The Role of Dating App Algorithms in Online Matchmaking

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Online dating is the most popular way for people to find and foster romantic connections, and it has been for quite some time! Its unprecedented popularity has put traditional ways of finding love on the back burner. There are far more options online, even if many of them aren’t around someone’s immediately accessible physical location. 

But is it the wealth of romantic prospects that makes online dating so incredibly enticing? That’s part of it – and the safety found behind the screen also makes people more comfortable than they’d be if they were to ask someone out on a date in person. People can curate their conversations thoughtfully instead of coming up with something on the spot. They’re also able to create thoughtfully crafted profiles to make themselves seem like the most attractive and qualified romantic prospects they can be. 

While all of these factors contribute to the popularity of online dating platforms, they’re not the most attractive factor that’s bringing daters online. We can see what’s working for people by looking at how the concept of online dating originated – which occurred before the internet even existed! A system was created to help match people based on compatibility through the use of personality questionnaires and a computer database. The concept exploded – everyone wanted to be matched with someone chosen particularly for them! 


Matchmaking sets people up for successful romantic endeavors. It puts people ahead of the game, giving them a head start in love. That concept is attractive to literally every eligible single looking for love! 

Matchmaking started taking some of the unknowns and the guesswork out of the dating process. If people relied on a matchmaking system they could trust, they’d undoubtedly get along with their matches. Even if every match didn’t lead to a successful, long-term relationship experience, they were still better off than trying to choose potential romantic partners while left to their own devices. 

Match making graphic

Eventually, when the internet got up and running, matchmaking got taken to a whole new level. Online dating platforms started popping up everywhere and gaining incredible amounts of popularity quickly. Part of this extreme and dramatic rise in popularity was due to the fact that some of the biggest online dating platforms offered people matchmaking services with the use of dating app algorithms. These advanced computer programs matched people based on scientific criteria, providing people with highly-compatible, high-quality matches. 

So now that online dating and dating app algorithms have been around for a while, how have they developed? Where are we at as far as algorithm matchmaking is concerned? And how do algorithm-based online dating platforms work now?

How Dating App Algorithms Work Now

Some of the most popular algorithm-based online dating platforms currently on the scene are eHarmony and OkCupid – but there are plenty of them out there for people to choose from! So how do they work? Well, they take the latest scientific knowledge about romantic compatibility. They create and implement a scientific approach to help people find love by developing and providing people with a compatibility algorithm

The typical process for using one of these algorithm-based online dating platforms starts with a series of questionnaires. These typically focus on a person’s interests, preferences, and personality traits. With this information in hand, dating app algorithms compute it and use the data to find compatible matches in their system. They then present these matches to the user as suggestions for romantic partnerships. 

On top of the questionnaires, some algorithm-based platforms ask users to complete additional quizzes to get more data so they can curate even more refined matches that suit their tastes. The more surveys completed, the better the algorithm’s recommendations will be.


Algorithm-based dating platforms are popular because they champion compatibility and their ability to provide people with matches that lead to successful long-term relationships. Anyone looking for love can find excellent potential partners on their platform because of their practical and unique, scientifically-backed algorithm!

With the algorithm working in favor of a searching single, that person can save countless hours scrolling and browsing through profiles themselves. They can also save time by not wasting it communicating with matches that they wouldn’t be compatible with due to key factors that an algorithm could identify within seconds. 

algorithm graphic

And, if people do want to browse through profiles themselves, there’s so much data about people on their pages due to these detailed questionnaires that they have a better chance of assessing whether or not a match will be compatible on their own. Overall, no matter which approach a single wants to take, algorithm-based dating platforms give them a better chance at finding that type of special someone they’re looking for. 

With that being said, let’s look at some of the most popular online dating platforms out there and see a snapshot of how their unique algorithm works!

tinder app icon

Tinder

Tinder boasts about having 75 million active users per month! With so many people being drawn to this notoriously popular app, they must be doing something right. So, how does their proprietary algorithm work anyways?

When the platform got started, its algorithm was based on the Elo rating system – which was actually originally designed to rank chess players, but it got the job done! It worked by recording how other profiles interacted with yours, in terms of which direction people swiped when it came to you, and scored your profile accordingly.

Nowadays, the algorithm Tinder uses is quite different! Now, the data it uses is based on how much and often you use the app. The more you’re on there, the more your profile will be shown to other users.

Bumble dating app icon

Bumble

Bumble‘s model is similar to Tinder’s in that they also utilize the popular swipe style that many online daters have become fluent with. The main difference lies in the fact that women are the only party allowed to message matches first. This platform prides itself on empowering women in this way, giving them control over their online dating experience. 

If no one messages a match within the span of a day, the potential connection will disappear. This keeps matches fresh and new, keeping the experience of using the app invigorating, exciting, and even addictively entertaining!

The algorithm also ensures that people are only shown currently active matches. If someone isn’t active, after 30 days, their profile stops showing up as a match for other users. So there’s never any fear of matching with an inactive user on Bumble!

hinge-app

Hinge

Hinge uses an algorithm called the Gale-Shapley algorithm – which won a Nobel prize! It was developed to find optimal pairs in types of trades that aren’t primarily based on financial means, like organ donations. And if it’s good enough to determine that type of important match, it can certainly get the job done when it comes to helping online daters find love!

So how does it work? Well, it takes note of who you like and collects that data on every other user as well. Then, it provides you with matches where you’re most likely to enjoy each other! In this way, the algorithm’s just as concerned with who you like as it is with which people like you

Because of how this algorithm works, Hinge gets better at curating matches you like the more you use it. The more you like other users and engage with other profiles, the better your matches get. You know those bed sheets that get softer every time you wash them? That’s kind of what you’re looking at when you decide to use Hinge! It’ll understand and suit you better over time and active use. 

okcupid app graphic

OkCupid

OkCupid is one of the original online dating platforms that gained traction early on. If you’re looking for an algorithm that collects plenty of data to match you as well as possible, you’ve found the right platform in OkCupid.

They have more than 4,000 questions available for you and others to answer to curate your matches and find you exactly what you’re looking for!

They also allow you to sport badges relating to political beliefs and core values. And if you want to express a specific sexual orientation or gender identity, they have 60 badges for you to choose from in order to allow you to express yourself exactly as you see fit. 

OkCupid’s algorithm creates a compatibility percentage between you and other users based on the information you provide, the badges you choose to display, and the answers you give to their questions. When it comes down to it, it works like this: if another dater has search preferences similar to yours and you’re also looking for the same type of relationship, your percentage will be pretty high. 

When you browse other profiles, you’ll be able to see the compatibility percentage right then and there! This gives you a heads-up on who’ll be a good match for you – and how well you two align. This saves people time, energy, effort, and more by kickstarting their dating experiences by providing invaluable insight with these compatibility scores.

confused woman looking at phone with question mark background and a heart-shaped speech bubble with a surprised face emoji inside of it

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