Christina Wolfgram
November 07, 2015 4:40 am

If you’re at a party, checking out a cute friend-of-a-friend, you should probably try to talk to him before the party ends, right? Makes sense, if you want to make a connection. The same should be true when you’re dating online — at least that’s the idea behind Hinge’s new feature, which gives users a 24 hour deadline to message matches before the opportunity literally disappears.

Hinge, which has been around since 2014 and connects users based on their social media “friends,” is not the first dating app to create an official window for reaching out to matches. Bumble and JSwipe provide only 24 hours to contact matches, too. Sure, it’s a little reminiscent of Cinderella’s debacle – a ticking clock can be nerve-wracking – but the dating app has been researching how this deadline helps to encourage match-to-match conversations.

When Hinge ran a beta version of the feature, the company found that the ratio of matches to conversations rose 50%. If that statistic doesn’t make you feel optimistic, Hinge also found that users who started a convo within the first day of a match were twice as likely to get a response. “There’s clearly a window here,” Hinge spokeswoman, Karen Fein, told Quartz. “If you want a response you should message sooner.”

Unlike Tinder, which has earned a reputation as a “hook-up” app, Hinge’s mission statement includes, “helping users find meaningful connections offline, not just swiping and matching.” The new 24-hour match period is meant to jumpstart engagement (both of the talking and marriage proposal kind, I’m assuming), while also clearing the obstacle of seeming overeager or desperate.

“If there is any stigma attached to messaging too soon, then that’s eliminated,” Fein said. “That’s probably one of the reasons more conversations are started with the deadline. It’s either now or nothing.”

After multiple test groups tried the new feature, Hinge recognized that users would like a chance to re-match with someone they didn’t reach out to in time – maybe because school or jobs or, you know, life, got in the way. “Don’t stress!” the app’s website advises. “We launched this feature because you’re busy, and deserve second chances to make a first impression. Timed matches give you the opportunity to re-match and talk to someone when the timing is right for both of you.” Users can be re-matched with a missed connection after two weeks after their first timed match.

If only Cinderella had a re-do deal like that. Prince Charming wouldn’t have had to smell nearly as many feet.

(Images via Instagram and Giphy.)

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