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. (I covered a third aspect in Super Swipes in another post here).
Bumble 24 Hour Window + Bumble One Time Extend
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.
Pro-Tip: Free users get one daily extend so use this wisely with matches. To do this, open an expiring match and select ‘Extend This Match’. Use it toward the 23rd hour as some people wait to the last minute to message matches.
Introductory Messages & Responses
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.
The SuperSwipe features allows users to see you like them before matching or swiping on you. I get why this exists but it preys on people’s insecurities. Love, flirting, dating etc. requires a leap of faith – it should require some vulnerability. These days people want assurances and want to minimize rejection but I strongly suggest paying for such a feature – do you only want to match with someone because he she made a first move? Would that person have swiped right on you if you didn’t indicate as such? With Bumble SuperSwipe, you will never know.
How To Improve Bumble
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 imitated Tinder’s subscription product with the Bumble Boost product. It allows one to see who has right-swiped you, allows you to extended matches by 24 hours and rematch with expired matches. I initially viewed Bumble as a grown up version of Tinder but features like ‘see who has right-swiped you’ is preying on psychological tendencies of users. I understand Bumble needs to monetize but limiting the number of profiles shown or limiting number of active matches at the free level would not only create a better user experience that focuses on quality over quantity but allow for paid features that are in line with encouraging reasonable, mature behavior.
Anyone that does not get back to you at a reasonable time perhaps is not worth your time – no need or the 24 hour match extension. Creating excuses for others is not necessary at this part of the courting stage. Same thing goes for the rematching with expired expired matches. Dating requires you to be present, engaged if you are serious about it. By interacting in the parameters of the free version of the app, there is no need to pay for the premium features here.
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.
In the event you accidentally swiped left on someone, Bumble allows users to backtrack 3 times every 3 hours (Bumble Boost users have unlimited backtracks). There is no reason you should be swiping too fast to use it but it is there if you need it.
This feature allows users to re-engage an expired match. Most matches that expire are not meant to be. Very rarely do people have a legitimate excuse not to message someone. At the very least a quick note explaining that you are busy, had a tragedy etc. is provided. With that said, this features preys on insecurity of users – what if (s)he ran out of time? If someone is on your mind and of strong interest, that person will find a way to convey this.
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.
For additional tips about dating apps, profile photos, bios, prompts, check out my blog.