How to Change the Online Dating Game

In 2020 Tinder hit 74 million downloads, Tinder was ranked #2 highest grossing app in the world with $513m in revenue. There were over 66 million users, which consisted of 6.7 million paying subscribers. 

Tinder owes its success to a highly effective marketing strategy. In fact, the product was destined to become a thing at its launch, with 50 million users signed up for the platform in the first two years.

The growth of a startup at its initial stage is one of the key steps to successful implementation of a marketing strategy. Also, it is a great way to prove its product-market fit to investors.

First Condition: Low quality product — marketing will be useless

Tinder’s product is ‘matches’ which they promise their users will get while using the app.

As for the app itself, Tinder is very user-friendly. The design is extremely smart and simple which contributes to the high levels of engagement Tinder receives.

Tinder doesn’t bother its users with filling in lengthy and tedious profile forms. The users don’t even have to confirm their emails. Signing up is extremely simple. To do that, you just have to sign in with your Facebook account, upload your photos, and if you like, write a short bio. That’s it.

Second Condition: Building a relevant base of clients and startup evangelists

Tinder's business model is a two-way network, a 'marketplace platform' where the customer meets the seller.

Tinder's growth strategy was proposed and implemented by Whitney Wolfe, the former VP Marketing and Co-Founder at Tinder and later the Founder and CEO of Bumble.

The Tinder team went on a tour of educational campuses in the US,  presenting Tinder to a closed audience of girls. Once the male audiences were presented with the app, there already were hundreds of Tinder profiles of attractive girls who lived in the neighbourhood.  

Local influencers became the first users of the app and, practically, evangelists for the project: firstly, they installed the app, and then others followed their lead.

 As a result, the initial Tinder user base tripled from 5K to 15K active users with a relevant profile, a certain expectation and the ability to give them what they wanted.

Third Condition: Word of mouth as a means of a paradigm shift in perception

Getting student community leaders involved helped the brand establish two principles that influenced the future marketing strategy.

1. Using trigger-personas

To attract new users, Tinder collaborated with a public figure who acted as a trigger for their audience. In this case, the public person, who many guys would potentially be interested in dating, was a girl too.

2. Building Brand Trust

The app received great outreach during the 2014 Winter Olympics, when snowboarder Jamie Anderson and other athletes mentioned that they were actively using Tinder. Collaboration with opinion leaders, ambassadors and Influencers helped to build a wide loyal audience.

Three conditions of a successful startup launch to learn from Tinder

  1. Make sure you have enough marketing potential, a ground-breaking idea and a user-friendly product. Tinder allows users to get unlimited matches ‘playfully’ and shields them from the fear of being rejected.
  2. The first users of the startup - your early adopters - should become product evangelists. Don't be afraid to invest in communicating and engaging potential users in the product and its mission.
  3. Public recognition of a product generates a word-of-mouth wave and sometimes, as in the case of Tinder, leads to a radical paradigm shift in the perception of the product and the industry as a whole.