Dating Disruption — How Tinder Gamified a business

Tinder’s gamelike user experience enticed over looked users, resulted in fast segment development, and finally displaced industry incumbents.


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An analysis regarding the U.S. mobile dating app industry from its inception in 2007 to its phenomenal shakeout in 2013 demonstrates that Tinder changed the overall game — quite literally. Like in other instances of industry interruption, dating app upheaval illustrates that newcomers want to compete by changing noncustomers into clients in the place of challenging incumbents when it comes to mainstream market that is established. The opportunity to overthrow incumbent competitors, our research shows that altering the user experience for an overlooked market segment, not technology, is the key success driver for industry disruption although emerging technologies may allow newcomers.

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Dating apps, including eHarmony,, and OkCupid, originated as desktop-based dating sites in the dot-com period and transitioned to mobile apps following the iPhone ended up being introduced in 2007. These apps dominated the industry due to their first-mover benefits and user that is large. Given that they had more users, these incumbent platforms offered users an increased possibility of finding a partner that is suitable. In addition they emphasized matching algorithms, that have been continually refined making use of ample information collected about their client bases. Brand New entrants, with little consumer bases and not enough historic information, struggled to achieve even a share that is slight of market as legacy brands dominated the industry until 2012.

Enter Tinder, a software that transformed the industry in order to become probably the most popular relationship software just a couple of months as a result of its launch in 2012. (See “Market Share of Mobile Dating Apps when you look at the United States.”) The app didn’t introduce a cutting-edge matching algorithm to recommend more-promising times to its users, nor did it display technology that is new. In reality, from a standpoint that is technical Tinder initially paled when compared to other apps, plus it often crashed. Two key facets underpinned Tinder’s sudden success: concentrating on teenagers, an overlooked market part; and presenting brand new gamelike features, such as for example swiping and adjustable rewards, which changed the consumer experience and paid off usage barriers for the reason that segment that is specific.

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