How the Grindr App Stands Out Through Authenticity and Inclusivity

Read Time: 5 - 10 min


Grindr was one of the first apps on the scene introducing the idea of a GPS-based opportunity to connect with people around you.

Grindr, a social community platform serving gay, bisexual, and transgender men, interestingly has not had much trouble with differentiation, which is strange in their particular marketplace. This is, in large part, because of Grindr’s inherent authenticity and inclusivity—both of which naturally make their way into any and all of their consumer-facing communication.

We recently interviewed Peter Sloterdyk, Vice President of Marketing at Grindr, who shared how inclusivity has made its way into the app’s marketing efforts, the most important metrics for an app like Grindr, and more.

Here are some of the highlights of that interview.


“There is every walk of life in every walk of life,” Peter told us.


That sounds like a strange phrase, but here’s what it means: whether you look at the LGBT community, racial differences, or economic differences, every time you “slice the pie,” there is an equal amount of diversity within the remaining community. The LGBT community that Grindr serves is really no different from the general consumer set.

Peter says he gets questions like this frequently: “How do you make sure that your audience is diverse?” He says they are, in and of themselves.

Their responsibility as a brand is to continue to represent that diversity in everything they do—whether it’s diversity when it comes to accessibility, the trans scale, or the racial scale. All of those things are important to them when it comes to their outward-facing messaging.

“When I’m doing a creative review,” Peter said, “I have to put that hat on that requires me to think outside of my cisgender, male, white box.” He has to put himself in someone else’s shoes to say, “Am I represented in this particular piece, and if not, what do we need to change to make that happen?”

User Engagement

We asked Peter: Are there any recent campaigns that you’re proud of or using to drive user engagement?

He actually found this question a little foreign. Since user engagement is Grindr’s daily goal, he doesn’t think about it in terms of campaigns.

Because it’s a daily task, they’re looking at it in terms of micro actions. What can they do on a daily basis to augment, change, and improve their user experience? This, of course, begets engagement.

Improvement might be adding or removing an app product, or creating a new way to message, like the Gaymoji keyboard. The one he’s most proud of was during the recent resist march in DC. They ended up calling it the “Pride Ride.” Through their app, they brought on a little over 300 users and put them on buses in New York City, drove them down to DC, and drove them back.

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They had influencers and media as a part of it, and the entire activation was done through the app and was broadcast on social. They ended up on the global Snapchat story, and they had several million impressions out of the coverage. It showed Peter the intense power behind their community, who recognize that Grindr is so much more than an app.

Grindr’s Most Important Metrics

Internally, the Grindr marketing team is focused on three key measurements:

  1. Daily active users - How many folks are in the app, today? What are they doing? How are they operating? How frequently are they using it?
  2. Session length - How much time are people spending in the app during a particular day?
  3. Engagement - This comes across in a number of ways. They’re focused on numbers of messages sent, on the frequency with which they’re sent, and on the number of folks that people communicating with. All of their data is anonymized, and they don’t ever see the contents of the messages. They just know frequency and actions taken.

This is how they learn what they should be doing better. Is there a reason that 100,000 users stopped sending messages that particular day after being active for two weeks? This is how they discover glitches, local government actions that affect the usage of their app, and so on.

The Future of Mobile

We like to ask all of our guests on the Appy Hour podcast this question: Where do you think the future of mobile is headed?

Here was Peter’s answer:

“I’m always challenged by questions like this. The very nature of them is that we don’t know.

What I can say is that I expect things to be similar to how we never really talk about digital individually anymore (digital marketing is marketing). I don’t anticipate that we will continue to talk about mobile as a standalone concept. If we were to have this conversation in a year, you wouldn’t be asking me what the future of the mobile app world is. You’d be asking me how we will continue to engage with our users and how will that change.

It’s not a conversation about mobile anymore. Mobile is inherent to what we’re doing. No one builds a website desktop first now. That’s not a thing that anyone does. You always start mobile-first. Mobile-first used to be a buzzword, but we live in a world where mobile is the only option.”


This post is based on a podcast interview with Peter Sloterdyk from Grindr. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to Appy Hour.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.