Beating the Tinder game.

800+ Matches. I’ll probably get banned for this…


I recently embarked on a Tinderventure, during which I learned a lot about dating psychology, gender roles, and native content marketing. Below outlines exactly how I got over 800 matches, and what I learned in the process.

Note: some readers might feel like I ‘led people on’ or exploited the platform.
Did I lead people on? No, not really. I’ve had a handful of great conversations with people I might have otherwise never met.
Did I exploit the platform? Hell yes I did.

UPDATE 10/24/2014:

I have continued this experiment behind-the-scenes since writing this article in March. I created TinderHacks 2.0 that has an even more in-depth look at what really works on Tinder (best images, messages, replies, and more).

Click here to get access to TinderHacks 2.0!

Step 1: Update Profile Pics

After reading ‘Made to Stick’ (aff) I decided to experiment with implied authority. I wanted to make it look as if Tinder was endorsing my profile. I hoped it would add more trust and credibility, which would result in more matches.

I used Photoshop to make this image template.

I got a high-res version of the Tinder logo here.

I used Photoshop to create a clipping mask of the Tinder logo.

I duplicated the picture of myself to use as a background image, and applied blur and a B&W filter.

I found a font called Rezland that matched the branded font pretty well. It’s not perfect, but it was close enough. On the first picture I wrote ‘match of the day.’ On the other images, I wrote different phrases that were in-line with what I’ve observed to be desirable on Tinder.

Here are the 6 images that I created. They are in order from right to left, with the final tile reading ‘what are you waiting for. swipe right’

The outcome looks something like this to people who see my profile in-app.

You can see here that the font is not perfect. The ‘d’ is not the same in the font I used, and the cross of the ‘t’ is also lower…but I still felt it looked close enough for this experiment.

Since I was advertising myself as ‘match of the day,’ I wanted to make sure that when people swiped right, we would be matched immediately. For this reason…


Step 2: Swipe Right on EVERYONE

I began mass-liking everyone that was recommended to me by the pocket-sized matchmaker. When I ran out of people to swipe, I increased my radius to the maximum (100 miles). I also increased the age range a bit.

I started getting matches. Lots of matches.

I know what you’re thinking…

720 and counting!

‘Of COURSE you are getting lots of matches. You swipe right on EVERYONE!’

You are correct. The fact that I swipe right on everyone definitely increases the number of matches I get. But knowing this, the data collected after-the-fact becomes even more interesting.

Step 3: Update Tinder Bio

I am a digital marketer to the core. This became glaringly obvious when, after matches started pouring in, my first thought was ‘What can I do with this traffic?’

Updated bio after I noticed a significant jump in matched received.

I decided to update my bio with a link to my Medium articles. Who knows, maybe it will get me some more reads/recs?

https://twitter.com/Adweek/statuses/456779435568398337

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Lessons Learned:

Here are the key take-aways from my Tinderventure

Less than 8% of females will message first.

I have gotten 64 inbound messages during this experiment. I messaged 20 people first, about half of which replied to my message. But seriously… only 8% of girls will message first!? That is crazy to me.

It is possible that some users I matched with have not checked the app since matching, but that is very doubtful. After all, most of the matches occurred when they clicked ‘like’ …which will prompt an immediate notification. Gender roles and cultural expectations are ridiculous. If you want to talk to someone, say hello.

But to those 8% … Bravo!

If you are one of the 720 matches who hasn’t messaged me, message me! I promise I will respond to you. I love meeting new people.

Implied authority has a noticeable impact on behavior.

I didn’t mention it above, but I started this experiment several days before updating my pictures. I swiped right on everyone to see how many people would message first.

After I updated the images, the volume of matches per day increased significantly. The percentage of in-bound messages stayed relatively flat, but more matches meant more messages. The subject matter of the inbound messages changed. People started mentioning the ‘match of the day’ in their messages to me.

Native content for the WIN!

Social media marketing has spread through business-marketing like wildfire. Trouble is, most marketers are doing it wrong. They are searching for tools that automate content distribution. The same messaging gets sent to each social media channel, with no consideration of the platform itself.

Gary Vaynerchuk is my biggest idol when it comes to content marketing. He preaches ‘native content’ better than anyone I know. If you want to learn more about native content, and how it applies to making people buy stuff, pick up his book ‘Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook’ (aff)

This experiment was native marketing to the extreme. I took all of the nuances that are part of Tinder, and leveraged them to the best of my ability. For example, girls will write ‘don’t be short’ or ‘I’m 5'9 and like tall men’ all the time in their bio sections. The second profile image I used had the caption ‘he is taller than you.’ While this might not be true for every person that see’s it, it will be true for most matches, and also make people smile.

After all, Tinder is a game. And games should be fun. And fun should make you smile.

If you don’t have the Tinder App, you can get it here.

I am not suggesting that you create profile images that make you appear to be endorsed by Tinder. Especially if you plan to actually use the app for dating. Like I said… I will probably be banned as soon as they catch wind of this article.

Want to see what I did AFTER this experiment?

If you are interested in TinderHacks 2.0, click HERE.