It’s no secret that it is easier for women to get likes and matches on Tinder than it is for men. But have you ever wondered just how many more? Well I have, so I tested it with the help of some friends.
As you probably know, the first two rules of Tinder are:
- Be attractive
- Don’t be unattractive
With that in mind, I set out to find two people who follow these rules to a dot.
Unfortunately, it turns out model agencies don’t bother even responding to inquiries about having some of their talent create Tinder accounts for a test.
Fortunately, a couple of acquaintances who fit the bill have agreed to help, as long as their pictures aren’t published. Let’s call them John and Jane. They have been in a relationship (with each other) for years and have both never been on Tinder before.
First off, J&J read our guide on what kind of pictures to use on Tinder and had some of their better choices tested on photofeeler. Finally they created their Tinder accounts from six great pictures, the same Job (Lawyer), and the same bio:
“Hi, just moved here for an exciting career opportunity and don’t really know any good places to eat yet. Any recommendations?”.
Then they purchased Tinder Gold, so we could count their likes and experiment with different locations.
To get any meaningful results from this, we established some rules about how they had to use Tinder during this test.
- Space out activity throughout the day, and spend about 10 minutes every two hours swiping, to stay equally “recently active”.
- Try not to be too picky nor too loose in order not to anger the algorithm.
- Never swipe in the “likes me” queue, only in the regular section.
- Use your one free boost at the same time.
- Don’t contact matches. (This might not affect their numbers, but it seemed more ethical to not give anyone (more) false hope.)
Day 1 – Boston
Having just spent ten minutes to set up her profile, Jane already had 32 likes waiting for her by the time she was ready to start. John was greeted by a golden doughnut and started swiping.
24 hours later, these were their match screens:
None of the women John liked throughout the day had liked him back yet, leaving him with 25 who liked him, but which he did not come across yet. IF left swipes are actually removed from the gold queue that is. Still, 25 likes (probably a lot more that he rejected) is not bad for most guys, and if he lowered his standards a bit he might have gotten some matches too.
Meanwhile, Jane had netted 2’122 likes on top of the 32 matches she had chosen. “Chosen”, because she basically matched with (almost) anyone she swiped right on.
You’ll notice from the pictures that she opted to search for both women and men, but that shouldn’t skew the numbers all too much seeing as only about 1-2% of the profiles she was presented with were female.
Like John, she may have been a bit picky if we compare the number of matches to the number of open likes, but hey, I would be too if every right swipe results in a match. See also “The vicious circle of Tinder”.
Days 2-6 – Berlin, Munich, Copenhagen, London, Paris
Curious about the Situation in Europe, and in order to take advantage of the traveler’s boost, Jane and John “visited” some highly populated cities they both liked and hid their distance on their profiles.
- Concerning matches and likes, things continued much the same as on her first Tinder day. A slightly lower but steady 500-1000 likes per day, probably due to the lower population density, the hidden distance, and the English bio.
- Her boost on day 6 probably netted her another 300 likes on top.
- She became somewhat pickier yet, in her own words, because why not.
After the first or second day, John started seeing more and more attractive potential matches in his queue. He still had about 20-30 open likes left over at the end of his days, but now he was also getting around 10 matches per day. It’s difficult to say if this was due to his score slowly catching up and rating him as more and more attractive, thus showing him more attractive profiles, or simply because of the location change. Possibly a mix of both, but seeing as this happened gradually I think it’s safe to say the former played a leading role.
Boosting seemed to help John get noticed more, just about doubling his likes that day. At the same time, the boost didn’t get him any more matches than usual because, well, “the extra likes seemed to come from a much broader population than my usual match queue”. (Read: less attractive).
Day 7 – New York
Weary of swiping through hundreds of profiles daily and yet not being able to talk to any matches, John and Jane were happy to spend their final day on Tinder.
Being the most densely populated city of the US, we expected to end this test with a spike in likes, a like spike. Surprisingly, it seems New Yorkers really didn’t like our two subjects all that much. Well, at least John. Jane still got around 500 likes there. He got about 5 open likes and no additional matches. That is apart from the one he got from cheating and snooping through his gold queue.
Maybe the cause for the drop in likes is that they had both used their boost the day before, albeit in a different city. Maybe New Yorkers are just pickier.
Anyway, let’s get to the gruesome business of the scores:
The winner of this round of “Tinder – Guys vs. Gals”, without the shadow of a doubt, is Jane with a whopping 7506 unseen likes on top of 83 matches that braved the test of ultimate pickiness.
The consolation prize goes to John and his 19 remaining likes and 55 matches. Good effort out there, John. Good effort.
No, this test wasn’t exactly scientific. We only had two subjects instead of thousands, and their supposedly equal attractiveness could be all too subjective. It’s also possible John was too picky and would have gotten a better score and more matches if he swiped right more, or had a more interesting bio, or messaged any of his matches. A rule that does not seem to apply to attractive women it seems, though who knows what her numbers would have been if she just randomly swiped right 50% of the time.
Although, judging by the attractiveness of their matches and match suggestions, it’s fair to say Tinder thinks they are both very attractive people themselves.
Yes, there are problems with this test and the results are not representative. But the difference in these two results is so vast, and supported by so much anecdotal evidence, that we can draw some conclusions from it.
Tinder does still work for men (somewhat), given that they are very attractive.
Years ago, John’s results would have been more or less normal. Recently though, many male users get a few likes on their first day, and then all but 0 from day 2 onward. Unless they pay for boosts, that is. Just to make sure, we had John stay somewhat active in Boston for another week, and he continued getting 10-15 likes daily. So yes, you can still get matches as a guy on Tinder without paying. You just have to be ridiculously attractive.
The male/female ratio of Tinder users has to be completely skewed.
Yes, women are generally pickier than men. Yes, this is exacerbated on Tinder through a feedback loop. Yes, boosters are displacing non-boosters in people’s match queue. Yes, “top picks” is skimming off the top. No, these reasons alone cannot be responsible for a 100 times higher like+match count for women than for men.
Were there always more men than women on Tinder? Probably. Has Tinder been bleeding female users since its glory days? Maybe. Is it possible their business decisions are just doing their part to worsen the problem to the point where average guys get almost no matches anymore without paying? Definitely.
Tinder has effectively gone pay to play (for men)
Which is fine, it’s just that they forgot to tell everyone. Now the decision left to you is whether you’re willing to spend hundreds of dollars a month on a dating app, or if you’d rather explore other options. Which other options, you ask? Well there’s Bumble, or… bars? The match group has a habit of buying out and applying their special touch to any app that shows even the slightest chance of becoming a danger to Tinder.
Would you like to tell us about your experience? Something to add or correct? Feel free to leave a comment below, or visit the SwipeHelper Subreddit. See you there 🙂