The World's Most Comprehensive Tinder Guide (2018 Edition)
Looking for a comprehensive Tinder Guide for men?
One that covers your profile, photos, bio, and even messaging?
One that's not made from guesswork, but from actual data and studies?
Here you go:
This living guide is updated regularly, and outlines everything that you need to know to be successful on Tinder.
By the end of reading this, you will get more matches, numbers, and dates.
So let's dive in.
Watch the Comprehensive Tinder Guide Video
Watch the Comprehensive Tinder Guide Video
For those wanting to skip reading…
We put together a video version of this guide.
Which you can watch below.
Why is Tinder Hard?
Men have it rough on Tinder.
It's simple math.
There are many more men than women on Tinder.
According to the mobile data company Ogury - In the United States this disparity is smallest in Wyoming.
Where there are 6.5 men for every 3.5 women on Tinder, a ratio of nearly 2 to 1.
It’s at its worst in California, where there are 4 men for every woman on Tinder.
Given this, it’s not surprising that a study published in the journal Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining showed women on Tinder behave completely differently than men do.
Most notably, while 35% of men report casually liking most profiles 0% of female participants reported this behavior.
All of this culminates in the most staggering statistic of all:
Women on Tinder get 20 times more matches than men.
This is why it can be so hard to get matches on Tinder.
Or turn those matches in to dates.
She has 20x as many options as you do.
And likely, many more.
We've gone over that the bottom 80% of guys compete for the same pool of the bottom 22% of women, in our infographic posted in our article on the #1 secret on Tinder.
Hence why a Tinder Guide like this is so necessary.
Choosing the Right Tinder Photos
OR now, even video.
We'll be dividing the this in to your profile photo, body shot, and group shot.
Your other 6 photos are what we call passion shots.
And they should show that: your passions.
But let's focus on the big wins.
Photo 1 - Your Tinder Headshot
Women decide which way they’ll swipe in seconds, based mostly off of your primary profile photo.
So, it had better be good.
Your primary photo should never be:
A low quality photo with bad lighting, taken with flash, or at night.
A group photo (save that for photo 2 or 3.)
A photo where you’re not the clear focus.
A photo where your face is obscured. (sunglasses=bad)
Check out these three photos:
Even though they’re all exciting, engaging photos, none of them should be your primary photo.
Scientists have literally hooked people up to eye trackers and brain scanners to confirm what we’re telling you. Your primary photo should be:
A clean headshot, preferably showing the upper third of your body.
A high quality photo with a clear contrast between you and the background.
A photo of you alone.
These are two photos of the same guy above that work much, much better.
Photo 2 - Your Group Shot.
A good group shot shows that you’re an interesting guy with friends and family.
In other words, you're not a dangerous loner with social problems.
It's always surprising when I give feedback on a Tinder profile in our private Facebook group, and there is no group shot in the profile...
That's how necessary it is.
An amazing group shot does more than just show her you're normal.
It will make her want to be part of your circle.
Choose a photo that is exciting, and inviting, rather than one that’s posed.
For example, you and your friends smiling for a camera at a wedding is not as good as you and your friends on a tropical vacation, about to cliff dive.
You also want to make sure that you’re obviously the star of the photo, not drowning among other people.
For example, the second wedding photo below is better than the first because our guy is clearly the star of that photo.
But these two photos are better than either wedding photos, because they each are much more fun, they tell much more of a story:
The first photo is better than the second because our guy is at the center of the frame, the tallest guy in the image.
Photo 3 - Your Body Shot.
No, not a shirtless bathroom selfie, just an image that gives her a clear idea of what you actually look like from head to toe.
The best body shots will have a clear context, and, like all of your other photos, will tell a story.
In addition to showing her what he looks like, this photo tells her that he’s a gigging musician. That’ll definitely get him some points with certain women.
If you haven't noticed already, the best photos on Tinder don't just describe you, they describe what you're about.
The really great ones make her say to herself, "Wow, hanging out with him looks way more fun than what I'm doing tonig
Writing Your Bio
Now on to writing your Bio, which is way easier than you think.
One way to have a bio that sets you apart from the rest is to write any bio at all.
30% of male profiles don’t include any bio. And our favorite study showed that profiles with a bio get 66% more matches than profiles without a bio.
So how do you write your bio? Here are 3 bio tips that are easy to follow:
Keep your bio short and sweet.
The old writing tip: show, don't tell.
Resource: Read our no BS guide to writing a Tinder bio here, where these infographic bits came
Your Swiping Strategy
Now that you’ve got your profile set up, it’s time to do some swiping.
But think before you swipe, there’s a bit more going on here than you might originally think.
Every Tinder user is given a ranking based on a secret algorithm known inside Tinder as your Tinder Elo Score.
We don’t know exactly how your Elo score is determined, but we do know that the higher your Elo Score, the more quickly your profile will appear in front of desirable women.
And we know that your swiping strategy has everything to do with maintaining a high Elo Score.
Resource: If you think the Tinder Elo score is working against you, find out what to do about it here.
Don't do this:
Always swipe right. Doing this communicates to Tinder that you’re happy to match with anyone, so why would they show you the cream of the crop?
Swipe without spending a little time on the profile. Again, you want to communicate that you’re selective, so look at more than one photo. Read her bio.
Do this instead:
Swipe right on women that you’d be excited to match with.
Message every match. Tinder wants to keep women happy, and one way to do that is to make sure that they’re matching with men who will message them. For this same reason, you should message in a timely manner, within a day or two of matching.
Send quality messages, and keep conversations going. We’ll cover how to do this more below, but engaging your matches is one of the biggest ways Tinder determines your Elo score.
Here’s one last way to think about this: Tinder wants women to be happy, so the men with the highest Elo scores are the ones who’s profile and behaviors accomplish this.
Researchers asked women to rank their intentions when using Tinder from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score. These were the average scores of the following 5 responses:
More than anything, women are on Tinder to look at profiles, and to chat.
Making sure that you have a solid profile, and that you engage with your matches will help keep that Elo score healthy.
Should You Use Superlikes?
When you Super Like a profile that person is notified that they’ve been super liked, and your profile rises to the top of their queue so that they see it quickly.
You can think about a super like as being a way to make sure that someone sees your profile, regardless of your Elo score, or other factors that might otherwise keep them from seeing you.
But does super liking someone actually increase the chances that they’ll like you back?
And in fact anecdotal evidence suggests that super-liking someone when you don’t have a dynamite profile may actually hurt your chances.
In short, if you really like a profile, go ahead and super like them. But make sure your profile is as amazing as it can be before you do.
But to be honest...
You're probably better off just skipping super likes completely. And definitely don't buy them.
When Should You Use Tinder Boosts?
Tinder Boosts work by making your profile the highest rated profile for the duration of the boost, so that anyone using Tinder in your area during that time frame will see you.
Boosts only last for a half an hour though, so you want to make sure that you boost your profile when there’s lots of Tinder activity.
The nice folks at Nielsen took a long look at our cell phone data and determined that Tinder usage peaks around 9pm on an average day - meaning you should use your boosts between 8 and 9pm.
Making sure that your profile is seen by the most people possible is great, but, again, it doesn’t increase the likelihood of people swiping right on you.
The only thing that will is making sure that your profile is one of the best out there, so boost only when ready.
Is Tinder Gold Worth It?
Tinder Gold is Tinder’s premium paid service. For $15 a month you get:
Rewind last swipe
5 super likes per day
1 Boost each month
Passport to swipe around the world
See who likes you
So is it worth it?
If you’re following our swiping advice, most of these features aren’t going to help you much.
You should be swiping selectively, so you won’t need unlimited likes, and you should be taking your time with each swipe, so you won’t need to rewind.
We’ve discussed Super Likes and Boost, but these tools can be purchased for cheaper than the Gold Membership.
The Passport feature is fun, but it’s more of a novelty than anything.
Unless you're using Tinder while traveling, and traveling often.
The really intriguing feature here is the ability to see who likes you.
If you’re all about efficiency, this feature can obviously help you save some time. However it also takes some of the fun and mystery out of Tinder.
My advice? Save your money, spend it on making sure you have amazing photos, and if you’re still in a hurry spend a little money on boosts. They are by far the most helpful of the paid features.
What's the Average Response Rate on Tinder?
Success is different for everyone.
Whatever results you’re currently getting, whether it’s one match a day, or one match a week, our goal here at Zirby is to optimize your Tinder game so you can have the best results possible for you.
And part of this Tinder guide is to outright tell you what you can expect if you optimize your profile and strategy.
And whatever results you’re currently getting, I promise that if you follow the advice in this blog, your numbers will improve.
Having said that, if your matches are ignoring you more than half of the time, you’re probably guilty of sending some of the mistakes we outline in the rest of the blog.
Matching is really the most difficult part of Tinder, and even when you’re doing everything right, the amount of matches you get is largely out of your control.
Everything after the match is much more predictable, so keep reading to learn how to convert your matches into conversations, and your conversations into whatever else you’re looking for ;)
Sending Your Opening Message
So you’ve matched! Congrats!
Your opening message sets the tone for all of your interaction, and will likely determine whether or not this match goes anywhere.
Your opening message should never, ever, be “hey,” or “hello,” or anything to that effect.
These messages almost never result in replies, and yet 25% of men’s opening messages are 6 characters or less.
Cliche lines. She knows she’s hot, you don’t need to tell her.
Long declarations of love.
Copy pasted lines.
More than anything else, your opening line should be personally written for her. It should respond specifically to something in her photos or bio.
Check out Alice’s profile
It’s just one sentence, not a ton to work with, right? Now check out our Tinder coach’s opening message.
He responds directly to her bio, shows a familiarity with her interests (memes), and just like that, this conversation is off and rolling.
Let’s see another example:
Breana’s bio gives us even less to work with. She likes dogs n poetry. Great. But watch what our coach does.
Instead of responding to her pretty weak bio, he notices her photos and asks sends her an opening line that she definitely hasn’t seen before.
We’ve got tons more examples of successful opening lines you can check out, but the most important thing that they all have in common is that they’re specifically written for each girl.
How to Know if the Conversation is Going Well
If the conversation is going well, it should be pretty obvious to you.
But let’s check out more of the above matches:
Alice’s all capital letter response to meme game is a pretty clear indication that she’s enjoying the conversation.
She asks us to move the conversation over to instagram, which can be a red flag, but our coach makes sure she doesn’t get too much power with his next message.
As for Breana...
Our coach can tell she’s interested because she’s asking him leading questions about guitar lessons, and he cuts right to the chase.
And there’s pretty much no better indicator that things are going well than a girl agreeing that you guys should hang out in person.
How to be Interesting on Tinder
Now you might be thinking to yourself, “yeah, but I’m not as funny or interesting as that Tinder coach. I can’t just come up with things like that.”
And yes, our coach is very good, but the fact is that you don’t need to be him to be interesting on Tinder. You don’t need to always be smooth. You don’t need to always have the perfect line.
We also have a video that goes over 3 easy tips to be Witty on Tinder... because it doesn't hurt.
Here are three actionable ways to step up your texting game immediately:
I know that “be yourself” sounds like an after school special, but seriously, most men on Tinder are so obsessed with trying to be the coolest guy in the room that relaxing and not taking yourself too seriously is a good way to stand out.
Another important part of being authentic is showing her who you are - that means avoiding cliche openers like “hey,” “hi,” or “you’re beautiful,” and instead showing off a bit of your personality.
Check out the example below, where I matched with a girl who was a body builder (i.e. way more in shape than I’ll ever be).
I open with a light hearted, self deprecating joke, and continue the bit by talking about binge eating doughnuts. Nothing cool there, but she’s immediately got a sense of who I am.
Too bad she was a vegan, or this one might have gone somewhere.
This is maybe the single biggest piece of advice anyone can give you here.
I know that feeling rejected isn’t fun - but taking Tinder too seriously is a guaranteed one way ticket to never improving.
It’s magical that we live in a time that Tinder exists. It’s nearly miraculous that you don’t have to marry one of the 3 girls that were roughly the same age as you in the village you were born in.
Need I say more? Have some fun. Don’t get too invested in it. Your results will improve.
This builds off of the last two pieces of advice - making statements (rather than asking questions) shows more of your personality, and shows that you aren’t too worried about the outcome of the conversation (meaning that you’re having fun).
It’s a quick way to double check your messages before you send them - just ask yourself, is this a statement? You’ll be surprised at how well it works.
Analyzing a Real Tinder Conversation
Sometimes conversations don’t go your way, or aren’t easy – and a lot of guys give up.
This case study focuses on a girl that I would consider extremely attractive , which means I’m going to push a bit harder to make sure we meet up in person. We’ll see some attempts that failed and finally one that worked.
I recommend reading through the conversation once, and then going back and reading the notes.
How to Get Really Good Really Fast
Just like your little league coach used to say, “practice, practice, practice.”
Lucky for you, you don’t have to do this alone.
In our exclusive Facebook group we do weekly live Tinder profile reviews, and share tips and tricks to make sure you’re always improving on your Tinder journey.
If you found our Tinder Guide helpful, you can also leave a comment below letting us know. We check and reply to every comment on the Zirby blog.