🤔 Did you know…

Within just two years of its launch, Tinder amassed over 1 billion swipes daily?

Yet in 2012 they struggled to attract sign-ups.

The co-founders’ solution: Host exclusive parties with a unique entry fee: download Tinder.

This is the story of how a scrappy startup turned into a $42 billion success story (and the psychology behind it all).

This post is sponsored by Semrush Academy and Yotpo ❤️

Imagine this…

It’s 8 PM on a Friday.

You’re scrolling through your Tinder profile and you decide it’s time for an overhaul.

You jazz up your hair, put on your best duds, and spend the next 2 hours posing for selfies that you end up deleting.

Why does success in modern dating hinge on a few profile pics?!

You think back to 10 years ago, ahhh, the simpler times.

Today if you want to find your Mr. or Mrs. Perfect, you’ve gotta spend your Friday posing so much your cheeks hurt.

When did dating go from chance encounters at a bar to selfies and swiping right?

In today’s special edition of Why We Buy 🧠 we’ll explore a well-known company to see how they use buyer psychology principles in their business.

This week, we’re diving into Tinder—the $42 billion giant that revolutionized dating for a generation.

Let’s get into it…

“Top Marketing Newsletters You Need to Subscribe To”

A Look Inside Tinder 🤑

You might think that Tinder shot up out of nowhere but actually the birth of Tinder was intentional.

Well, sort of. It ‘hatched’ out of a hack-a-thon hosted by HatchLabs in Feb 2012. It was originally named MatchBox.

In 2013 Tinder developed the swipe feature and by 2016 it was the most popular dating app in the US.

A year later, Tinder announced a merger with Match for approximately $3 billion.

By 2019 Tinder had 5.2 million paying subscribers and by the end of the year revenues of $1.4 billion.

Wanna hear something crazy? Tinder is working on their version of the metaverse (the Tinderverse) so customers can date in VR (imagine that).

There is some serious psychology behind Tinder’s success. Let’s get into it…

How Tinder Uses Buyer Psychology 🧠

You know the saying ‘same, same but different’? That’s how Tinder won the dating market.

You see, digital dating wasn’t new *but* swiping left or right was. This gave hopeful singles total control over their connections.

Today, people are swiping left 1.6 billion times a day. But Tinder’s success wasn’t by accident. Nope. There’s actually a sh*tload of psychology baked into Tinder’s success.

Let’s dig in…


There’s a reason the gaming industry is worth $347 billion. Reward-based games trigger the release of dopamine (which makes you feel good) and so you keep playing.

Tinder mirrors this perfectly—you swipe right, you hope for a swipe right back, you wait to see if you’ve got a match.

The reward is the confirmation that somebody you like, likes you. And hey presto, dopamine is released.

And that keeps you swiping.

The Paradox of Choice

We’ve spoken before about the fact that more choice isn’t always a good thing. Oftentimes, more means more confusion. The best tactic? Keep it simple.

Tinder does *exactly* that. There are a million and one different ways to evaluate a potential partner, but Tinder makes it super-simple. Swipe left or swipe right. That’s it.

It encourages fast decision making which means people are more likely to keep swiping, less likely to suffer from decision fatigue, and will ultimately stay on the app longer.

Embrace delegation

Variable Rewards

Not every swipe results in a match. That’s a *good* thing. It’s the unpredictability of Tinder (otherwise known as ‘variable rewards’) that makes your brain tickle.

Imagine a game where you know every move; it quickly becomes dull.

It’s simple brain science: unpredictability keeps you hooked.

Tinder works because you never know who’s going to swipe right and that’s the thrill of it.

Thinking About Your Business 🤔

Tinder went from zero to $42 billion in a decade. Not many companies boast those sorts of numbers. Take their marketing brilliance and apply it to your business.

Ask yourself…

Q: What is your ‘swipe-right’ feature?

In every business, there is a slam-dunk feature. Just like the pareto principle—80% is in the 20%—the same is true of features. Ask yourself (or better yet, ask your customers) what’s their favorite feature of your product or service. Once you know what people love figure out how you can put it front-and-center.

Q: Are you over-complicating your user experience?*

Tinder keeps it super simple: See a bio, swipe left or right. That’s it. People are there to meet potential partners, Tinder lets people get right to it.

Some businesses accidentally overcomplicate the user-experience and the value ends up getting lost.

Ask yourself: why do people use our product or service and then how can you make it as simple as possible for them to get value?

* We used this strategy ourselves with Wallet-Opening Words.

Most copywriting courses are packed with long video lessons and dozens of fill-in-the-blanks templates (that quickly become overused).

We decided to ditch the videos and instead created an actionable playbook and AI-powered copywriting bots to help learners apply the science-backed copywriting techniques we reveal.

Based on this review from John, this simple format WOW’d our customers:

Q: How can you enhance your feedback loops?

The magic of Tinder? Finding out if you’ve got a match (it’s the dopamine rush that tickles your brain).

While your business may not be in the matchmaking industry, ask yourself how can you reward your customers and gamify the experience to keep them coming back for more?

The Short of It 💥

Tinder transformed modern dating. And it wasn’t by chance–it was about standing out in a crowded market by being intentionally different.

If you can understand your buyers, find your ‘swipe-right’ feature, and enhance your feedback loops, you might just be able to convince potential buyers to fall in love with your brand too.

Until next time, happy selling. 


Wanna really get inside your buyer’s head?

When you’re ready, there are a few ways we can help:

Written By Katelyn

Katelyn Bourgoin is the CEO of Customer Camp, a 4X founder, and a cheese lover. She lives by a simple mantra: whoever gets closer to the customer wins.

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Wanna get inside your buyer’s head? Join our newsletter and get one buyer psychology tip delivered to your inbox each week. It’s like a 2-min workout for your brain.

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If you can figure out what makes people tick, click and buy, you can make big $$$. We're working on a new research certification program. Want first dibs when we launch it? Hop on the waitlist.

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