How are college students using dating apps? Abodo recently released a study looking to answer this question surveying over 4,ooo students.
The dating apps most referenced in this study include Tinder, Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel, OkCupid, Match, Grindr, and Hinge. There are a few interesting takeaways and also some obvious details that are not so surprising. However, this survey is in regards to what users “said.” As Christian Rudder taught us in Dataclysm – what people say and what they do online can be completely different things.
84% of dating app users are on Tinder with Bumble coming in second at 17%.
Tinder and Bumble are the gateway drugs to online dating. It takes five minutes to set up a profile with little thought. Young users get hooked because it’s simple while providing that instant endorphin high when someone mutually swipes right.
In the next graph, we see Tinder and Bumble both leading the way using their apps for entertainment and ego boosting. This is the downside of having a free app that takes little set up time, where the social norm is little to no self-disclosure. As you read this, there are thousands and thousands of people mindlessly swiping away as they kill time sitting in the bathroom stall at work.
I’ll call complete b.s. on 9% using Tinder and Bumble for hookups. This number is way too low. But when you compare it to 9.9% of Tinder users who are looking for “love” it makes more sense. Tinder is more of a gamified time killing ego booster than an actual dating app – these numbers support that.
Coffee Meets Bagel coming in as the clubhouse leader for the app most used to send nudes is very odd. I would have picked Grindr and Tinder as the top two.
Call me old, but I don’t know anyone who really uses these apps to find friends. I’m not even sure why that was a category to begin with for this survey. Friends with benefits? Yes, hell yes. Certainly have had those in my past and some dates that didn’t work out long-term and then became cordial and friendship like (minus the sex). Who’s going on these dating apps to make friends? I know Tinder (Social) and Bumble (BFF) have added features to grow their market, but as a primary goal no one should be on these apps for friends. Talk about mixed signals.
“Hey, let’s find a cute girl to hangout with tonight who can put me in the “friend-zone” before we even meet.” Said no one, ever.
I would hop in the Delorean and kick the 18 year-old version of myself right in the nuts if I ever thought this.
I’m happy Match was the leader in dating app mosed used looking for love. There is no good option (yet) to replace them, so they should be the leader for that category.
After working for eFlirt for three years, I can say that I’ve had direct experience “being” a female getting harassed. I was privy to all of our clients online dating accounts and got to see the messages as they rolled in. No doubt, creepy old men were the leader in the clubhouse for harassing emails.
Our clients we’re mostly on Match, which does not have the “gatekeeper” feature as I’d like to call it. The gatekeeper feature is essentially the best thing Tinder brought to the table, which was the ability to approve who can begin chatting with you. The swipe has to be mutual to begin communicating – match is wide open therefore you don’t get to approve who can message you.
“Wouldn’t normally. Maybe if we really connect.” Sooo, you’re saying there’s a chance?
The fact that women lead in this category over their male counterparts isn’t surprising. This is basically a soft yes. Social norms make it more acceptable for a guy to just come out and say “Hell ya, I’m down to sleep on a first date.” The data suggests women don’t take that approach. They need to couch their soft yes with a number of stipulations, which is fine. Although a closer look at this chart makes the consensus on first date sex closer than meets the eye. Hey, we’re all human. If sparks are flying on that first date I’d never tell someone to rule it out.
This graph is a microcosm of what’s wrong today with online dating apps. There’s so much gray area due to half of these apps being a punchline many people don’t take them seriously as if they’re a swiping game. The gamification of dating apps has helped improve the popularity, but the direct user goals have been muddied.
Any thoughts on this study? Add them in the comments section below!