Hinge Takes On Ghosting With ‘Your Turn’ Feature

  • Wednesday, January 24 2018 @ 10:35 am
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Bumble changed the game when it launched in 2014 and required female users to make the first move. Now Hinge is offering its own take on conversation, and it hopes the new feature will help combat one of online dating’s biggest scourges.

After focus grouping, surveying, and beta testing, Hinge found that conversations frequently fizzled out simply because users had forgotten to respond. To offer a gentle reminder, the company has introduced ‘Your Turn’, a feature that lets users decide – regardless of gender – who makes the first move, and politely prompts you when it’s your turn to respond.

This addresses one of digital dating’s most stubborn problems. Conversations often start strong but are later abandoned - or, as Hinge’s research discovered, are unintentionally forgotten. Your Turn is a tiny-but-effective nudge to remind you that someone is waiting to hear back. In early tests, the feature was found to reduce ghosting by 25 percent.

“[Hinge users said] they’re sick of the rules, the games and being forced to do things they don’t want to do – on both sides,” said company CEO Justin McLeod. “What this does is it gives you the same benefit of the clarity in who’s supposed to start the conversation, without forcing one set of rules on you just because of your gender.”

Speaking of doing things you don’t want to do, the update also allows users to remove conversations that aren’t going well or that they’re no longer interested in. Conversations can be archived like email (and, again like email, returned to at a later date if desired). This helps inboxes stay free from clutter without users having to unmatch. A new message in that thread will make it automatically reappear in your matches.

It’s difficult to quantify just how common ghosting is. A 2016 report from Plenty of Fish found that around 80% of millennial users said they'd been ghosted, and an entire library's worth of thinkpieces have been written about why it happens. In response, dating companies are increasingly seeking ways to prevent members from disappearing without a trace.

Coffee Meets Bagel rolled out anti-ghosting features for its premium version in March 2017, including read receipts and an activity report showing data like how long it typically takes people to reply. Hinge is the latest company to step up to the plate, and McLeod says Your Turn won’t be its only effort.

“We pay attention to those kinds of things in the algorithm,” he responded when a TechCrunch reporter asked how apps should handle users who regularly ghost their matches. Though he remained tight-lipped about details, he said to expect some “pretty significant” changes to the algorithm in 2018 designed to address users’ communication behavior.

Hinge reports that it's user base is growing by 15 percent every month and has doubled in the last 6 months. Based on phone numbers being exchanged Hinge estimates their app is responsible for setting up a 100 thousand dates a month. 90 percent of the Hinge user base is between 23 and 36 years old.

Your Turn is now officially live in all markets, including the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and India.