It’s over: Tinder won the dating wars. Swipe or stay home

date night

Single people have many choices when it comes to dating apps. They can go old school and drop into Match, where deep-diving questionnaires will match them with someone based on algorithms dreamed up in the annals of psychology research papers. Or they can let the ladies make the first move on Bumble. Or maybe they want to go a bit more Wild West and hit up OKCupid for anything from a hookup to a life partner.

There are yet more choices, of course: Grindr for gay, bi, trans, and queer folk; Coffee Meets Bagel for those who want a more focused dating experience, or The League for those looking for the VIP room treatment.

I could go on, but I won’t.

That’s because regardless of the choices singles are making when it comes to dating apps, one thing is clear according to app-usage data: As of this summer, people are choosing Tinder, and the swipey dating app’s popularity is only growing as others’ numbers slump.

In other words, Tinder won the dating app war. By a large margin.

tinder active users

According to Facebook app login token data tracked by Thinknum, Tinder usage is at the highest it’s been. In fact, as of this week, Tinder is the most used app via Facebook login, beating out both Spotify and Candy Crush Saga for the first time.

In other words, that means that as of today, before people are even thinking about listening to some tunes or playing the most popular mobile game in the world, they’re turning to Tinder to get some love.

Here are the top apps logged into via Facebook login for the past month:

Ticker Symbol Name Monthly Active Users Rank
1 nasdaq:mtch Tinder 2
2 nasdaq:atvi Candy Crush Saga 3
3 nyse:spot Spotify 4
4 nasdaq:goog YouTube 6
5 private:pinterest Pinterest 9
6 private:wish Wish 11
7 nasdaq:znga Texas HoldEm Poker 16
8 nasdaq:atvi Candy Crush Soda Saga 19
9 nyse:sne PlayStation™ Network 25
10 nasdaq:atvi Farm Heroes Saga 26

Based on that data — supplied by Facebook via public APIs — on average, Tinder has been the most-used app all month. That puts it head of Candy Crush Saga, Spotify, even YouTube and Pinterest.

One would assume, based on that data, that other dating apps would rank high up there as well. After all, if people are looking for love before they’re looking for music or Candy Crush, clearly they must also be giving Bumble or OKCupid a try, yeah?

It turns out that’s not the case. According to Facebook, one of them has plateaued at a rank miles away from Tinder’s, and the other has actually been slumping.

ok cupid active users

OkCupid had a good run in its earlier days in 2015, but it’s failed to even rank in the top-100 apps used via Facebook login.

bumble active users

Bumble, with its popular “girls first” take on the Tinder formula, had a good run last spring, but has failed to gain ground on Tinder.

And that’s just the thing: It seems as though the Tinder model simply works. And as competitors scramble to keep up, they’re simply becoming clones of the same thing.

In fact, the latest iterations of both OkCupid and Bumble both use a swipe-then-chat mechanism that looks an awful lot like Tinder. Their only differentiation is the way that they go about things. In the case of OkCupid, users can message one another without matching. On Bumble, once a match is established, the female must message within 24 hours.

Other than that, the three apps are virtually the same thing. When a single person then considers the fact that the vast majority of other single people are on Tinder, just like a night club, they realize that that’s the place they need to be.

Tinder simply gives singles access to the largest pool of single people.

When an app only offers a slight point of difference, perhaps in the way that it matches or allows messaging, it seems that those differences don’t outweigh one’s chances — or at least perception of chances — for success.

Tinder simply gives singles access to the largest pool of single people, and since dating is a numbers game, it’s no surprise that that’s where they’re all heading. It’s likely that other dating apps will continue to exist — and even thrive — especially if they cater to a particular audience or orientation. If Tinder is, say, the sports bar down the street, The League is the bottle-service-only night club with a selective bouncer.

But for the rest of us — for the vast majority of single people — Tinder is it. The usage data says so, and as other apps just parrot what it’s done, its lead will likely widen. So get swiping, single people.

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