Tinder's video experiments with brands could pave way for users, says co-founder Sean Rad

Video for Tinder users is on the agenda, according to co-founder Sean Rad, following experiments with brands such as Bud Light which resulted in “incredible” engagement.

Almost uniquely among social networks, its millenial user base is only able to share images. However, speaking to The Drum at Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, Rad said the popularity of advertisers' videos on its app has prompted it to consider extending its product, adding “eventually users will have the ability to leverage video in their profiles”.

“It’s complicated, but we’re figuring out the right way to do it for users,” he said.

It comes as the social network – which allows users to virtually meet other people in a local area – has ramped up its efforts with advertisers with units such as ‘branded profiles’ and video.

Fox entertainment, for example, recently worked with Tinder to create ‘profiles’ for characters in its TV series The Mindy Project.

He claimed branded profiles achieve an average 20 per cent engagement rate but the view rate and click through rates on its first video ads - with Bud Light on the ‘Whatever, USA’ campaign – were “shocking”.

“Video works incredibly well from a brand perspective. There’s one school of thought that's video on other platforms works because it’s symbiotic and fits with the content around it but that can lead to blindness,” Rad said. “You don’t have blindness on Tinder. Video gives brands an opportunity to stand out.”

But how does he think its user base feels about this interruption? “To his surprise” there has been little backlash.

Currently it has made eight billion connections across 196 countries. People are ‘swiping’ 97,200 per minute and the average user will spend around 11 minute a day flicking through profiles of potential matches.

“We have a massive, highly engaged and passionate audience, and they’re in the frame of mind that they want to discover new content. So the idea of something new popping into a feed is positive. It’s in that way Tinder lends itself well to advertising,” Rad explained. “You can interrupt the user because they want to be interrupted.”

That being said, it is still learning about its audience, what they like and where brands fit into that. And while he had nothing negative to say on how advertisers have thus far approached it, he does want to make branded profiles more transparent.

“Right now we guide the brand, the picture has to have the logo to show its advertising. But we want to add a little more structure so there will be better indication that it is an ad,” he said.

His intention to better label branded content comes at a time when internet users are feeling increasingly sensitive towards online ads. A recent Reuters survey found that 40 per cent of UK consumers use ad blockers while a third admitted they have felt disappointed or deceived after reading content they later found had been sponsored.

Watch Rad discuss how brands can get the most out of the dating app.