From Matching to Meeting: Match Launches First-of-its-Kind Feature to Move Singles Outside the App

Match has introduced Dates: A new dedicated space within the app that provides insight into a potential connection's dating style and preferences. In a time of social distancing, Dates aims to help users have a clear vision when going out in the real world.

As the global pioneer in online dating, Dallas-headquartered Match is no stranger to changing with the times. And 2020 is unlike any other—it has completely redefined most of the world, including how we make connections.

That’s why Match has launched Dates, a first-of-its-kind new feature that is meant to “align with shifting attitudes.”

Dates is a way to move a user’s most important connections to a dedicated space within the Match app. It’s entirely based on transparency and focus: During such an unpredictable, chaotic time, Match hopes to give its members a clear vision to find what they want in a relationship.

“Match has had several record months—dating is alive and well. The need for our service is still there, it just looks a little bit different,” Match CEO Hesam Hosseini said earlier this month. “There’s been a shift to the want for more meaningful connections.”

Hosseini and his team recognize that the pandemic has provided an ideal time to reset and prioritize what matters most. In the business of relationships, however, that means prioritizing who matters most.

The new feature aims to help Match members find more meaningful connections by identifying strong connections. According to Match, it works like this:

When you and a member reach a promising point in a conversation, we’ll ask if you’re ready to take the next step via an in-app prompt. If you both say yes, you’ll be moved to Dates.

Once a conversation moves to Dates, you’ll not only have a better idea of how that member feels about you—buh-bye, guessing games—but you’ll be able to better focus on that conversation.

[Images: Courtesy Match]

The new feature enables a way for users to organize their matches, prioritizing those with the most potential. Because both sides of the conversation have to agree to take the match to the “next level” (aka the Dates tab), it eliminates any anxiety or guessing around defining the relationship in the early stages.

Match conducted a survey of more than 5,000 users, and much of the data proves Dates’ worth.

Of the respondents, 93 percent said they would like to know if someone they’re talking to is just as interested in them, 86 percent agree many conversations go nowhere on a dating app, and 72 percent wished they had a way to signal to a potential match they’re ready to go out.

Dates also allows users the opportunity to access unlimited video chat and a connection’s first date preferences, which was particularly motivated by the pandemic. That means no more worrying about social distancing practices, restaurant preferences, or awkward greetings.

Hosseini says that Match was the first dating app to launch a video feature after COVID hit. Prior to the pandemic, interest was small and there was a sort of stigma around video chatting before meeting. Hosseini didn’t see a need to invest in the feature.

But the COVID-19 pandemic served as a catalyst for video dating to become more common. Now, it’s here to stay—Hosseini even calls the feature a “must-have” moving forward.

“You can get to know the person and figure out if it’s worth stepping out for,” Hosseini says. “In some ways, it can be less awkward than a date. We always thought it had value, but users didn’t want it. That’s obviously changed with the shutdown.”

The launch of Dates comes on the heels of Match announcing #RealTalk in late August. That feature was designed to help daters skip boring banter and go straight to having more meaningful conversations.

It’s all part of Hosseini’s plan to be with users for every step of a relationship, starting with the first date. He wants to facilitate a new era of stronger romantic connections—even amidst a global pandemic.

“We have to stay nimble and continue adapting our products with the needs of singles month by month,” he says. “Match is headquartered here in Dallas and a lot of the cutting edge innovation is happening at our headquarters. The culture we have thrives on entrepreneurship and thinking like a startup.”

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