Match today introduces new features that aim to address some of the users’ complaints with modern-day dating apps — like how much time it takes to find a relevant match and how frustrating it is when users ghost one another after the initial conversation fades. As part of a new strategy to better position Match for more “emotionally mature” singles (read: adults), the company says it will begin beta testing a recommendation system called “Matched by Us,” which may pave the way for a broader matchmaking service in the future. It’s also testing an anti-ghosting feature that pushes users to either continue a conversation or unmatch the recipient instead of leaving them hanging.
The features are designed to address the challenges that face Match’s older demographic. Match users tend to be in their 30s and up and have entire lives. They’re generally ready to find relationships and settle down with a partner. That’s a different life phase than those using other Match dating apps, like Tinder, where younger users are still in a more exploratory phase and enjoy going on many dates, including casual dates.
“When we talk to our members, we hear a lot of frustration around [there being] a lot of swiping, a lot of messaging back and forth — that’s happening in the dating world more broadly,” explains Dushyant Saraph, Match’s chief product officer. “When we think about folks on our product, who don’t have a ton of time, that’s where ‘Matched by Us’ came from. Our singles don’t want to swipe through hundreds of profiles,” he says.
The new feature, which is available to free and paid users alike, will present one free customized Match every week, where both users can see each other and no longer have to wait for a “like” back to engage in a conversation.
The system works to find compatible matches by algorithmically examining a new set of preferences around users’ personalities, based on responses to questions posed in users’ Match bios.
For example, questions may ask about users’ five-year plans, their favorite weekend activities, or whether they’re open to moving somewhere new if they find the right person. The latter has become especially relevant in the new age of remote work, driven by the pandemic, which no longer requires people to live in the bigger cities where their company may be headquartered, Saraph notes.
Currently, the system will recommend a match based on a holistic view of users’ preferences, as determined by an algorithm. Still, the company has been internally testing, adding a layer of human curation to its suggestions.
In other words, Match is testing an actual matchmaking service. For the time being, however, the human curation team inside Match is working in more of an R&D capacity, Saraph says.
“We’ve been flexing how many experts we need as we’re testing kind of different concepts — everything from coaching to expert picks, where we’re doing human curation,” he says. The team also works on other features, like suggesting conversation starters to keep conversations going.
“Long-term, we expect to be flexible, depending on which of these [products] is most interesting to our members and scaling up our expert team accordingly. Right now, human curation is one area that we’re really excited about and want to crack, and I think you’ll hear more about that in the coming months,” Saraph adds.
Another new feature aimed at helping adults to stop wasting their time on dating apps involves how Match will handle matches’ conversations. Typically, conversations either take off leading to real-world dates or slowly fade away until communication stops altogether. Sometimes, the other party simply “ghosts” and never responds at all.