Research Says Using GIFs On Tinder Can Increase Your Chances

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Animated GIFs may help with Online Dating
Animated GIFs may help with Online Dating

The internet has fully embraced the GIF - a form of visual communication so ubiquitous it’s second only to the omnipresent emoji.

And why wouldn’t they be? It’s hard to carry on a conversation between screens, to read emotion in text, to interpret the difference between “K” and “K.” and “K!” An image, moving or not, goes a long way to making your message clear.

And then there’s online dating. Dating apps and websites come with their own special challenges. Users are not only faced with the worries of regular online communication, but also the fears and anxieties of dating. How do you find the delicate balance between flirty forwardness and respectful tact when you’re talking to a total stranger you can’t even see?

Enter the GIF. New research by Dr. Jess Carbino, a sociologist at Tinder, found that users of the app are 30% more likely to get a response from matches if they open with a GIF. Conversations with GIFs also last twice as long as conversations without them.

"Instead of searching for the ultimate opening line, sending a GIF lets you show your personality and sense of humor," Carbino told Mashable via email. “GIFs immediately lighten up the tone of a conversation and are a great way to push past the small talk."

Tinder partnered with Giphy in early 2016 to enable GIF support. Since then, more than 100 million GIFs have been sent in the app. Perhaps surprisingly, GIFs are used in Tinder universally across all age groups. It’s not a “young person’s thing” any more than Tinder itself is. Clearly, the world has fallen head over heels for GIFs. The question now is, “Why?”

Carbino speculates that the moving images are a good way to break the ice, “People are very attracted to art and things that are visual," she told Engadget. GIFs are also “a good way to assess compatibility and sense of humor." Which means the right GIF requires a bit of thought. Don’t go for the first thing that comes up when you type “Hi” into the search bar unless you’re trying to put your match to sleep.

Instead, Carbino suggests choosing something topical or culturally relevant. The most popular GIF on Tinder at the moment features Jimmy Fallon, for instance. Once the conversation is in full swing, Carbino recommends using GIFs related to a common interest. In her research, GIFs centered on something shared scored particularly well.

Next time you find yourself at a loss for words, it might be time to deploy your favorite kitten GIF. To find out more about the dating app, you can read our Tinder review.