While the world of dating apps is still very much profile- and photo-dominated, that’s all starting to change. Among leading apps like Tinder, Hinge, and Match.com, and emerging apps (of which there are a surprising amount), video is the new way of the world.
You might ask, What’s so wrong with scrolling through still images of strangers? Well, having had a bit of personal experience, some obvious reasons come to mind: How many people have you met up with who haven’t looked like their fabulous photos? How many times have people lied about who they are in their oh-so-short bios? How mind-numbing has it gotten to endlessly scroll through similar-looking faces?
Video accessibility can be essential in shutting down obvious scams and verifying ages. Plus, social dating app users are tired of the old ways; they’re here for connection and they want something new.
This became clear when the old-school leaders began adding video-chat features. In 2020, Match.com launched Vibe Check, which invites users to quickly move from messaging to live video chats. Around that time, Tinder (the world’s largest dating app) also announced Face-to-Face, a one-on-one video-chat feature, and later made it possible for users to edit and upload up to nine recorded videos from their phone to their profiles.
Bumble and eHarmony launched video features as well, and Hinge, “the dating app designed to be deleted,” followed suit, announcing Video Prompts in 2022, a feature that allows users to record a video of themselves in the app and pair it with a video-specific prompt––kinda fun, right?
Other more-fringe dating apps like Clover, POF (Plenty of Fish) and Zoosk have taken things a step further, letting users livestream themselves to the entire app community, while Sparkze makes video dating into an online game show.
It seems that after people were separated by the COVID-19 pandemic, video-fueled connections became essential, effectively influencing the entire social media market. During lockdowns, Bumble reported 70% increase in video calls, and Tinder surpassed 3 billion swipes in one day for the first time in March 2020, according to Fortune.
The popularity of video dating also stems from younger generations. In 2019, nearly half of all 18-to-29-year-olds said they had used a dating app, according to Pew. That number has likely gone up in recent years.
Video capability is also bringing dating apps closer to being ready for a metaverse dating experience, if that were to ever happen.
This past May, I spoke with Zach Schleien, founder of the video speed-dating app FilterOff, who told me video has become de rigueur for online dating and provides the first layer of immersion that will soon be available to users dating in metaverse worlds.
Until that happens, more videoc-entric dating apps are launching––several this month, including Candid, which plays off TikTok’s formatting, offering users scrollable 45-second video profiles. There’s also a New York-only app called Ditto that plays off the speed-dating experience, as well as IRLY (I Really Like You), which lets users video chat with a potential match and play in-app games like “Truth or Dare.”
Most of these new apps cater to a Gen Z demographic––the generation most responsible for the widespread adoption of video in the social media industry. When deciding which audiences to target, advertisers should keep this phenomenon in mind: Video dating apps are plush with Gen Z and millennial consumers.