Hinge Case Study
Hinge helps daters find love through chat and calls with Sendbird
Hinge is a leading dating app that aims to help users truly connect and build meaningful relationships. With features that prevent ghosting, a profile that promotes personalities, a vertical timeline, and a “most compatible” filter, Hinge takes dating very seriously. Operating on a mobile-first philosophy, and a Nobel Prize-winning matching algorithm, Hinge is built for Millennials and Gen-Z. The app is designed to be deleted and aims to develop long-term relationships with compatible matches.
In 2020, lockdowns and stay-at-home orders from local governments made it challenging to have traditional in-person dates, and the Hinge team knew they needed to adapt quickly to keep users connected.
Video calls rapidly went from a “nice-to-have” to an urgent necessity, with daters spending entire days to even weeks inside, making it impossible to meet in person. After surveying its users, Hinge found that 70% were open to virtual dating, with many turning away from dating apps in favor of other chat/call/video platforms such as Zoom.
Hinge wanted to continue offering stellar user experiences and fostering genuine connections in this new environment. The best way was to implement new technology enabling users to connect securely, reliably, and enjoyably. As such, adding robust voice and video call functionality was paramount.
However, Hinge had invested its engineering resources in the core aspects of the app, and these features were outside Hinge’s core competencies. The team knew they needed a third-party API provider to get them to market quickly while still checking off security, stability, quality, and ongoing support. Hence, a solution that could provide reliable and scalable in-app service was necessary for Hinge’s global expansion.
Prior to the pandemic, Sendbird had already helped Hinge migrate from its previous message service provider with a customized two-pronged approach. This included batch migration of all past data and a proprietary live sync service for real-time data updates. Sendbird’s solution to Hinge consisted of every necessary chat feature like 1-on-1 messaging, push notifications, typing indicators, read receipts, user-to-user blocking, and rich media. Hinge also utilized advanced features such as message retrieval and data export APIs to ensure prompt access to sanitized message data when necessary.
To maintain an excellent user experience for its millions of global users, Hinge developers wanted modern code, frequent bug fixes, and good documentation, as well as scalability and reliability in a short amount of time. Building on its positive experience with Sendbird’s Chat API, Hinge once again selected Sendbird to implement in-app voice and video calls due to Sendbird’s ease of integration, robust infrastructure, and global distribution.
Implementation of voice and video functionality was collaborative, and the experience was easy to customize. With the Sendbird API, the Hinge team could seamlessly integrate voice and video calling to create the user experience they wanted. Sendbird enabled secure and media encrypted 1:1 voice and video chat, reliable call quality for millions of concurrent peak connections, and abundant support resources for developers, such as a sample app, documentation, webhooks, and frequent SDK/API updates.
Achieving a fast time to market was a key consideration in planning the engagement with Sendbird. Mitch LaPoff, a product manager at Hinge, explained, “We wanted to get [voice and video calls] out to our users as fast as we could. We felt like we could hit the ground running the fastest with Sendbird; that was a huge plus.” Voice and video were implemented in only 5 weeks, enabling Hinge to go to market in less than 10 weeks without disrupting the existing app experience.
Jason Pearson, an Android developer at Hinge, said that Sendbird’s reliable support was another huge factor in making this business collaboration successful. “There were some issues with other providers’ SDK support,” he said, “Sendbird, however, has always supported us, even if we were the ones that caused the issue… this made us feel confident about our ability to get the support we needed for video and calls.”
Security and safety are top concerns in the online dating space. In-app calling allows Hinge users to determine if they have chemistry and helps them feel safe before sharing personal information, such as phone numbers. It also helps to ensure that the person they have been chatting with matches the profile, establishing trust before leaving the platform and meeting in person.
Hinge has experienced 100% uptime for its chat service, ensuring every prospective match’s message is on time and well-timed. The company has saved significant engineering resources spent migrating to and developing a reliable, scalable messaging service.
Innovating rapidly during the pandemic, Hinge found in-app chat, voice, and video calls to be a safe and fun way for their users to keep engaged and develop chemistry despite social distancing. By partnering with Sendbird, Hinge could focus on what they do best – building safe and fun dating experiences.