A Guide to Data-driven Dating


I’m Will, a Creative Strategist at SHARE.

First off, Happy Valentine’s Day.

As my gift to those of you that haven’t quite found ‘the one’ – I have combined my passions for data and creative strategy to create the ultimate love-finding guide.

The internet has transformed the way we live, more importantly – the way we conduct ourselves. Although few perceive technology as cheapening our life experiences, thanks to social media, smartphones and recent advances in AI, we have become asset-light and can connect with strangers at the touch of a button. We have been granted choice and flexibility.

The dating landscape has never been easier to navigate, but thanks to online applications such as Tinder, only 6% of Americans are finding romance in bars. The apps, their algorithms, business models and data account for about a sixth of first meetings that lead to marriage. So it’s fair to ask ourselves – why aren’t we in love yet?

We’re all familiar with the experience of endlessly swiping through potential matches, but having very little, if nothing to show for it. Unfortunately it takes more than a quick swipe right to get it perfect. Yes, the tools are there to use – but three very important questions surround the pivotal moments;

  1. How do you secure a match?
  2. What do you do once you’ve matched?
  3. How will you know if they’re ‘the one’?

Luckily for you, I have combined breakthrough dating research to answer these for you. I have created the ‘Data-driven Guide to Dating’ – and I can assure you love is possible – because the data says so. There are three major stages to the mobile dating pathway;

  1. Tinder or Bumble?
  2. Converting electronic communication into a face-to-face meeting
  3. The first date and possible start-up of an offline relationship

Its undeniably true – our dating life has become a swath of geospatial right-swiping.  It may, however, be comforting to know that no matter how dormant and unloved your profile might be – it can surely be fixed.

Tinder or Bumble?

We started by employing SHARE’s latest analytics tool to gather Twitter sentiment for both ‘@tinder’ and ‘@bumble’. As it turns out, both own very different areas of the dating scene. If it’s intimacy and seriousness you’re looking for (settling down), we’d stick to Bumble. However, if you’re after surprises, excitement and unusual but interesting dating experiences – go for Tinder. You can find love on both – it just depends on who you are.

Converting electronic communication into a face-to-face meeting

Certain behaviours are key, and a systematic review of over 4,000 studies into online dating has outlined just what these are.

Profile Photos  

Let’s start with our profile photos – what features increase likeability? Although honest profiles with accurate photos receive the most attention, there are certainly more effective ways to present yourself.

The most successful of Tinder/Bumble profiles will have two photos. Machine learning has indicated that the primary photo must be a headshot that involves a genuine smile, laugh lines (those tiny wrinkles that appear at the corners of the eye during smiling), and an ever so slight tilt of your head.

A secondary photo must show you in the centre, with others having a good time in your company. This more popularly known in marketing as the ‘centre stage effect’. It might also help if you are touching those around you – we subconsciously assign a higher status to the ‘toucher’ rather than the ‘touchee’…


An analysis of successful matches has also told us; If it’s love you’re looking for, your bio should be taken very seriously. It must be a combination of who you are, and what you’re looking for – a balance between comprehensive honesty and positive self-presentation.

It’s important to be authentic. Do not present yourself as you hope to be in the future – present yourself as you are at the time of writing. Because honest profiles match more often.

A bio should be easily pronounceable, simple and funny – likability is far more important than academic achievement…


This is all well and good, but what do we say next? It’s important to prepare beforehand using knowledge gleaned from their profile. Always ask open-ended questions. Get personal. Agree on dislikes more than likes. Avoid overt flattery. Forget using ‘me’, ‘mine’ and ‘I’…

Finally – you must make sure to terminate every chat positively. The final scene plays the most crucial role. This is your chance to ask them on a date – and more importantly proceed to the third stage. (note: very different to third base)

The first date and possible start up of an offline relationship

A recent study claimed to have identified the optimal dating strategy. It’s important to be yourself. However, even when it feels so undeniably right – we can make terrible love-based decisions. So, how many of our matches should we date before settling for ‘the one’?

In a seriously complicated calculation, that computer scientists use to solve similar problems known as ‘optimal stopping problems’ – mathematicians, statisticians, and their data say 37%.

Here’s an example;

If you have 100 matches/100 dates lined up (yes, love can be very expensive), the first 37 dates (37%), no matter how great they were – must be totally disregarded. We know that you can find someone better. In fact, we’re almost certain.

Only when the next person you date is better than the original 37%, can you justify settling for them. Falling in love with them. Spending the rest of your life with them. Because statistically speaking, they could be the one (although they may disagree and reject you, in which case – you must start over).

We might just keep you updated as we try this ourselves.

Happy Valentine’s Day,

Will ‘still trying to find a Valentine’ Mills