to run queries a lot faster over many types of data.

Departments across Tinder use Interana from the Data team, to Marketing to Engineering. The Product team uses Interana to gain insights into user behavior, in order to improve user experience. For example, earlier this year, the team found that some users swiped right on every profile, no matter who the person was, potentially decreasing the value of Tinder matches for other users. Tinder Vice President of Technology, Dan Gould, mentioned that this activity “decreases the value of the swipe,” and should be blocked. Therefore, when the team launched its new premium version, Tinder Plus, one of the new functionalities it included was a limit on the number of right swipes a user could make in a day, in order to create higher quality matches.

Value Capture: Tinder charges $9.99/month for Tinder Plus for those under 30, and $19.99 for those above 30. Tinder Plus also includes additional features such as, Rewind and Tinder Passport. Rewind allows users to “undo” a left swipe and Tinder Passport allows users to look for users in a location even if they are not there.

Tinder also uses the data analytics software to determine network failure issues. In one instance Tinder received reports from a small group of users that Tinder was not working on the 4G network but was working on Wifi. Tinder diagnosed the situation through root-cause analysis. It determined that the users were all within the same region and using the same carrier, which had faulty routing. Tinder worked with the carrier to fix the networking issue and restore access.

Tinder faces stark competition from competing dating apps and websites in the $1.17B dating site and $630M dating app industry in the U.S. In order to stay relevant Tinder must continue to use data analytics to improve its competitive advantage. One potential area that Tinder could explore further though data analytics is customer segmentation. It could segment users into cohorts for more advanced behavioral analytics (i.e. Most Swiped Right Schools list), in order to improve its matching capability and customer experience, buy adding new functionalities for super users.

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6 thoughts on “Tinder Wants You to Tone Down Your Right Swipes

  1. Interesting post! The right swipe has definitely lost value on the Tinder platform for sure, and not just because the swipes are ubiquitous, but also because the users are ubiquitous as well, resulting in matches that aren’t necessarily relevant or high quality — i.e. apart from both parties thinking the other person is physically attractive, matches aren’t based on common interests, common friend networks, or common values. That’s why I think your last point about competition is key. I don’t think Tinder can survive against other dating apps that take the aforementioned qualities into account unless it changes it’s value proposition from being the dating app for garbage swipes…. not speaking from experience, or anything 😛

  2. I think the limit on the right swipe function applies to males, but not to females. I remember back when a work college was using Tinder in 2013, he would have the interns in their downtime swipe right with reckless abandon, hoping to cast a wide net and find some “suitable” options in the pile. On the other hand, as a Tinder user myself, I and other women I know who use the app are much more selective in their swiping–we currently don’t have limits on the number of right swipes, but I think because women spend more time vetting a male’s profile before swiping right.

    I like the newer version of the app and I’m curious to learn more about their matching algorithm; as a former user of Hinge, I appreciated learning that the app “learns” about your preferences and tries to show you a deck that seems to pander to what your would typically swipe right for. Additionally, the Hinge founder also talked about how high “right swipe” profiles tend to be shown a higher proportion of “right swipe” profiles as well, improving the quality experience for those who “are more desirable”, but less value for those who don’t get as many right swipes”. I’d be curious to learn if Tinder also leverages this kind of data. As it stands now, it just seems like an endless stream of men and interesting pick-up lines. But you can’t beat its network effects–there are SO SO many people on the app that even when you use your Bumble or Hinge and they run out of options, you know Tinder is old reliable with an endless supply waiting at your fingertips, literally :p

  3. Interesting post! It feels like Tinder has become more of a game than a serious dating “job-to-be-done” function. And if you think the value of the swipe right has been undermined, do you really think competition will fix this problem? And how should we think about all the competition that has already emerged to date. I’m also curious how you think about Tinder’s use of data and potential new ways to monetize the data going forward. I believe a user is required to put in a significant amount of personal information — the app can track how much time you spend on the app, what time of day you check-in, but there is also a lot of potentially inconsistent information that is gathered about the user. Could the data about whether you swipe right or left be valuable to brands / marketers?

  4. Very interesting post, thanks for your insight! Regarding data analytics, I am a bit surprised by the decisions Tinder took, based on the results data analyses show. First, in order to create “scarcity” hence value for the swipe, I would think they should rather limit the supply rather than the offer: instead of limiting the number of “swipe right” per day, which would definitely would prove frustrating for the customer, they should rather limit the number of profiles visible per day, a bit like Hinge – that creates more addiction to the app rather than frustration. Secondly, I don’t think putting a price difference for under 30 years old customer. I wonder how they can check the true age of a customer, and also think it is a bit discriminatory.

  5. Interesting! I’d be curious to see how this evolves going forward – my sense is that a limit on the number of swipes is a very rough application of analytics, and there is probably a lot more tinder can do to leverage the data it has. The mismatch between male and female behavioral patterns on online dating platforms is well known, and I am not sure what the solution to this is, but would love to see what creative solutions those businesses will find to deal with it and enhance their value proposition.

  6. From a competition standpoint, I do think Tinder is at an advantage given its “first mover” stance…They have (hopefully) collected way more data than a Hinger or Bumble. Similar to how Spotify is starting to really leverage its historical data, I wonder if Tinder will start doing the same to better change user “discovery” and matching algorithms.

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