Tim MacGougan's product career has taken him from customer service at Bonobos to running the product team at Hinge. More than ever, mobile dating apps are becoming the go-to platform that people use to find love and meet others. Tim outlines how mobile technology has shifted people's ability to share more about themselves - and what we can expect from dating apps in the not-so-distant future.

The Present & Future of Mobile Dating Apps

Today, the ways in which people find love are changing rapidly through mobile dating apps. Simply put, the “wave of Tinder” is setting the standard for how people meet one another. Most importantly, these apps represent a huge shift in how people share and present themselves with others.

First, it’s important to recognize that online dating has been around for more than 20 years. From Match.com to OK Cupid, people have been using web-based platforms to seek companions. However, there have always been many obstacles for mass adoption for these “original” services.

For example, people used to have a negative stigma about people who used these services. In other words, they perceived to be the only people requiring these services because they couldn’t meet people “the normal way.” Also, the product experience tried to balance putting yourself out to others while maintaining some degree of anonymity. Specifically, profiles would have fuzzy photos/screennames/etc. – and did not mention where people worked or common interests.

Currently, the adoption of mobile dating apps has fundamentally how people interact with one another when looking to find love. For instance, the mobile experience is immediately more open and visible. Plus, user profiles are very transparent and remove the anonymous qualities that traditional dating sites used to protect.

While overall usage of mobile dating apps is on the rise, the category has certainly not reached full maturity. For example, the major players in the space are all modifying how users can use the product to meet people. Specifically, Hinge is prioritizing the ability for users to share who they are in order to make meaningful connections. On the other hand, conventional social platforms encourage users to share what they have done as opposed to sharing who they are. Moving forward, we will continue to see shifts in the space to further encourage people to open up.

Finally, it’s important for any company who’s creating mobile dating apps to make their experiences more enjoyable. Many people view dating as a means to an end. Furthermore, they don’t like dating at all and just want to get it over with – let alone wrestle with using tools to meet other people. As a result, we are focused on limiting “dating app fatigue” at Hinge to get rid of “the noise” in the process. Simply put, we want to prioritize quality over quantity to provide users with an effective measure of compatibility.

 

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About the Speaker
Tim MacGougan
Hinge Chief Product Officer

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