By: Sean McSweeney & John Flaherty
Tinder is location-based application that allows people to create new relationships and meet new friends. Although many people perceive Tinder as a dating app, the company strongly believes that although many people do take to Tinder to find a romantic partner that is not the app’s sole purpose. The features of Tinder are fairly simple; firstly, your Tinder account must be connected to a Facebook account. Tinder requires you to connect with a Facebook account in order to cut down on fake accounts, by connecting to Facebook; Tinder is essentially running a quick background check, to confirm that you are a real person. After your account has been connected to Facebook you are free to begin scrolling through other users’ profiles. When a profile pops up you are given two options: to either “swipe” left or “swipe” right. By swiping left you are rejecting the other user’s profile and continuing your search. By swiping right you are saying you “like” the person and are interested in matching. The other primary feature is the ability to view your common connections and see if you share any mutual friends through Facebook, through this Facebook connection you can also view various pictures as well as their age and a brief bio.
The purpose of Tinder is to meet new people. The company phrases itself as a platform to meet “friends, dates, relationships, and everything in between”. Users are presented with a person’s profile on the home page. A profile consists of the person’s pictures, where they live or what school they attend, how far away they are, a space in which people can write anything they want, common Facebook connections, and their Instagram pictures. The user is given the option to swipe left or right. A right swipe is called a “like” and left swipe is titled “nope”. If you and another user mutually like each other, Tinder gives you and the other user a messaging platform. As of October 1, 2015 Tinder added a feature in which you can “Super Like” another user. This feature allows the app to show who super liked you instead of leaving the like anonymous. You are given a limited amount of Super Likes in a given period of time.
There are two primary activities that marketers typically engage in on Tinder: they are market research and promotion. Marketing research is crucial to any company that is trying to learn more about its consumers. A primary example of marketing research was collaboration between Tinder and Gillette. Gillette paid Tinder to research 100,000 Tinder profiles in order to determine whether people more frequently desired people with untidy facial hair compared to those who were clean-shaven. This research concluded that 74% of women were more likely to swipe right on a man who had well-groomed facial hair compared to those that didn’t take care of their facial hair. Promotion is also a major tool that people use via Tinder. For example many organizations use Tinder to promote everything from the latest blockbuster films to dog adoption! For example, interns at NYC Puppy Rescue Project created personal tinder profiles for abandoned dogs that they currently were taking care of in their shelters. In total they created 10 profiles for 10 abandoned puppies, in less than a week the 10 puppies received over 2,700 matches. This is a prime example of both promotion and earned media in Tinder.
Tinder is a pretty basic application. There is only a limited amount of interactions that can take place between two consumers. Consumers are allowed three options when presented with another consumer’s profile. Those options are the left swipe, the right swipe, and the Super Like. If two consumers mutually like each other then they are allowed to chat with each other. That is about the extent of consumer-to-consumer interaction. There is even less interaction between consumers and marketers on Tinder because you are not allowed to chat. The ads are presented the same way a consumer’s profile is. They can either be in video or picture form, depending on what type of ad it is. The consumer can get rid of the ad by swiping either way.
The culture of Tinder is very dynamic. There are many people on Tinder looking for love, friendship, and to simply meet new people. However, in what has been described as our current “hook-up” culture, there are also many users in search of a quick “hook-ups.” Norms are common on most social media sites. For example, on Facebook it is the norm to write on someone’s wall on his or her birthday or “like” a post when someone announces an engagement. However, for the most part, on Tinder there are no norms, besides people commonly messaging each other after a “match.” Community is a very interesting function of Tinder, primarily because you have the ability, to an extent, to structure your own community. This is possible by being able to select your age, gender, and location preferences. This is unique because this allows each and every tinder user the ability to be a member of his or her own individual community.
Because there is not a whole lot of interaction between consumers and marketers and the marketing platform of Tinder is still in its early stages, all a company can really do is raise awareness. The extent of marketing on Tinder is a picture or video. Some companies try to develop an emotional response by releasing tongue-in-cheek ads. The elephant in the room for both parties is that Tinder is mostly used as a hookup app and some companies like to use edgy and funny ads to not directly address it, but to allude to it. An example would be how Deadpool chose to market. They made an actual profile for the character that actually includes his interests and a funny bio. It also included several promiscuous pictures of the character. It was a funny and great way to develop an emotional connection and raise awareness for the movie.
All marketers track social metrics in order to better understand who their posts are reaching, how people perceive their posts, and the extent to which people are interacting with them. On Tinder, the primary metrics that are tracked are the number of users who saw your profile compared with the number of users who swiped right and “liked” your profile.
As for owned media, there is not a lot of opportunity on Tinder, but there are several ways to leverage earned and paid media opportunities through the app. One example of earned media is the campaign the NYC Puppy Rescue Project rolled out to raise awareness about abandoned dogs and how to adopt them. The interns for the project set up Tinder accounts for each of the puppies and provided information on their personalities, how old they are, and how big they will be when fully grown. The 10 puppies got 2,700 matches in less than a week. An example of paid media is how Gillette paid Tinder to have access to 100,000 profiles in order to research the connection between girls’ swipes and facial hair.
Although hashtags are a dominant tactic throughout many social media platforms, they are irrelevant in the realm of Tinder. The primary tactic used on Tinder by marketers is the use of pictures and creative biographies. A profile’s biography and pictures are the only information available in the profile that determines whether another user swipes left or right. The rationale behind both the pictures and bios is to attract users to swipe right and learn more about the product or service being advertised.
It doesn’t seem that Tinder has made its advertising prices public. However, we did find that most advertising campaigns on Tinder cost upwards of $5,000.
The marketing team for the Sci-Fi film, Ex-Machina, created an extremely successful marketing initiative through Tinder. They made a fake profile for a woman named “Ava” who is a character in the film. In the film Ava is half human and half android. Once users matched with Ava on tinder they would immediately be messaged, then were asked questions about everything from love interests to “What makes you human?” This was a very successful campaign and it created tons of hype for the film. This was so successful because marketers would only be active on the account when they were at film festivals and would set their radius on Tinder to one mile so they would primarily be interacting with Sci-Fi fans that were attending the festival.
An example of an unsuccessful marketing campaign on Tinder was Gap’s plan to use guerilla marketing with raunchy phrases such as “You’re invited to the pants party”. Gap’s campaign was unauthorized by Tinder and violated the company’s terms and services. All of the ads were promptly deleted.
There are most definitely risks that come along with advertising on any social media site. A primary example of risk when talking about tinder is the perception of many people that Tinder is nothing but a hookup app, and this is most definitely a stigma that you don’t want attached to your brand. Many people believe it is not a very professional outlet to advertise your product or service. Another belief is that when companies create profiles for their product, they are perceived by users as spam accounts and are immediately swiped left.
When using Tinder for marketing, companies need to decide whether their campaign suits the Tinder community. Tinder is a social media platform that was not made for everyone and definitely draws a certain crowd. Companies can easily lose money and run an unsuccessful campaign through Tinder if they don’t market towards Tinder’s crowd. Companies have to realize that their ad is basically a Tinder profile. Tinder is based off of split second reactions. A user’s profile has a split second to make an impression before another user swipes. An advertisement needs to make an impression just as quick as a user’s profile does because a user can swipe the ad away in seconds.
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