Apps

Match-owned Archer hits over half a million installs amid dating app slump

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Match Group's Archer gay dating app
Image Credits: Archer

It’s been almost one year since Match Group announced the launch of Archer, the online dating giant’s first app for gay, bi, and queer men. Since rolling out to New York last June, Archer has been downloaded more than 685,000 times, according to estimates from market intelligence firm Sensor Tower. Archer completed its U.S. rollout this past October.

With Match and other online dating companies facing a downturn, Archer’s growth is certainly notable. Match’s last earnings results showed a decline in paying users on Tinder, the company’s flagship app and one of the top dating platforms on the market.

However, despite reaching over half a million installs, Archer still has a long way to go before it catches up to heavyweight Grindr, which amassed over 10 million downloads in the past year alone and has a total of 87 million worldwide installs per Sensor Tower data. Another established competitor, Scruff, has more than 17 million all-time mobile app installs.

Unlike its rivals, who have been accused of fostering a toxic hookup culture, Archer has a fresh take on gay online dating and aims to provide a safe space for users. The app incites various safety measures to prevent unwanted behavior, such as integrating AI into its chat feature to auto-blur potential nudity. (Users can still send dick pics through private photo albums, though.) There’s also selfie verification that prevents matches from using blank profiles or headless profile pictures.

“We recognize that there is bad behavior on gay dating apps,” Michael Kaye, Director of Brand Marketing and Communications at Archer, told TechCrunch. “There’s a lot of body shaming, and there’s a lot of racism. And we’re hoping that by requiring every person to verify [their selfie], this will help contribute to a lower rate of bad behavior because there’s really nothing to hide behind.”

Archer also separates casual and serious daters, giving them two different layouts to choose from — Dating Mode, a linear layout for users to like one match at a time, and Hookup Mode, where users can see multiple profiles at once that feature their activity status and whether they’re looking for something casual. According to the company’s findings, 66% of its users are looking for dates and relationships, and 49% are on Archer for dates and hookups.

Additionally, Archer has an array of social features that make it stand out, including the ability to follow users and add interest tags (Harry Potter, Taylor Swift, Peloton, etc.) to their profiles. It recently launched Emoji Reactions, where users can react to a profile with a fun emoji to help break the ice and start a conversation.

In hopes of attracting more users and staying on its upward trajectory, Archer plans to release new features this summer and fall. Knowing that 74% of Archer users are looking for friendships, Kaye revealed to us that it’s prioritizing community-building features, such as the ability to find users by entering tags in the search bar. He also mentioned testing other capabilities that “further help people connect with others who have shared interests and engage in offline activities.” As Kaye previously told us, Archer is working on adding a Stories feature to the app, which would make it more like Instagram.

In addition, Kaye teased the exploration of potential new AI integrations.

“We’re going to continue to explore how we can integrate AI further into the app and create a much more enhanced premium experience for our users … Match Group recently partnered with OpenAI at the beginning of this year, and I am sure we will be working with that soon,” Kaye said.

Like many other businesses, Match has increased its investment in AI, and it plans to spend around $20 million to $30 million on the technology in 2024. The company now has a deal with OpenAI and previously experimented with an AI photo selection feature on Tinder.

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