Technology is our friend: First Look: Tinder Advertising
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June 1, 2015

First Look: Tinder Advertising

Tinder and its radically easy UI have shaken up the industry. Hardly any meeting or slide deck where Tinder is not mentioned for breaking into an existing, saturated market by fully leveraging mobile and social (it only works with a Facebook login, you can add Instagram to your profile), The desktop site is nothing but an advertisement to download the app and the place where blog, support and contact are stored.



Consumer-useless (because unnecessary) desktop site

But now it's time to prove that they can turn a profit, too. They have introduced a pay service, TinderPlus, based on basically two advantages: Passport lets you swipe in other cities, and Rewind lets you take a second look on profiles that you may have accidentally dismissed. The pricing is based on location (higher in the US or Germany, lower in developing countries) and age (higher for older users, above 30). I cannot imagine that they made these decisions by gut feeling; I rather assume that older users do not only have more available income and a generally higher willingness to pay, but probably use it more intensely. Higher number of sessions, higher number of swipes, better retention etc. One could also say Tinder has statistical proof that older users are more desperate. And one could assume that Tinder has excellent data about usage, both on an aggregate as well as user-individual level.

There are no official numbers, but for late 2014, the estimates ran up to 50 million active users and 1 billion swipes a day. Even positive assumptions about user growth, conversion rates and retention of monthly paying subscribers (who may sign off when they find their true love) show that to be "the next big thing", this will not be enough. Free Tinder users can expect advertising to be shown in their feed, and I ran across an example of it today: A special "Tinder Two for One Ticket" for the Holi Festival of Colors in Berlin.

Tinder Advertising is in user profile format
It showed up in the "newsfeed" of proposals, and the profile contains five images and a description of the offer: If you match, you qualify for the "Two for One special".

It's a match. Even this single screen would already be nice for brand marketers.

After the "match", you get an automatically generated (personalized would have been nice) message in the chat that contains a link to the special offer.

URL shortener leads to conversion site
The Google URL shortener delivers stats about number of clicks, where they originated, which platform, browsers etc. Conversion happens on the eventbrite page with pre-entered discount code "Tinder". When you try to buy tickets via the website, the special offer is not included (only after entering the discount code manually). I would be very keen to see reach, number of clicks, conversion etc., but even assuming this is just a small test campaign (couldn't find them as a sponsor on Holi's site or Facebook), we can learn about their advertising that they can target by:

  • current location
  • future location / location of interest by Passport swiping
  • gender, age

    Potentially by:
  • Facebook likes/interests
  • Facebook likes/interests of matches
That's already more than most publishers can do on their mobile sites with banner ads that probably get less attention and screen real estate (who hs an ad product where you can include 5 images and text, followed by an automated chat?). Production cost for ad formats should be pretty low. And even integrating short-form video somewhen in future should not be that complex. After that first glimpse into Tinder advertising, and from far far away, I personally think this could be bigger than their pay product.