OPINION: Tell your kids you met on Tinder

Jonno Seidler
By Jonno Seidler | 2 July 2013
Jonno Seidler, social account manager at Leo Burnett Sydney

This weekend, I’m going for drinks with a girl I’ve never met. What I do know about her, which is very little, is her hair colour, first name and age. It’s sort of a blind date, but not really.

The thing is, we met on an app.

It’s called Tinder and it’s already a huge deal in the United States. An old school friend of mine is licensing the use of Tinder down under, hoping to leverage the success of the platform that’s so narcotically easy to use that I have already knighted it the Instagram of Hook-Ups.

Tinder is supposed to be the great e-dating democratiser. You can scroll through endless photos of potential paramours in extended networks far beyond your own, bestowing upon them hearts or crosses as you see fit.

Only when that same person of the opposite sex (or the same, if you’ve changed it in the settings) selects you are you allowed to engage in conversation with them. It’s as close as you’ll get to risk-free superficiality, and you’ll never really end up looking like a desperate schlock on RSVP.com or that lone ranger sitting alone at the end of the bar. In fact, you can do this while you’re at a bar, selecting from date options both in real life and real time.

Because it requires Facebook as an authenticator (this is to stop fake photos, names and ages, apparently) before you’re allowed to login, Tinder is yet another un-monetised app sitting on a veritable goldmine of rich data.

However, for Tinder to become a platform for marketers, it needs to do a number of things successfully or it will burn out. Perhaps the most important of these is to retain and grow its user base. The premise of an app like Tinder is that, to paraphrase Rihanna, you may realistically find love in a hopeless place.

To keep itself aligned to that impossible ideal, Tinder needs to ensure that users will not end up staring at the same profile shots day-in, day-out, and that there is always a fresh batch of singles dumped onto the virtual baggage carousel that is its central UX proposition.

By cracking the code of how to socialise one of the most social aspects of social media, and providing a clean and simple interface with which to do it, Tinder has set itself up for an interesting journey towards future capital. Like Instagram before it, perhaps the most attractive part of Tinder’s offering is how free, easy and devoid of ads it currently is.

More agile brands could leverage the Facebook connection, as Tinder shows any ‘Likes’ you have in common with another person in the app. The potential for campaigns based on two people who didn’t know each other but were both fans of Smirnoff Vodka, for instance, is definitely there. No other dating network is so closed, yet so open at the same time. 

Like a beta version of Mark Zuckerberg’s first social network, Tinder works primarily on face value, leaving the serious questions until later. That’s not actually all that different from real life. A primal connection based on attractiveness determines how we relate to many different things, from the opposite sex right through to cars, watches, heels and trench coats. High-end brands use beautiful people to sell these products almost exclusively, so the marrying of a platform that rewards vanity to products that encourage it seems an intelligent option.

Tinder is definitely less volatile than Vine or Snapchat, but just as interesting as part of a new breed of apps that are replacing regular forms of communication. To engage audiences at this level may be tricky, but also a fascinating experiment. After all, everyone wants to feel a little rush of love in their day-to-day interactions –brands included.

Jonno Seidler
Social Account Manager
Leo Burnett Sydney

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