Thinking Outside The (Tinder) Box

velocity Digital Innovation, Mobile Technology

unnamedUnless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve certainly heard about the popular dating app, Tinder, by now. The app currently hosts over 1.6 Billion user profiles with more than 50 million of those users spending at least 1 hour a day on the app, to complete roughly 1 billion swipes per day. It’s no wonder that Tinder is working hard to launch its paid advertising features.

While paid advertising is still limited and not openly available as of yet, its easy to imagine the value of strategically targeted advertising for such actively engaged users.  The app itself has already encroached into popular media with  numerous references to “swiping right” in advertising or even fun commercials such as this one from Franks Red Hot Sauce:

or the hilarious “Girls React To Tinder Lines” from MeUndies.

Tinder Launched it’s first official paid video ad last month with Bud Light’s Whatever USA video promotion, yet it wasn’t the first we’ve seen of advertising on Tinder. This year alone has seen major campaigns from The Mindy Show, Ex Machina, a fun date night out with the Atlanta Hawks for “Swipe Right Night”, a failed attempt from Gap’s “Pants Partyand my favorite… a date with Dominoes for singles home alone on Valentines Day.

It was no surprise to see the app used so heavily at South By SouthWest this year as touring musicians often use it as a way to connect with people in various cities and invite them out to their shows. It was only a matter of time until a musician launched a single on the platform like Jason Derulo did earlier this year with his video “Want to Want Me” which appeared to many as a Tinder “booty call” fantasy that enticed more than 1.1 million viewers to  swipe right and view his new video in only three days.  I have to admit that a part of me is sad to see the organic interactivity of the app overrun by paid players with dollars as there is something to be said for making a personal connection in the digital age.

While there is no doubt big brands are storming the gates, Tinder has proven itself to be a wonderful organizing tool for activist groups and non-profit organizations. The app was initially utilized by these organizations in 2013 and 14 as a new, free way to reach people. From hilarious interactions with “Nurse Nicole” who simply wanted to discuss men’s health issues during the “Matches for Mens Health” campaign, to human rights campaigns from Amnesty International and the Immigrant Council of Ireland that helped raise awareness about abuse and human trafficking, these groups were able to engage thousands of users directly with their causes.  In the case of  Operation “The Blind Date” profiles of 100 missing people were created and 23 were found using the app and my favorite “Puppy Love” an effort from Social Tees Animal rescue in New York that had over 1500 potential animal placements in only 24 hours.

Tinder has also proven itself to be a remarkable research tool for organizations, universities and marketing agencies across the country that have run all sorts of experiments to see what reactions people have to everything they can think of; including smoking, beards, dating trends, cultural sensitivity and more.

It will be interesting to see if non-profit organizations, educators, artists, activist or even small business owners will be able to compete with the new advertising initiatives Tinder will be offering. Tinder is already cracking down on “unauthorized” app usage that violates the apps “terms and conditions” clause. Yet, we won’t have to wait much longer to see what targeted pricing looks like.Rumor has it that general advertising options for the public may be available as early as August 2015.