What Is Zoosk?
Zoosk is a seasoned player in the dating scene. This location-based app and site has been around since 2007, gaining over 40,000,000 users to date. With a reported 3 million messages sent each day, Zoosk isn’t one to miss.
Based on who you interact with and what profiles you click on, the Zoosk algorithm builds up an idea of what type you usually go for. From there, it begins to suggest people who are closer to your type, filling the app with people you are more likely to find attractive.
The more you use it, the better it becomes.
Zoosk includes an app as well as a website/desktop version, with not really much difference between the two. So keep in mind when reading that all features are offered across both platforms.
That’s a general overview, but now let’s jump into exactly how Zoosk works. By the end of this article, you’ll know how to use Zoosk and what all of the features can do for you.
What Does Zoosk Mean?
Zoosk stands for Zeal of Others Seeking Kindreds. Which is about the most pretentious way I’ve ever heard of someone saying ‘hot singles in your area’.
How Does Zoosk Work?
Think Tinder, but smarter. Zoosk is based upon behavioral matchmaking. That means that with each new profile you interact with, the app begins to learn what your type is. While you’re swiping, it starts to refine your matches based on characteristics you usually go for.
That means while you’re looking, Zoosk is also looking for you.
The app works similarly to other popular dating apps, letting you swipe through profiles until you find one that interests you. The Search function is very similar to Tinder.
Once you find a person you like, if you have the full version of the site/app, you’ll be able to send messages. One additional feature is the inclusion of virtual gifts, letting you send items to your matches.
Ever the wingman, if you’re stuck on what to say, Zoosk will also offer you a couple of prompts.
Zoosk also has two other modes, Carousel and SmartPicks. Carousel allows you to swipe through profiles quickly, helping the algorithm build up an idea of who you find attractive. You either give a Yes, No, or Maybe to each photo.
Based off those swipes, Zoosk then recommends some SmartPicks. The algorithm sees who you tend to interact with, then finds people with similar stats, trying to match you with another user.
This Behavioral Matchmaking Technology is the main draw to Zoosk, their algorithm being one of the best.
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How Zoosk Sign Up Works
Compared to some of the other dating sites that I recommended in my Best Dating Apps of 2020, the sign-up process for Zoosk is a breeze.
After creating an account, launching into Zoosk only takes a couple of minutes. You’ll be asked for your age, location, and to provide a picture as a starter.
Zoosk will then ask you a couple of questions to start building your profile. After filling in your body type, height, and ethnicity, you will have reached the grand 2-minute mark. Finally, you’ll be asked a few more personal preference questions, like if you smoke or have kids.
Congratulations, you’re live! If you’re looking for speed, Zoosk definitely has you covered.
How Your Zoosk Profile Works
The first thing you see when you get on to the app is someone’s profile. Zoosk puts one profile up at a time, their main photo taking up the whole screen. Their picture will also have a little bit of info about them, typically just name, age, and distance away from you. From there, you can swipe to check out other photos, bio, and stats.
A profile’s stats consist of three metrics, ‘Body’, ‘Education/Career’, and ‘Home’.
‘Body’ focuses on height, build, and ethnicity, filling in the details you entered when you signed up.
‘Education and Career’ are exactly what they sound like, detailing your highest level of education and career choice. For some reason, if someone smokes also comes under this heading.
Finally, ‘Home’ gives you an idea of someone’s marital status, if they have kids, and their religion.
Alongside these details, you can also include ‘My Story’, in which you can write a short paragraph about yourself. If the creative juices aren’t flowing, you can also answer a few prompts.
If you fill out everything in this section, you’ll have answers to ‘My Story’, ‘Perfect Match’, and ‘Ideal Date’.
One more swipe gets you to the ‘Interests’ tab. Here, Zoosk lets you add Tv shows, books, movies, sports, games, or even celebrities that you like. This gives you a great insight into someone’s personality. Also, common interests let you easily strike up a conversation, providing a great icebreaker.
A cool feature that Zoosk has implemented is a green tick verification on a profile. To make sure everyone is who they say they are, you can take a short selfie video of yourself. The Zoosk moderation team will then check you match the photos you’re using, giving you a green tick on your profile. This also puts a stop to someone using their best photos from 2003.
You’ll never have to worry about “ah… yeah that’s an old picture’ ever again!
How Zoosk Search Works
Once you log into Zoosk, you’ll be on the search page right away. Here, you’ll find the profile of a potential match. If you’re not interested, simply swipe up, and you’ll move to another profile.
You can also heavily customize your search page, adding filters to find exactly who you’re looking for. You can go crazy on the filters, having the option to search based on Age Range, Distance, Height, Religion, Relationship History, Has Children, Body Type, Ethnicity, Education, and Smoking Status.
Considering you can combine these filters in any way you like, you’re able to narrow down your search tenfold. Once you find someone you’re interested in, just swipe left to go onto their profile.
Each profile has four tabs, starting with profile photos. These four tabs include main photos, profile stats, interests, and a friendly peer pressure tab from Zoosk telling you that if you’ve come this far into their profile, you might as well shoot them a message.
Depending on whether you pass over someone or click on their profile, Zoosk learns more about what characteristics you like. After a while, the app begins to see trends in profiles that you click on and profiles that you message. From this, Zoosk starts to weed out anyone that doesn’t fit your type, making the app more personalized to your taste with each use.
How Zoosk Matching Works
Matching in Zoosk happens in a few ways. You’ve got the ‘Search Page’, ‘Carousel’, and ‘SmartPicks’.
The Search Page has everyone around your area, letting you freely browse through profiles. After you find the profile of someone you like, you can send them a ‘smile’ or a ‘heart’.
Either one of these will open up the option to chat. If someone receives one of these options, they can then choose to accept or deny the chat. If you accept, you’ll become matched.
Carousel focuses more on quick-fire browsing, flashing a photo of someone up that you then either like or reject. This feature is similar to Tinder, letting you click through lots of people quickly.
Going through the Carousel also records your answers, helping the algorithm work out what sort of person you’re looking for. This process will help with SmartPicks, where Zoosk recommends someone they think would suit you best.
If you want to get your profile out there, you can pay for a ‘boost’. This will place your photo more frequently in people’s Carousels, meaning you get more natural exposure. More people seeing your profile means you’ve got a better chance at matching.
How Zoosk Messaging Works
It hopefully won’t be to your surprise that messaging is pretty important on dating apps. Zoosk is no different, so get your best chat up lines ready and head to the DMs.
Messaging on Zoosk can be broken down into four categories. Smiles, Likes (hearts), text messages, and virtual gifts.
Smiles and likes, sent by pressing either the smiley-face or the heart button, send a large emoji in the chat. If you want to get someone’s attention, this is one way to do it. It’s probably a good idea to follow this up with a text message, letting them know you’re capable of more than just emoji conversation.
One feature of Zoosk that is different from a lot of dating apps is the ability to send virtual gifts. From cocktails, to roses, to jewelry, and bottles of wine, you can send pretty much anything. To send an item, you’ll have to have Zoosk coins in your wallet, something you can buy in packages.
As far as messaging goes, there is no real way to chat for free on Zoosk without some major restrictions. While you can have a public profile and receive messages, you won’t be able to read them until you upgrade your subscription.
How The Zoosk Algorithm Works
Dating apps aren’t rocket science. Well, most of them aren’t. Zoosk actually has Alex Mehr, an ex-NASA computer scientist, as one of the company’s CEOs. So, I suppose it comes pretty close.
His partner, Shayan Zadeh, worked at Microsoft after getting his master’s degree in computer science. Safe to say, Zoosk knows tech.
Part of what makes Zoosk so successful is the algorithm behind it. Zoosk learns from user clicks, profile engagement, messaging, and other in-app decisions to help pair you with accurate matches. You might not even know you have a subconscious thing for blondes. But trust me, Zoosk will work it out.
This algorithm gets continually refined, each match you accept or reject coming into play. The more time you spend on Zoosk, the better it gets.
How Zoosk Memberships Work
To get the most out of Zoosk and have the best shot at finding The One, the app offers a subscription service.
Upgrading your account will unlock messaging, letting you chat with other users freely. You’ll also then be able to see any messages, smiles, or hearts sent your way.
A Zoosk premium subscription also allows you full access to SmartPicks. This feature is the pride and joy of Zoosk, the algorithm searching for your perfect match. With premium, you’ll have full use of this feature, accessing multiple matches a day.
Ever curious about if people are taking a look at your profile? Well, Zoosk premium also gives you access to the ‘Views’ tab. Anyone who has clicked on your profile recently will be displayed there. You can then click on their profiles, scouting out who’s been taking a peek at you.
The pricing of a Zoosk subscription varies depending on how long you sign up for. You can either sign up for 1, 3, or 6 months at a time. One month will cost you $29.99, three months comes in at $59.99, while six months goes for $74.99.
Based on monthly cost, that works out at $12.49 a month if you sign up for six months. Compared to some other services, that’s pretty cheap, while also delivering a bunch of features to streamline your dating experience.
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How Does Zoosk Carousel Work?
If you want to turn up the speed on connecting, you can head over to Zoosk Carousel. The Carousel gives you a rapid-fire round of different profiles. Like the look of someone? Great, give them a tick. If not, no sweat, give them a cross and you’re on to the next one.
Carousel is designed to speed up the matching process, allowing you to fly through profiles. You’ll see the same profiles that are in the ‘Search’ page, just at a much faster pace. You only get to see one photo and their age, so it really is a split-second yes or no decision.
If you give someone the green light, and they give you one back, you’ll get a notification that invites you both to chat. From there, you’ll be able to access their profile and learn a little more about them.
You may be wondering what the percentage bar at the bottom of the screen means on Carousel. Well, once you get to 100%, Zoosk takes all the data you’ve given them and finds someone who they think fits your type. From the 50~ profiles you go through, Zoosk builds up an idea of what makes you tick, recommending someone who you will find attractive that feels the same way about you.
How Zoosk SmartPicks Work
Every day, Zoosk SmartPicks chooses a few matches that you’re likely to be compatible with. This is based on your search data, Zoosk looking at what you’re both attracted to and pairing you up if you’re the other’s type. From there, you’re able to either accept or reject the proposal.
If you accept, Zoosk will put you guys in a chat together. From there, you’re free to give it your best shot.
If they’re not quite right for you, no bothers – that’ll just help Zoosk be even more precise next time.
How Does Zoosk Connections Work?
You’ve sped through Carousel. You’ve said hello to your new matches on SmartPicks. What’s next?
Zoosk Connections is the page where you can keep track of everyone you’re talking to. Anyone who you match with will be placed into your Connections. Here, you can easily reach their profile and message chats.
Connections will also let you know if they’re online or not. At the top right of each profile in the Connections page, there will either be a little green or blue dot.
If it’s green, Zoosk is telling you that they’re online right now. Blue, on the other hand, is the symbol for recently online. This means that they’ve logged on within the past week.
This Online Now tab is great for seeing who is available to message. If you know someone is online, you’ll be able to catch them while they have a free moment. From there, you can get to know them a little better.
If you decide that you actually don’t like someone that much, you can ‘Remove Connection’. This will delete them from your connections tab. This Great-Escape manoeuvre will mean that you’ll no longer see them on the app.
How Does Zoosk Super Send Work?
As you can tell, Zoosk has a lot of features. If the app isn’t constantly refining its algorithm to try and show you people you’re more attracted to, then it’s coming up with new features to connect you to others.
Super Send is one of these new features. Once every 15 hours, you’ll be able to send out a Super Send.
You access this from the top bar of the app, by clicking the box with a lightning bolt in it.
You’ll be able to select a pre-written message icebreaker. Then, Zoosk will send this message directly to 6 people that you’re likely a good match with. These 6 people will all receive your message at the same time.
Zoosk is great for throwing the net out, Super Send being one of the features that gives you a helping hand. If you don’t want to spend hours swiping through profile, Super Send could be an easy shortcut.
Apps/Sites Better Than Zoosk
Who Is Zoosk Made For?
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So at this point I really hope that you have enough information about Zoosk and whether or not to give it a try. Personally, I think there isn’t anything too groundbreaking about Zoosk. Apps and sites that have emerged since Zoosk, like EliteSingles and even old time classics like eHarmony, are much better choices in my opinion.
According to Tech Crunch, Zoosk’s user base has been on the decline since more modern apps have taken centre stage. That right there could be the telltale signs that Zoosk won’t be able to compete longterm.
But why not try for yourself? If you’re someone who is looking for a relationship and still not sold on which app/site to choose, go ahead and check out my 9 best dating apps for serious relationships.