Karthik Pasupathy (aka KP)

Successful Tinder Users Are Potential Product Marketers

What do Tinder users and Product Marketers have in common? A lot!

They both write punchlines to grab the reader’s attention. Do A/B testing to see which version of their content works best. Only have a few seconds to grab the attention of the visitors. And, they both worry about lead conversion rates.

Tinder is slowly turning its users into marketers.

The rise of online dating apps is giving hundreds of partner options for everyone out there. And, a person only has a few seconds to grab the attention of their potential partner and to make them swipe right.

Matchmaking that was once about personality is now about cool pictures, eye-catching bios, and cheesy pickup lines.

The History of Matchmaking

The process of matchmaking in India was very different a couple of decades back. A majority of people got into a relationship only when they got married. Love marriages and casual relationships were less common, but happened among people who went to college together, worked together, or when they lived in the same neighborhood. This is not the case just with India.

A study among five thousand marriages in 1932 by sociologist James Bossard shows that one-third of the couples lived within a five-block radius, and one in eight couples lived in the same building before they got married.

But, the beginning of the 21st century has greatly reduced the distance between people with social media applications. And, on the other hand, there’s also been a huge cultural shift that changed the way people looked at love and relationships.

The Culture Shift

During the 80s and early 90s, breakups were hardly a thing. People often struggled with a bad relationship and called it their fate. When the lead male or female in a movie says “I loved another person before loving you”, it was considered a major plot twist in the movie. But, that it not the case anymore.

And saying words like dates, casual relationships, and hookups were frowned upon and considered a sin.

But, things have changed. The younger generation has matured a lot. They are okay with getting out of a relationship if it is not working out, and they’d like to go on dates to evaluate potential partners. This doesn’t eradicate the issues that prevailed during the 90s. But, it is good to see that a majority of the younger generation is more clear about what they want out of a relationship.

India is undergoing a culture shift in terms of love and sexuality, a shift that is similar to the one in the US during the 1960s and 70s.

Marketing to find a Match

The progressive nature of the Indian youth led to the arrival of online dating apps like Tinder, Truly Madly, Aisle, etc.

Even though they greatly reduced the effort of finding a potential partner, apps like Tinder do come with baggage.

Tinder greatly minimizes the possibility of a meet-cute.

Meet-cutes have now become virtual. If you wish to impress someone you like, you’ll have to go now through their smartphone to grab their attention.

With so many options available on apps like Tinder, it only takes a person a few seconds to decide if a person is “meet-worthy”.

And, every person who signs up markets themselves in a unique way in the hopes of getting right swiped. An experience Tinder user I spoke to said that the right combination of profile bio and picture can get you as many as two matches per day. He says that if you’re not getting any matches within two days, you’ll have to change your bio and picture.

There are hundreds of articles to help you write a cool bio and numerous apps that use A.I. to analyze your picture and help you decide whether it is right for your tinder bio.

And, then comes the pick-up lines. There are articles and forums that discuss the best pick-up lines and best ways to ask someone out.

By learning to write catchy headlines, trying different Tinder bios for efficiency, and impressive pick-up lines a person more or less becomes a complete marketer. At a point, it comes to selling a better version of oneself.

The downside of this is, when two people meet, they often end up selling the best version of themselves to each other.

This creates an awkward and difficult experience for both parties when they meet in person.

The Personality Gap

The mismatch between online and real personalities is very common with dating apps. When I spoke to a couple of people who constantly go out on dates, they said that several times they felt awkward during a date because the other person is not as excited as they were during the online conversation.

This is a common trend among people who are new to Tinder. By the time they learn how to identify the difference between real and fake personalities, they would’ve had enough awkward experiences.

Tinder and Social Pressure

Apart from all the good things, dating apps introduce constant pressure among youth. Today’s youth, who are open about their relationships, frown upon people who are single. A person who is single is considered incompetent among their circle and is often mocked upon. Being in a relationship has now become a social status. To avoid that, people rush to dating apps hoping to find a partner.

Not getting right-swiped and not going on dates for a long time is putting enough stress on the younger generation, especially men. A study conducted by the University of North Texas says that male Tinder users reported lower levels of satisfaction with their faces and bodies and lower levels of self-worth than those not on the dating app.

A BBC article that cites the study quotes Trent Petrie, professor of psychology at the University of North Texas, who says:

“With a focus on appearance and social comparisons, individuals can become overly sensitized to how they look and appear to others and ultimately begin to believe that they fall short of what is expected of them in terms of appearance and attractiveness.”

“We would expect them to report higher levels of distress, such as sadness and depression, and feel more pressures to be attractive and thin.”

In a survey ran by humanetech among 200000 iPhone users, Tinder occupies 9th place in the most unhappy apps section. It reported that 56% of users were unhappy.

The Road Ahead Tinder provides great value. But, one should learn to use it wisely.

Tinder users should take a step back from marketing themselves too much. They should try to exhibit their true personality which might lead them to have a good experience when they meet their match in person.

But, the experience one gets out of using an online dating app is very valuable. It teaches a great deal about marketing.

You never know! There might be a future where companies might hire marketers based on their success rate on Tinder. This is similar to how startups hire marketers and social media managers based on their Social media profiles and blog.

This will put the lives of marketers like me at risk. I hardly had any success when I used the app back in 2017. Maybe I am a marketer who doesn’t oversell.