Bumble plans to expand further into social media with new communities feature – TechCrunch

Dating platform Bumble is looking to improve its non-dating social features with additional investment in its Bumble BFF feature, first launched in 2016. This friend-finding feature currently uses the same mechanism based on the swipe to connect people looking for platonic relationships but will soon expand to include social media groups where users can connect with each other based on topics and interests, not just via “matches”. “.

TechCrunch has heard that Bumble is venturing more into the social media space, and Bumble recently hinted at this development during its first quarter earnings report, announced this month.

During the earnings call, the company referred to a Bumble BFF “alpha test” that did well.

He described the test as providing new ways for “people to discover and get to know each other around shared joys and common struggles”. Bumble Founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd added that, so far, more than 40% of “active BFF users” are engaging with new tested experiences, and the feature’s one-month retention is up. greater than 75%.

Bumble didn’t describe the product in detail, however, beyond that it offered a “new group format” for networking.

Contacted for more information, product intelligence firm Watchful had additional information. He had discovered screenshots showing a female-focused “social groups” feature.

There were about 30 different topics available including things like “Women in Business”, “Networking + Mentoring”, “Finding Fulfillment”, “Mental Health”, “Working Moms”, “Body Positivity”, “Self-Care”, “Eating Well”, “Graduating Students”, “Money Management”, “Building a Better World”, “Recent Graduates”, “Female Empowerment”, “Mom’s Life”, “Breups suck”, “Single not alone”, “Workouts”, “Study hacks + motivation”, “Path to parenthood”, “Pet Parents”, “Wanderlust” and others.

Users can join groups and create multimedia posts or reply to existing posts, such as a threaded group chat or lightweight networking product. Topics, so far, seem to cater to a slightly wider crowd than “young adults,” given that there were groups for college students as well as working moms.

Bumble has confirmed to us that this is the same feature that was discussed during its earnings.

“We are currently testing new product features in our Bumble BFF community for a small number of people. We are evaluating feedback from this test to help inform our final product decisions,” a Bumble spokesperson told TechCrunch.

Picture credits: Screenshot of Bumble via Watchful

During the call, Wolfe Herd also suggested that the new BFF feature could potentially help Bumble generate revenue down the road.

“We’re very focused on the product, building the ecosystem, the communities and really getting into this new group format and testing the features that we’ve worked hard to build,” said Wolfe Herd. “As we look at BFF’s future revenue, there are really multiple pillars of opportunity — and one of them would be advertising,” she continued.

“We will seek to incorporate features to be more cost-efficient or future-ready advertising, but without expecting short-term revenue from it,” the executive noted.

Picture credits: Screenshot of Bumble via Watchful

Originally, the Bumble BFF feature was designed to help Bumble serve its growing audience of young singles, who were often looking for new friends to hang out with, not just a date. The company explained at the time of its launch in 2016 that it came up with the idea not only based on user feedback, but also because it had observed people using its dating app to make friends – especially when they had just moved to a new city or visited a place for a limited time, such as on vacation.

Bumble BFF also allowed the company to take some of the same technology it used to create romance matches – interest-based algorithms, for example – and use them to help users forge platonic connections.

But in the years since its launch, Friend Finder has become its own category of app, especially among young Gen Zers who are more inclined to “hang out” socially online, especially via online video. live, audio and chat. based groups. Apps on the Snapchat platform are a good example of this trend in action, as is the Gen Z live-streaming app Yubo. Then there was giant Match Group’s biggest ever acquisition with last year’s $1.73 billion deal for Hyperconnect, a company that had focused more on social media than meetings.

Additionally, dedicated social experiences have sprung up to serve Bumble’s core demographic of young professional women, including the motherhood-focused app Peanut; Leadership Network for Professional Women, Chief; designer platform for women, Sunroom; network of female college influencers 28 Row; community driven Hey! Wine; and others.

Combined, these factors could create problems for Bumble, particularly if younger Gen Z users are less likely to adopt traditional swipe-based dating apps — or, when they do, it’s more like meet new people, not partners.

Of these, Peanut seems to have more overlap with what Bumble is building – which is also interesting, since Peanut was founded by former Badoo Deputy CEO Michelle Kennedy, who brought her understanding of app concepts from dating to online socializing. (Today, Bumble, Inc. operates Bumble, Badoo, and its latest acquisition Fruitz.) Now the Peanut concepts are returning to Bumble.

Asked about this latest development, Kennedy said it “completely validates the market” that Peanut has been working on for many years – especially since the current bands spotted are female-focused.

“It’s something we’ve always believed in. We always knew it was a huge opportunity. We have always seen this. And for Bumble to say, ‘yeah, we’re okay.’ Huge! I couldn’t be happier,” she said.

Bumble hasn’t said when it plans to launch the social features to the general public.

The company just posted a strong first quarter in which it posted revenue of $211.2 million, beating consensus estimate of $208.3 million and up 7.2% the number of paying users during the quarter. Bumble’s forecast for its fiscal 2022 revenue is expected to be between $934 million and $944 million, which is higher than previous estimates.

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