If you’ve ever used Tinder, you learn pretty quickly that it’s a great way to kill time at the bus stop, entertain your friends by letting them swipe for you, or prove that many straight white men have caught a large fish at some point.
After almost a year of working at ShareProgress, I’m pretty much constantly thinking about how digital data and analytics relate to everyday life. So it probably isn’t surprising that as I was sitting in bed the other night, I had a Tinder epiphany. Wait a minute, I thought to myself, how does Tinder relate to email engagement rates? (Clearly, I’m really fun at parties.)
I set out to answer that question, for the good of the people. Here’s what I realized.
Tinder and Email Metrics 101
Here’s what can happen on Tinder:
- You swipe right on someone but don’t match.
- You swipe right on someone and match, but they don’t message you.
- You swipe right on someone and match and they message you and you message them back, but it doesn’t go anywhere.
- You swipe right on someone, match, message back and forth, and actually go on a date.
Here’s what can happen with the email blast with a hard ask:
- You send out your email and your supporter doesn’t even open it.
- You send out your email, your supporter opens it, but they don’t click through to your action page.
- You send out your email, your supporter opens it, and they click through to your action page, but don’t do anything.
- You send out your email, your supporter opens it, clicks through, and takes an action.
Is it just me, or do these seem like really similar processes? And by comparing them, we can better understand which email metrics to care about, and which ones to ignore.
If you have a hundred Tinder matches who you never meet, you’re still not making out with any of them. Similarly, someone can open or click through your email, but if they don’t actually take an action–well, that open or click doesn’t really matter. And if a hundred of your supporters clicked through to your action page, but none of them signed your petition, you’re not any closer to your signature goal. Just like messaging someone back and forth without actually meeting up only means that now you have a new pen pal, which probably isn’t exactly what you were hoping for.
What’s the take-home lesson here? It’s that optimization for performance is key. Maybe your super-sexy Tinder pic gets you a lot of matches, but then they don’t have anything to say to you. And maybe your hilarious email subject line got people to click, but then they didn’t actually take an action (which, hey, we’ve been there). So you need to create content that gets folks to click through, yes, but also makes sure that they actually take your action–and hopefully share it!–once they’ve clicked. As always, the best way to figure out what does and doesn’t work for your audience is to test, test, test. We’re not saying you should do the same with your Tinder profile, but, well, it probably couldn’t hurt.