Elo Scores, Regression To The Mean, Dating App Algorithms, Gale Shapley SMP Algorithm, First Impressions, Attractiveness Ratings, Front-Loaded Matches, Noob Boost
How Dating Apps Quietly Judge Your Dating Profile As Soon As Its Created
With an ever-increasing usage rate of dating apps by people in the United States, the stigma that once existed is greatly diminished. A significant number of couples these days (half by several studies and measures) meet online these days and while that number is encouraging, it does not paint a complete picture of the average user experience.
Many, many folks struggle with online dating apps and it is not uncommon for folks to be on multiple dating apps regularly and continuously swiping for years or even decades with limited or no success. There is still a stigma out there when it comes to using dating apps (albeit not as much as before) but many refuse to get advice on their personal profiles.
A majority of folks never seek help from friends, family members, colleagues or professionals on their app choice, photos, bios, prompts, introductory messages, wardrobe and poses.
The ones that do seek help, it can sometime backfire due to confirmation bias feedback from friends and family as these people are biased and unlikely to be brutally honest with you. Similarly, asking for help on Reddit or uploading photos to Photofeeler may not be much better as those people are likely struggling with dating apps themselves and not good judges of character.
While it’s great that folks are mustering up the courage to create a public profile, show some vulnerability and take that virtual introduction, it is not without some caution that people need to be aware of how dating apps work to maximize their chances of success. The first few days after creating a dating profile strongly impacts how your profile will be shown to others down the road.
Limited Time Offer On Online Dating Profile Critiques!
Online Dating App New Profiles: Hinge Just Joined, Bumble New Here
Many dating apps on the market these days (like the Hinge app) use algorithms to suggest matches to users. These algorithms are based on popular filters and preferences like age, location, height, education but also how users respond to your attractiveness, approachability, style as well as your swipe activity.
When you create a dating profile, the algorithm is still learning your profile and thus uses proxies early on and makes assumptions about you until you are on the app long enough to establish statistically significant data points from which it can more safely serve you appropriate profiles.
Hinge even goes as far as to add a ‘Just Joined’ badge to new profiles to encourage engagement (more likely to reply given the lack of bombardment one sees, particularly for women, over time). Bumble does the same with the “New Here” badge. Badges like this stay on for about 3-14 days, and they are more likely to get you banned from the app if you create your profile over and over again as people will know you are not really new to the site.
To do this, it will want to give you the benefit of the doubt and show you profiles that are desirable by others. This is also done to pique your interest (and keep you hooked) as well as understand how others view you. Imagine walking into a bar with your zipper open, stain on your shirt, or fall on your face – sure you can rebound from these items, but you will have to wait and you will have likely left a lasting impression that will take time and a Herculean effort to offset these unsightly events.
Dating photos are the single biggest factor in how others assess profiles, read this guide on what makes for a good dating photo!
Like a resume, your dating profile is a work in progress and people often work on them rigorously and improve them over time. Some folks use third party sources like Photofeeler or professional dating profile consultants like myself to understand how their photos are viewed and better position themselves among the competition.
Unlike a resume where your updated version is viewed in isolation and independently by new companies you submit it to, your dating profile is weighted by the success (or lack thereof) by your early counterparts and shown appropriately to others.
Front Loaded Matches, Fewer Matches Over Time
If you ever wonder why you are shown attractive and desirable profiles of users early on and then hit a wall with less desirable folks and fewer likes, this is it. There is always a regression to the mean and it can take anywhere from 3-5 days for the algorithm to analyze and rank your profile compared to others in the area (depending on supply, demand and swipe activity).
Some people attribute it to a bug or the app but in most cases it’s just your profile making its way up or down the pecking order. This regression is a part of a larger monetization strategy at hand – most dating apps will come hard with free trials (without notification i.e. Hinge) or will come with the hard upsells on bells and whistles hoping that you remember what that first week was like.
Dating apps (more than others) are photocentric meaning that most of what a person sees is photos or at least photos are prioritized meaning that bios, prompts and demographics are ignored or deprioritized early on.
It’s an unfortunate approach but it is what it is and that’s why it’s important to start off your dating profile as strong as possible right out of the gate and not wind up circling down a vicious cycle.
Some users are savvy and aware of this phenomenon and might try to game the system by creating a duplicate account, deleting and restarting accounts but oftentimes apps realize what is going on and will penalize users even more for trying to cheat the system.
Needless to say this can lead down a dark path where users don’t get likes, get deprioritized by others and never end up getting dates through the app – DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU.
While it’s good to get feedback from others on your profile, it can actually hurt you. Friends tend to be less direct when it comes to something personal like this. Also, if you ask attractive friends or more social friends for help, they might have an advantage that you don’t (have more wiggle room to get away with mistakes, red flags or cringeworthy taboos).
Bumble Boost, Tinder Boost, Hinge Preferred – Paid Premium Features
While Bumble premium memberships and Hinge preferred memberships can be tempting, I view those services similarly to annoying paid ads. In the long-run it is much better to work on yourself (appearance, health, career, hobbies, social circles, wardrobe, grooming and photos) rather than pay for a dopamine hit of a few extra accidental likes.
Read more about paid features on dating apps and whether you should try them out.
How Do Dating Algorithms Work
Dating apps are not set up to see you as the most desirable, compatible users. They are constantly A/B testing algorithms, features and you are the product. Don’t assume boosts or paid services will help your profile – only improved photos, bios, captions, demographics and appearance can do that. Dating algorithms are designed to keep you on the app as long as possible and to monetize those efforts.
To get the most out of dating apps, you need to focus on improving yourself and your profile – there are no hacks. Dating apps show users they think you are interested in and have a chance, not necessarily the ones most likely to like you or swipe right on you. They mix in profiles for attractive people, not so attractive people, people outside your preferences and radius to teach the algorithm and improve it.
Not everyone sees your profile on apps Hinge, Bumble or Tinder. For one, people have filters. Secondly, not everyone is glued to the app 24/7. Women on average use 1-2 apps (max) whereas some men use 2-4 or more apps. Given app usage and gender imbalance on dating apps (60/40 male to female or more), it’s possible for guys to see most/all women whereas women might see less than 30% of male profiles.
Swiping Too Much, Too Quickly
If you are on an app for a period of time, you might come across profiles you have already seen or swiped on. One reason for this is because you are swiping too much, too often. Dating apps process an insane amount of data and it’s costly to update servers in real-time, to everyone after every swipe.
Sometimes it takes time for dating apps to refresh their report servers to balance costs, efforts and so you are better off taking your time to review profiles carefully to allow the apps to catch up and record your actions.
How Do Dating Apps Make Money
Some apps sell advertising on their website, others sell your personal data to 3rd parties, others make money from subscriptions and upgrades. Dating apps work like drug-dealers – they give you a hit and get you hooked. With dating apps, they boost your profile initially and then slow down how many people see your profile and how many profiles they show you. Many users think if they pay for subscriptions and upgrades they can reclaim that initial activity but that’s often not the case.
Most profiles have exhausted more of their compatible and likely likes/matches early on and don’t have many remaining options left. Few profiles are great enough that they continue the stream of likes/matches that they saw when they first signed up (these are usually the most in-demand aka most attractive people on the platform).
Dating apps sell users false hope by stating they can get X more number of matches with Y premium feature. Usually these additional likes (if any) are from people located further away, outside your league, accidental likes, or people looking for IG followers or attention or people who right-swipe on everyone. Paying for subscriptions is like paying for paid ads on websites – they likely result in accidental clicks or bots clicking on ads to get others to pay more.
The first few hours, days on a dating app are very important. Your profile is shown heavily to others so you don’t want to squander this opportunity. There is already a gender imbalance on most dating apps and considering guys are likely to be on twice as many apps as women and given situations like Covid where women are taking things slow (talking to one person at a time often), you may not be able to get a second chance to have your profile displayed to that woman that left-swiped you.
Sure you can rebound but making small, incremental improvements might not always help. Sometimes it will take all new photos, a pause from dating apps or using completely new dating apps altogether. These are the things I talk through with clients when reviewing their profiles.
Paying for premium dating app features can help a little, but they can’t make you more attractive. Oftentimes the additional likes come from people outside your area or those below your attractiveness threshold. The best ROI for your dating efforts online is to choose the right apps, start off strong with the best photos possible, don’t ignore captions and answers to prompts and fill out relevant info on your bio.
How To Get Over The Initial New User Boost On Tinder, Hinge and Bumble
Many people make the mistake in thinking their profile and photos are fine because of the likes and matches they get early on but this initial feedback is inflated. Don’t think you are in the clear because of the early success. You should always be aiming to improve your photos, app choice, prompts, bio and intro lines. Would you submit a resume without proofreading it or getting feedback from a coach?
Once the likes and matches slow down, investing in your profile is the best way to offset the decrease in performance. Do this sooner than later or otherwise you will accumulate too many left swipes and be seen by too many people making it harder to make course adjustments. A few simple things include switching your main profile, adding details in prompts/bios (vs leaving it blank or using 1 word answers), smiling, removing your worst photo (you will be judged by it) and adjusting your radius and age range.
There are more substantial efforts you can apply but this involves more time, patience, awareness and access to good unbiased advice.
How To Reset Your Dating Profile – Tips on how to start fresh on dating apps.
How To Be Successful On Dating Apps – Exhaustive Step By Step Checklist.
About Eddie Hernandez
Eddie Hernandez is a professional photographer specializing in natural, candid online dating photos. Featured in the SFGate, ABC7News, East Bay Express, Salon; contributor to Good Men Project, Plenty Of Fish and Meddle. In addition to photos, he provides guidance around app choice, bio optimization, messaging techniques, wardrobe advice and date ideas. https://eddie-hernandez.com/contact/
Dating Profile Critique
For those of you who are remote or virtual dating help and are looking for an online dating profile critique you can read more about my services here.
For other helpful online dating tips check out my blog for more helpful advice: https://eddie-hernandez.com/blog/
Online Dating Frequently Asked Questions (Photos, App Choice, Wardrobe, Messaging, Bios and More): https://eddie-hernandez.com/online-dating-frequently-asked-questions/
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