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Nine Ways to Ensure First Date Success

Coffee Meets Bagel
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Do you typically meet a first date for coffee or drinks, not wanting to commit to anything more until you know you hit it off?

Turns out this might not be the best strategy for finding love. Dating app Coffee Meets Bagel recently surveyed more than 1,000 couples who met through its app to see what made their first date so successful. The company then surveyed more than 6,000 singles to compare their thoughts about first dates, and found they don’t often agree. Here’s what we can learn.

Following are nine findings that increase your chance of first date success:

The US Dating Awards Honor The Best Of The Dating Industry In 2016

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Astute readers will note that there are still several months of 2016 left, nevertheless, the US Dating Awards have announced this year’s big winners.

Established in 2014 in the UK, the Dating Awards recognize both newcomers and established names in the field. This year marked the first US Awards show in New York City, where journalists, websites, events companies, and bloggers came together to celebrate 2016’s best achievements in Dating Technology, Marketing, Media, Customer Service, Expertise and Entrepreneurship.

The judging panel consisted of a variety of dating experts and industry professionals. Caroline Brealey, founding matchmaker of London dating agency Mutual Attraction, served as head judge. She was joined by Charly Lester, Founder and CEO of the UK Dating Awards, and Charreah Jackson, international coach and the Lifestyle and Relationships Editor for ESSENCE magazine, amongst others.

Dating Apps Launch New Features to Compete with Tinder

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Tinder took the online dating world by storm a few years ago when it launched, changing the way people connected for dates. Instead of crafting elaborate profiles, Tinder’s appeal was its ease and visual component, its mobile interface – you like a photo, and you swipe.

But now, other apps who have tried to copy its example, creating swipe-like features of their own, have found that this is not the best way to stay competitive in the dating app space. So instead of making as many profiles available as quickly as possible, other apps are looking to curate their offerings and make it a more selective process, specifically for female users.

The Dating Site With The Highest Percentage Of Women May Surprise You

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Last year’s infamous Ashley Madison hack revealed a statistic that seemed to confirm what many already feared about online dating. The site’s database included over 31 million male users and just 5.5 million female users. Of those profiles, only a small percentage were real and active: around 20 million men and 2,500 women.

You don’t need to be a mathematician to know those numbers are bad.

The vast majority of Ashley Madison’s female users were inactive or, worse, not real to begin with. Since then, singles have become even more skeptical of the veracity of women’s profiles on dating sites. SurveyMonkey Intelligence recently put those suspicions to the test by studying which dating apps have the highest proportion of women.

The bottom of the bunch is no surprise: Grindr, an app geared towards gay and bisexual men. Some of the entries farther up on the list are equally unsurprising. Coffee Meets Bagel and Bumble, both female-friendly apps, scored relatively high. Tinder and PlentyOfFish found themselves in the middle of the pack, despite having more users than any of the other apps tested.

But the number one spot is where things get interesting. Topping the list, with a userbase that’s 58.6% female, is Christian Mingle. Christian Mingle, Coffee Meets Bagel, and eHarmony are the only apps that have a majority of female users. Who would have guessed that a niche, faith-focused dating app would rank so highly?

SurveyMonkey Intelligence also found that men and women use dating apps differently. Looking at what percentage of users engage with an app on a daily basis, the results are almost flipped. Grindr is the clear leader, with 70.3% of users engaged each day. Christian Mingle and eHarmony bring up the rear with 33.7% and 28.7%, respectively.

It could be that men are generally more engaged daters than women or, as SurveyMonkey Intelligence speculates, it could down to Grindr’s demographic. Because the app is geared towards a targeted market, Grindr users may stick to one app while other demographics spread their efforts among multiple services.

SurveyMonkey Intelligence tested a variety of other factors (read the full report here) and closed with a few tips. “Straight men may want to check out Coffee Meets Bagel, while straight women can confidently choose between a number of apps where the gender ratio is favorable,” the report advises.

It’s also important to take your dating style into account. If you’re the spontaneous type who wants dating to be part of your daily life, SurveyMonkey suggests trying your luck with the highly-engaged users of Happn. If, on the other hand, you take a more relaxed approach, the more infrequent users of Coffee Meets Bagel could be more your speed.

Tech Crunch Disrupt Talks Female-Centered Dating Apps

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Tinder might be the dating app giant, but other dating apps are seeing success by catering to specific market needs that don't involve endless swiping.

Last month at Tech Crunch Disrupt, a panel of dating app CEOS gathered to discuss the industry, trends, and how things are changing – they think for the better. Specifically, the talk was given by three female CEOs about how women are changing the dating app game: Whitney Wolfe from Bumble, Dawoon Kang from Coffee Meets Bagel, and Robyn Exton of Her.

One thing to note: while these are all dating apps, they made sure to point out that their focuses and application are different. Bumble is a female-centric dating app similar to Tinder and free to use, although the company is looking for ways to monetize the app without resorting to all-paid memberships or advertising. Wolfe says that they have noticed an interesting trend among users: that they are looking for friendships, too. Right now, Bumble’s platform allows you to look for friends as well as dates, but soon they will be rolling out a feature that includes finding groups with similar interests.

Coffee Meets Bagel is an app that stresses quality over quantity, allowing only one match per day, and giving the users only twenty-four hours to accept a match. Kang is focused on the success of the matches, which she says only helps other people spread the word about the app. She is rolling out a paid feature that lets daters use an A/B test to see which photos they should put on their profile. Right now, users can also pay for a premium membership, which includes more matches and other incentives.

Her is aimed specifically toward female dating in the LGBTQ community. Exton points out that they have been lucky to be able to focus on one gender when studying patterns for dating and befriending people over the app. The app offers users a community – with news of local events, social networking, and dating applications.

All three CEOs agreed that a more nuanced approach to features is the key to an app’s success, designed to benefit a specific group of users, whether that is women, same-sex daters or people looking for friendship.

Despite the popularity of Tinder and our swipe-happy culture of dating, there is still room in the market for other players – even new apps. Most people (while they do still use Tinder) are looking to other apps to help fill a need that they feel Tinder isn’t serving. Whether daters have concerns about security, or are looking for an app that offers more than photos, or look to a niche market (like Farmer Dating) to satisfy their particular requests for mates, many more apps are launching and some are seeing success.

Competition, no matter how saturated the market, is always good for the consumer.

Coffee Meets Bagel’s Newest Feature Helps You Pick Your Best Photos

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Who amongst us can honestly say they have never agonized over an online dating photo? It's a rite of passage in 2016: take a photo, edit it, post it, rethink it, delete it, start again. Wash, rinse, repeat.

If you've ever struggled to determine which of your many (many) selfies belong on your dating profile, Coffee Meets Bagel now offers a solution. From now on, CMB users can A/B test photos by uploading two options and letting other users vote for the best one.

The new feature is called Photo Lab. When clicked, a screen that says “Put your best face forward” is shown. Hit the “+” button to add two photos from your profile, from Facebook, or from your smartphone’s photo gallery. When other users have had time to vote and your report is ready, you’ll receive a notification. The report is unlocked by using “beans,” Coffee Meets Bagel’s in-app currency.  

Of course, Photo Lab also allows you take the opposite role and give other users photo feedback. You'll see a familiar Hot Or Not-style interface and can vote by clicking on the photo you prefer. After you’ve voted, you’ll see a percentage that indicates how other users rated the same two pictures and will earn beans for your efforts.

It will come as a shock to no online dater that pictures are one of the most important parts of your profile. Coffee Meets Bagel polled singles and found that 54% pass on prospective dates for picture-related reasons. The most common offenses include blurry images and the so-called “Where’s Waldo” pics that feature so many people that the profile owner is unidentifiable.

“Surprisingly, a large percentage of online daters have a hard time when it comes to choosing which photo to use on their profile,” Dawoon Kang, co-founder of Coffee Meets Bagel, told TechCrunch. Yet they “get no feedback whatsoever on which profile photo actually works best.”  

This isn't the first time Coffee Meets Bagel has tried to give its users a leg up in the search for love. The site and mobile app already offer premium features to help singles determine whether their profile is working. CMB members with enough beans can find out how they rank on the site and get feedback on the reasons matches say yes.  

Coffee Meets Bagel hopes the new feature will further cement its reputation as a platform for serious dating. CMBl is for “singles looking for real relationships – not browsing, not entertainment, not hook ups,” said Kang.

Watch a quick video on Photo Lab here.