The future of Match dating apps, Bumble is much more social

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The Bumble Trading Inc. website on a smartphone hosted in the Brooklyn neighborhood of New York, USA on Monday, January 4, 2021.

Gabby Jones | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Dating apps have been working the same pattern for years – users add a handful of photos and fill out a bio. For the most part, people look at these profiles and swipe left to decline or right to express interest. If two people slide to the right, they match and could end up on a date.

But now that is changing.

The pandemic has caused a level of disruption that has allowed businesses to envision what the future of dating apps might look like without slipping recklessly.

Look at Bumble, for example, which has a “Night In” trivia option. The feature allows users to set up a virtual trivia date if they match someone. It also allows users to send correspondence voice memos, a feature that went viral on TikTok earlier this year.

And Tinder, Match Group’s largest dating app, offers “Swipe Night,” a live interactive dating feature where singles follow a story together. During a period of time, people try to find out who committed the invented crime. At the end of each episode, members work with another participant via “Quick Chat”, where they can talk about the story, analyze different clues, and help solve the mystery together. They can also choose to correspond later.

Adding videos and audio will allow people to interact in ways that haven’t yet been done with online dating, in the hope that they will spend more time on apps (earn more money) and build better connections that could attract more people online.

The companies hinted that there was more to come in terms of social elements and more interactive features, but didn’t say exactly what was on their product roadmaps. Potential features could include Clubhouse-style audio chat or other ways to bring friends into the experience.

“While swiping left and right has dramatically changed the way singles connect, we believe users want more control over this experience,” Citi senior analyst Nicholas Jones told CNBC. “To maintain a healthy and engaged network, BMBL will need to continue to innovate to provide users with the experience they are looking for.”

Users have made it clear that they want to video meet in order to break the ice or check out the “vibes” of a date before seeing them in person. Tinder said nearly users had a video chat with a match during the pandemic, while 40% plan to continue using the video even when the pandemic is over.

Singles know what they’re looking for

Bumble said that as the pandemic emerges, people are “much clearer” with what they are looking for in a relationship.

“We are really trying to give them the tools to do that and to improve the experience of the most serious and intentional types of relationships our users are talking about,” Bumble President Tariq Shaukat said on the last conference call. on the results of the company. “So a lot of what we did in Q2 as well as the plan for Q3 and Q4 is really focused on activities like this in addition to new monetization features. “

Bumble, as mentioned, has Night In and the ability to send things like images, voice notes, and GIFs to matches. But the company could introduce things like video into user profiles or new ways to discover users outside of swiping left and right.

Tinder also added in-app videos and announced a “discover” section that mimics social media feeds. Users can see potential matches who share similar interests with them, such as if someone has pets or is interested in skydiving.

Tinder said the changes are an effort to give Gen Z users what they want.

“Gen Z uses Tinder on their terms; bios alone don’t always tell the story enough to get a Like or a Nope,” the company said in June. Tinder focuses on when someone is ready to swipe left or right on another user, CEO Jim Lanzone later explained to CNBC.

“This is a very rich area for innovation,” he said. “This is the start of something.”

Lanzone joined Tinder last year after leading CBS Interactive, where he developed the company’s push into streaming. The hiring of the executive was a clear indication that Tinder wants to push more into the video. But this time, he said, the focus is on bonding, not entertainment.

“Tinder itself is probably the number one generator of new relationships in the country, and probably marriage too, on top of all the other connections we make. And that’s not always something you can decide on at the same time. fly from the photo or bio, although those are important, and Tinder, obviously, was a pioneer in moving category in that way, ”Lanzone added.“ But now we have this sheet of very rich route of, probably years, innovation. “

Tinder’s parent company is also taking broader action. Earlier this summer, Match closed its $ 1.7 billion acquisition of Hyperconnect, a social media company that created “the first mobile version” of WebRTC. This will allow the company to focus on its research and development, adding more live chat functionality and video experiences to its applications.

Match COO Gary Swidler said during the company’s latest earnings call that he expects at least two of his brands to use Hyperconnect technology before the end of the year, while a number of Other brands will implement its technology by the end of 2022. The company hasn’t detailed exactly what the additions would look like, but that could include things like live streaming or even more chat additions.

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