Explained: The algorithms working behind dating apps

Dating apps might help many of you to find the perfect one for you. But, do you know how they work? It's the algorithm that plays a major role in dating apps. Let's see how it works.

Dating apps and online dating are not new to the world. They have been here for more than a decade now and have been luring people from almost all generations. It all started when the dating app Tinder was launched in 2012 and since then the internet has been flooded with many such apps. People use these apps thinking that they will find someone special if their luck is in their favor. Here, we must tell you this is not only your luck but the algorithm which plays a crucial role in the functioning of a dating app. Let's dig some more into the history and functioning of these dating apps that totally depends on the algorithm.

Dating Apps in India and World

When the internet made an entry into our lives at the beginning of the 90s it also had an impact on the dating industry. They also tried to encash the opportunity after noticing the emerging trends. Match.com was one of the early websites that made an entry into the field of online dating. It paved the way for many other similar sites like Webdate and Lavalife. However, Tinder set a trend in mobile dating with its launch in the year of 2012 and hence began the game of left-right swipe. Tinder was launched in India in 2016. Soon after Tinder, the Bumble dating app was also launched after two years. OkCupid, Hinge, Plenty of Fish, and Happn are a few apps that made their names in the dating industry.

According to a report, the craze of online dating is such that almost 37 percent of relationships are made with the help of dating apps. This is why dating apps are making big profits from this trend. As per a report, the market of the dating app is estimated to be $2.1 billion, out of which Tinder alone is estimated to have a market share of $750 million.

Indian entrepreneurs are also taking advantage of the growing interest among today's generation and constitute the major consumer base of modern dating apps in India. Based on a report by statista.com, the revenue in the online dating segment in India was projected to reach $559 million in 2022.

The growth of the segment to reach $873 million by 2026 is also forecasted in the same report. Major dating apps in India so far include Aisle, FRND, HiHi, Woo, GoGaga, etc.

What is an Algorithm?

An algorithm is a set of sequential steps which is crucial in developing any computer program. It's a set of rules which help you obtain the expected output from the given output. Regardless of whether an algorithm is hardware-based or software-based, algorithms are an exact list of instructions that perform specified actions step by step. A wide variety of applications are possible because of algorithms. Automated systems also rely heavily on algorithms as specifications for performing data processing.

Algorithms Working Behind Dating Apps

The algorithm is a major factor behind the success of these dating apps. But, you won't find any specific public information regarding the dating apps' algorithm. They are not going to spill the beans about the same any time soon. Also, it's a little difficult to talk about all of them but we can discuss the functioning of the top leaders in the industry. If we begin with Tinder, its algorithm used to work on the Elo rating system, the same one that was designed to determine the ranking of the chess players. Your rank increases based on how many people liked you or swiped right on you which is weighted according to the swiper's demographics. You are more likely to score high if that person swiped right on you more often. These details about Tinder's algorithm were revealed in a blog in 2019.

However, Tinder later denied the use of Elo in its app in another blog post. So, in other words, it's the time you spend on the app that plays a cupid in your life. In simple words, you can say that the more time you spend on the app, the more the app will have your data. On this basis, the algorithm will create a profile of your choice and you find matches similar to them. It's like the more active people like you will see your profile if you remain on the app for a longer time.


However, other reports were claiming that they possibly use another algorithm such as the Gale-Shapley algorithm. There is no confirmation from the company on this either. Apart from the algorithm, physical appearance is also important for an appealing dating profile on Tinder. Profile photos provide valuable insight into whether the profile owner is perceived as physically attractive. While users can make their profiles more attractive by adding more photos, they can make photos appear more prominent in the interface. Adding much personal information is not required. Most users even use photo editing apps o make their photos more attractive. Also, you will get fewer matches if your bio is blank. So, you can write a hilarious and engaging bio for your account to stand out and make it a reflection of your personality and interests.

Just like Tinder, Bumble also works on the swipe model. It's unique because it gives preference to women for sending the message first. Women get 24 hours to respond and if they don't reply the message disappears in 24 hours. Bumble also doesn't reveal much about its functioning and algorithm. Bumble's match queue is based on several algorithms. Users of Bumble don't find these algorithms explicitly disclosed but they are fairly obvious. They can customize their Bumble experience by using filters to show them the most likely matches based on the match percentage.

The framework of Hinge is partially designed on the Gale-Shapely algorithm. This works on a scenario that consists of an equal number of men and women ranking members of the opposite gender based on their preferences. And then matching up each partner in a way that ensures that none of them is paired with the people they did not want. Basically, Hinge determines who is most compatible with you based on the people you are engaging with. It's not about only your liking but it's about who is more likely to like you back. The more you use the site, it observes, who you like, who you comment on, and who is having conversations with you.


The spectrum is updated with new applications now and then. As a result, there are more chances of people getting desired results in the form of a compatible partner. But the algorithm is a still work in progress because humans are much more complicated than logical patterns. It's imperative that the algorithm takes into consideration diverse and evolving tastes to reflect the human experience more accurately.


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