How Tinder Grew With Sorority Groups And College Guys

Richard Fang

Everyone knows Tinder as an dating application
Yogas Design / Unsplash

It’s known as the application that pushed millennial online dating into an application that was easy to use and simple to understand.

No more long profiles, just simple right and left. Apart from its genius design and user experience, we also have to take a quick look at how Tinder grew.

Like Airbnb (host and guest), Tinder works when two distinct user groups are present on the platform and grows from this network effect.

In this case, it’s guys and girls, but obviously, to grow the application, they needed attractive girls already on the application for guys to come and sign up (as shallow as it sounds!).

VP of Marketing Whitney Wolfe and her sorority years
Campaign Creators / Unsplash

Having enjoyed her sorority years, Wolfe had the idea to grab sorority girls on the platform. Wolfe set out to acquire the girls she was once part of with a mix of referral and influencer style marketing.

She decided to tour a variety of sorority houses, giving presentations about Tinder. As soon as she finished, she would convince them to sign up and then, straight after, visit the fraternity and get all the guys to sign up.

This would end up actually working, and over time, she was able to sign up one side of the party onto the platform and convince the other side thereafter.

With the incentive that the girls were already on the application, the guys needed little convincing for them to sign up, and soon this marketing strategy took its effect as it drew growth.

Tinder is a great example of how growth does not have to be sustainable, especially when first utilizing strategy in the startup's early days. For many startups, finding that initial spur of growth even with unsustainable methods helps get the engine started.

A great example of the network effect strategy
Alexander Sinn / Unsplash

The strategy worked, and soon Tinder became the matching application of all colleges.

Definition: A phenomenon whereby increased numbers of people or participants improve the value of a good or service

The network effect is especially powerful as it spreads word of mouth throughout the user groups and escalates the initial growth spurt.

Through this effect, it managed to grow huge and soon went internationally with its growth.

With the bonus of celebrities also utilizing the application, it soon became the application you used to find romantically interested partners.

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Editor at CornerTech and Marketing @richardfliu on Twitter


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