GIFs are sparking deeper, longer conversations on Tinder, subtly reshaping communication across the platform in a way that may preview a more fun, expressive new era in online dating.
When someone sends a GIF on Tinder as opposed to text or an emoji, they are 30% more likely to receive a response from their match, according to internal Tinder data provided to BuzzFeed News following an inquiry. Conversations that include GIFs on Tinder last twice as long as those without, the company said.
So, ladies and gentlemen, if you’re having trouble finding love on Tinder, consider utilizing one of these:
“GIFs allow people to better say what they want to and express emotion, which is something that’s really difficult to do in text alone,” Tinder co-founder and senior vice president of product Jonathan Badeen said in a phone interview Wednesday. “It opens up people to start more conversations and to break the ice.”
The popular dating app, which boasts over 100 million downloads, introduced a GIF button to its compose field in late January, offering potential swipers a searchable database of GIFs sourced from Giphy, a GIF search engine. 20 million GIFs have been sent on Tinder so far, the company said.
Anyone who’s spent time using an online dating app knows why GIFs are so effectively sparking connections. After a match is made on one of these apps, there’s often an awkward moment where two complete strangers don’t know what to say. Despite a clear mutual attraction, the interaction often starts with clunky first messages such as “sup” and “hi, how are you?” In other words: romance online often begins with a whimper.
While GIFs certainly aren’t a cure all for the pitfalls of online courtship, they do offer a means of making early interactions a little less awkward. A well-placed GIF might add some levity to an otherwise clunky introduction, or at the very least give you a better opener than “hi.” Inevitably, when your conversation hits a lull, an expertly-curated GIF could be just the thing to guide your flirtations back on track.
Didn’t hear back after asking for a date? There may be a GIF for that:
Badeen said Tinder had wanted to include GIFs and GIF search engines like Giphy for some time now and that the stars aligned to make it possible just this year. “We’re always looking for ways to augment that experience, make it a little easier for people to communicate and learn about each other,” he said.
And now Badeen is sitting on a Tinder data goldmine. Here are the top 20 GIFs on Tinder that garner the highest response rates:
- Caitlyn Jenner told President Trump his administration's rollback of protections for transgender kids was a "disaster" 😳
- Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korea's leader, was killed with a chemical weapon last week at an airport in Malaysia.
- A Kansas man shot three people after allegedly yelling "get out of my country." He thought two of them were Middle Eastern, but they weren't.
- Beyoncé is backing out of Coachella under doctors' advice. But she plans to headline the festival again in 2018 😭🐝
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