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Case Studies

Dating Disruptor HUD Delights Users Via Real-Time Analytics, Boosts Retention by 20%

The HUD App Story

Long-term, committed relationships aren’t for everyone. But that doesn’t mean those who may choose to avoid these entanglements don’t want and deserve intimacy. When founder Edward Chen identified a lack of commitment-free dating apps in 2015, he took it upon himself to develop one.

Seven years later, HUD (Hookup Dating) is one of the most downloaded apps in the dating app category. They create delightful dating experiences by ensuring that all matches are made authentically, openly, and with everyone on the same page about what they’re seeking.

HUD is a casual dating app that is on a mission to provide an alternative, inclusive, and empowered commitment-free dating experience. Features like HUD bedroom and SAFE Integration strive to bring much-needed straightforwardness to the dating game. With over 11 million users globally, their biggest audiences are located in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

To understand how HUD leverages CleverTap to drive their growth and ensure users remain delighted, we spoke to Mikayla Robinson, the director of marketing, who leads the growth and strategy function.

Robinson’s north-star metric is the number of users that activate the free trial. “We trust our product, and once our users are able to experience our paid offerings, our product does the rest of the work,” she adds.


Calibrating Campaigns in Real Time

Before implementing CleverTap, the team at HUD used an in-house push notification system. “It worked fine, but we didn’t have the same amount of power when it came to analytics and making actionable changes based on user behavior in real time,” recalls Robinson.

Tracking Performance Metrics

Without access to real-time analytics, it was next to impossible for the team to measure the number of users who activated their free trial. Additionally, there was no way to measure important metrics like app installs and time spent by users on the app.

Need for Data-Driven User Segmentation

Who are HUD’s loyal users? And who are most likely to churn or hibernate? How can we better re-engage at-risk users? The only way HUD could go about answering these questions was through guesswork, a time-consuming and terribly inaccurate process. For HUD’s small marketing team, this was not feasible.


“After exploring many options, we landed on CleverTap specifically because of the multitude of things we could do through the platform — be it user segmentation, messaging, tracking performance, or understanding users in real time,” says Robinson.

“With CleverTap, we can action our campaign optimizations instantly based on how our users are behaving,” she adds.

HUD’s campaign to nudge users to complete onboarding

The onboarding process in HUD involves users answering a series of questions. This is so that the app can represent and suggest matches for users as accurately as possible. Upon completing the process, the user becomes eligible for a 7-day free trial of their premium offering. After this, the user can convert to a paid subscriber (premium or diamond offering) or continue to be a free user.

Flows to Understand and Improve User Experience

Robinson relies on flows to gain a detailed understanding of how users navigate through the app and what their most likely paths will be. This also tells them how users perceive the app and its core features.

“The insights we receive from flows help us to create more targeted journeys and campaigns to enhance user engagement. Additionally, we also gain a better understanding of app features that might need some improvement,” explains Robinson.

Insights from Flows helps HUD to promote various features of the app and drive feature adoption

RFM to Connect with Users Across All Stages of the Lifecycle

HUD is not an app users delete once they’ve found ‘the one.’ Due to the nature of their offering, users can stay on the app indefinitely. This means HUD has ample opportunities to retain users for life, or until their desires or circumstances change.

“We target hibernating or inactive users by ramping up our communication, talking about what’s changed since they last logged in to the app, and also encourage users to use certain features. Through CleverTap’s RFM, we identified a sweet spot with the number of push notifications that our users like to receive in a single day,” observes Robinson.

RFM helps HUD to understand hibernating users and win them back

RFM helps her to identify at-risk users, re-engage with them, and also reward loyal users. “It’s amazing that we can create our campaigns directly from the RFM data,” she adds.

Campaign A/B Testing to Appeal to Different Users

Since HUD’s user base is quite diverse, Robinson constantly tests the messaging and emojis used in her campaigns to identify the version that’s most impactful for her target audience. “We A/B test almost 90% of our campaigns,” she adds.


“Using CleverTap to analyze our retention rate and stickiness quota, we’ve gained clear actionable insights on ways to optimize our campaigns. We’re able to observe the direct impact of our campaign optimizations on metrics like retention in real time, which is a huge benefit,” says Robinson.

Using CleverTap, HUD has seen over a 20% improvement in user retention.

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