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Hinge Is Already Rolling Back Part Of Its Big Rebrand

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Hinge Redesign

Some of October’s biggest dating news came courtesy of Hinge. The dating service announced a total overhaul, complete with a rebrand, an updated app, and a new advertising campaign. Two changes in particular made big news: Hinge was ditching the swipe and adding a $7 monthly fee.

The move was inspired by a Vanity Fair article called Tinder and the Dawn of the ‘Dating Apocalypse’. In the article, writer Nancy Jo Sales criticized the current state of the dating landscape, painting it as superficial and sex-crazed, and placing the blame on dating apps like Tinder and Hinge.

Justin McLeod, Hinge’s founder and CEO, was dismayed by the portrayal and resolved to take action. He announced that big changes were coming to Hinge in the fall, ones that realigned the company with its original, relationship-focused intentions. Then came the news about the swipes and the membership fee.

Hinge’s New App Offers an Alternative to Swiping Culture

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Hinge just announced the relaunch of its new self-dubbed “relationship app” as an alternative to dating apps, which have garnered a reputation over the years that the people using them aren’t all that interested in finding relationships. Hinge developers overhauled the app's look and feel as well as its functionality, and are now charging $7 per month for members to use it.

Hinge has been working on the new app for a year, though details weren’t disclosed. However, the company did launch a website revealing its escape from the “dating apocalypse” that is now online dating, named for the controversial New York Times article declaring the end of dating culture thanks to apps like Tinder.

Tinder has become an incredibly popular way to meet, but it has led to a lack of serious online daters looking for real relationships. The game-like swiping functionality of Tinder has created several copycat dating apps in the industry, each one claiming to produce better results and cut down on the fake profiles. So far however, nothing has made a significant dent in Tinder’s appeal or market share.

Hinge Rebrands And Relaunches To Defeat The ‘Dating Apocalypse’

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 The new Hinge

A year ago, Vanity Fair ran an article dramatically called Tinder and the Dawn of the ‘Dating Apocalypse’. It caused a major stir in the media - everyone was debating whether the swipe made love easier to find or wiped romance from the equation completely.

The article wasn’t just a catalyst for discussion amongst daters and writers. Justin McLeod, founder and CEO of the dating app Hinge, was also struck by what it had to say.

“It was the first among many realizations that Hinge had morphed into something other than what I originally set out to build (an app for real relationships),” McLeod said in an email to the Vanity Fair writer, Nancy Jo Sales. “Your honest depiction of the dating app landscape has contributed to a massive change we’re making at Hinge later this fall.”

Hinge Set for Pivot to Attract More Users

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Hinge Plans to go in New Direction

Dating app Hinge started out with some stiff competition against Tinder. Since its debut in 2012, several other new dating apps have launched and attracted a growing user base as well as media attention, including female-centric dating app Bumble. Meanwhile, after steady growth since its launch, this year Hinge has seen its numbers declining.

Hinge’s marketing and product development have always focused on attracting more serious daters. The app is geared toward young professionals in their late twenties and thirties who are looking for long-term relationships, as opposed to the hook-up reputation that has followed Tinder since its inception. The app is billed as a “grown-up” alternative to the young users of Tinder, which at first seemed to serve the market well.

Hinge Releases Relationship Study Based on its Data

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Hinge Relationship Study

Hinge is focusing on helping their customers find long-term relationships these days in order to compete with apps like Tinder, an app known mostly for its hook-up reputation. One of the ways Hinge is catering to the more serious dating crowd is by studying their behavior online.

Now, Hinge has published a new relationship study, with data from 1,000 couples who met through Hinge within two months of joining the service. The company found several insights about what seemed to work for these couples and the experiences they shared.

One interesting revelation from the study is that men who are successful with dating apps (or at least with Hinge) were actually pickier than your average guy. Instead of endlessly swiping right in the hopes that a few women will respond in kind, these guys on Hinge decided to be a little more selective in choosing their matches.

On the other hand, women from the study who managed to find love on Hinge turned out to be less picky than your average female dater. The successfully coupled females on Hinge were 20% less picky on average. (Yes, they were swiping right more, not less – keeping more of an open mind.)

This change of approach seemed to make a winning combo for both genders. Also, in case you were wondering, Sunday turns out to be the best day of the week for online dating, so be sure to log in to your app. Response rates are 36% higher on Sunday evenings compared to any other day of the week. (Perhaps because the Tinder dates over the weekend didn’t quite work out as planned?)

So, if you’re using a dating app but want a more focused, successful experience (read: not just hooking up with people or messaging endlessly), here are some additional stats for you:

  • Don’t just stop messaging, because you never know. Couples who met on Hinge messaged an average of 16 people before finding their matches.
  • Messaging can work. On average, couples who met through Hinge messaged for 3 days and swapped 25 messages before giving their phone numbers to their partners. (However, don’t get carried away and message endlessly – try to get to the date sooner than later!)
  • 80% of the couples listed their education and job, because they considered them important factors in making decisions about potential dates.
  • Don’t expect instant gratification. Couples who met on Hinge went on 4-5 dates on average before meeting their significant others.

The bottom line? Keep an open mind, and keep your options open. For more on this dating app you can read our review of Hinge.

Dating App Hinge Undergoing Makeover to Target More Serious Daters

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Hinge Makeover

Hinge doesn’t want to be another version of Tinder. Instead of focusing on the swiping game with attractive profiles, Hinge wants its users to engage, message and date – in other words, take the process of dating a bit more seriously.

Millennials are by far the biggest users of dating apps, and are less inclined to pay for a dating service. They also take dating less seriously than older daters. Tinder attracted the young market because the app was free, easy and accessible. But then apps like Hinge came along, who wanted to change the “hook-up” mentality many online daters have become accustomed to.

The majority of Hinge users are Tinder’s target market – Millennials. Hinge is betting on the fact that many young daters want to be more serious in their search, and not just use apps for that last-minute hook-up.

Hinge has done several things in trying to find its sweet spot, including launching a new feature this past November where users had to respond to a new match within 24 hours or they would disappear from their match list. Apparently, this didn’t go over well, because in February, the company announced that it was removing the feature.

In an email sent to its users, Hinge said: “You are busy, and 24 hours is sometimes not enough. At the end of the day, our job is about helping you find someone great, and timed matches didn’t do that. We want to make it right. So we’re turning off the clock. The 24 hour clock that is.”

Users still have to make contact with matches within a 14-day period, because the company maintains a time limit does increase communication and the likelihood of matches actually getting to the date.

And last month, Hinge launched a feature called Story Cards that helps users initiate conversation by letting them answer yes or no to “life experience” questions. According to website Global Dating Insights, the app’s CEO Justin McLeod revealed that during beta testing, Story Cards “generated a 20% increase in two-way messages between users, as well as more phone numbers exchanged.”  

News website Tech Crunch has suspicions that the next Hinge announcement will be a paid service, since Tinder is the only app that can really make money solely on advertising spend. 

In the article, writer Jordan Crook says: “Hinge is undergoing a huge makeover, ditching the swipe mechanic and adding a paid subscription layer to ensure folks who use it are there for the right reasons.”

Hinge also provided the following statement, causing more raised eyebrows:

“We are continually focused on helping our users find meaningful relationships. To that end, we’re always working with our users to test new concepts. However, at this point nothing is confirmed – everything from friend endorsements to concierge matchmaking has been on table. What we do know is that each global release continues to be the result of enormous amounts of work alongside our community in an effort to understand what sparks online connections that have the power to become lasting offline relationships.”

One thing seems clear: Hinge wants to focus on the sweet spot that is missing in popular dating apps – building real, lasting relationships. To find out more about this dating app you can read our review about Hinge.