Bumble launches Snooze button to pause dating for a digital detox

Bumble doesn’t want you to delete your account when you get into a relationship, go on vacation or just need a break from your phone. So today it’s launching a Snooze button that lets you stop showing up to people swiping through potential matches for a day, three days, a week or indefinitely. You’ll also get to select an away message, like “I’m traveling,” “I’m on a digital detox,” “I’m focusing on work” or “I’m prioritizing myself,” that will show up with existing matches with whom you’re chatting.

The feature could ensure that Bumble’s 40 million registered users (announced today) aren’t flirting with an empty vacuum if their match goes AWOL from Bumble temporarily. And for users who turn it on, Snooze could reduce their FOMO about potentially missing out on a match or looking like they ignored someone’s message.

“The impact of social media, especially on young women, has the potential to be very harmful and we have a responsibility to give our users the power to disconnect on their own terms whenever they see fit,” writes Bumble founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd. “We know Snooze will allow them to come back to us feeling refreshed and more open to new connections.”

Tinder has its own Pause button, but it’s bundled alongside the account deletion button and has less intention and flexibility behind it. You can merely turn it on or off. Without the proper away messages, matches could think you’re just trying to ghost them.

When Bumble and non-Bumble users were recently surveyed, more than 60 percent of women ages 18 to 24 said they felt overwhelmed by social media. Sixty percent of women surveyed also spend more than two hours a day on social media. Bumble’s in-house sociologist, Dr. Jessica Carbino, writes that “On social media, young women can develop unrealistic perceptions of what they should be or how others see them. These unrealistic expectations may ultimately have negative consequences for their physical and emotional well-being.”

Wolfe Herd explains that “Yes, we are absolutely social media and with that comes both healthy and unhealthy behaviors. That’s exactly why we developed snooze as a feature to give our users a break for self care on their own terms. If you don’t invest in your users, you’ll lose them.”

Dating apps are subject to high churn rates as people find long-time partners or age out of different apps. They must do everything they can to keep people on the app to both maximize the potential match pool and their chances of selling premium services to their users. Snooze feels as much like a retention trick as a benevolent offering, but if it means people can take a break from their phones in peace, it’s nice to have.

For more on Snooze and Bumble, check out its CEO’s talk today at TechCrunch Disrupt SF.