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What tinder can we learn about growth marketing

Just in case you have lived under a rock in the past five years, Tinder is a very popular mobile dating app that matches potential partners based on user data and proximity.

Since its launch in 2012, the application has grown explosively.

In two years, Tinder had 800 million scans every day. In 2017, this daily figure is 1.6 billion.

So what makes Tinder so special, and what can we learn from Tinder's growth that we can apply to other companies?

You have probably already heard the phrase "sex is selling". This is definitely part of the picture, but there are many other facets of Tinder's growth engine that deserve to be admired.

Conceptual Drawing

If you look at all the big case studies on hacking growth in recent years, from Airbnb to PayPal, they all have one thing in common: a great product.

Conceptually, Tinder is ingenious.

All traders know that consumer behavior is motivated by emotions rather than logic. To be precise, people are motivated to act for two reasons:

  1. The desire to go to pleasure
  2. The desire to get away from pain

Tinder users are motivated by the search for romantic encounters (pleasure) while avoiding rejection (pain).

We are not talking about soft emotions here. These are basic human desires with an evolutionary basis.

It is theorized that the fear of rejection stems from the moment when humans lived in primitive hunter-gatherer societies. With limited amounts of potential partners in a small tribe, being rejected could result in the end of your lineage and in some cases would result in ostracism and death. Today, rejection is a stinging emotional experience that people do not want to go through.

Google the term "Anxiety Approach" and you will find a library of articles on the subject – indicating how bad a problem is for people.

Since both parties have indicated a mutual attraction before a Tinder match is made, the daters do not need to go through the experience of approaching anyone. one that they are attracted in hoping that the other person feels the same, and do not have to worry about being approached by someone who does not not interested.

In addition, Tinder uses the intermittent reward system. New matches are a "reward". You are excited when you swipe to the right and that is a match, you get the push notification telling you that there is a new match waiting for you when you open the application. When using Tinder, you probably will not get more than 5 games a day, or even a match a day. So, when the matches become more scarce, they are more valued, and when they arrive, it's a huge reward (and addictive). You go back into the app, keep sliding, keep sending messages, and it becomes a "must have" in your life.

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The rewards come early (the first critical tests for a user, when he determines if they will be sticky, they quickly see the first signs of value of the app when they get new matches. Will diminish, but d & # 39; Here you are already hooked to the application, you will get more results as it is suspected that new Tinder users are being shown to more people, and thus making more matches.)

The emotional factors of pleasure and pain are the cornerstone of Tinder's success.

User Experience

Even with a brilliant concept, the success of Tinder would have been severely limited if the user's experience was inadequate.

Fortunately, the creators of Tinder knew that we lived in a culture of instant gratification. While traditional dating sites require you to read long profiles for potential dates, Tinder gives you an avalanche of potential partners that you can accept or reject with a hand gesture based on first impressions.

In many ways, Tinder reproduces real life. People make instant judgments all the time, and it is unlikely that you get to know any one's favorite artists or movies unless there is an initial physical attraction.

Tinder CEO, Sean Rad, states: "We want to create experiences that mimic human behavior.What we do on Tinder is no different from what we already do."

For word of mouth marketing to be effective, it is important that user integration be smooth and effective. If your friend has excited you about an app, but you have trouble logging in or understanding how to use it, then this is not very useful.

If you have a Facebook account, simply log in to Tinder, choose your photos and start scanning. You do not even have to include photos to start dragging (but you should probably consider this as a meeting).

The application features a four-screen tutorial that you can ignore at any time by logging in to Facebook's help. With a wonderfully simplistic integration process, Tinder maximizes the impact of word of mouth marketing. (Source of the image)

And even though there is an organic section, you do not even have to worry about creating a mind – full bio before you can start slipping. Tinder already looks at your likes Facebook and creates "shared interests" and "mutual friends" with potential matches.

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Compare that to the boom that most dating sites are putting up. You must write your biography, list your favorite books, your movies, what you are looking for, etc. By the time you can start looking at profiles, you've already used 20 minutes of writing organic time that not many people will read.

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Unlike the desktop, the smartphone is an ideal device for Tinder's quick dating action. Swiping left or right on a smartphone feels just natural – similar to sliding through a deck of cards.

Since smartphone displays are image-oriented, you must make instant decisions primarily based on appearance. Some will say that it's superficial, but maybe the dating is more superficial than we would like to admit?

With a great product, both conceptual and execution, the Tinder team has deployed powerful growth marketing tactics to attract attention.

The two-sided network

According to Wikipedia, bilateral networks are: "economic platforms with two distinct groups of users that provide each other with network benefits."

In the case of Airbnb, the brand only succeeded because there were enough guests and guests to facilitate each other 's interests. Simple laws of supply and demand.

For Tinder, men and women would be required to make the application work. In addition, an important part of the user base had to be attractive – otherwise, the correspondences would be insufficient.

For heterosexual men to be on the platform, heterosexual women had to be present, and vice versa. So, which demographic should go first?

Tinder found an intelligent solution to this dilemma.

Having benefited from her university college experience, Whitney Wolfe, Tinder's then Vice President of Marketing at the time, undertook to acquire VIPs on campus as a university. Adopted early.

Tinder also received a lot of publicity during the 2014 Winter Olympics when snowboarder Jamie Anderson and others revealed that they were using Tinder. This added to Tinder's social proof, which only contributed to the growth of its user base.

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Interestingly, former UFC champion, Ronda Rousey, said she had not had much luck with Tinder because of her fame, and that She had actually registered with a false name before she was discovered. Given the predominantly male fan base of the UFC, I am sure that a significant number of UFC fans have become Tinder users on hearing the news.

With "high quality" models and sorority leaders using the app, this would eliminate the negative stigma that digital dating is for single people. Instead, Tinder would be an app that social and attractive people would use to further enhance their love lives.

Presentations on campus

During a tour of many campuses in the United States, Wolfe gave group presentations on Tinder to sorority homes.

At the end of the presentation, Wolfe insisted that all girls register on demand. Immediately after she would go to the corresponding brother brotherhood and encourage the guys to sign up.

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Right away, guys saw profiles for the attractive girls that they already knew, but had not had the opportunity to interact in a romantic setting.

Since campuses have a dense population of single students nearby, initial users had sufficient potential connections to keep them in touch with the application.

Celebrations and Awareness

In another display of Tinder's marketing ingenuity, Tinder organized a birthday party for a USC student and made an extra effort to make it incredible. Tinder paid the bill for the party in exchange for putting a bouncer on the doorstep that only let people in after the application was downloaded.

When Wolfe came back after his university tour, Tinder's user base went from 5,000 to 15,000. It is at this point that word of mouth has grown in magnitude.

The parties would continue to play a leading role in Tinder's marketing strategy as the application expanded beyond the US college system. With launch nights in Mexico, Japan and England, Tinder has offered entertainment and entertainment nights to singles from around the world while promoting the Tinder brand.

As a result, Tinder's user base is extended. In the first months, 85% of Tinder users were between 18 and 23 years old, but the following year, this same age group accounted for only 57% of all users.


Tinder's growth can be attributed to a rapid integration system, an addictive product with random rewards (matches), a unique dating product that was different from current options, and successful launch parties.

Did you use Tinder? If so, what about the application that encourages you to come back?

Let me know in the comments below.

About the Author: Aaron Agius, CEO of the global digital agency Louder Online, is, according to Forbes, one of the world's leading digital marketers. Working with clients such as Salesforce, Coca-Cola, IBM, Intel and dozens of prestigious brands, Aaron is a growth marketer – a fusion of research, content, social and public relations. Find him on Twitter, LinkedIn or the Louder Online blog.