A conversation with Jackie Jantos, Hinge’s new CMO

“It’s such an interesting time to be in marketing. I think it requires a level of open-mindedness and authenticity and comfort with not always getting it right, but continuing to try,” she told us.
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· 5 min read

Jackie Jantos has been preparing for her new role in more ways than one. With experience at companies like Ogilvy, Coca-Cola, and Spotify, Jantos is also an online dating success story: She met her husband on Match before apps changed the way we swipe forever. Now, she’s working for Match Group to help others find love as CMO of Hinge, the app that’s “designed to be deleted,” in new and existing markets.

We spoke with Jantos about her goals for Hinge in 2022, where she sees growth potential, and the importance of listening to your users.

Going ✈️international✈️

Jantos, who grew up in Tokyo, told Marketing Brew that her life experience, as well as her work experience with global brands, has helped prepare her for Hinge’s next mission: growing its international audience. Next on her list of tasks? Finding a head of marketing for Europe.

Right now, Hinge only captures about 2.5% of the global dating app market share, according to data compiled by Business of Apps, but Hinge claims it’s the fastest-growing dating app in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. This year, Jantos said, the company will localize its language offerings in countries like Germany and Sweden. Right now, the app is available in those countries, but only in English.

According to Jantos, the “designed to be deleted” tagline that the brand has become known for, created as part of the brand’s first international campaign, has been working–so don’t expect a new one anytime soon. “I would be crazy to move away from it,” she said.

We have food growth at home

Another one of Jantos’s tasks for the year is growing its Gen Z and LGBTQ+ audiences in the US. She said doing so is about “taking advantage of potential opportunities that we haven’t stepped into yet.”

“[Gen Z is] the most gender-fluid audience, more people are identifying as LGBTQ+ and non-binary than in any other generation,” Jantos said. “And so, in order to serve their needs, we absolutely need to focus on what we’re learning from them.”

Jantos said the app recently saw new Gen Z registrations (which it defines as 18–24 year olds) in response to a new voice-prompt feature, which spurred a TikTok phenomenon on its own. That type of user-generated content (UGC) is where Jantos sees marketing opportunities in the next year and where the company will invest some of its multi-million dollar marketing budget, which is increasing by about 25% in 2022, according to Jantos.

“We’re thinking a lot about how we support creators, how we test and learn, [and] how we leverage some of the really awesome UGC that is naturally created around our brand and our product,” she said.

She won’t say what features might come next, but says the company continues to focus on how to help users “express themselves in different and unique ways,” adding that users should expect updates to profile development this year.

Love in the time of Covid

Jantos said one of the key things driving her decisions at Hinge (including what roles to create and hire for) is social impact. “It always has to start with the role our product plays in [users’] lives,” she said, adding that for Hinge, social impact will mean “educating and inspiring healthy views of relationships and helping people along that journey to find one.” Part of how the brand measures that goes back to its ethos, or how many people are getting off the app and falling in love—even during the pandemic.

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“We’re living in a really wild time where we’re becoming oddly comfortable and accustomed to loneliness,” Jantos said. “The more we focus on the work that we’re trying to do, and the more we focus on getting people off of a digital app [and] into more real-world relationships, the better we’ll be able to serve our ambition.”

One way the company tries to live up to its mission of getting people off the app is through We Met, an in-app survey that asks users if they went on a date with their match and if they’d like to see similar people, adjusting their results algorithm as they continue searching for “the one.”

It uses this data and other findings from Hinge Labs, the brand’s behavioral science research team, to make decisions on things like product development, algorithms, and partnerships. In 2020, the company worked with Headspace to create “pre-date meditations” after research revealed that many users felt anxious before meeting a match (both virtually and IRL).

According to Jantos, seeking input and maintaining an open dialogue with users is a key part of the company’s growth strategy. “It’s such an interesting time to be in marketing,” she added. “I think it requires a level of open-mindedness and authenticity and sort of comfort with not always getting it right but continuing to try.”

At the end of the day, Jantos said this mindset will be the key to Hinge’s success. She’s not worried about the potential conflict of deleting the app with revenue growth, which doubled year-over-year, according to its Q3 2021 earnings report: “We genuinely believe by building the most effective dating app, we’ll grow in the long run.”

+1: For anyone looking for tips to market themselves on Hinge, Jantos said it’s “not about presenting yourself in a way you think people will be drawn to,” but rather presenting what’s unique about you. “Feeling good about yourself and being open-minded can be so magnetic,” she said. “Pick the prompts that you have a strong reaction to [and] that show off your personality and what you truly care about.”

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