Emily Goglia

Nov 6, 2020

10 min read

Swipe Deeper

An Analyzation of Tinder’s Marketing Event, “Swipe Night”

“Life is about choices. Some we regret. Some we’re proud of. Some will haunt usforever. The message: we are what we choose to be” (Graham Brown, 2010).

As author Graham Brown eloquently​ ​implies, our choices reveal deep aspects of our inner character. These aspects are sometimes traits that take years to uncover in oneself, and even longer to realize in a romantic partner. Wouldn’t it be fascinating and helpful to know the moral compass and decision making abilities of a partner before dating even begins? The social dating app, Tinder, capitalized on these desires in the 2019 marketing campaign, “Swipe Night,” a novel event that presented users with an interactive experience, not only taking them on a virtual adventure and supplying them with profile matches that shared their way of thinking, but ultimately bringing millions of users together on the mobile social app.

Tinder revolutionized the dating scene in 2012 and made a splash with its now well-known “swipe” feature (Dating Site Reviews, 2020). The app is based on first impressions, allowing users to “swipe right” if they find someone attractive or “swipe left” if they have no interest. As one of the first dating apps on the scene, the gut decisions captivated users, and it soon became a popular way for young people to find romantic interests. That being said, the shallow undertones of finding matches based only on appearance caused Tinder to quickly become known as a “hook up” app, promoting “meaningless sexual encounters” rather than a place that one might go to find true love or a long term commitment (Psychology Today, 2019). Single people were straying away from Tinder and heading over to other dating apps such as Hinge and Bumble to meet more earnest potential partners (Washington Post, 2016). According to web analytics company SimilarWeb, Tinder’s daily open rate among users fell from 28% to 22.1% during the first eight months of 2018. Also, the number of times the app is opened daily dropped by 10.8% (Fast Company, 2019). Tinder battled these statistics and the trivial stereotype with Swipe Night as it aimed to reach a deeper level of humanity and allowed users to connect on that level. The result: a rapid increase of Tinder users.

On October 6, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. local time in the United States, Tinder launched Swipe Night, a choose-your-own-adventure video event and the first of its kind in the match-making app community. The miniseries set its scene just three hours before an asteroid is to hit planet earth, and Tinder members are taken on a simulated adventure as they choose what will happen to them next, highlighting the app’s Swipe feature. These game-time decisions, which had to be made within seven seconds, impact more than just the viewer’s personal story, but influence who they will match with at the end. After the event, members choose three major moral and practical choices to post on their profile, which give new matches talking points and insight into a potential match’s moral values since both have shared an apocalyptic experience. Swipe Night occurred every Sunday night for the month of October in 2019 (Tinder Press, 2019).

Tinder partnered with 72andSunny, a Los Angeles based marketing company, to make Swipe Night come to life and reinvigorate dating to Gen Z (72andSunny, 2019). According to Pew Research, Generation Z is categorized as anyone born between 1997 and 2012. They are comfortable with technology, having grown up with iPads and unlimited Wifi, are known as the most socially-conscious generation, and have no problems making deep connections through a screen (Hubspot Marketing, 2019). Therefore, Swipe Night was brought to life in order to seduce a larger population of this age group to the platform. Ravi Mehta, Tinder’s Chief Product Officer, states, “We know Gen Z speaks in content, so we intentionally built an experience that is native to how they interact. Dating is all about connection and conversation, and Swipe Night felt like a way to take that to the next level. Our hope is that it will encourage new, organic conversations based on a shared content experience” (Tinder Press, 2019). Of course underlying this hope is Tinder’s number one goal: to get people onto their screen, creating better user outcomes, more dates, leading to more relationships, and telling their friends they had a positive experience (Ginsberg, 2019).

To advertise Swipe Night, Tinder mainly focused on in-app advertisements. Tinder members were forced to swipe away from the ad to continue using the app. These ads ranged from a photo to an actual trailer. According to Entertainment Weekly, the social company was the first to deliberately shoot a series in portrait mode (2019), making both the advertisements and viewership a seamless experience within the app. The video advertisement was shot and edited as an apocalyptic movie trailer with characters looking directly at the user through the camera and asking moral-centric questions. It was a sneak peak of what was in store for Tinder members when they joined on those October Sunday nights. You can view the trailer at www.72andSunny.com/work/tinder​. In addition to advertisements within the app, Tinder is known for using word-of-mouth marketing, and as “92% of consumers believe friends and family more than all other forms of advertising,” this online event sparked these outside conversations (Alvo Media, 2019). Once the Sunday night episodes began, there was a 1640% increase of Tinder mentions on Twitter (Caples, 2019).

The user-generated content went through the roof. While Tinder’s Instagram did not bombard their followers with Swipe Night content, the company secured what they deemed “Tinder Ambassadors” to spread the word about the experience. Every day Tinder users were posting photos on their Instagram in Swipe Night apparel and using the hashtag #SwipeNight to casually give their friends and followers information about the upcoming night (Instagram, 2019).

Tinder made sure to use a high profile creative team to make the Swipe Night campaign. As the press statement mentions:

In order to be authentic to the Gen Z audience, Tinder tapped Drake’s go-to music video director, 23-year-old Karena Evans (2019 BET Award winner, “Video Director of the Year”) to blend immersive storytelling with Tinder’s Swipe features. Evans, with writers Nicole Delany (Big Mouth, Netflix) and Brandon Zuck (Five Points, Facebook Watch), made Swipe Night truly a next generation experience” Swipe Night follows a group of friends played by Angela Wong (Chinatown Horror Story), Jordan Christian Hearn (Inherent Vice), and Shea Gabor, led by none other than you.​ (​ Tinder Press, 2019)

In today’s content-driven world, a large marketing event cannot afford to use sub-par talent. By employing high-quality creators, Tinder ensured high-quality content, and resulted in a high number of viewers: the premiere had four times the viewership as the pilot episode of Euphoria​, which was a major hit with Gen Z, and produced more viewers than the 2018/2019 seasons of popular shows such as ​Saturday Night Live​ and ​The Bachelorette.​ The event supplied a 26% increase in typical Sunday night matches, and a 12% increase in messages in the United States (Caples, 2019). This makes sense; the event essentially asks users to cancel their Sunday night plans and stare at the Tinder screen. The genius idea of pairing members with like-minded matches after the experience keeps users on the app after the episodes and throughout the week. Tinder was praised for its innovative new way of marketing and was once again a company to which others looked for ideas. Other platforms owned by Tinder’s parent company, Match Group Inc., such as Plenty of Fish and Twoo, have attempted to bring video products into their interface, but these have been more user generated, and not the polished product that Swipe Night presented (Tech Crunch, 2019). Match Group Inc. reported that earnings were better-than-expected for the third-quarter of 2019, presenting above analyst’s expectations at 51 cents per share, rather than 42 cents per share, and Match’s revenue was in line with Wall Street expectations at $541 million. That being said, fourth-quarter came in lower than expectations, at $545 million-$555 million, below the projected $558.3 million, which resulted in the stock dropping. However, despite the drop in earnings, experts say that Tinder does not have anything to worry about, as they still account for “the majority of spending (59%) in the top 10 dating apps globally,” according to Sensor Tower (Techcrunch, 2019).

The true tell of any successful event is talk of round two, and Swipe Night did just that. The American success led the social company to launch the event internationally in 2020, and prepare for a Season Two in the states. Tinder was set to release Swipe Night worldwide in March of 2020, but postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic (Technology Inquirer, 2020). While the company worried that the sensitivity to the apocalyptic subject matter would turn users away during these unprecedented times, Tinder ultimately decided to follow through with the global release on September 12th of 2020, to the United Kingdom, Brazil, Sweden, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Australia, Indonesia, India, and Korea (Mashable, 2020). Unfortunately since the Coronavirus pandemic is still a major factor in the United States, the company had to postpone Season Two.

In a world run by content, where everyone on the street is walking around with a home-studio in their pockets, Tinder continues to lead the way in innovative marketing ideas. The company understands what users want and constantly fulfills these desires. Swipe Night lived up to expectations by combining high-quality video, series, gaming, and interactive components. The event captivated Tinder users and boosted engagement. The app allowed members a new way of connecting on a deeper level and interesting conversation that led engagement to move off the app and onto social networking sites like Instagram and Twitter, making Tinder’s name even more relevant. The key to any marketing campaign is to keep your company in the minds of the consumer and Tinder succeeded. The event even attracted users who were not on the app, making the event a must-see, such as the Superbowl or the Oscars. It was exclusive, exciting, had a time limit, and became the talk of the online town. As a worldwide success, if Tinder can survive the real-life apocalypse that is 2020, it can survive anything. Even though the dating app is based on quick decisions, the company understands that all humans desire and need is connection, especially in times like these. Swipe Night was ahead of its time.


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