Why dating app Hinge wants to be deleted

The dating app’s first major international marketing campaign sees app icon Hingie “dying to be deleted” as young love blossoms.

Hingie being attacked by pigeons in Hinge’s new campaign.

With competition growing in the online dating sector, brands from Bumble and Tinder to Grindr, Match.com and Happn, are fighting to find a positioning that will appeal to singles, cut through the noise and guarantee downloads worldwide.

Hinge is taking a different approach to its Match Group stablemates with a new campaign focused on the app’s mission – to be deleted. The dating app’s first international campaign, and TV debut, brings Hingie to life as a loveable app icon who is attacked by pigeons, burnt on a campfire and drowned in a washing machine all in the pursuit of love.

“On Hinge there are no rules, timers or games because we’ve created an app that’s actually designed to get people off their phones and out on great dates,” Hinge CMO Nathan Roth tells Marketing Week.

“We’re bringing our app icon to life and having it die as couples hit it off. By doing that we are showing our users we truly want to find someone worth deleting the app for. Quite literally Hinge is dying for you to find love.”

Going live today (12 August) the creative, developed by Red Antler, was informed by user insight from across Hinge’s markets in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and Northern Europe.

User feedback showed that dating is hard and confusing, and more than anything users want to get off the app and into a relationship. The concept was therefore to show Hingie as a sidekick coming along on the adventure as people connect through the app.

The fastest growing dating app in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, Hinge sets up a date once every four seconds and three out of four users are interested in a second date. Up until now, the app has grown organically via word of mouth recommendations, social media memes and working with influencers, but Hinge has now decided to focus on video as the best medium to tell the evolving story, Roth explains.

The new campaign will appear on TV and streaming sites, as well as on Snapchat, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram and YouTube. While the UK TV media mix is still in the works, Hinge will be running ads on Disney-owned streaming site Hulu following a successful trial using six-second ads.

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Going offline

Dating apps are doing ever more interesting things to build brand affinity in a crowded market. Tinder, for example, signed a multi-year partnership last year with Manchester City football club to give uses access to exclusive content, match tickets and other stadium events across both the men’s and women’s teams.

Meanwhile Bumble, which spans a dating site, friendship-focused Bumble BFF and mentor matching on Bumble Bizz, has branched out into esports through its sponsorship of the first professional all-female Fortnite team.

With this campaign Hinge, wants to demonstrate its opposition to what it describes as “digital addiction” by encouraging people to meet in real life and get off the app as quickly as possible.

Creative from Hinge’s debut international campaign.

“It’s quite common for apps to optimise for time in-app, whether it’s to maximise subscription or advertising revenue. We are purely focused on our users’ success and that’s helping them find someone worth deleting the app for. That’s our single focus,” Roth explains.

Last year, the app partnered with Mexican-style grab-and-go restaurant Chipotle to give users a free burrito if they visited a restaurant as a couple. Then in June, Hinge collaborated with the It Gets Better Project, a not-for-project organisation aimed at empowering the LGBTQ+ community, by inviting its users to attend the Pride Prom.

Opportunities to meet in real life emerged as one of the key changes singles want to see from dating apps, according to Mintel’s 2019 Dating Report.

The research found that one in 10 of 1,976 internet users aged 18+ had used a free dating website or app in the 12 months to February 2019. Of these, 39% had used a dating app based on a family or friend recommendation.

Some 61% of people on the dating apps said they were looking for long-term, serious relationships. However, daters want apps to focus more on matching people based on personality (20%) and hosting more events for people to meet in person (12%).

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For Hinge, success is inspiring more people to download and delete the app, which means getting the story out there to increase awareness, familiarity and affinity towards the brand, Roth explains.

Hinge’s downloads are already up three times compared to this time last year across all its markets and while there is no single focus in terms of countries, the plan is global expansion.

“We’re excited to get the word out there and we hope it inspires people to get off their phones, get into the real world on dates, meet new people and ultimately delete the app, hopefully for good,” Roth adds.