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Hinge Report: The Best Way to Start a Conversation On a Dating App

Here's exactly what to say when you match with a chick you want to meet in real life.

We’ve showed you how to optimize your dating profile to get more swipes from women, and we’ve even pointed out some mobile apps worth checking out (that aren’t Tinder), so you’ve probably got the basics nailed down by now. But how about that first conversation? If you squander matches because your initial message falls flat you’re not alone. Hinge, the dating app that introduces you to friends of friends, heard similar cries for help and set out on a mission to help you move beyond the swipe.

Hinge copywriters and data analysts composed over 100 original message openers to test—all varying in subject matter, length, and structure—on 22 percent of its users. Recipients received a selection, which they used on matches. One month and eight million impressions later, trends started to emerge. 

Their results show that users who personalize openers are far better off at getting the conversation started than those who send a paltry, “Hey.”

Click on to see what they mean, and then try them out for yourself!

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Message Type

Men are 98 percent more likely than women to respond to an assertive, invite-type message.

>>> Free this week?

>>> Drinks soon?

Women are 40 percent more likely than men to respond to openers that are food-related. 

>>> Chocolate, red velvet or funfetti?

>>> Better discovery: Netflix or avocados

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Men VS Women

When reaching out to men:

>>> Data suggests men have short attention spans. 

>>> If you don’t message a guy within 6 hours, the likelihood he’ll respond drops by 25%.

When reaching out to women:

>>> The numbers show women tend to be more patient. 

>>> Within the same time period, the chance a woman will respond only drops by 5%

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Men and Women Ages 18-23

“Novelty” conversation starters that were surprising saw 62 percent higher response rates when sent to men and woman ages 18-23.

>>> You’re having your portrait painted—what’s your backdrop? Pain reliever personality: Advil, Tylenol, or complaining?

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Men and Women Ages 24-28

“Lifestyle” conversation starters that reference lifestyle or activities saw 30 percent higher response rates when sent to men and women ages 24-28.

>>> Sunday priorities: exercise, sleep, or aggressive mimosas?

>>> Breakfast preferences: pancakes, waffles, or sleeping til lunch?

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Men and Women Ages 29-34

“Personal” conversation starters saw 34 percent higher response rates when sent to men and women ages 29-34.

>>> Two truths and a lie; ready, set, go!

>>> Could you date someone who orders plain bagels with plain cream cheese?

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Men and Women Ages 35+

Conversation starters that referenced pop culture saw 32 percent higher response rates when sent to 35-year-olds and older.

>>> Katy Perry or Taylor Swift?

>>> Bears, beets, or Battlestar Galactica?

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Top Openers By City

San Francisco: “Peter Pan Syndrome”

Conversation starters focused on youth or childhood nostalgia saw 68 percent higher response rates in San Francisco than in other cities. 

>>> What movie scared you the most when you were little?
>>> What was the first CD you ever bought yourself?

Los Angeles: “Entertainment”

Conversation starters referencing celebrities saw 75 percent higher response rates in LA than in other cities. 

>>> Do you think Leo will ever get that Oscar? 
>>> You can only keep one: Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, or John Oliver? 

Boston: “No Nonsense”

Conversation starters that are straightforward or cynical saw 59 percent higher response rates in Boston than in other cities. 

>>> Please confirm you’re not one of those people who claps when the plane lands. 
>>> Hey, what’s up?

New York City: “Escape Reality”

Conversation starters that are fantasy driven or musing saw 45 percent higher response rates in NYC than in other cities. 

>>> How was your 2004? 
>>> Choose: adult treehouse or the ability talk to animals?

Washington DC: “Cheese”

Conversation starters that were food related, or specifically mentioned cheese saw 58 percent higher response rates in DC than in other cities. 

>>> Do you string your string cheese or bite it?
>>> Choose a dream job: puppy photographer or pizza critic?

Chicago: “90s Kids”

Conversation starters that referenced 90s culture saw 45 percent higher response rates in Chicago than other cities. 

>>> What 90s song would you use as the title of your autobiography?

>>> Who’s your go-to Mario Kart character?

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