Gender Analysis

Analyzing a dating app, one of the most important things we can investigate is the question of gender. After all, what good is a dating app for straight people if it’s either all guys or all girls? One would think there’d be a need for a balanced number of female and male users. We don’t know what the user stats are, but from social media we can see that the people who talk about Tinder actually skews male:

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Now they’re not all users, granted—some of them are journalists, investors, and pundits talking about the dating app market. But the majority of them are probably users because there is such a high volume of conversation about this app right now.

It made me wonder though how stable this ratio of slightly more men has been. Think about the very first users of Tinder. If the ratio had been out of alignment in the beginning, they probably couldn’t have gained adoption. Imagine you’re a guy and you show up at a party and there are no girls. Would you stay? At some nightclubs they let girls in for free or for a discount because that’s what makes the guys willing to pay. With NetBase I can go back in time and see what was the gender ratio. Sure enough, the gender ratio has been the same (47% female to 53% male since pretty much the beginning).

From 12/21/2013 – 6/24/2014 however, it did skew a little more strongly toward men, but not much:

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Then 10/31/2014 – 4/9/2015 it started making it’s way back down to the 47/53:

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And since Tinder became ultra popular, the demographic split has almost become balanced, here’s how it looks 4/7/2015 – 9/1/2015:

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So how does that compare to the general population?  We have to recognize that a dating app is mainly relevant to adults and probably not to older adults. From the stats below it appears that for this age range, the general population also skews a little more toward male. Therefore, as Tinder has gained popularity, it’s probably shifted more toward the mainstream gender split.

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source: http://www.indexmundi.com/united_states/sex_ratio.html

Domain Analysis

Another form of analysis that can yield insights is domain analysis. This is where we look at which domains mention Tinder the most. It’s common for Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and Reddit to account for the lion’s share. Below them though, we see forum.bodybuilding.com accounting for a whopping 27,222 mentions of Tinder.

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Clicking out to read some of the posts, there were over 288 pages!   So I began to do a cursory review of the posts, and below was one I found insightful. It’s about a guy, presumably a fairly muscular guy given the nature of the forum. He says that he likes Tinder because it’s hard for him to talk to girls in real life. I can see how that might be the case because when you specialize in one thing (e.g. body building), it means you take away attention from developing specialty in another thing (e.g. face to face communication):

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But with so many posts, a cursory review just won’t do this analysis justice, so I decided to make use of a very nifty feature in NetBase. I wanted to see an analysis of everything mentioned about Tinder on this particular forum. So I just pressed the Filter button:

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And voilà, I am now able to find out mentions over time, conversation analysis, sentiment, sentiment drivers, etc. etc. etc. just for the forum forum.bodybuilding.com. So what did I find out?

For one thing, there is a definite cyclicality to the conversation about Tinder on forum.bodybuilding.com. A thread can go on for 5-8 months and then drop off for 1-3 months:

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I don’t know why this is, it would take more digging to understand this pattern. Yet, it’s there. So what can be done about it? Well, let’s say I’m Tinder and I need to grow the male contingent. Then maybe I approach forum.bodybuilding.com for a paid banner ad. But to be smart with my ad dollars, I would look for increases in conversation about Tinder on the site, using NetBase alerting of course ;-) and when it starts to pick up, I ‘d run my ad for 6 months only. Then I’d pull the ad and wait for another spike.

Next I looked at the conversation analysis. I wanted to see what people said about Tinder on forum.bodybuilding.com. As you can see they talk a lot about girls:

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So it made me think, maybe the majority of the people talking about Tinder on this forum are male. Originally I didn’t have that expectation because I know women are into body building too. So I decided to check out the gender distribution here.

Wow, the gender skews heavily male (88%) for mentions of Tinder on forum.bodybuilding.com:

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Again, I like to think about the implications for marketers. It’s one thing to have a bunch of data (the “what”), it’s another to find something interesting in that data (the “so what”), but to make it most meaningful for business we have to ask “now what?”

Maybe this can inform a strategy to balance the gender split on Tinder. Going back to our earlier discussion, the point of a straight dating website is to match men and women. Too many of either gender, and the whole network could implode. My guess is, Tinder’s operations depend on keeping the gender ratio in check at all times. That means marketing programs need to be designed to appeal either to men or women and targeted appropriately as well. So if more men are needed, run banner ad campaigns on male-dominated sites such as forum.bodybuilding.com. What about for women? Can we use NetBase to discover which forums women talk about Tinder on?

Yes we can! Here I’m setting up my analysis to concentrate on what women say about Tinder:

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Then I’m going to Domain analysis and looking at Forums:

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Lo and behold there are female-dominated forums where women talk about Tinder:

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Conclusion

On a personal note, this whole new dating world sounds a little exciting and a little scary. One has to be careful they don’t get cat fished, compete for peoples’ anemic attention, and be careful not to swipe left on their soul mate.

On a professional note though, it’s amazing what social media analysis can do to inform marketers. It’s like having an enormous focus group at your disposal for real-time feedback. In just a short amount of time I was able to get a lay of the land, identify key complaint issues with the service, and formulate marketing strategies that could address basic adoption questions for this brand. Much more was possible from competitive analysis to influencer detection, not to mention operational use cases for customer service, social selling, and business performance tracking.

To learn how NetBase can help your brand harness the real-time power of Social Media, please contact us to begin the conversation.

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