Dating app Hinge is betting big on audio as Match Group pushes for a better dating experience – CNBC
Hinge is launching voice prompts
Dating app companies have spent the past year indicating change is coming to the dating experience. Now, they’re starting to make good on their promises.
Hinge, one of Match Group’s biggest companies, is adding audio recording features to its app starting Wednesday. It’s the first dating app to widely offer a feature that lets users add voice clips to their dating profiles. Hinge will also allow people to send voice notes to their matches, a feature that dating competitor Bumble has long offered.
Dating apps are synonymous with swiping left and right. For the most part, people look at other users’ profiles, usually filled with pictures and some text, and swipe left to deny or right to express interest. If two people swipe right, they match and could end up on a date.
The addition of interactive media experiences, like audio and video, lets people interact in a way that hasn’t been done yet with online dating. Companies in this space are hoping these features lead people to spend more time on the apps, encourage better connections and attract new users. That, in turn, brings in more revenue.
“It’s one thing to go and take pictures of yourself, it’s another to really go and tell stories and show an interest that get a conversation started. Giving people the ability to tell a richer story about themselves on their profile that’s not just a bunch of photos of themselves, I think, is where it’s going,” Hinge CEO Justin McLeod said in an interview.
Dating apps are catering more to Generation Z, an age group that’s used to more integrative digital experiences. Audio experiences could also be appealing to users who have been reluctant to jump into video dates. Generation Z, or Gen Z, refers to people born between the late 1990s and early 2010s.
“Voice is a really nice gateway to being able to participate in richer media than recording a video of yourself,” McLeod said. “The idea is, being able to send a voice note still communicates a lot of information, but you don’t have to make sure you look good and the camera angle’s right and the lighting is right and all of that.”
Hinge is introducing voice notes between matches.
Hinge’s parent company has been working on the growth to audio, video and social for the past year. Match closed this summer closed its $1.7 billion acquisition of Hyperconnect, a …….