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Hinge, a dating app under Match Group, is set to launch its new collaboration with Headspace, which will provide pre-date meditation services to help those with anxiety and stress before their dates. Justin McLeod, Hinge Founder & CEO, joins The Final Round to discuss dating during a pandemic and its new service to help focus on mental health.
MYLES UDLAND: All right, let's turn our attention now to what's going on in the online dating markets. It's been a very interesting time for that space. Everyone went home, kind of scared of meeting new people. And things have certainly turned around broadly in the space over the last couple of months.
Joining us now to talk more about all of that is Justin McLeod. He's the founder and CEO of Hinge. Justin, thanks for coming back on the show. So let's start with just the state of Hinge, the state of online dating right now, and how your business has really fared through the last couple of quarters, which have been probably the most interesting time in the history of the online dating business.
JUSTIN MCLEOD: Definitely. So overall, you know, because people can't meet the way that they usually would, which is in gyms or bars or weddings or parties or whatever, we really are the only way that people can-- a lot of people can meet right now.
MELODY HAHM: And of course, Justin, you have some news today. You have a collab with Headspace, the meditation app, which actually is my meditation app of choice. So I already have--
JUSTIN MCLEOD: Mine as well.
MELODY HAHM: --the library at my fingertips. I am engaged, however, so Hinge is not really useful for me at this point. But when you think about this sort of natural synergy perhaps that you saw, what was the reason, right? Why did you feel like this was a necessary sort of partnership, especially during the year 2020?
JUSTIN MCLEOD: Yeah, well, we have World Mental Health Day coming up here on Saturday. And it really just seemed like, you know, our users-- I mean, everyone, I think, is feeling a lot of stress right now for a whole lot of reasons.
And dating is stressful generally without, I think, the global backdrop that we have right now in the pandemic, which makes things way more uncertain and makes people way more nervous. And it's also my meditation app of choice.
And it just felt like what an opportunity to give our users, and really, everyone, so everyone can access these meditations at hinge.co/headspace to calm those pre-date jitters that I think so many people generally have and especially have right now.
MELODY HAHM: Justin, I know last year, you kind of launched this campaign. And it is pretty catchy, right? Designed to be deleted. That's what you guys want to be known for.
But when you think about perhaps the taboo, the stigma that did exist, right, with Tinder, with Hinge, how do you feel like that's evolved? And how do you feel like perhaps that will go away post-pandemic, as perhaps FaceTiming as a first date becomes more normalized?
JUSTIN MCLEOD: Yeah, I think the stigma has been gone for a while. I don't think that most people view meeting online as an untoward stigma. And the thing that we're seeing go away now, the stigma around, is, video dating. That was something that very few people would try before the pandemic started.
And out of necessity now, about half of our users have been on a video date with someone. And that is just a really big and very fast change in culture. I think we were headed there eventually anyway, but we are seeing, like, a very swift move towards that. And people are enjoying it.
Most people, like about 90% of the people who go on a video date that they enjoyed it, want to do one again. And about more than half of our users who have gone on video dates say they want to continue to do this after the pandemic because it's just a great vibe check before you actually invest in going out and meeting someone in person.
MYLES UDLAND: And then, I guess, Justin, just in thinking about, you know, what you guys have as a dating platform, as a social network, basically, the data you have on your users, is this the combination with Hinge-- or excuse me, with Headspace-- is that kind of maybe the future of how you see, like, your business using the data that you've been sitting on and trying to get more out of that data set?
JUSTIN MCLEOD: Well, we just launched Hinge Labs, which is a research organization within Hinge that's really designed to figure out who's succeeding on Hinge, who's not, and what are the people who are succeeding doing?
And the people who are not, what are they doing, or what are they not doing? And getting those learnings to people through the app and through content and things like that. So that's a really big way that we see our data going forward. It's just helping our users to make the app even faster.
MELODY HAHM: And Justin, of course, Hinge is part of the Match Group family. In the last quarterly earnings report, Match did cite, of course, Hinge and Tinder as being the main growth drivers, right? Especially here in North America. What's next for you? How do you think about continuing to grow your monthly active users, really helping consumers get more engaged in the platform?
JUSTIN MCLEOD: Yeah, well, really, we don't. We think about it less in terms of engagement. I think a lot of apps out there are, and services, are focused on more engagement, more retention. And that's the way that they compete in the marketplace.
And I think this gets back to the meditation thing. Because the way you get people more engaged and more retained is to make them feel more stressed and more panicked and more anger. At Hinge, we really want people to feel relaxed and connected and to actually go out on dates and to delete our app.
And so the way that we will do that is to continue to deliver on our customer promise of researching the best way to get people to delete our app faster so that they will meet their person, tell more friends, and then have those friends come up and sign up for Hinge.
MYLES UDLAND: All right, Justin McLeod, Hinge founder and CEO. Thanks so much for joining the show. I'll talk to you soon.
JUSTIN MCLEOD: Thank you.