How much is love on Tinder? Unit economics of the 2021 Match Group financial report

I love to dig into dirty laundry financial reports, patents and litigation dating services. I asked myself the question – how much does it cost for a subscriber to find a loved one in the service and, having deleted the applications, go into a long-term relationship? Of course, you can search all your life and make mistakes too, so the criterion of Love is the subscriber’s payback and 30% business margin.


This material is not a manual on Unit-economy, I considered detailed terminology and features of calculating key metrics previously.

I take data for all the brands of the company, but they can be designed separately on tinder, as it brings in the lion’s share of income. At one time, I tried to “scrape” individual tinder values ​​​​from the history of Match Group quarterly reports since 2017, but it turns out the same thing – an error of ± 5-7%

I consider the average minimum value of CTV (customer lifetime value), which will result in a return on the cost of attracting and supporting, as well as ensuring a 30% margin (non-gaap and without long-term investments).

Financial Report 2021 | link
My calculation table | link

Thanks for understanding.

I think

Features of the metrics: Direct-revenue – total revenue only for users with a subscription, COR (cost of revenue) – the cost of deductions for Direct-revenue (mainly the AppStore and Google Play commission). ARPU – total monthly income per subscriber (Payer). Indirect revenue is both micropayments from free users and advertising revenue. It falls every year and does not participate in the main calculations of the company.

First, I calculate the cost of attracting new subscribers: marketing costs / difference in the number of subscribers (I calculate it from the difference between 2020 and 2021).
$566,459,000 / 1,935,000 = $292.74

Further maintenance costs per paying user: Cor, General and administrative expense, Product development expense, Depreciation, Amortization of intangibles.

I sum up all the costs per payer and it turns out – $393.82. Such an average value must be spent by the subscriber in order to recoup the costs of attracting, commissions and maintaining the service from the technical side. Taking into account the specified ARPU in “class=”formula inline”>15.73 is a little over two years. And this parameter is the life cycle, we will need it now.

The business must be profitable, so we look at the Operating income / Revenue parameter – $ 851,679,000. Revenue is indicated as a percentage of profit, but it is not indicated from which Direct or indirect. I will take Direct for calculation, because the error will not be significant. From year to year it is ~ 30%.

To ensure such revenue, each payer must bring, in addition to costs, another $4.58. Therefore, I recalculate CTV = life cycle for new profitability = $509. I recheck the value through a margin of 29% (increase time spent by 29% and by arpu $ 15.73) = 508.03 – seems to be true. Why not exactly, because % marginality could be indicated without signs after the decimal point.

Total $509. And with the current ARPU, this is 2 years 8 months. Closer to the truth – count in months, because a person can take breaks in subscriptions for such a long long distance, but not all the same 2.5 years to sit without a relationship. And the result is 32 months, and in rubles ~ 31,500 ₽, which is approximately 1,000 ₽ per month for providing access to the services of the service.

1 000 ₽

This is a time-smeared averaging value for a subscriber, which is made up of commissions, amortization, marketing and personnel costs, promotions, micro-transactions, and a pricing policy that is accused of ageism and is tied to user behavior. Of course “Algorithm 101» It doesn’t matter what color, gender and preferences you are, but this does not prevent him from giving you a social rating and, based on behavioral factors, setting a price tag in the tariff.

How effective is it? The visibility of the choice is colossal. But with such a budget, you can also go to speed-dating, here I have no experience, but a quick Google query suggests that 1-2 per month. The number of acquaintances is 10-20, those in three years is more than 300 people, with greater motivation and specific goals.


Yes, love is not mathematics, you can meet it in the subway or in the marketing department, on Sakhalin Island or in Kiliningrad. But in order for the business model of Tinder, the market leader, to work, each subscriber, on average, must bring at least 1,000 ₽ for 32 months, or $509.

Based on this budget for providing access to communications, where would you think of spending them? My fantasies ended at the level of speed dating, but I repeat, I’m not special in this, matchmaker services seem to be more expensive?


I exclude the possibility of simultaneous exit of two subscribers, this does not follow from the patent, but I would adjust the algorithm specifically to minimize the loss of such valuable business users.

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