Bumble is planning to expand further into social networking with a new communities feature

Dating platform Bumble is looking to enhance its non-dating social features with a further investment into its Bumble BFF feature, first launched in 2016. This friend-finding feature currently uses the same swiped-based mechanics to connect people looking for platonic relationships but will soon expand to include social networking groups where users can connect with one another based on topics and interests, not just via “matches.”

On the earnings call, the company referenced a Bumble BFF “alpha test” that had been performing well.

It described the test as offering new ways for “people to discover and get to know each other around shared joys and common struggles.” Bumble founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd added that, so far, over 40% of “active BFF users” were engaging with the new experiences being tested and the feature’s one-month retention was upward of 75%.

Bumble didn’t, however, describe the product in much detail, beyond noting it offered a “new group format” for networking.

There were around 30 different topics available, including things like “Women in Business,” “Networking + mentoring,” “Finding fulfillment,” “Mental health,” “Working moms,” “Body positivity,” “Self care,” “Eating well,” “Grad students,” “Money management,” “Building a better world,” “Recent grads,” “Women’s empowerment,” “Mom life,” “Breakups suck,” “Single not alone,” “Workouts,” “Study hacks + motivation,” “Path to parenthood,” “Pet Parents,” “Wanderlust” and others.

Users could join the groups and create multimedia posts or reply to existing posts, similar to a threaded group chat or lightweight networking product. The topics, so far, seem to cater to a slightly broader crowd than just “young adults,” given there were groups for students as well as working moms.

Bumble confirmed to us this is the same feature that was being discussed during its earnings.

“We are currently testing new product features in our Bumble BFF community for a small number of people. We are assessing feedback from this test to help inform our final product decisions,” a Bumble spokesperson told TechCrunch.

Image Credits: Bumble screenshot via Watchful

On the call, Wolfe Herd had also suggested the new BFF feature could potentially help Bumble generate revenue further down the road.

“We are very focused on the product, building the ecosystem, the communities and really going into this new group format and testing the functionalities that we’ve been hard at work building,” Wolfe Herd said. “As we look to revenue in the future from BFF, there are really multiple pillars of opportunity — and one of them would be advertising,” she continued.

“We will be looking at baking in functionalities to be greater economy efficient or advertising ready for the future but not to expect any near-term revenue from that,” the exec had noted.

Image Credits: Bumble screenshot via Watchful

Bumble BFF also allowed the company to leverage some of the same technology it was using to create romantic matches — algorithms based on interests, for example — and put them to use for helping users forge platonic connections.

Asked for thoughts on this latest development, Kennedy said it “completely validates the market” that Peanut has been working in for many years — particularly as the current groups spotted had been women focused.

“It’s something that we’ve always believed in. We’ve always known that it’s a huge opportunity. We’ve always seen that. And for Bumble to say, ‘yeah, we agree.’ Huge! Couldn’t be happier,” she said.

Bumble has not said when it expects to launch the social features to the general public.

News Wire

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