Hinge’s First Research Lab Looks at the Secrets to Successful Dating

Initial study explores how users adapt to virtual dates during Covid-19

Logan Ury and Emily Hittner will lead the research program. Hinge
Headshot of Ian Zelaya

Dating apps continue to encourage members to connect virtually amid the Covid-19 pandemic by offering new in-app features, virtual date ideas and digital events that show how daters are faring in quarantine. Hinge is hoping to uncover the secrets to dating successfully in a new normal with its first research program.

The dating app has launched Hinge Labs, an ongoing program that will provide evidence-based insights based on behavioral data from members. Program tactics include interviewing users who have found love on the app, machine learning to uncover app behaviors that lead to relationship success and conducting experiments to determine app features that have the most positive impact.

While Hinge has largely relied on user surveys for guidance on new app features and campaigns, the brand plans to take the program learnings and apply them to improve the user experience.

Hinge’s director of relationship science Logan Ury and director of research Emily Hittner will helm the new project.

“The easiest way to learn how to do something is by following in the footsteps of somebody who’s accomplished it first,” says Ury in a promotional video for Hinge Labs. “In addition to talking to users, we’re also researching happy couples who met on the app and then deleted it.”

Ury and Hittner’s first study will explore how Hinge users are adapting to video dating; the brand reports 70% of users are willing to try a virtual first date. The study aims to help members who are on the fence about going on video dates by exploring concerns like figuring out how to make a good first impression and when to end a video chat.

The brand is now testing in-app video calls in select markets and plans to roll it out globally this summer.

Hinge plans to roll out in-app video chat globally this summer.

In response to an uptick in conversations during quarantine, the brand in April introduced a “Date From Home” menu, which pops up at the bottom of in-app conversations. The pop-up asks users if they’re ready to go on a video date, and both parties can select when they’re ready to move the conversation off the app; their response remains private until their match selects it, too.

Hinge plans to share its Hinge Labs findings with members through its newsletters, social accounts and YouTube channel.

ian.zelaya@adweek.com Ian Zelaya is an Adweek reporter covering how brands engage with consumers in the modern world, ranging from experiential marketing and social media to email marketing and customer experience.