14 JUN - 2023
Bumble, the woman first dating app, has launched a new Speed Dating feature that takes place in app, so of course, we put it to the test.
It’s cuffing season, and as the nights get colder, we’re looking for ways to stay warmer. What better way to find love (or just a winter fling!) than with our favourite dating app Bumble?
Bumble has launched a new dating game called “Speed Dating”. Every Thursday from 7pm to 8pm (in your relevant timezone) the in-app game goes live. You get paired with a random dater who is also on the speed dating function, and for 3 minutes you get the chance to talk to them before the buzzer goes off and you move to the next person. The catch? Well, usually on Bumble, you’re swiping based on somebody’s looks, but in this case, you only get to see the player’s name and age while chatting. At the end of your 3 minutes, a photo appears of the person you’ve been chatting with and a prompt will appear to ask if you enjoyed your conversation. Once you’ve made your decision, you’ll then be asked if you’d like to be connected with someone new. If you choose to keep playing, you’ll be paired with another player and the three minutes will begin again! If you liked anyone while playing, you’ll know if it’s a match at the end of the hour. (Note that both players have to like each other when the three minutes are up for it to be a match.) Any matches you make will be in your normal match screen, but the Speed Dating conversations won’t be transferred over.
The premise of the Speed Dating function is to focus on getting to know somebody for their personality, rather than what they look like. With the 3 minute buzzer looming over you… leading with your ‘chat’, you’re really focussing on making meaningful and intentional conversation to better secure that match.
An intention set by Bumble and reiterated by Lucille McCart, Bumble’s APAC Communications Director, who says: “The new in-app Speed Dating feature allows the Bumble community to build connections based on personality and shared interests, which are much truer indicators of compatibility than looks. In fact, our most recent research* found that for the Bumble community in Aotearoa New Zealand, the majority (63%) said they are more focused on emotional maturity than physical requirements, and 40% of Kiwi’s who are dating ranked emotional intelligence as the most attractive trait in a potential partner.”
“Above all, this new in-app experience is bringing the fun back to dating in 2023! Speed Dating creates intrigue and anticipation in a low-pressure environment, that throws away the lists and profile pics in favour of meaningful chat that might lead to new and unexpected connections.”
So, how did we go?
Last Thursday, 2 Chatty gals and 1 pal got together over some wines (with the rest of us Chatty team members gleefully spectating) and tried speed dating. We got 2 gals and a pal with varied interests and diverse dating preferences so that we could give you an authentic view on the new speed dating function and get you excited about your next Thursday night on Bumble.
Our Chatty Pal #1
(Ben, man aged 25 and interested in women) noted that the biggest difficulty he finds with modern dating is that it sometimes takes 3-5 working days to even have a conversation that could be had in 5 minutes. People take their sweet time to respond, particularly on dating apps, and that’s the natural result of the business of our own lives and prioritising people that we already know versus making new connections. Ben stated that in general, he’s found a real reluctance for people to respond quickly out of fear of being “too keen”. People in their mid-twenties sometimes feel like they need to “play a game” and “play it cool”, which unfortunately does contradict the purpose of really getting to know someone. Ben found that the speed dating game eliminated that prolonged conversation. He found that he was getting into more substantive and nitty gritty conversations (and I can attest to the fact that he was extremely smooth, and landed a match with every gal he came across…). Three minutes isn’t a long time at all, so being in an environment where you need to turn around conversation (and achieve more than basic, mundane small talk) means that you can better gauge if you vibe.
Our Chatty Gal #2
(Nora, woman aged 26 and interested in women and men) is already the most open-minded and free-spirited of the group. Nora acknowledged that physical attraction is very important to her but noted that she also generally tries to match with people based on personality and shared interests (something that Bumble’s Speed Dating was created to inspire more of). She had a top tier game, making spicy comments like “we’ll make up for lost time when these 3 minutes are up”. Watching my friends smoothly win over a bunch of strangers within 3 minute intervals was definitely the Thursday night entertainment I needed. It was quite entertaining watching her squint at each picture to figure out if the girl or guy she was speaking to was “her type”. Nora also mentioned that she played Bumble’s Speed Dating game while in Melbourne on holiday recently, noting how fun it was in a much bigger city with a larger amount of users playing at the same time! So this is definitely one feature to consider if you’re travelling soon in addition to Bumble’s Travel Mode!
Our Chatty Gal #3
(Rita, woman aged 26 and interested in men) has a short attention span. When it comes to dating in general, if you’re not keeping her interested straight away, I can guarantee her interest will falter. She found that the 3 minute timeline meant that she had to focus and have conversations the entire time, and noted that she would have loved it if it was 5 minutes in some cases as the conversations did get interesting and a lil spicy. As the Speed Dating function is so new, there wasn’t a plethora of match options available for Rita but she still managed to find a gem. She found that the inability to know what somebody looked like was a real curveball, because usually when you’re on a dating app, you have the ability to screen somebody based on looks straight away. As a self–proclaimed girl who is guilty of making snap-judgments, this experience meant that she was forced to be more patient than usual on the app, and see if there were any common interests. Of significance, Nora noted that although she wouldn’t have ordinarily matched with her match if she had encountered him while generally swiping on Bumble, the conversation during Speed Dating made her feel more open-minded. I found this particularly interesting - if you’ve read our piece on what a first date in 2023 looks like, you’ll know that one of the biggest trends we are seeing is open-casting. People are moving away from being hyper-focussed on looks, and instead honing in on emotional maturity and personality compatibility. With over 38% of singles now more open to dating outside of their “type”, Rita felt that Speed Dating helped facilitate this to a greater extent.
Overall, Speed Dating on Bumble was received as an exciting and enjoyable addition to the app. While it may not be suited for everyone, the appeal depends on your dating preferences and how you typically engage with the app. If you're an active swiper, the Speed Dating feature offers a fantastic opportunity to engage in focused, enjoyable, and quick conversations, potentially leading to a meaningful emotional bond with someone special.
The intention of Speed Dating is well-aligned with the dating trends that we are seeing where people are focussing on building relationships built on open communication, boundaries and emotional respect, and a willingness to date people outside of their conventional “type”.
Our Chatty test subjects unanimously agreed that this feature enabled them to connect and converse with individuals that they would have otherwise overlooked. It forced them to engage their minds on a Thursday evening with a vino in hand, to spark up quick conversations that covered meaningful subjects, but were condensed into a mere three-minute window. So the next Thursday night you’re at home swiping away, we urge you to try it out for yourself and be more open minded!