Dating Services Touting Success of Online Dating to Women who Make the First Move

BY Courtney Huckabay
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"In online dating, it’s all about likes, swipes, and sending the first message," according to OKCupid's "A woman’s advantage." "Traditionally, men take the initiative. On OkCupid however, women and men exhibit similar behavior when it comes to liking, browsing and having conversations. The playing field is also pretty even: there are 1.5 men for every woman on the site. These women are progressive too, with 43 percent of women preferring to split the check (compared to 17 percent of men)."

AudienceSCAN reported 7% of U.S. adults have used the Internet via browser, tablet or mobile phone to visit an online dating site during the past 6 months.

"Yet there is one crucial way in which women fail to take the lead. Most women — regardless of sexual orientation — do not send the first message, with straight woman 3.5x less likely to compared to straight men."

"So we asked ourselves: why are ladies — in particular, straight women — less likely to spark a conversation?"

OkCupid Chief Product Officer Jimena Almendares said the company was surprised by the research project's results. "There was clearly a unique opportunity specifically for women on OkCupid when it came to messaging first," she said.

"Almendares said OkCupid analyzed the attractiveness of all the men who women had a conversation with after they sent the first message, and the median attractiveness of those men was 6.6 percentile points above the attractiveness of the women sending the message," Lauren Booker wrote for CNN. "The site measured attractiveness as having nice looks, engaging photos and an intriguing profile."
"So even if women select the best from their inbox, it's likely they are settling and going on a date [with] someone less attractive," Almendares said. "More importantly, because very few women message first, those that do stand out."
"The study found that the odds would be in favor of the brave woman who messages a guy first, because 30% of those messages turn into a conversation," Booker said. "Women are 2.5 times more likely to get a response than men if they initiate contact."

You’ve got a ton of mail

"At first, we thought that women could be more passive because they get a lot of attention. If you’re a woman who dates online, you’ve probably sifted through a lot of messages. Some are sincere." Others are dirty. Rarely do the two collide.

"So how does the quantity of messages received affect women? Could it be that women with fuller inboxes don’t feel the need to send messages, and those who don’t receive many messages send more?"

"Shockingly, no. The number of messages received doesn’t affect how many messages women send out. Even if a woman receives zero, 10 or 20 messages, she’s not likely to send more. On the contrary, men initiate no matter what, and the more messages they receive, the more they send."

Note that 47.7% of Online Dating Service Members are checking their messages on Android smartphones and 33% are doing it on iPhones, according to AudienceSCaN data.

No age limit

"When we looked at age, we thought we might see some trends around how women behave — do older women act more assertively because they’re more confident? Are they more likely to reach out because they’re more particular about what they want?"

"Turns out age doesn’t really matter, either. Generally speaking: young or old, your outboxes are empty. Men, however, message most between the ages of 20 to 40."

Hey, ur hot!

"Let’s be clear: on OkCupid, your attractiveness rank isn’t just about looks — you need great photos and an interesting profile to get more likes and boost your standing. What if we proposed that women who rank more attractively feel like they don’t need to reach out first? Perhaps they’re used to getting attention, so they prefer to wait to be courted."

Appearance is important to Online Daters. AudienceSCAN reported they are 45% more likely than average to be members of fitness clubs or gyms. Also, in the next 12 months, 47.3% want to buy things that help them feel "attractive" and 29.7% will buy things to feel "sexy."

"No matter how attractive a woman appears, we see similar messaging behavior. For men, those who are most attractive send the most messages, with the top 40% reaching out the most. Perhaps they enjoy basking in the glory of being one of the elitely attractive."

"At this point, we’re perplexed. Women rarely reach out, no matter their circumstances. Yet doing this research unlocked a secret — the OkCupid ecosystem actually puts women at a huge advantage."

The truth about messaging

"When we looked specifically at sending the first message, we found one striking habit: everyone’s a reacher, meaning people tend to reach out to someone more attractive than they are. To put a number on it, men are reaching out to women 17 percentile points more attractive, and women contact men who are 10 percentile points more attractive. This means that if a woman does nothing, her inbox will be filled with less attractive men."

A simple adjustment

"If a woman sends the first message, everything changes in her favor."

"That’s because men tend to respond, a lot. In fact, women are 2.5x more likely to get a response than men if they initiate. If you’re a woman who sends the first message, not only are you more likely to get more responses in general, but you’ll be having conversations with more attractive guys."

Shoot for the moon

"Most women on OkCupid are still waiting to be messaged, which means they’re settling and not even realizing it. Let’s break that down: based on what we know, if you’re a woman and receive a message, the man who sent it is about 5 percentile points less attractive than you. But if you send the first hello, the man is about 7 percentile points more attractive than you. So if you typically wait to be approached, you could elevate your game by about 12 percent points just by sending the first message."

"Those sending the first message are already getting results. If all women sent more messages, would they get more responses? We can’t objectively say yes, but that’s the case of the site right now."

Ladies’ choice

"If you’re a woman on OkCupid, you’re at an incredible advantage. You should message men you find attractive — not just because they’re easy on the eye, but because you’re more likely to have something to talk about. You’ll increase your quantity of quality. As for men, it’s worth noting that they’ll probably enjoy getting more messages."

"The odds are in your favor. What’s the worst that could happen? You message a cute guy and don’t get an answer. What’s the best? That’s between you and your date."

Keep in mind that 12.1% of Online Daters set personal goals to Get engaged this year, and 10.9% set goals to get married, according to AudienceSCAN data.