Tinder’s Algorithm / How the “ELO Score” is calculated & What you can do to improve yours

Last updated on 2018-09-24

Tinder’s matching algorithm and the elo score it assigns to you, based on a number of factors, determines whose profile you are shown and to whom your profile is shown, and how prominently (How high up in the stack it lands). Thereby it very much affects with whom you even have the possibility of matching.

 

The factors that affect your score/ranking/visibility:

Some of this information is extracted from official Tinder announcements and articles, some of it is almost certain based on personal experimentation and anecdotal evidence.

“It is known”:

  • New accounts get a noob boost (not to be confused with the paid boost feature), lasting approximately a day, during which their profile is shown to a very wide audience and featured prominently in their decks. During this time, an account’s elo score is first calculated. Once the boost has run its course, this score determines your visibility and audience. This is why you get comparatively many matches in your first few days and why that count drops rapidly within a week.
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  • The score system and matching algorithm doesn’t work in terms of a 1-10 attractiveness scale, but the effect can be expressed as such: If you have been determined to be a 6, you will be regularly shown to 5-7, and rarely to >7, or <5 rated people, and vice versa.
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  • It is possible to influence your score throughout the lifetime of your account, for example by taking some better pictures of yourself, but it will take time for any changes to be noticeable. It’s far quicker to reset your account to achieve this. Plus, you’ll get another shot with everyone who didn’t like your old photos. (It should be noted that since July 2018, resets have become much more complicated and risky, as Tinder seems to actually try to prevent them now.)

Educated Guesses as to how your score is calculated / what factors affect it:

  • A combination of % of people who like you as a whole…
  • …% of the people you like who like you back (“are you playing within your league?”)…
  • …and those people’s own rating. A person with a higher rating than your own liking you carries more weight than one with a lower rating liking you (like getting more points for defeating a higher ranking team in a ranked tournament).
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  • Your pickiness. Both swiping right to everyone and to almost no one are penalized, though mass swiping right a lot more severely than being too picky. A right swipe quota of 30-70% seems to be the sweet spot. This applies to swiping during paid boosts too.
    
  • Whether you actually send messages to most of your matches. Sending messages, as well as receiving replies, appears beneficial.
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  • For visibility/Deck placement, not your score: Activity. Your placement gradually gets worse while inactive. (But recovers once you come back).
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  • It appears that Tinder Plus users who make liberal use of the unlimited swipes feature may be bricking their account. I.e. Swiping too often per day, or hour, may get you marked as a bot by Tinder, resulting in a kind of shadowban, or very, very low score, rendering you nigh-invisible.
    
    Testing suggests 2’000 swipes per hour in any direction will get your account “locked” for 12 hours of the app telling you to “Check back later for new people”, potentially also carrying an Elo score punishment with it as previously observed. The relevant section of the Plus Features guide has been updated to reflect this as well.

 

I hope you found this guide helpful. Thoughts? Criticism? Praise? Something to add? Feel free to leave a comment below, or visit the SwipeHelper Subreddit. See you there 🙂

48 Comments

  1. If I have a high ELO Score and high attractiveness, but after I start to swipe right on all up to 1900 likes every hour (so without exceed the 2000 limit), how quickly my ELO score will go down and how low?

    If I had a 100 score, after swiping right on all profiles, how down could this go?
    Thanks

  2. My account is new, I see the same repeated profiles. I can swipe right for hours and hours at a time without reaching a limit. Basic profile yet I will never receive a match and still see the same hundreds of profiles.

      • I am getting new matches but only see those on the new “Matches Feed” Section versus where I usually see matches and can text them in the “Messages” section… Could Tinder be banning accounts for deleting instantly the matches you don’t like? I am only keeping superlike matches…
        Any help will be greatly appreciated

  3. Hi,

    this may sound ridiculously paranoid, but could it be, that at some point of a chat conversation tinder just stops delivering messages? I’ve had a bunch of matches and some conversations were quite promising, but randomly ended at a point that just doesn’t make sense to me. Like they showed much interest in the conversation before, why would they out of a sudden stop replying? Sometimes they even disappeared from my match list, as if we never had a match at all. This is pretty frustrating for me, because I had some very nice conversations being interrupted. From the point of view to make me pay for tinder plus, I would consider this a logical way of punishment. I’m just curious about another opinion on that,

    thanks and greetings,

    Peter

    • @Peter: that’s indeed paranoid. What actually happened more likely one of these case below:
      – Internet connection got weak or down and the conversation got affected. The person who was talking to you didn’t know what happened and may attribute that silence to your intention.
      – Not a few times, people don’t exactly behave/act or talk as you expected. So get used to that. Sometime people could immediately unmatched you and in Tinder both you and him/her has no way to re-connect after that regardless it was a accident or intentionally unmatch.
      – When they unmatched you (by accident which is very rare, click in the wrong menu, etc… or at their will), you won’t see them in your match list ever since. And you couldn’t know for sure whether they deactive/delete their account or they just unmatched you.
      -Tinder intetionally makes all of that more confusing and uncertain for you to guess. So should stop worry about too much about those things. Happy swiping.

  4. Sorry, non English native…If I change my Tinder profile by using a better bio, photos, etc, will my Elo Score change?? I don’t swift right to everyone, have conversations when match, etc…

    I thought once it’s been determined at the beggining you can’t do anything about that…

  5. To each his own, but they are not mutually exclusive. And I wouldn’t exactly call the algo shady.

    You can also just use Tinder normally without min/maxing. Or don’t. If you prefer irl introductions, go do that.

    For many people this is the more convenient way of dating.

  6. I’ve been using tinder for three years and i got only 30 matches in total in the whole of three years.. But in the past 3 days since i subscribed tinder plus, changed the way my profile looked i.e the pics, and bio. The number of matches has soared to 35 in the pas three days. What I realized is the most important thing is to have good pics, that will get you likes. If you have a good bio it will just increase the chances.

  7. Can I improve my ELO score by changing the location to the place where I am more desired and then go back to my place with improved ELO score?

    • Hey Paul, good question.

      I have tried this as well in the past and it always seemed like I saw a definite change in the types of profiles Tinder suggested back home. In other words, anecdotally yes. It never lasted longer than a few hours though, so it may not be worth the effort.

  8. Hei. Thank you for the useful info here. Wish I had read it before I created my account 2 days ago. I have a question: Does Tinder penalize my ELO or how many profiles I see if I modify my distance parameters in order to avoid swiping some profiles? I sometimes get the message that there are no profiles in my area after modifying the distance from say 2 to 3 km (tried several times in a few minutes interval). But when I check it again after some more time or the morning after, I suddenly have profiles.
    It also happens that I set the distance to say 2 km, find nothing, then set it to 6 km and find profiles that are 2 km or less than 1 km away. What’s wrong with it?

    Is modifying the distance too often somehow penalized (by not showing profile which are actually in range)?

    • Hey, my pleasure 🙂

      No, that behavior isn’t penalized but I believe what you are experiencing is either a persistent bug, or “phasing” between different user classes. I.e. you’ve run out of people in your league to swipe on (according to Tinder) but you or they might shift up or down and suddenly you’re seeing more. That, or bugs.

  9. I’ve read online that your profile disappears from people’s decks once you’ve been inactive for 7 days. Is this true or does your profile just get placed progressively lower in other people’s decks the longer you are inactive (meaning someone who has been inactive for months may still show up if I’m swiping in a low-population town with a specific age filter on)?

    In other words, is there a specific time period of inactivity where your profile will no longer show up at all?

    • Back when Tinder still showed the last active times on people’s profiles, I’ve seen people who have been inactive for up to one month. It’s hard to tell nowadays, but it feels like this hasn’t changed.

  10. Do you have an estimated as to how many weeks of inactivity leas to a decrease in the internal score? Ex. I was inaxtive for 2 week’s due to travels and being veg busy, and I’m already not the most consistent user though I normally use the app at least once a week. Is two weeks of complete
    Inactivity enough time to reduce my internal score?

    • Two weeks is more than enough to make you nigh invisible in populated areas, but heed the distinction: How recently you were last active affects your visibility, not your score. As soon as you use the app again, you’ll be treated as you were before your hiatus.

      • Oh, ok that is good to know. So then, using the information you’ve provided and your own experiments… do you think someone who uses tinder once or twice a week max likely has a low score? I can’t say my matches on tinder are so awesome though I do think I’m attractive and have criteria women are looking for like solid pics, the height above 6 feet, good schooling, etc. I’m wondering if I’m overthinking how attractive I am or if I’ve messed up my score by being a consistently inconsistent tinder user who uses the app once or twice a week.

        Thanks again for the original response!!

        • Being an infrequent user doesn’t negatively influence your score, just your placement in people’s decks (while inactive, you drop further and further back.) Don’t worry too much ^^

  11. Has anyone else experienced vast differences in match rates for different locations? Beyond that of what could be put down to any variables in preference/attractiveness. , I’ve been experimenting recently to try and verify this and whether your ELO score could be in any way linked to your location. To test this I recently attempted to tank my score in several big cities (1 million plus people) and since then after resuming regular swiping i’ll only get a handful of likes per week in those locations, but in other cities (same country) I can get upwards of 100 matches per week.

    also, a proper reset didn’t reverse this – so its either linking that Tinderplus account or my IP or device ID

    anyone have any thoughts about this/similar experiences?

  12. I am using Tantan after Tinder closed my Tinder Plus account for absolutely no reason. I had 400 Matches and started to unmatch some of the GHOST accoutns who never said anything … The next day, i was thrown out!..No matter how many times I asked the the reason i was deleted, only automated replies came through.

    I never had any argument with anyone or post anything other than my proper photos in suit, my dog, my car etc.. (Hence i had 400 matches)

    So ya they gone too far with their algorithm just like how Google did with backlinks.. Now people do negative SEO and there is no apparent solution to it up until 2018. (Disavow take ages to apply and will drop your ranking immediately)

    So far Tantan seems too be working OK until their developers get itchy and fuck up the codes.

    My 2 cents!

    Cheers.

  13. What if I am considered “attractive” but I swipe all the “attractive” left? Like I’m in a country, where people realy like everything exotic and oriental, while I always swipe left on asian eyes?

  14. What do you think of switching locations to get your ELO score up? E.g. if you‘re a white guy and you set your location to Tokyo you‘ll probably get a lot of likes. Would that help your overall score? Would you get more visibility in your home town as well?

    • In my experience passporting to an area where you’re super popular and staying there a bit does in fact have a positive influence on your “home score”. Albeit a short lived one of usually max one week before things turn to normal.

  15. So could you not just put up fake pictures of a really hot person instead of yourself, then wait for a few days for your ELO score to rack up the highest rating, then simply exchange for your real pictures (and maybe delete your current matches so they don’t report you). This way, you could take advantage of an artificially high ELO score for some considerable time. Thank me later 😉

  16. Tinder just asked me to verify my phone number after using the same account for 4 years now!!!!

    After verifying all my data and matches were [email protected]!!!!!

    Aaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!

    There are people I’ve chatted for years with on there!

    Wtf! ?

  17. I recently reseted my Tinder to repair a certainly damaged ELO score. Bought Plus and started swiping as a bisexual Asia with awesome fake pictures, bio, jobs and studies. Although extremely selective i got an enormous amount of matches, with more or less a 100% match rate with guys. After a couple of days i was unable to swipe and received the “Check back later for new people” notification. I certainly did not swipe 2000 people in one hour. This means that my account was punished for a different reason. I suspect that the reason was that i was not messaging or replying to the vast majority of my matches. This probably also means that the ELO score is influenced by this.

    Question: Does one have the same ELO score in relation to both genders?

    • Yep. I’ve been waiting a while with updating the guide until enough test results are in, but it appears that way. Plus, as previously suspected, the accounts seem to also suffer from a significant score drop.

  18. Experiencing the same problems reported below with Tinder lately. Getting considerably less matches for past few months.
    6-12 Months ago on average I would get matched a super like at least 1 out of 5 times.
    Now getting getting matched with 1 out of 30+ super likes. Same pictures.
    Normal matches are pretty rare, seems to only way to get consistent matches is to buy boosts….

  19. I have been using tinder for almost 2 yrs and my average numbers of matches was 20 each day , than I started using the boost and they went up to 10 each time I used it … I was always swiping right , always at the fAstest speed and sometimes with 2 phones and all worked good . Now , with the same pictures , i barely get 3 matches same with the boost .. I tried to change profile, different fb , phone number, swipe slowly left and right etc… but still rubbish Even though you pay for the extra things .

  20. Any info on how switching locations affects your score for tinder plus users? For example, If you stay in a cities pool for a week vs switching between that city and another city for a week.
    I’ve also noticed very bad results (super delayed matches) with the Only show me to people I’ve liked option. But unsure if this is due to switching too often between cities.

    • I think it’s best to stay in a city until the initial travel boost has worn off to get the most out of it, so at least 2-3 days. But once that has worn off, or in general, I don’t believe switching often influences your score apart from a mitigated benefit or malus one of the locations may have on it.

      Worse results and delayed matches are to be expected if your card can only be shown to people you’ve liked, after you liked them. Unless you’re hiding from someone or some people (like your students if you’re a teacher), I would not recommend it.

  21. Hey, for the past week or so I have gotten absolutely zero matches, using tinder every day and swiping normally, unpaid, not abusing left or right swipes.

    2 days ago I just decided to try and swipe right on everyone to see what happened, and no matches. Yesterday I didn’t use the app, and today I swiped right on everyone again, no matches. I uninstalled tinder because I suspected it was a glitch and maybe my uninstall would be one of many to get them to address it. But is this just a new feature to the app? Is it just going to be impossible to use from now on?

  22. Hello there,

    I’m very curious about the rumored last update because I’ve been suspecting something similar as I think this has happened to me. Would love to share about it if others think it might be legitimate.

      • The one you just listed here? About tinder plus users being bricked. Maybe not an “update” so much as probably a bug. But a bad one if it’s real. I didn’t realize it could be a legitimate thing so I’m curious to see if others are having the same issues as me

        • Ahah, I’m sorry I thought you meant a Tinder update.

          I’ve seen that happening for months, but only recently have I started hearing others reporting the same phenomenon, so I felt confident enough to include it.

          It does make a kind of sense as a very lazy anti-bot strategy.

          • Yeah I started noticing something in the last week or two. I’ve only had tinder plus for a few months, and I was liking it up until recently. I’ve only gotten like 2 matches in almost 2 weeks. Now I wasn’t really swimming in matches, but I was getting a comfortable amount. I’ve also had my account for about a year so i realize my ELO has probably plateaued and I’ve also must likely swiped out most people in my area. But this is where it gets weird.

            After I noticed I wasn’t getting much luck, I actually increased my radius a bit (20m) AND increased my age range AND bought a few more super likes. Swiped through a ton more people, used up all my super likes, and still nothing. Even worse, the next day, it pulled up a lot of those ‘new’ profiles again the next day. Some of which I super liked. As in, i had to super like them again. Still have only gotten one match since then.

            I have been more active on tinder lately, so it’s entirely possible that I hit my ‘limit’ while mindlessly swiping and got myself tagged. But I’m a paid user, and it’s absolutely bonkers to know that my account might be fucked BECAUSE I’m paying and using it more.

  23. What is the source for these guesses?

    If you are right about the ELO score and how it works, do you mean that 10s are shown to everyone, 9s to everyone but 10s, 8s to everyone but 9s and 10s and so on (roughly)?

    • Hi Andy,

      The guesses are based on the results of my own and others’ experiments, plus countless comments and discussions on reddit (with a lack of any evidence to the contrary).

      No. I mean people will see and be shown mostly people of their own approximate attractiveness, with some much more or less attractive people mixed in for spice.

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