Tinder launches a new a la carte option, Super Boost, only for subscribers

Tinder this morning announced a second, more premium version of its most popular a la carte purchase, Boost, with the launch of Super Boost — an upgrade only offered to Tinder Plus and Tinder Gold premium subscribers. The idea with the new product is to extract additional revenues out of those users who have already demonstrated a willingness to pay for the dating app, while also offering others another incentive to upgrade to a paid Tinder subscription.

Similar to Boost, which puts you on top of the stack of profiles shown to potential matches for 30 minutes, Super Boost also lets you cut the line.

Tinder says the option will be shown to select Tinder Plus and Tinder Gold subscribers during peak activity times, and only at night. Once purchased and activated, Super Boost promises the chance to be seen by up to 100 times more potential matches. By comparison, Boost only increases profile views by up to 10 times.

Also like Boost, Super Boost may not have a set price point. Tinder prices its products dynamically, taking into account various factors like age, location, length of subscription, and other factors. (Tinder’s decision to up its pricing for older users led to an age discrimination class action lawsuit, which the company eventually settled. This limits its ability to price based on age, but only in California.)

The company hasn’t yet settled on a price point — or range — for Super Boost, but is now testing various options in the select markets where the feature is going live. Super Boost is not broadly available across all Tinder markets nor to all premium subscribers at this time, as the company considers this a test for the time being.

The addition, if successful, could have a big impact on Tinder’s bottom line.

As Tinder’s subscriber base grows, its a la carte purchases do the same — the company even noted they reached record levels in Q4 2018, when it also disclosed that a la carte accounts for around 30 percent of direct revenue. Boost and Super Like are the most popular, and Tinder has for a long time hinted that it wants to expand its menu of a la carte features as it grows.

During the first quarter of 2019, Tinder’s average subscribers were 4.7 million, up from 384,000 in the previous quarter and 1.3 million year-over-year. Its most recent earnings also topped estimates, thanks to Tinder’s continued growth, bringing parent company Match Group’s net income across its line of dating apps to $123 million, or 42 cents a share, up from $99.7 million, or 33 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

That said, the decision to monetize a user base against a built-in algorithm bias may be a long-term riskier bet for Tinder and other dating apps, who are already the subject of much cultural criticism thanks to articles lamenting their existence, damning documentaries, their connection to everything from racial discrimination to now eating disorders, as well as studies that demonstrate their unfair nature — like this most recent one from Mozilla.

For the near-term, dating app makers reliant on this model are raking in the profits due to a lack of other options. But there’s still room for a new competitor that could disrupt the status quo. Had Facebook not waited until its name had been dragged through the mud by way of its numerous privacy scandals, its Facebook Dating product could have been that disruptor. For now, however, Tinder and its rivals are safe — and its users will likely continue to pay for any feature offering them the ability to improve their chances.

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Tinder preps 'Lite' version of its dating app for data-limited areas

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Add Tinder to the growing list of tech giants launching lightweight apps to reel in more users. As part of an earnings call, Match Group divulged plans for a Tinder Lite app that would be smaller and better-suited to area where cellular data “comes at a premium.” CEO Mandy Ginsberg made no mention of features or a release date (other than “soon”), but did point to Southeast Asia as a high priority when there’s an influx of young people into packed cities.

As with other lightweight apps and scaled-back operating systems like Android Go, this is really about maintaining growth that might otherwise taper off. Although Tinder is still growing at a solid pace (its paid subscribers jumped 38 percent year-over-year in early 2019), it knows those numbers won’t last forever. A Tinder Lite app would give it access to millions of people who have only basic smartphones, limited access to data or both. Even if only a fraction of those newcomers sign up, that’s a large potential expansion.

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Tinder is preparing to launch a lightweight version of its dating app called ‘Tinder Lite’

Tinder is preparing to launch a version of its popular dating app aimed at users in emerging markets. The app, which will be called “Tinder Lite,” offers a smaller, more lightweight version of the current flagship app, the company says. Smaller app size is a defining characteristic of most of today’s “Lite” apps, which are specifically focused on addressing the unique needs of users in areas where data usage, bandwidth, and storage space is a concern.

Most major tech companies now offer “Lite” apps for the large and rapidly growing online user base coming from these emerging markets — and specifically India, as of late.

For example, Google has a full suite of lightweight “Go”-branded apps like Google Go, Gmail Go, Files Go, YouTube Go, Google Maps Go, and Google Assistant Go. There’s also Facebook Lite, Instagram Lite, Messenger Lite, Twitter Lite, Uber Lite, Spotify Lite, and even TikTok Lite, to name a few others.

Tinder, apparently, believes it too has reached the point of needing a Lite version, given the dating app’s traction and growth. While the company doesn’t share the size of its total user base, the Tinder app averaged 4.7 million paid subscribers in Q1, up by 1.3 million from the same time last year, parent company Match Group said this week when announcing its Q1 2019 earnings. In addition, the BBC estimated in 2017 that Tinder had around 57 million total monthly active users.

Match Group this week announced its plans for Tinder Lite for the first time during an earnings call with investors.

The company didn’t share an exact launch date for Tinder Lite, but according to Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg, the app is “coming soon.”

Ginsberg was speaking about the promise of Southeast Asia in particular when she mentioned Tinder Lite. She had noted that internet penetration had grown by nearly 15 percent in the region over the past five years, which made it a key area to target.

“This area has more than a dozen high-density cities with over a million people, and more young people are moving to large cities. These are really important factors that make the need for our app high,” she explained. “…We are excited about the Tinder Lite app that will be coming soon. It’s a big step forward addressing the needs of consumers there. Tinder Lite will be a smaller app to download. It will take less space on your phone, making Tinder more effective, even in more remote areas or regions. And keep in mind, these are regions where data usage still comes at a premium.” Ginsberg said.

Tinder already has a presence in in the key Indian market, and its parent company Match Group recently restructured its Asia-Pacific team with the aim of further growing its dating app brands, including Tinder, in the region.

Tinder Lite, like some of other “Lite”-branded apps from tech companies, may remove some of Tinder’s heavier features to focus on the core experience of swiping and matches. But the company hasn’t said what will or will not be included in the slimmed-down version.

“As a result of our continued investment and growth in this region, we expect that APAC will make up one-fourth of our company’s total revenue by 2023,” Ginsberg added.

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Match Group records solid first-quarter revenue thanks to an increase in Tinder subscribers

Match Group’s revenue saw solid growth in the first quarter thanks to an increase in Tinder subscribers. The company, whose portfolio of dating apps also includes Match.com, PlentyOfFish, OkCupid and Hinge, among others, said in its earnings report today that total quarterly revenue grew 14% year over year to $465 million. If the effects of foreign exchange aren’t included, growth would have been 18%.

Net earnings attributable to shareholders grew 23% to $123 million, or 42 cents per share, from $99.7 million, or 33 cents in the same period a year ago. Operating income increased 6% to $119 million from $112 million. During the first quarter of 2019 and 2018, Match Group recorded an income tax benefit of $28 million and $12 million, respectively, related to the exercise of vesting of stock-based awards.

During the first quarter, Tinder average subscribers were 4.7 million, up from 384,000 in the previous quarter and 1.3 million year over year. In total, Match Group’s average subscribers increased 16% to 8.6 million, up from 7.4 million a year ago. Match Group said the growth in subscribers and increase in average revenue per user (ARPU) at Tinder boosted its revenue, but it was partially offset by foreign exchange effects. ARPU was flat year-over-year, but without foreign exchange effects, it would have increased by 4% to 60 cents.

The company said its adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) growth was impacted by the higher cost of generating revenue, specifically in-app purchase fees because revenue increasingly comes through mobile app stores, and higher legal costs, but offset by lower selling and marketing expenses. Adjusted EBITDA grew 13% to $155 million from $138 million.

During the first quarter, Match Group restructured its executive team, appointing three new general managers to oversee regions in Asia in order to gain more users there and focus on international growth. Its first-quarter earnings presentation highlighted opportunities in India, where Tinder is the highest-grossing Android app according to App Annie; Japan, where Match Group now owns two of the top five dating apps (Pairs is number one in Japan, while Tinder is ranks at fourth); and Southeast Asia, where Tinder is now within the top 10 grossing apps in six countries.

The company did not break down earnings by country, but during the first quarter, it had a total of 8,613,000 million average subscribers, with 4,361,000 in North America and 4,252,000 internationally. Total ARPU was 58 cents: 60 cents in North America and 56 cents internationally. Total revenue was $ $464.6 million, and of that $454 million was direct revenue, split between $237.8 million from North America and $216.2 million from international (indirect revenue is revenue that does not come directly from Match Group’s end users, and most of that is advertising revenue.

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Tinder launches ‘Festival Mode’ to connect music festival goers with profile badges

In the latest of a string of products aimed at attracting and engaging a younger demographic, dating app Tinder this morning announced the launch of a new feature called “Festival Mode,” designed to connect singles attending the same music festival. Similar to “Spring Break Mode,” announced this February, “Festival Mode” will also involve the use of badges on user profiles to indicate an upcoming destination.

These badges make it easier to spot, when swiping, those people who are planning to attend the same music festival as you.

Tinder is launching the addition in partnership with two entertainment companies, AEG Worldwide and Live Nation, and will make the feature available to those attending large festivals in the U.S., U.K., and Australia.

This includes the following events: EDC Las Vegas (May 17), Hangout Music Fest (May 17), All Points East (U.K., May 24), Governors Ball (May 31), Parklife (U.K., June 8), Bonnaroo (June 13), Firefly (June 21), British Summer Time (U.K., July 5), Lovebox (U.K., July 12), Faster Horses (July 19), Hard Summer (August 3), and EDC Orlando (November 9).

The company notes the market for music festivals is large, with over 32 million in the U.S. expected to attend at least one. These festivals also put a large number of young single together in one location, which does inspire, um, “new connections.”

Tinder has seen this in its own data first-hand. During Hangout Fest in 2018, app registrations increased by up to 30x. Meanwhile, app activity at Bonnaroo 2018 increased up to 300x, at times.

The launch of Festival Mode speaks to Tinder’s broader strategy.

Following Tinder parent Match’s full acquisition of the relationship-focused dating app Hinge, it no longer sees the need to market Tinder as an app for serious daters looking for a love match. Though that could still happen, of course, the general push for Tinder going forward is to cater to those younger users not ready to settle down, and who instead want to embrace the “single lifestyle.” 

“It’s no secret that Tinder is a must-have app for singles attending music festivals around the world. We consistently see a spike in Tinder use as tens of thousands of music fans come together, so we wanted to create a new experience that makes it easier to connect with other concert-goers before even setting foot on festival grounds,” said Jenny Campbell, CMO of Tinder, in a statement about the launch. “We’ve partnered with some of the biggest names in the entertainment and events industry to make that happen, and we couldn’t be more excited to help Tinder users find their crowd during these events for the rest of 2019.”

Festival Mode launches today and will allow users to add event-specific badges to their profile approximately three weeks before each festival.

It’s not the first feature to cater to younger users in recent months. In addition to Spring Break mode, Tinder has been further developing and expanding its Tinder U product for college students, including with the launch of new features like Rivals Week, and others.

During Match Group’s earnings call with investors in February, CEO Mandy Ginsberg also noted Tinder would soon be rolling out more Tinder U events and marketing tied to the school’s social calendar going forward.

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