I recently came across an advertisement for the ever popular dating app, Tinder, on the popular social media platform, Snapchat. This advertisement was publicizing Tinder’s newest campaign for Tinder U, a branch of Tinder that will focus solely on university students. However, before I dive in to this latest strategy of Tinder, I want to discuss where I saw the ad.
The other day in class we were discussing whether or not Snapchat was fading amongst college-aged users. Personally, Snapchat has significantly fallen off of my radar, and I feel as though it is beginning to fade amongst my friends as well. While I don’t think Snapchat will be abandoned anytime soon, I do feel as though the age demographic may be shifting towards a younger crowd, i.e. middle and high schoolers. Therefore, in addition to the Tinder U ad being on Snapchat to attract current university students, I also feel as though Tinder chose to advertise on this platform to fascinate its future users. This marketing strategy of targeting both current and future users of this feature is a smart move by Tinder, in order to excite future users who may soon be entering college.
So now, what exactly in Tinder U?
Tinder U is Tinder’s latest feature, launched on August 21st to specifically target university students. To quickly summarize, Tinder is a dating app in which its users “swipe right” on someone they would like to converse with via the app’s messaging system. Tinder will only show you users within geographical proximity, and who fit the age range and gender you have selected when signing up. Currently, Tinder has the reputation of being primarily a hook-up app, rather than a facilitator of long-term relationships, like Match.com or eHarmony. However, Tinder is actively working to alter their reputation in order to gain more users, and Tinder U is a step in this direction.
From my research, when a user opens their Tinder app on a college campus, the app will ask if they would like to join Tinder U. If they choose to, they will have to supply the app with a .edu email address, and then respond to a verification email. You then select if you would like to only see other university students at your school or in your area, or simply place an emphasis on seeing other university students.
However, contrary to Tinder’s reputation, Tinder is marketing this new feature as a way to foster platonic relationships. Tinder’s statement on Tinder U advertises this feature as a great way to meet study partners, workout buddies, or to simply make new friends on campus. Tinder U is placing an emphasis on connections and creating a more connected campus community, rather than solely romantic relationships. Through Tinder U students could potentially meet others they would never have met organically, and create lasting friendships. This expansion strategy is hoping to attract a different user base to Tinder, and thus have a larger pool of users to convert into paying customers.
While I do think that Tinder U could influence more students to sign up for Tinder, I do not necessarily feel as though it will be used to find study buddies and other platonic friends. I see it being very difficult for Tinder’s reputation to make the shift from hook-ups all the way to platonic friends. I feel as though most people who sign-up for Tinder U will still be using the app for non-platonic relationships, and will simply be attracted to this feature for its university student filter.
However, one flaw of Tinder that I feel Tinder U helps to solve, is the aspect of safety and feeling comfortable. With the requirement of having a .edu email to use Tinder U, I feel as though students will feel safer using singing up for Tinder U than they would have for the original Tinder.
This feature also comes at an interesting time, as Facebook has just launched their dating platform in Columbia this past month. I can infer that with Facebook’s entrance into the dating world, the competition between dating apps will only increase, and more dating apps will begin to launch new strategies to expand their user base.
In the future, I definitely see there being an increase in the creation of apps to facilitate friendships, as they aim to make the process of finding friends more efficient. This could be especially helpful for people who move to new cities, and are looking to find people with similar hobbies and interests in a timely manner.
If we use technology for everything else, why not use it to make friends as well?