Optimizing Your Online Dating Profile

This is the secret sauce, science-based guide on optimizing your online dating profile.


Photos obviously have the largest impact on online dating success. In one survey, good photos are considered more important than any other aspect of online dating profiles [0]. Moreover, In a study of online dating, the correlation between physical attractiveness and popularity was .53 for women and .28 for men. This indicates that men took physical attractiveness into account more than did women when deciding whom to contact [1].

Use shallow depth of field

OkCupid analyzed over 11 million pictures to find commonalities of the most attractive profiles. They found that pictures using a shallow depth of field, where the face was in focus, and the background was blurred, were significantly more attractive [2].

In fact, a shallow depth of field, like the above f/2, can increase male attractiveness by about 0.06. On the other hand, deep focus like the above f/22, decreases attractiveness by about 0.03. On the whole, this indicates that depth of field alone can increase male attractiveness by almost 1 whole point. 

Picture from an angle

Research shows pictures taken from an angle are more attractive compared to facing straight on [3]

Use full-body photos

It is widely reported that full-body photos boost both sexes’ online dating success by 203% [4 | 4b].

Wear red

…or have red in the background. Research shows the color red increases male attractiveness, at least for short term relationships [5], [6].

Have expansive body language

Studies show expansive posture increases one’s chances of initial romantic success [7]

Make eye contact with the camera

In an analysis of OkCupid’s 400 of the highest-rated profiles in 10 major US cities, 80% of them had strong eye contact [8]


Having no bio severely hurts online dating success, especially for men. On Tinder, having no bio results in 4 times less matches than simply saying hello and where you are from [9]. What is interesting is that men who are physically attractive also write more appealing bios, even when the photos and bios are independently rated, by different judges [10]. Here are some traits of attractive bios. 

Use simple language

A study aptly titled “Consequences of erudite vernacular utilized irrespective of necessity: problems with using long words needlessly”, concludes that overly‐complex texts actually come across as less intelligently written than simple texts [11]. Indeed, people are naturally drawn to words that are easy to remember and pronounce [12]

Utilize the 70:30 ratio

Only writing about yourself will attract far fewer responses than a combination of who you are and what you are looking for. The combination in a 70:30 ratio achieves the best results. This tip comes from the book Quirkology: how to discover big truths in small things.

Don’t say you’re funny. Be funny.

A profile written in a humorous, clever manner will be seen as more credible evidence of a sense of humor than the use of the words ‘I am hilarious’.

Use the right words

A team of PhD scientists analyzed the words used by the 1.2 million profiles on PlentyOfFish. Those who have found love, unsurprisingly, use the word “love” the most in their profiles, as well as the words “time,” “life,” “friend” and “music.” For men, the words “heart,” “children,” “romantic” and “relationship” also increase chances of seeing success in love [13].

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