Tinder's Dating App Now Has an Explore Section - The Wall Street Journal

Match Group Inc.’s Tinder is introducing a section called Explore that will make it easier for users to find matches based partly on their interests.

Tinder’s dating app rose to prominence with a reliance on a user experience that has emphasized users’ looks, with many rapidly swiping left or right on a feed of photos to indicate whether they might be interested.

The app has added features to find matches in other ways, profiles that allow users to record snippets on their interests to Tinder Passport, a paid product that gives users the chance to find matches across the world. The company has also expanded into interactive dating features, such as Vibes, a 48-hour event in the app that asks users to respond to a series of questions to match with others who participate.

The new Explore section includes more than 15 types of interests, such as “foodies,” “gamers,” and “animal parents.”  Different interests will surface to users depending on their locations, the time of day and their own passions. It is available to Tinder users in the U.S., U.K, Australia and New Zealand to start.

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“It is a lot more about curiosity than a hard, set filter of ‘I only want to see people that do this or have this,’” said Kyle Miller, product lead at Tinder. “It does offer more control than Tinder has today because in our testing, we found the members, they go across multiple of these categories.”

The new tab will also incorporate Tinder’s interactive dating features Swipe Night and Hot Takes. Both are social dating experiences with twists, such as a time constraint or choose-your-own adventure storyline, that encourage users to match with others. Users will also be able to find Verified Profiles in the Explore tab, a feature released in 2020 that authenticates people’s photos using artificial intelligence and real-time selfies.

The tab’s release comes at a time when dating apps, including Tinder, have experienced a surge in users. Tinder saw a 15.3% increase in monthly active users in the final quarter of 2020, one of six dating apps to post a gain, according to data tracker Apptopia.

The dating app also saw direct revenue growth of 26% in the second quarter of 2021, with 9.6 million payers, up 17% from the year prior. Direct revenue refers to earnings received directly from users by either subscription services or one-off purchases, as opposed to returns made from advertising. Match doesn’t disclose Tinder’s active users.

Rivals are also facing off to win the expected new users that are yet to arrive.

Smartphone dating app users are expected to grow to 28.4 million users in 2022, up from an estimated 27.4 million this year, according to data from research firm eMarketer.

Tinder’s additional section was developed to give users more context about potential matches and to make the app feel more dynamic, said Mr. Miller.

“What they were asking for was not ‘I want a million sections in my profile,’ but instead, context that can be captured in a fun, entertaining and unique way,” he said.

Tinder and other dating apps are using techniques commonly found in social media apps, including other apps’ own “explore” tabs, that are designed to retain users and keep them coming back, said Alexander Georges, co-founder and chief operating officer of Craftle Inc., an interior design app, and publisher of the Master Design Blog.

The ephemerality of what will show up on the Explore section is a common feature of games, and is meant to keep people coming back to see what is new, said Lydia Chamberlain, a digital product designer at SADA Inc. and publisher of Master Design Blog.

Tinder’s Explore section is also a bid to engage Gen Z, marketers say.

“Gen Z is a generation that loves community, and that often involves bonding over mutual interests and passions,” said Erifili Gounari, founder and chief executive of Z Link, a social marketing agency. “Anything that can successfully address that need for constant and profound connection is definitely something that would spark Gen Z’s interest.”

Filtering potential dating matches through smaller, interest-based communities is a natural extension of how Gen Z already navigates other social platforms, said Brendan Gahan, partner and chief social officer at Mekanism Inc., an ad agency.

“With so much screen time, so much of social activity just naturally happens online, but in more intimate spaces than maybe older generations, who have more of that happening in-person,” Mr. Gahan said.

Write to Ann-Marie Alcántara at

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