With all the dating apps available today, it’s hard to know which one will be the best fit for you. You may have tried Tinder and found it to be hookup-focused, or maybe you found a dating service like match to be too formal. Bumble is a happy medium, a dating app with a unique objective: women are the ones to make the first move. No more waiting around for the guy you swiped right on to message you first—on Bumble, the ball is in your court.
Bumble has successfully made millions of matches by encouraging users to be bold enough to make the first move. According to their website, they’ve seen over three billion messages sent to date. Read on to understand how the app works, what people use it for, and how it compares to other dating apps.
What Is Bumble?
Launched in 2014 by former Tinder co-founder Whitney Wolfe Herd, Bumble is one of the most popular dating apps at the moment. The female-focused dating and social app is location-based, meaning users can find potential dates based on proximity. Like other popular apps, the principle is straightforward: if you like someone’s profile, you swipe right. If you don’t like their profile, you swipe left. Conversations can only begin when both people have swiped left on each other, and only if the woman (in heterosexual matches) messages first. In non-heterosexual matches, either person can message first.
If the woman doesn’t send her first message in the 24 hours following a match, that match will expire and be deleted entirely. The same rule applies if the male Match doesn’t respond to the message in 24 hours.
How Does Bumble Work?
To get started, download the free Bumble app. When you’re setting up your account, you have the option to link your Bumble account with your Facebook account or your phone number. One benefit of linking your Facebook account is that it fills in a lot of information for you like your age and name, making the account setup quicker. But if your Facebook information isn’t accurate, using your phone number is the best bet.
Once you have your account set up, it’s time to get started on your profile. To do this, click on the person icon in the left corner of the swiping screen and select Edit Profile. No pressure or anything, but this step is extremely important. The reason it’s important is that your photos can only say so much; it’s your profile that gives people the real idea of who you are. With that in mind, take some time to write an ‘About Me’ section that lets users know the basic and essential things about you. Don’t brag about your accomplishments or put a corny line from a song as your entire bio. And please stop saying, “I’m here for a good time, not a long time.” You may think it’s funny, but anyone on dating apps has seen it approximately 10,000 times and does not think it’s funny.
Writing a good bio can be an art, and you want to get it right. Keeping it relatively short but long enough to give a good idea of who you are as a person is the best approach.
You don’t have to come up with all the profile information on your own, though. Bumble has a “Basic Info” section that asks you a series of questions about your lifestyle, with questions about your drinking and smoking habits, your work and education, your religion, height, zodiac sign, and more.
Bumble also allows you to link your Instagram and Spotify accounts to your profile. It can be a good way to give other users a better sense of who you are and what you like, but it also allows strangers access to your social media. The choice is yours!
Photos are the second most crucial step of setting up your profile. You can add up to six photos, which you can import from Facebook, take a photo on the spot, or choose from your phone’s library. You want to choose photos of you taken in the last year, as your matches need to see a current representation.
It can be hard to know which kinds of photos to include on your profile, so a good rule is to add at least one clear photo of your face, one full-body photo, a photo of you doing something you love, and a photo of you with friends or family. Do not include pictures of yourself that you’ve used a filter on, and only include clear, high-quality images—nothing grainy or blurry. And if you have a dog, you’ll probably get more matches if you also include a picture with your dog. That’s just how it works.
Before you’ve made your final selection of pictures, run them by a trusted friend who will tell you if they’re the correct picks. Sometimes we choose photos where we think we look good, but the photo gives a different impression to others. Asking someone for their input on your photos will ensure that they’re a good representation of what you look like.
The “Move Makers” section is a unique feature about Bumble that you don’t see on other dating apps. This feature allows you to show more of your personality by answering prompts the app gives you, like “My dream dinner guest is…” and “Nightclub or Netflix?”
Move Makers are great because the more you answer, the more you’re letting people in on your personality. Bumble allows you to include up to three prompts to your profile which are displayed between your photos. It’s also an excellent feature to fall back on if you didn’t put much effort into your bio; potential matches can still get a feel for who you are through the fun prompts.
Move Makers are also some of the best conversation starters. You can look at one of the prompts on their profile and break the ice from there. If you ever want to edit or delete a prompt from your profile, it’s easy to do: tap the ‘x’ on the prompt you wish to change.
Swiping & Matches
The potential matches you see when swiping will be the people within the age and location parameters that you selected when setting up your account. Unlike some other apps, swiping on Bumble is unlimited. Once you come across a profile that you like, you can either swipe right or click the white checkmark at the bottom of the person’s profile. Suppose you accidentally swiped left on someone you wanted to swipe right on. In that case, you can easily undo this by shaking your phone, prompting a Backtrack. Bumble then shows a screen notifying you of the number of Backtracks you’ve used—and be careful with your swiping because you’re only allowed three Backtracks for every three hours you swipe!
You will only match with people who you have swiped right on and who swiped right on you. Once you’ve matched with someone, you have 24 hours to send a message to your match (if you are a girl). Otherwise, your match expires and is deleted completely. The match will also expire if, after sending a message to a guy, he doesn’t respond for 24 hours. Ghosting doesn’t get drawn out on this app; if someone isn’t interested in you, you’ll know within a day.
You will have a match queue once you’ve done a fair amount of swiping. This queue will show all the people you’ve swiped right on within the past 24 hours. These matches will have a yellow circle displayed around their profile picture, which fades with each hour of the 24 hours. So, while the circle will be complete after you’ve just matched with someone, after 12 hours, there will only be half a circle left, and so on.
The Bumble Algorithm
Like many other dating apps, Bumble hasn’t released information about exactly how their algorithm works, so any theories about it are just speculation. With that said, there are some things users have noticed when using the app.
First, users with the “best” profiles—AKA those with the most likes or right swipes on their profile—will be shown first to other users. New Bumble users will also be offered a lot initially so the algorithm can establish their “base score”—that is, the number of likes they get. The profile will either be shown to many people (if it previously got a lot of likes) or to fewer people (if it didn’t get as many likes).
The people who have liked your profile will also be shown to you first when you are swiping—this is why you may notice many matches at the beginning of a swiping session, and fewer as you go on.
Some speculate photo quality can be a significant factor in the algorithm, as those with blurry or low-quality photos may be shown less than profiles with better photos. Incomplete bios and low activity on the app can also lower your chances of getting matches.
Communicating on Bumble
So you’ve matched with someone, and it’s time to send the first message. Once a woman matches with a man, they can communicate without restrictions. But whatever you do, do not send the dreaded “Hi” as your first message. While you may think it’s a casual way to start a conversation, it comes off incredibly dull. If you’re interested in someone, you want to show them that a simple “Hi” isn’t cutting it. Good conversation starters can be found in the Move Makers section of the person’s profile, and when in doubt, you can always lead with a compliment. “I love your hair!” is going to go a lot farther than “Hey.”
You may not think much of it, but there’s a difference between ‘how r you’ and ‘How are you?’ Using correct punctuation and not using abbreviations may not be super important to everyone. Still, it does matter to some people—and you don’t want something as small as lazy writing to stop you from meeting someone special. Your opening line is the first impression you’re giving of yourself, and that question mark could matter more than you think! Put in a little effort with your writing to show you’re taking the person seriously. The more you get to know someone, you may find that they don’t care about punctuation or grammar, and you can communicate with them however you like. But in the beginning, the best bet is to use clear, declarative sentences in proper American English.
Bumble Boost is the premium version of Bumble that users can opt to pay for. It gives users access to three main features: the Beeline, Rematch, and BusyBee. On your profile screen, there should be an option for you to click that says “Get Bumble Boost.” From there, you can choose a plan that works for you, from a weeklong plan under $15 up to a $ 130-lifetime plan.
If you’re familiar with Tinder Gold, you’ll know that the “See Who Likes You” feature is super useful in narrowing down matches. Luckily, the Beeline is Bumble’s version of “See Who Likes You,” allowing you to go through your matches without any swiping.
The rematch feature is useful in the context of Bumble’s 24-hour communication rule. If someone messages you, but you don’t see it in time, you can rematch with the person to continue the conversation.
BusyBee is a feature that allows users to extend the 24-hour conversation rule, meaning shy girls have more time to send that first message, and their matches have more time to answer.
In addition to the above features, Bumble also has a Spotlight plan that puts your profile at the top of the list for your potential matches to see. There is also a SuperSwipe option which allows you to “super like” someone’s profile.
Who Uses Bumble?
People of all ages use Bumble, but the most common age groups on the app are those between the ages of 18 and 34. Users 35 and up comprise only five percect of the app’s dating population, but that doesn’t mean that if you’re older you shouldn’t use the app.
According to statistics about the app, individual Bumble users use the dating service with varying goals in mind. The top two categories that users fall into on the app are “Looking to hook up” and “Looking for marriage,” with slightly more users looking to hook up. In addition to the two main categories, a smaller but significant portion of users report that they are seeking friendship, or just open to seeing where things go.
Bumble vs. Tinder
Bumble and Tinder are two of the most popular dating apps, but it’s safe to say Tinder has built up a bit of a reputation for itself of being a place for hookups. Despite the fact that many long-term relationships and even marriages began on Tinder, many people believe Bumble is a better option for those looking for a serious relationship.
If you’re a woman who’s been on Tinder, you know it can be difficult to sort through all your matches to find the people you’re the most compatible with. It can be stressful to try to maintain ten different conversations at once, all while more men are sending messages your way. On Bumble, this isn’t really an issue, because women send the first message, and any flakes who don’t respond in 24 hours will disappear from your matches. This definitely makes it easier to see who is serious about getting to know you and who is not.
Overall, Tinder and Bumble are pretty similar as far as the interface goes. Both are heavy on the swiping, and both combine small amounts of personal information with photos to create each individual’s profile. Tinder definitely has more users, so if you’re looking for quantity of matches, Tinder could be a better option to check out. But Bumble may offer more quality matches due to its unique matching and messaging systems.
More to Know
Bumble is a great place to start if you’re looking to dive into the world of dating apps. But even if you’re not looking to date, Bumble could be a great option because it isn’t just for dating. You can meet new friends through Bumble BFF or do some professional networking through Bumble Bizz. Bumble really has something for everyone, and its female-first concept turns the tables on old ways of dating. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re looking to meet new people.