Believe it or not, launching an online marketing campaign is a lot like dating on Tinder.

A friend recently enlisted me to help him create his Tinder profile. He had been on an online dating hiatus and this time, he didn’t want to just ‘wing it.’ He wanted to create a well-thought out profile that would return the best results. So I helped style him and took his photos. We carefully wrote and edited every word on his profile. We chose the photos that we thought represented him best, and reviewed his profile.


Then he went on a swiping frenzy. He crafted personalised messages to send to each of his matches. He followed up diligently and continued to talk to his matches on the app. A few days later, we reviewed his matches and he selected his dates. He was delighted at the results.

Tinder and online marketing

It may be a cynical way to think about finding a love interest, but Tinder is essentially a personal marketing platform. We put ourselves on the app with some sort of goal in mind, and everything we do on the app aims to help us reach it (whatever it may be). Don’t take my word for it, check out this awesome marketing funnel re-imagined for Tinder:

Source: Sprinklr

According to Contently, “marketing and dating aren’t all that different. They’re both about finding the right people, building a relationship, and then, after all your hard work, making that final sale. (Take that as you will.)”

That’s not to say you should be applying marketing best practices directly to dating. However, there are definitely key lessons we can take from Tinder that can be applied when launching online marketing campaigns. In this blog post I’ll be discussing four of them.

Lesson #1: Looks matter

Did you know that wearing glasses in your profile photos will reduce your chances of a right swipe? According to a study from Tinder, a four-eyed avatar can reduce your chance of finding love by 12%. Tough luck, Steve Urkel.


It’s no surprise that first impressions and aesthetic appeal are extremely important for Tinder, and it’s actually no different for online marketing. You could have an amazing product or service, but if your website and campaign isn’t clean, attractive, and appeals to your target audience, your potential customers could be giving you the left swipe.

With Tinder, you craft your profile according to the type of Tinder users you want to attract. For example, if you were interested in matching with people who had a good sense of humor, you’d likely sprinkle jokes and puns throughout your profile.

You should be doing the same for an online campaign: “Figure out who you want to attract first and optimise your assets (website, content, social presence) to match what they’re looking for,“ says Content Strategy Manager Lisa Toner.

Lesson #2: Don’t use one-size-fits-all pick up lines

It’s a match! Now what?

tumblr mdwqhpDPdq1rlseiyo1 500

After my friend received a number of matches, next came the hard part: writing the first message. The opening message can be the be-all-end-all to your to Tinder pursuit. In fact, the first exchange is “the first chance to make a connection, similar to the first email in a marketing or sales nurture program.” That’s according to Sprinklr Product Manager Scott Amerman, who conducted an experiment about Tinder and customer experience.

While this means that your opening message should be well-thought out, it doesn’t need to be elaborate or complicated.

There are 2 things we learned from writing effective Tinder intro messages:

1. Be personal

Have you ever heard a great pickup line and then wondered to yourself “how many times have they used this one before?” Everyone wants to feel special, and it’s the same when we’re launching an online marketing nurture campaign. No one likes getting generic, boilerplate emails that were sent en masse.

Instead, research your target audience well and use keywords that would speak and resonate with them.

2. Be original

Being personal in an opening message alone isn’t enough to seal the deal. Your match could be getting dozens of personalized messages and you need to

grasp their attention in the few seconds until their next swipe. So skip the lazy, “Hey [name] what’up, I like your picture of [thing]” lines.

It’s similar when you’re one of hundreds of marketing subject lines in an email inbox. Your prospects not only want to feel special but they need to feel that your content is relevant to them. “You need to provide value in order to start a conversation,“ says Toner. Find out what their business wants and needs are, and speak to those.

Lesson #3: Don’t be a phony

It’s no surprise, but the most effective relationships are built on trust and honesty. Most of my friend’s Tinder dates went well, except for one where the person was not at all as they had described on their profile. It did not make him feel good. In fact, he wanted to cut the date short.


A user study by Tinder found that “‘warrantability’ is important. Transparency online ‘increases viewers’ beliefs that a person presented in a profile corresponds with the person creating the profile.’”

So what’s the big secret to getting people to swipe right? Be yourself. “Put up photos which represent you how you really look…and include links to your social media accounts so that potential dates can do their background research.” (Marie Claire)

Most of us would think twice before lying on our Tinder profile, so we should make the same consideration in our marketing campaigns. We’ve all clicked on clickbait ads or social media posts because we were led to believe we were going to get something we expected. Misleading your audience will not gain you more leads or improve your brand loyalty.

Be upfront about what you want from your audience in your campaign. Whether it’s in a tweet, email, or ad, make your call to action clear so they know exactly what to expect.

Lesson #4: Ask for a handshake before the hug

While Tinder is known as the original casual dating app, more and more people are finding long-term relationship success on it. According to findings from a study done by Tinder’s on-site sociologist, “Tinder users are more likely to be looking for a committed relationship than are offline daters.”

What is their secret to long-term relationship success? Investing time to get to know their matches, and nurturing potential relationships.


For my friend, he knew he eventually wanted be in a relationship, but he also knew that it’d probably take a lot of dates to get there. After all, he wasn’t planning on asking to meet his match’s parents after the first coffee.

Businesses should also think about whether they want loyal customers that will buy repeatedly, or one-time purchasers. While short-term customers may be easier to acquire, it’s the loyal customers that will be more valuable and cost-effective in the end.

So if it’s commitment and loyalty you want from your customers, you need to cultivate it from the start of your marketing campaign. Once they give you their email or start engaging with your social media profiles, nurture the relationship by getting to know them and continuing to provide them with relevant content.

Treat your next marketing online campaign like your ideal date

Even though dating on Tinder is a lot like launching an online marketing campaign, you’ll want to avoid directly applying marketing strategies to your love life. You’ll miss the spontaneity and human element that makes dating worthwhile.

After all,“dating isn’t a science, and marketing isn’t either.” (Contently) But we can all apply these Tinder lessons in our next campaign: put your best foot forward, get to know your audience, and nurture relationships carefully.

As for my friend? He’ll continue to swipe right until he finds the Tinder match of his dreams.

I just hope he’ll invite me to the wedding.

Want more tips on how to create marketing campaigns that work? Check out our resources:

mention for agencies