Bumble is in a position to radically change the way people view and use dating apps – it is one of the top apps I recommend to clients more than any other. The photo verification process (although not perfect or exhaustive) does greatly reduce the number of fake accounts on the app. The user experience from a female perspective can greatly reduce the number of unwanted messages a woman can receive by giving her the ability to control who can message her. These are subtle but yet powerful tweaks to traditional dating apps that are riddled in confusion (winks vs. messages vs. favorites — I am looking at you Match) or likes vs. super-likes and ability to lie about your location (shameless Tinder).
With that said, there are two glaring fundamental drawbacks to the app that it has failed to address: 24 hour response window and short, dull conversation starters. The first is a design feature whereas the latter is a user error.
The 24 hour is rather a short window for anyone to be bound by. Just as I predicted back in 2014 that HotelTonight would need to extend their booking window (they did 2 months after I interviewed with them), Bumble needs to extend the response window to at least 72 hours. Hotel rooms are interchangeable, people are not. Although the ability to extend the response window is available as a paid product, it is not always effective or ideal solution. Bumble either forces women respond instantly to matches, pay to extend windows to initiate conversations or wait for men to extend windows by paying a fee. These options sort of go against Bumble’s motto of putting women in control. I don’t recommend client log into dating apps all the time – it is exhausting and mentally and emotionally draining. I typically recommend no more than 20 minutes a day, 3 times a week. This limit encourages people to not abandon the offline approaches to meeting people organically.
This brings me to my second point — introductory messages. I get it, men are awful with introductory messages — the number of hi, hey, what’s up, yo etc. Is mind-boggling and also sad in today’s society. Women have been tormented and flustered with these messages for years and when Bumble first came out I figured more women would take this opportunity to take control and put more effort into their first messages to matches. Unfortunately this is not always the case. In an effort to send a quick message to avoid the 24 hour window closing, women are more likely to use such messages to connect with men. These messages although better than being shut out are super anti-climatic and given the better female to male ratios on Bumble vs other dating apps, men are more likely to move on to the next match that seems more excited and enthusiastic.
My recommendation? Adopt a minimum character requirement for initial messages. If not a hard block, at least suggest to improve messages before allowing to send. I get that me have gotten away with flooding inboxes of women for years but if Bumble truly wants to improve the user experience for all sides and do its part to keep chivalry alive, it has the opportunity to do that. Also, deprioritize profiles that don’t read messages or don’t reject messages. Providing some closure is preferred by all even if it is a generic reason and if your counterargument is that it is too much additional effort to follow up on matches, you are likely matching way too much and need to be more selective.
Bumble has done so much to advance the quality of users on its platform and significantly improve the user experience that these last few steps to bridge the gap would definitely further distance themselves from the rest of the pack.
If you need help figuring out how to select your best photos, what the best dating app is for you based on age, gender, location, lifestyle etc. contact me for a consultation that will dive into past experience, first impressions and more.