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The 3 Most Important Takeaways From Match Group's Q2 Earnings Report

By Ryan Henderson – Sep 3, 2021 at 9:13AM

Key Points

  • The growth of Match Group's emerging brands is accelerating, and they're becoming a significant part of the business model.
  • The company's established apps have gotten back to growth by taking some pages out of their younger peers' playbooks.
  • Tinder's expansion isn't showing any signs of slowing down.

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There's a lot more to the online dating company's success than Tinder.

Online dating powerhouse Match Group (MTCH -2.58%) has generated exceptional financial results in recent years, and so far, its stock price seems to reflect that -- it's up by more than 150% since the start of 2019. The company's most recent quarter was certainly no exception.

However, unlike in previous years, these latest results were driven by more than just the success of its most popular app, Tinder. Here are three big takeaways from Match Group's second-quarter earnings report.

Person clicking on a dating app on a smartphone.

Image source: Getty Images

1. Its emerging brands are growing impressively

Match Group has a well-known habit of successfully acquiring and incubating online dating brands. By purchasing them when they are small and providing them with tools and practices that can help them grow, Match Group has turned some young apps into big-time growth drivers.  

Hinge, BLK, and Chispa are three great examples of this. While each of these apps serves the same core function of helping its users find potential partners, each takes a different approach to the problem. For example, according to Match Group CEO Shar Dubrey, Hinge targets an audience that is "a little serious intent and outcome-driven." In contrast, BLK and Chispa both offer experiences specifically tailored to previously underserved demographics.

These apps, plus several others, get grouped into Match Group's "emerging brands" segment, which is expected to contribute roughly $250 million in revenue for the full year -- a more than 100% increase from 2020. Hinge's revenues are on course to account for more than 75% of that figure, and the app is seeing astounding growth. After tripling its revenue in 2020, it's expected to double it this year. 

On recent conference calls, Match Group's management team has consistently expressed optimism about Hinge's prospects -- and for good reason. Given the current rate of growth in its downloads and its increasing levels of monetization, I expect Hinge will soon be producing a sizable chunk of the company's overall revenue.

2. Its legacy apps are enjoying a resurgence

It's not just the younger brands that are driving Match Group's accelerated growth. The company has taken steps to rejuvenate growth among legacy franchises like Match.com, Plenty of Fish, and OkCupid.

Although many of the company's more established brands have been desktop-first dating sites for a long time, all now have mobile experiences as well. Along with the freemium model that many of the apps have adopted, it has helped them attract younger audiences and boost overall engagement. 

Additionally, Plenty of Fish, which targets predominantly older people and is quite popular in Canada, introduced a live-streaming feature in 2020 called POF! Live. This is expected to generate more than $50 million in revenue for the year. 

In aggregate, these established brands were once a stagnant, if not declining, part of Match Group's overall business. Now, after leveraging the expertise and best practices of the other portfolio brands under the company's umbrella, they are back on a double-digit percentage revenue growth trajectory.

A smiling couple holding hands in a pub.

Image source: Getty Images.

3. People keep swiping right on Tinder

Though the resurgence of Match Group's legacy franchises and the remarkable growth of its emerging brands may have stolen the headlines this quarter, Tinder hasn't fallen off either. 

In fact, not only did Tinder grow its paying users by 17% annually, but its revenue per payer also increased by 8% versus the same period a year ago -- thanks partly to a record number of daily a la carte transactions. 

And despite already being the most downloaded dating app globally, Tinder doesn't look like it's slowing down on the innovation front at all. In the second-quarter shareholder letter, management discussed the product roadmap for Tinder, explaining that the brand is currently transforming as it tries to expand "from a like/match/message-only paradigm to a multi-dimensional experience," which would enable users to connect over similar interests.

To supplement the new product enhancements, Tinder also began testing its own in-app currency during the quarter. Though I'm purely speculating here, a virtual in-app currency might prove effective as a way to circumvent the app-store commission structure that's presently undergoing heavy regulatory scrutiny.

Either way, between the continuing successes of Tinder, the stellar growth of its emerging brands, and the resurgence of its legacy franchises, this quarter demonstrated that Match Group isn't just a one-trick pony.

Ryan Henderson owns shares of Match Group. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Match Group. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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