What can Tinder teach us about SEO and content marketing?
There have been more matches on Tinder than there are people on the planet.
Reports indicate that as of April last year, the dating app had facilitated more than 8 billion ‘matches’ – where two people have decided they like the look of each other and swiped right (as opposed to the cold rejection of swiping left).
This forms part of an alleged 1.4 billion swipes per day, or 16,000 every second. The world of dating apps is often deemed a cutthroat, shallow landscape in which people market themselves based solely on looks and make judgments in split seconds. But with the recent release of Tinder’s own research into its users, the truth has come out – and it can influence marketing of all kinds.
1. Content is the most effective content marketing strategy
As Tinder’s own “relationship expert” Jessica Carbino told the New York Times, the reality of what people look for in dating apps cuts a little deeper than basic aesthetics.
“Research shows when people are evaluating photos of others, they are trying to access compatibility on not just a physical level, but a social level. They are trying to understand, ‘Do I have things in common with this person?”
This is reflected in Tinder’s Modern Dating Myths survey of users, which indicated that age and education are the top two factors determining whether they swipe right or left.
There’s a good lesson here for content marketing. While excellent website design (looks) can influence people’s time spent on a page, on-site content is increasingly the most important factor in your content marketing.
But what’s the on-site content equivalent of age and education? The answer: your sourcing. This is what people look to for an indication of your intelligence – so you need to provide sources that are timely, authoritative and informative to get those swipes, clicks or conversions.
2. Find common ground with your audience
While lying about who you are (or what you’re writing) in your profile (or headline) is a weak foundation on which to build a relationship, knowing the audience you want to engage with is key.
For example – if you’re running a website for cat lovers, side features on dogs (or, lord forbid, mice), you could run the risk of turning off your core audience. Likewise, clickbait journalism about imminent market crashes can alienate your financial professional consumer base if you operate in that sphere.
Don’t lie to your audience – but make sure you provide answers to their questions. If your content isn’t targeted at people who will respond to it positively, you’re doing it wrong. For example, Tinder users are highly likely to swipe right on those with opposing political views.
3. Looks can still be hooks
Despite what Tinder (and its users) say, it will always be true that looks matter – especially when forming first impressions. You could say that looks (or web design, for content marketing) are part of your top of the funnel material. Profiles and website designs can draw people in with something attractive, curious or striking.
When users visit your site, what do they see? Is your website design appealing to the eye? A poorly designed or boring page, much like the ‘tourist star jump’ or ‘lads with fish’ Tinder pictures, can turn people away before they even have a chance to see your content.
4. Tell your audience something they actually want to know
Increasingly, Google’s algorithms appear to be prioritising keyword use below the relevance of content. A simple piece that provides clear, structured answers to queries is likely to perform better than keyword-stuffing (or even perhaps keyword-using) articles, according to Searchmetrics’ research.
Of course, any Tinder user could have told you that already.
Often, the worst profile bios are stacked with information that seems relevant, but doesn’t actually tell you anything about who someone is. Bios can be the mid-funnel content to the top-funnel profile picture, but are often done poorly. For example:
- “6”2 – apparently that matters”
- “Loves to travel”
- “Loves a bit of banter”
- “Unhealthily addicted to cheese”
These are common terms (you could say keywords) on Tinder profiles, but ones that don’t necessarily answer the question of “what is it like to go on a date with this person?”.
Clear content that answers relevant queries is key – in both content marketing and Tinder profiles. Does your content actually say what it’s like to do business with you, or is it a jumble of keyword phrases with no real value?
One difference between the two here, however, is word count. For B2B content marketing, in-depth responses from the outset are important. Rather than including a wall of text as your Tinder bio, maybe save it for the DMs. Although even then…
5. Make your connection count
One of the most important parts of Tinder is the all-important first message. Everyone has their own – take this example from recent Netflix series Master of None.
It appears using Tinder could actually help content marketers in this regard.
Think of the first message as your bid for conversion – you’ve got people into the sales funnel, and now it’s time to make a connection. Give the reader something they want to engage with – something creative, informative and appealing. A simple “click here for more” just doesn’t cut it.
Make a match with your content marketing
Using Tinder is a minefield for many people, but it provides some innovative benefits for content marketing. Keep your message simple and clear, remembering that while looks matter, that’s not all people base their swiping on – or so they say.
Content marketers should also think about the immediacy and clarity of their work – does this tell readers what they need to know, or is it a collection of meaningless keywords? Is it appealing to the audience you want to attract?
And perhaps most importantly – have you made sure your first line isn’t “hey”?