How does Bumble Work in 2021? Bumble Algorithm Explained

What is Bumble, and how does Bumble work? Read on to learn more!

Bumble has just filed for its Initial Public Offering (IPO) in January 2021 according to CNN. For those who have long been away from the dating scene and who have never heard of this app, this piece of news may come as a bit of a surprise. But in reality, this app has already attracted millions of Bumble users. It is no doubt one of the best dating sites out there.

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What is Bumble?

Bumble is best known for its female-centric, location-based dating and social app. It has features similar to other dating apps like Tinder, OkCupid, Coffee Meets Bagel, but it also has some key differentiators. The biggest one is that the ladies have to make the first move. If a woman does not initiate a conversation, then there is no conversation!

This is why many people call it the “female-friendly Tinder”.

How to Use Bumble

Using Bumble is easy. Here are the steps.

1. Download the app

Bumble is a popular app that is available via Google Play or Apple App Store. Just download it like how you would do it for any other app!

Note that Bumble also has a website. If you don’t feel like downloading the app, you can also log in via your desktop.

Download Bumble

2. Create a Bumble account

Once the Bumble app is installed on your phone, you will need to open it to register for a profile. You can either sign up with your mobile phone number or with your Facebook profile.

You don’t have to worry about your Facebook friends finding out that you are on Bumble. They never post on your Facebook account!

Note that you need to “enable location” for the app to work. Bumble is a location-based app, after all!

3. Set up your Bumble profile

Next, you have to set up your dating profile. Be truthful when answering the questions. The questions will help you find the best matches.

The key elements of your profile are:

Photos

You are allowed 6 profile photos. This is the best place to show who you are as a person. You should use all 6 spots if you can to showcase different aspects of yourself. For example, you can show a picture of you hanging out with friends (to show that you have a healthy social life pre-COVID), studying hard, smiling, or enjoying your hobby. I recommend that you have at least one full-body photo.

Profile prompts

Next, you can profile prompts. This section houses little short answers that allow you to talk more about yourself.

You can choose up to three prompts. Here are a few interesting ones:

  • Two truths and a lie
  • If I could have a superpower it’d be…
  • Perfect first date…
  • I quote too much from…
  • A non-negotiable…
  • If I could travel to any time in the past …
  • If you laugh at this, we’ll get along…
  • I’m hoping you…
  • The world would be a better place with more…

There are actually over 20 prompts that you can choose from. Pick the top three that you like the best, and provide your answer.

I recommend that you don’t just answer the questions, but also elaborate on them. For example, if you selected “If I could travel to any time in the past…”, don’t just say “the 18th century”. Explain why the 18th century has a special place in your heart.

About Me

Does this remind you of interviews? Well, you can’t escape it on a dating app, either.

Think about what you want people to know about you the most. Write complete paragraphs to attract the people that you want to attract.

My work & education

The next section is “My work & education”. If you don’t feel comfortable, you don’t have to write down the exact name of the company that you work at and the schools you went to. However, I recommend that you at least write down the nature of your work and some educational background just so people at least have a general idea about you.

My basic info

Here is a list of information that you can provide:

  • Gender identity
  • Location
  • Height
  • How often you exercise
  • Your star sign
  • Education level
  • Habits like drinking, smoking, and cannabis
  • Whether you are looking for a relationship, something casual, marriage, or “don’t know yet”
  • Kids
  • Religion
  • Politics.

Note that you can skip any of these if you don’t like answering.

Linked accounts

If you feel comfortable, you can link your Instagram and Spotify accounts to let people know more about you.

4. Start swiping

Once you have your account set up, you are ready to start swiping! The potential matches will show up in the app based on the Bumble algorithm. Swipe right if you like the person shown on your screen, and swipe left if you don’t.

If both of you swipe right for each other, then, congratulations, you have a match! All the people who swiped in the past 24 hours will show up in your Bumble match queue.

Date filters

If you have a relatively fixed range of preferences, then you can use date filters to narrow down the profiles.

Here are some filters you can set:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Distance
  • Verified profile
  • All the basic info you provided above, such as height, exercise frequency, etc.
Bumble date filters

5. Start the conversation

Once you have a match, the woman has 24 hours to make the first move. This is the unique feature of Bumble, that only woman can send a message first. If the match is for two people of the same gender, however, either can initiate the conversation. You still need to contact your match within 24 hours.

Once you receive the first message from someone, you have to respond to a first move message within 24 hours. There are no further restrictions from there on, so enjoy wherever the conversation takes you!

If you need more than 24 hours, you can use the Extend feature to add 24 hours to the countdown timer. Free users can extend one match a day.

You can view all your conversations in the Bumble conversation page.

How does the Bumble algorithm work?

The Bumble algorithm is reported based on the Elo rating system.

The Elo rating system is a method for calculating the relative skill levels of players in zero-sum games such as chess. It is named after its creator Arpad Elo, a Hungarian-American physics professor.

How is this algorithm applied to your Bumble experience? Well, all the Bumble users are essentially players of this large online dating game. If people swipe right when they see your profile, you win one point, if they swipe left, you lose one point. Additionally, if you swipe left when you see people’s profile, you win one point, and if you swipe right, you lose one point.

The “relative skill levels” in the Elo rating system are calculated based on the number of people you swipe left and right on and the number of people who swipe left and right for you. Basically, the more right-swipes you receive, the higher your relative skill level. The more right-swipes you get, the lower your relative skill level. This makes sense: the more right swipes you receive, the more likely you are to be attractive in person, whether it is based on your appearance, personality, careers, or any other factors. The more left swipes you give, the more likely you are selective, which the Bumble algorithm interprets it as that you are attractive.

How can I improve my chances on Bumble?

Now that you understand how the Bumble algorithm works, you are probably wondering, how can I improve by chances on Bumble?

You want more people to swipe right for you

This is a no-brainer. Of course, you can’t really beg people to swipe right for you, so the only thing you can do is to have as great of a profile as possible. This means clear pictures, a complete profile, and sincere answers to questions.

You want to be selective when swiping

You do not want to be a chronic right-swiper hoping that someone will swipe right for you. You want to be selective, and only swipe right when you feel like there could be a potential match.

You could try Bumble Spotlight

If you do not see results after joining for free for a while, you may want to try the paid features for a period of time. The most useful feature I find is Bumble Spotlight, which advances your profile to the top of the stack so it can be viewed by more people instantly. The more chances your profile is shown to people, the more likely you will be seen by your ideal match!

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Bumble is not just for dating

Bumble BFF

Recently, Bumble has also introduced a new mode called Bumble BFF. This feature allows you to make awesome friends with people nearby. You are only shown to people who also have their BFF mode turned on.

Start making new friends today with this cool feature!

Bumble Bizz

Bumble Bizz is the third mode that Bumble offers. This mode allows you to network with people nearby. This is a career-centric feature, so make sure that you get your professional hat on!

You can change your Bumble mode at any time.

Bumble modes

Paid Bumble features

As I mentioned briefly above, Bumble Spotlight could be a useful paid feature. For a monthly subscription fee, you will be able to unlock some other premium features as well.

Below are the paid deluxe features that Bumble offers:

Bumble Boost

The legacy Bumble Boost has three features:

  • See everyone who has already swiped right for you (the beeline). It is located on the top left corner of your screen in a heart shape.
  • Extend your matches by 24 hours
  • Rematch with expired connections.

The subscription fee schedule is the following as of 2021

  • 1 day: $3.99
  • A week: $12.99
  • 1 month: $27.99
  • 3 month: $61.99
  • 6 month: $97.99
  • Lifetime: $154.99

You can select the payment method easily in the app. The subscription can be paid via credit card, PayPal, or Google Wallet. You can cancel the Bumble Boost at any time.

*If you are located in New Zealand, Australia, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Ireland, or the USA and using an iOS, we’ve recently introduced two new subscription options – Bumble Premium and our revamped Bumble Boost.

Revamped Bumble Boost includes:

  • Backtrack
  • Ability to extend time on matches 
  • Unlimited swipes
  • One Bumble Spotlight. This will advance your profile to the top of the stack so it can be viewed by more people instantly
  • 5 SuperSwipes per week. This feature lets you tell a potential match you’re confidently interested in them

Bumble Premium

Bumble Premium includes:

  • Access to unlimited Advanced filters
  • Access to your Beeline so you can see your admirers
  • Travel mode
  • Backtrack
  • Ability to extend time on your current matches
  • Rematch with expired matches
  • Unlimited swipes
  • One Spotlight per week
  • Five SuperSwipes per week 

Bumble Coins

Bumble Coins are an in-app currency which allows users to purchase additional features such as SuperSwipe or Spotlight. Note that Bumble has been phasing out the coins slowly in select regions. You will have to purchase the subscriptions mentioned above instead.

FAQ: Is Bumble for me?

Here are a few key questions to ask yourself to decide if Bumble is for you:

Am I comfortable sharing some of my personal information on Bumble?

You can’t be completely anonymous on Bumble, after all, and you will have to share some of your personal information for people to get to know you. If sharing any of your personal information scares you, then offline dating is probably more suitable for you.

Do I believe there is a stigma around dating online, and does it bother me?

For some reason, the concept of seeking a partner online somehow screams desperation for some people. They are embarrassed to tell others that they meet their significant others online. If this is for you, then Bumble probably isn’t for you. After all, you don’t want to lie about how you two meet.

Do I have time for it?

Although some may find the love of their life in the first swipe, for most people, it is a patience game. If you want to start a meaningful relationship, you will need to spend time looking for the right person.

Am I okay with being rejected?

The internet can be ruthless sometimes, and you will probably get rejected a few times. Will your mental health be negatively impacted in a big way?

Am I addicted to social media in general?

Bumble is, after all, a social app. If you already have trouble concentrating on your study or your job because of the social media apps that you already have, then you don’t want to add another one to your life.

Bumble alternatives

There are also many other mobile dating apps and online dating sites that you can try. Whether you are looking for love or wanting to meet like-minded people, there are many channels for you to try.

Most of them operate using the freemium business model like Bumble. This means that the basic service is free, but you do have to pay to get additional features.

Tinder

Needless to say, the Tinder app started the “swiping right” culture. It is the world’s most popular dating app, with 55 billion matches to date.

Match.com

Match.com is one of the earliest services offered online. It was founded in 1993. It has since expanded and become the flagship site for the internet and technology company, Match Group.

OkCupid

OkCupid is another free online dating app that you can try. It features multiple-choice questions to check compatibility and match members.

Plenty of Fish

This is a Canadian site based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Coffee Meets Bagel

This is my favourite name! Who doesn’t love the wonderful match of a coffee and a bagel! The company is based in San Francisco.

Thirsty for a coffee? Head to my post to learn 30 ways to get a Starbucks free drink!

Zoosk

This site was launched in 2017. It is available in 25 languages and more than 80 countries.

Grindr

This is the largest mobile social networking app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people.

Hinge

This is for the people who want to get off dating apps.

eHarmony

This online dating site was launched in 2000.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, a detailed guide on how Bumble works. Bumble is one of the most popular online dating sites. As long as you are careful, Bumble is a safe place to meet singles and meet new people in general.

I highly recommend that you give it a try, start a conversation, and find love on Bumble! I can’t wait to hear good news from you!

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