Location-based dating apps such as Tinder have changed the way people meet. The app allows speed of access to potential dates, as well as allowing users to be able to locate other users in the same geographical area. Tinder works by allowing users to indicate whether or not they like another user’s profile. If the like is reciprocated then this results in a match allowing the parties to communicate via the app’s messaging system. Despite the relative ease of using the app, many people become discouraged because of their lack of success. Here are some research-based tips on how you can improve your chances of success on Tinder.
When are you most likely to receive a Tinder match?
Some people may be discouraged from using Tinder citing a lack of matches as a reason for giving up on the app. Therefore it is important to appreciate when we may be most likely to receive a Tinder match. Researchers observed some Tinder matches occurring across the whole of the day, but with peaks in matching at around 9am and 6pm, coinciding with the busiest commuting times. Matches did occur in the evening, although they tailed off after about 9pm.
Gender differences in matches
Despite liking many other profiles, the male profiles in the study only matched with about 0.6% of the profiles they had liked. In contrast, the female profiles achieved a 10.5% matching rate from the profiles they had liked. Distinct gender differences were also apparent in how matches occurred over time. It was noted that male matches built up slowly over a period of time, whereas the female profiles garnered over 200 matches in the space of one hour. This seems to indicate that males may have to work a lot harder in order to achieve matches and subsequent success in Tinder.
Are males and females using different Tinder strategies?
If there are gender differences in matches received, then are males and females using different strategies on Tinder? To investigate this, the researchers also asked male and female Tinder users what made them like potential matches. Three statements produced distinct gender differences in self-reported Tinder strategies.
- I only like profiles I’m attracted to – produced 91% agreement from females and 72% agreement from males.
- I casually like most profiles – produced 0% agreement for females and 35% for males.
- I adapt my strategy based on how many matches I am getting that day – produced 4% for females and 13% agreement for males.
How to improve
So knowing when in the day we are most likely to expect Tinder matches, understating that there are gender differences in the matches received by males and females, and appreciating that males and females use different strategies on Tinder, give us some understanding of how Tinder is used.
Researchers, also offer some advice on how to improve your success rate on Tinder:
The importance of the inclusion of photos in dating profiles has been demonstrated: 77% of all online dating views were for profiles with at least one photo. Researchers also noted that in the Tinder profiles they examined, the average number of photographs for males was 4.4, with the number being 4.9 for females.
However, are profile photographs really that important? This question was investigated by counting the number of matches over time for profiles featuring different numbers of photos. The research found that changing the number of female profile photos from one to three produced a 37% increase in matches. For male profiles, the improvement in matches was even greater. In a time period of four hours, a male profile with just one photo garnered 14 matches from females. However when the number of profile photos was increased to 3, the number of matches rose to 65. The explanation for this is to do with uncertainty reduction (knowing more about the person) when the number of photos used is increased.
The take home message is simple, increase the number of photos you use and this should result in more interest in your profile.
It has been suggested that a bio enhances the attractiveness of the profile owner. While Tinder allows users to write a short bio, the length of this for both males and females has been found to be relatively short. For example, it has been found that 36% of all accounts have no bio, with 42% of female profiles not having one. Furthermore, for those that do, most are just 100 characters from a possible maximum length of 500. It has also been investigated the number of matches attained by males, with and without a bio. The male Tinder profiles without bios achieved an average of 16 matches from women. This increased to 69 when a bio was present.
Therefore in order to achieve more matches on Tinder, males need to include a bio. The researchers speculate that bios may be less important for females, as they achieve a high number of matches from a photos-only profile.
In Tinder, messages can only be sent once there has been a match. Gender differences are also evident here. Once matched, 21% of females send a message, compared to only 7% of males, indicating that once matched females are about three times more likely to send a message compared with males. Researchers also investigated gender differences in the times taken to send a message after a match has been made, which indicated that the speed at which this is done is substantially faster on Tinder than with online dating sites. Specifically they noted that within five minutes after a match, males sent 63% of messages compared with 18% for females. Therefore, females are often waiting to receive a first message rather than sending one. However, message length for males is substantially shorter than for females. Typically, the most common message length for males is a meagre 12 characters, with 25% of male messages being under 6 characters (just long enough to say ‘hey’). By contrast, the typical length of a female message is about 122 characters. It is obvious from this that once matched, males make very little effort to pursue an interaction or conversation. The advice here then is obvious.
Overall then it seems that males like a larger number of females, yet once matched make little effort to pursue a conversation. The researchers speculate that the consequence of the low number of matches received by males on Tinder may motivate them to like a larger number of females in an attempt to improve their chances, thus the fact that males adapt their liking strategy according to the number of matches they are receiving. Similarly, the high number of matches received by females motivates them to become more choosy.
Quite simply though the advice seems to be, in order to improve your chances:
- Use plenty of photos
- Write an informative bio
- Message those with whom you have matched
Happy Tinder dating!
Dr Martin Graff is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of South Wales, whose main research interests are the psychology of online romantic relationships and social media.