BrightHaus Digital Marketing Agency

Tinder and Grindr – What you can learn from the dating apps.

May 17, 2016


With over 1 billion impressions a day Tinder has grown in 2 years into the #1 dating app in the world.  Right behind that is the Gay dating app, Grindr – who within a few years “rebranded” from hookup app to dating site securing mainstream advertising dollars that has left the 100% owner of the company with $10 million dollars per month.

Here are my thoughts on what we can learn from the two dating apps.



When Grindr started it reverse engineered the dating experience, geared towards the gay community – teams of Grindr Guys would show up at Gay Bars and help guys download the app.  Quickly users were seeing other guys they may have been too scared to approach in person, available to message, right on their phone.  It was simple, direct, and quick to download.  Tinder did something similar, following suit of Facebook, they would go from sorority to sorority getting girls to sign up on the spot.  After that they would arrive at Frat houses doing the same thing.  Guys would download, see good looking girls and Tinder blasted off.

Word of mouth is so important to any business model.  “Refer a friend”, “Free Month”, “Share” – are all ways to quickly have someone spread the word.  CreativeHaus, our inexpensive web design program for small businesses does just this.  When a client refers a friend we offer a free month to them and the referrals sign up.  This has created a word of mouth that can’t be stopped.


Tinder and Grindr have reverse engineered the dating site, many sites like moving into apps will fail because of the demands of their current client base who pay a large membership fee, over information, and tons of features.  Tinder and Grindr have solved this by using your location, Facebook(Tinder), and easy profile creation.

Visiting Portland and looking for a coffee date?  With Tinder or Grindr, you can be in any state, any location, and see people in your local area.  Nothing beats the chemical reaction of someone messaging you and the human conversation.  This is a pulled advantage that has resulted in millions of users.

What chemical reaction does your company create? What need does your company hit for the end user?  This question is easy for Salons, Lawyers, Hotels, the list goes on.  But when your a B2B product like a chat software, you have to make sure you are truly hitting pain points.



When asked in a survey, women were quoted that the biggest problem with dating apps is the rejection aspect.  Tinder has a double opt in application protecting users from rejection, no other dating sites offered this service.  Grindr you can easily block members.  Taking away the biggest pain point of a product can set you apart from most all of your competitors.  For the salons chain I invest in, we went $5.00 cheaper then the average Salon, offered Online Booking, and brought down the size where it wouldn’t overwhelm the visitor.

The Money:

Grindr was originally a hook up app.  It was literally created to connect guys quickly.  After they started gaining tractions, advertisers warned, “We can’t advertise with a Hookup app”.  Quickly they rebranded as a dating app.  This took Grindr to the next level, estimated doing sales at $10million monthly earnings, yes $120million a year.  A majority of the advertising is from big companies who allocate their money towards gay businesses and want to be part of Grindr’s 60billion a month impressions.

Finally – Grindr keeps it simple with a small $1.99/monthly fee for premium membership, out of its 8 million members we can assume like other freemium to paid services, a number of about 10%.  This brings them almost $120m a year in recurring service income, an amazing feat.

Tinder is taking a much more aggressive approach.  Having members over the age of 28 pay a premium cost, advertising bots, and ads that run throughout the app.  Tinder from an advertising perspective must answer to investors and therefore is a bit saturated with the way it will make income.

Are you offering a passive way to charge for your business? Lawyers, maybe charge a small monthly retainer of $500 a month for access to your services.  Coffee shops, maybe using frequent sign up cards or memberships? B2B have a free trial?

I think a lot can taken from these two amazing apps who have taken over the world and have changed how we date.  Uber has been quoted as saying that without such innovations we wouldn’t understand what the phone can do.  Here’s looking to the future!