Firstly, it is a great product designed just for smartphones and with strong social integration, need FB to use.
Extremely 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). A factor of smart phone use is short session times. You can log in for literally ten seconds and get an experience. That’s cool for millennials, who they target.
There are no questionnaires to on-board unlike most dating sites. It is a little reminiscent of Hot or Not from back in the day.
Another key feature is the “double opt in” where you don’t know you have been rejected, only when you have a match. In Asia, for example, this is a big thing. It dramatically reduces fear of use. I believe they also have what i call a “negative social graph” where you won’t connect with people you know (At least on FB). Why not have a go, then?
When you have product/market fit everything gets easier. The fact it is so easy to start using means conversion is super high, you don’t LOSE people thought another way.
So to your question directly, Tinder targeted campuses, hosting ‘exclusive’ frat parties at USC with admittance based on having downloaded the app, and it worked. They signed up hundreds of available singles in a geographically dense area each night. Concentration is key, particularly since they are radius based will little focus on an interest graph.
Sean Rad said:
“It happened around January. 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.”
Word of mouth was killer for them from what I have actually experienced. “The kids are all talking about it in the office” my friend said for example.
WoM is the most powerful marketing you can get, you just need density and to get past the initial tipping point (“do things that don’t scale” as Paul Graham wrote in an essay).
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