Starting this weekend, Tinder will allow college students on its Tinder U service to match with others outside their own university for the first time. The dating app is positioning this market test of a potential Tinder U expansion as the “Rivals Week” — a way to match users with those who attend a rival university (for a limited period of time).
Tinder U’s Rivalry Week starts November 17 in the U.S. for students attending four-year, degree-granting colleges and universities. It ends November 24, Tinder says.
Tinder U itself is still a relatively new feature, having only launched a few months ago as a way to attract more younger users to its service and re-engaged lapsed users.
College students can choose to opt into Tinder U by signing up with their “.edu” email address. Once enrolled, the users can switch over to Tinder U using a toggle switch at the top of the app.
Until now, however, Tinder U limited users to matching only with those who attend their same school.
That changes with “Rivals Week,” as Tinder will now let students match with others at nearby schools — or even cross-country — just so long as those schools are considered a “rival.”
Tinder is not, of course, calling out the move as anything more than just a bit of fun. But the week-long event could return valuable data to the dating app maker, in terms of consumer demand for a Tinder U product that was less restrictive in terms of its catalog of potential matches.
The launch also notably fits in with Tinder’s new strategy to position itself as a dating app for younger users who are less interested in settling down into long-term relationships. The company is investing in a marketing campaign across the U.S. where it promotes the “single lifestyle” Tinder offers.
Essentially, the company is embracing Tinder’s reputation as the “hook-up app,” but in a way that brands short-term dating — if you can call it that — as a more positive thing.
Tinder is able to do this because its parent company, Match Group, now owns a majority stake in Hinge. It says it simultaneously plans to invest in growing that app’s user base along with its reputation for serious relationships.
Meanwhile, Tinder sees Tinder U as a possible growth engine for the young adult-oriented service.
“We created Tinder U to both attract new college students to the Tinder experience and re-engage students who have been part of the Tinder community in the past. Ultimately, we see it as a way to deliver more value to the college user by providing more relevant recommendations, which helps to increase engagement,” said Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg. “We’ve seen strong early traction with Tinder U, both in terms of driving higher swipe rates and higher retention,” she noted.
The Tinder U product is live in more than 1,200 colleges across the U.S.