Tinder Growth Hacking Strategies Revealed (Ideas Your New Startup Could Copy)


Tinder is one of the year’s fastest growing apps right now. If you’re not familiar with the Tinder dating app, here’s the simple breakdown: Your profile includes up to five photos of your choosing, your first name, age and a tiny, optional tagline. Tinder then locates other Tinder users in your defined area and starts tossing you matches. You can then begin the most superficial process of swiping right for “cute” and left for “no thanks!”

Tinder was created by Hatch Labs, a “venture sandbox” controlled by IAC, a holding company run by Barry Diller. IAC also operates CollegeHumor, Ask.com, Dictionary.com, and other high-profile internet brands. Tinder was released in August 2012 but didn’t achieve appreciable traction until January 2013, when it rocketed into a Top 100 overall downloaded position in the App Store (iPhone / United States). Tinder was founded by Justin Mateen and Sean Rad.

In just a few short months, Tinder has already generated 4.7 billion profile ratings and is being downloaded more frequently than all other dating apps. The Tinder viral effect takes place within the context of networks, or groups of people associated by similar interests, characteristics, or geographies. Users who enter into a long-term relationship as a result of using Tinder are more likely to become highly vocal evangelists of the product.

–The Keep it simple, stupid (KISS) factor

The first most important thing for their growth was having an absolutely awesome simple product (focus on building a great product). Tinder is insanely simple to use too, “Stupid simple”. You get immediate utility as soon as you use it and has “infinite swipe” like Pinterest (in popular cities). You can log in for literally ten seconds and get an experience. That’s cool for millennials, who they target.

–On developing Tinder

“By limiting conversations to those our users have expressed interest in, we drastically reduce the “male spamming” associated with dating. This along with our focus on tying user identities to Facebook has created a safe and engaged experience for both males and females.”–Justin Mateen

–The initial growth strategies

Tinder was born out of an “app factory” that likely didn’t spend exorbitant amounts of money on marketing.  “We had been picking up on college campuses, then everyone went home and told their cousins and older brothers and friends about it, and all of a sudden Tinder started growing like a virus”–Sean Rad

Tinder held exclusive frat parties at USC with entrance being conditional on having downloaded the mobile application. This was a powerful initial idea. They signed up hundreds of available singles in a geographically dense area overnight.

Throwing a party probably will not work for your app but a targeted social ad spend in a specific college campus might (audience).

“We believe in top down marketing. We aimed to reach the social influencers that were looked up to within their peer groups and once they had a positive experience with the product, the organic word of mouth kicked in and Tinder trickled down to all their friends, and friends of their friends.”–Justin Mateen

Founders advice for new entrepreneurs

This isn’t our first attempt at building a mobile product nor our first attempt at building a company. Success and failure are both very relative. We have both faced adversity and disappointment, but we choose to get right back up. We use any road blocks we encounter as a means of making us better equipped to tackle the next issue and get over the hump.–Justin Mateen

You should only start a company because you can’t sleep at night until you solve a certain problem, and I think those problems need to find you. If you’re starting a company for the sake of starting a company, you’re going to fail.

If it’s not coming out of this irrational need to see this vision to fruition, when those all-nighters for a month in a row start to take a toll on your body, unless you have this immense will to see it through, it can break you. Start-ups are difficult. And that’s when things are going well.–Sean Rad.