Tinder has become the butt of many millennial jokes—and gripes—since its rollout in 2012. But nearly a decade later, as the original users of the “hookup app” grow up (and presumably settle down), Kyle Miller is figuring out how to develop the product for Gen Z. His “Z Team,” a mixed team of marketers, engineers, and designers, stays in regular contact with a cohort of about 100 college-aged Tinder ambassadors, and develops features with their feedback. Miller, who worked in marketing at the company before founding the Z Team, holds weekly “anti-focus groups” with ambassadors that invite open dialogue about the users’ lives and feelings, as well as a private Slack community where ambassadors regularly communicate. The result has been authentic, interesting Tinder products that young people actually seem to like and engage with. One of the Z Team’s most successful has been “Swipe Night,” an interactive in-app event that leads users through a post-apocalyptic “choose your own adventure” story. Users’ choices are then added to their profiles, where “it gives them context to break the ice,” Miller says. The success of Swipe Night, which rolled out globally last September, led to the debut of Vibes this spring, a 48-hour event where users are prompted with personality and pop culture questions, and shown each others’ answers when they match. The results seem promising: In Q1 of 2021, parent company Match reported that Tinder’s revenue grew 18%, while daily activity was up 15%.
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