Dating Apps: Just for Hookups?

More and more single people are turning to their phones to become their matchmaker. Dating apps have become the norm for many looking to branch out in their love life. With so much buzz around dating apps, we decided to dig a little deeper and explore how and why so many single people use dating apps.

In a survey of over 1,000 Americans, we explored what people are looking for when they use a dating app and what kinds of messages people are most likely to respond to. The survey also looked at the types of activities people are and are not engaging in when they make a connection with someone. The survey, using Google Consumer Surveys, had some interesting and unexpected results:

52% of Users Say They’ve Never Had a One Night Stand

A lot of dating apps have the reputation of being an easy way to find a casual hookup. Yet, our findings show that’s not actually the case. Over half of the respondents said they have not had a one night stand with a connection made through an app.

Pie chart showing percentage of people who've had one night stands

Bar chart grouping respondents by number of one night stands

Surprisingly, the survey revealed that Tinder was the most popular dating app, especially among men and millennials, which debunks the stigma that Tinder is just a hookup app.

Bar chart showing most popular dating apps by gender

Bar chart showing most popular dating apps by age groupBreaking it down by region, the northeast reported having the most one night stands.

U.S. map showing percentage of respondents who've had one night stands, by region

The lack of one night stands seems to go along with what people said they were most looking for when using a dating app: a serious, long-term relationship. It was the highest response for both men and women.

Bar chart showing popular categories of what people look for when using a dating app

However, the length of people’s relationships varied. Almost a quarter of respondents said it lasted only a couple of dates. Interestingly, about 13% said they are now engaged or married.

Pie chart grouping respondents by how long dating app relationships lasted

First Impressions Matter

The survey found that how you present yourself is important to other people in different ways. A third of male respondents said the photo was the most important part of a person’s profile. The About Me/Description section was the most important for women.

Bar chart with dating app features that people consider most important

Both men and women said that the biggest turnoff in a photo was a group of people and not having it clear who the person is.

Pie chart showing No. 1 turnoffs for dating app users

When it came to reaching out to someone, most people of all ages said they prefer something funny.

Pie chart showing what dating app users are most likely to respond to

One difference of note was that people ages 25-34 would most likely respond to a question or comment about their profile. Responding to something funny was the second highest.

Bar chart organizing things dating app users are most likely to respond to, by age group

A Look at the South

We also wanted to take a look at how one region in the country compared to the responses of the United States as a whole. We took a look at the south in particular to see how it compared.

The south was higher than the rest of the country when it came to lasting relationships. At just over 16%, the south was the highest when it came to being engaged or married from a dating app connection.

U.S. map showing percentage of couples who met on a dating app and got married or engaged, by region

Southerners were fairly similar when it came to one night stands. 50.9% of respondents said they never had one from a dating app—just a point below the national number.

Pie chart showing percentage of dating app users in the south who've had one night stands

As far as first impressions, southerners also were mostly the same as the rest of the country. Most people disliked group photos and would most likely respond to something funny. Interestingly, southern women said being shirtless was the biggest turnoff in a photo.

Bar chart showing percentage of Southerners who respond to certain dating app messages

Bar chart showing the biggest profile pic turnoffs among Southerners, by gender

When it came to looks mattering, the south was the second highest region behind the midwest.

U.S. map showing percentage of dating app users who think appearance is most important, by region

Dating apps have become commonplace for many people when it comes to their love life. What this survey looked at was how people use them and what people look for in a connection. The results showed that some of the stereotypes, such as being for one night stands, may not be true for the majority of people. Technology may be a faster and easier way to meet people, but most are looking for the long-term relationship.