Social Marketing in a Time of Tinder

Whether you love it, loathe it, never used it or are fascinated by it, Tinder is the app on the tip of everyone’s tongue. The app has revolutionised the dating game so much so that it could be considered to be a social network in its own right.


It is because of this popularity that marketers are increasingly looking for ways to utilise the service. So why is Tinder becoming a hotbed for advertisers? Well here are the stats…


  • An estimated 50 million people use Tinder every month.
  • The average user spends up to 90 minutes a day on the app
  • There are more than 1 billion profile swipes per day on Tinder
  • Tinder makes 12 million matches per day
  • There is a 50/50 split between men and women


With these numbers in mind, it is clear why Tinder could be good for brands. Firstly, the app is full of people who are young, tech-savvy and highly connected. The app is extremely location-based, so it’s easy to get a local community engaged. Using the simple interface and concept, Tinder campaigns can “match” users to just about anything, including fashion, hotels, TV shows and travel destinations. Lastly, when a match is made, brands have the opportunity to chat directly in-app with people interested in its products or services.


Whilst the app has opened itself to paid advertising, and is currently working with Facebook’s third-party ad tech network to allow advertisers to purchase ads programmatically, there have been an array of interesting campaigns which have harnessed the power of the swipe. Let’s take a look…


Amnesty International

  • Amnesty International Australia used the network to raise awareness about forced marriages with a campaign launched on International Women’s Day.
  • The nonprofit replaced profile pictures with downloadable images illustrating that oppressed women around the world still aren’t able to make important choices about their lives – the kinds of choices that many of us take for granted.
  • The Tinder images that Amnesty posted drove traffic to the Make a Choice website.


Missing Persons Unit

  • Annually, about 3,000 people go missing in the Santa Catarina area of Brazil and this campaign by the DPPD Missing Persons Unit takes an unusual approach to getting the word out about these people in the hopes of bringing them back home.

    The campaign involved the use of Tinder, where fake public dating profiles were created for each of the missing individuals using info from Facebook.

  • If someone happened to swipe right, indicating a match, the person would be taken to more information about the missing person and given a place where they would be able to provide possible tips on their whereabouts.
  • Amazingly, with the ‘Blind Date’ campaign on Tinder, 23 people were found and returned home.



Ex Machina

  • Male attendees at SXSW festival 2015 matched with a woman named Ava only to discover, after chatting back and forth for a while, that Ava was a robot whose Tinder profile was created to promote the film Ex Machina, which premiered at the festival.
  • The big reveal happened following a bit of friendly banter, when Ava’s suitors were directed to her Instagram profile promoting the film.
  • This campaign stood out because it fooled users into thinking they were chatting with a real woman, whereas most other Tinder marketing campaigns have been upfront about the fact that they’re ads. While this technique will likely drive high engagement rates, a brand also risks annoying users who thought they had a chance at a real date; some might feel like the campaign wasted their time.



Nurse Nicole

  • To promote Men’s Health Month, advertising students from Miami ad school created Nurse Nicole.
  • If guys swiped to indicate interest in the attractive Nurse Nicole, they had the chance to engage her in conversation.
  • No matter how rude or suggestive the conversation, the profile would continue the interaction with users, eventually directing them to a website where they could book doctor’s appointments.


In a nutshell, dating and other online apps are providing diverse and interesting new ways of reaching highly engaged audiences via a less conventional medium. Tinder and various similar dating apps have a distinct user base (predominately 18-34), so provide a great way of targeting audiences. However, brands need to be wary about how to make a campaign feel authentic and not invasive or deceptive, so as not to mislead audiences into thinking that they have matched with someone special.



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