Original article posted in GenNow ( GENERATION NOW ) WeChat !
We sat down and talked to Yu Wang, Ceo, and Co-Founder of everyone’s favorite app, Tantan! Tantan needs little introduction, as perhaps one of the most used but least admitted to being used apps.
Like Tinder, Tantan gives users an addictive swiping experience.
He is very quick to dispel the notion that it’s a hookup app, despite its reputation, and is firm that it’s a platform for people to connect,
whether it’s to chat, become friends or something more.
We take an in-depth look at Tantan’s business model, how to excel at Tantan and our friends experience with the app.
First off, I’ve seen guys go crazy swiping endlessly, how are you combatting that?
We have a limit of 120 likes per day now, but it was arbitrarily set at 100,000 before, and there were screenshots going round of guys who actually hit that! We’ve since changed the speed at which you can tap but before that, some guys perfected a way of double tapping, or even using two phones to tap simultaneously!
How do you explain the success of Tantan?
Tantan works particularly well for two reasons 1) China is a transitional society, people move for work or university, often far away from their hometowns, and 2) Chinese people tend to be less outgoing than foreigners – we tend to take less initiative to talk to strangers. So, online matching is one of the few options Chinese people have.
What makes Tantan such a good user experience?
Tantan reflects the way that girls and guys interact in real life. In real life, guys tend to chase girls. Girls pick and choose a) who they want to be chased by and b) who they’re willing to engage with. Tantan makes that process easier for both, allowing girls to be selective with who chases them, and narrows down the process for guys so they don’t waste their time chasing girls who aren’t interested.
How are you working on improving the user experience?
We’re using machine learning to improve our algorithm to predict who is going to like who. So we’re working toward presenting users to those who we think will match with each other. After matching, conversations need to be worked on. We’ve seen that 40% of girls won’t respond after matching. Sometimes there will be merely a “hi”,“hi” exchange and nothing more. So we’ve also added a list of dialogues to help get conversations going.
So what success have you had, formally and informally?
We have over 60 million registered users, with a split of 60%/40% female to male. I cannot go to any gathering of young people without people coming up to me and saying “I met my boyfriend/girlfriend on Tantan”. In fact, the first month we were operating, when we had barely any users, we got a thank you email saying, “we got married because of you”.
You’ve raised over US$100 million investment, how are you monetizing?
We’ve just released VIP for Tantan, with Super Likes, an undo function and location roaming. We didn’t monetize for a long time because we wanted to optimise the user experience first. We’ve raised a lot of money, particularly from the West, with big names like Yuri Millner and Genesis Capital, and YY.com in China”
What are your tips for any of the budding Tantaners out there?
First, you’ve got to realize that you can’t appeal to everyone out there. If you’re showing off a Lamborghini or a topless photo, you’ll be more popular amongst a certain section of girls, but turn off a whole other section. So it depends on whether you want to try to appeal to everybody or go for a certain niche.
For guys: don’t take pictures with big faces – you want to show your body as well. You want your picture to tell a story, so make sure you have interesting pictures that show you playing sports, or at the beach. You have to be able to show off your personality in a picture. You don’t have to show off fancy cars or money, but you definitely need to arouse curiosity.
For girls: you basically don’t have to worry: The LEAST popular girl has more likes than the MOST popular guy. (lol)