When it comes to online dating, first impressions count. It can take less than a second for a potential partner to decide whether to swipe right or left, so getting that profile spot-on is paramount.
Do you use gym selfies or holiday pictures? Pics of you with your friends or sultry solo shots?How exactly do you get the most clicks from the right kind of people?
New research by dating site Seeking has uncovered which dating profiles and images get the highest levels of engagement. Relationship expert Rhian Kivits has used the research to devise her top hacks to boost your dating profile so you can find the perfect match. The good news is: being honest is best. No need to pretend to be someone you're not...
The study revealed that while selfies receive 40% less engagement than ‘regular’ photos, gym selfies receive 20% higher engagement than the average photo. In fact, having an active lifestyle is the number one trait users are looking for in another partner.
Similarly, photos which imply an overseas travel experience receive an increase of 20% in 'likes' on average compared to regular photos.
Solo shots perform better on dating app profiles, with 75-80% of people saying they are less likely to engage with group photos when searching for a partner.
“I would always recommend flattering, yet realistic pictures of you that also communicate what kind of person you are," says Rhian Kivits. "I recommend that my clients choose clear photos with a positive energy and engaging body language such as smiling and looking directly at the camera."
Kivits says solo pictures work much better than images with a group of friends, and also the background of your picture is really important.
"Pay attention to what’s in the background in order to best communicate who you are and what you are searching for in life and therefore searching for in a partner," she advises. "For example, if you're a person who loves the beach, feature a picture of yourself with the sea behind you.
"But most importantly include clear, honest information about the kind of relationship you're looking for – don’t pretend you’re seeking a causal relationship if you’re really looking for a life partner, since this will only set you up for disappointment."
To meet that perfect person, you need to convey what you want via your profile. "Remember that your dating profile is a kind of filter – when you use it to clearly communicate who you are, who you're looking for and what you're seeking, you're most likely to appeal to the right candidates.”
Watch now: Daisy Edgar Jones on exploring the horrors of dating and the daily fears women face
Read more: Menopause sex: The surprisingly hot truth
The survey also found that men over 6ft tall receive 20-25% higher engagement rates than those under 6ft on average, while brunettes receive 65% more likes than blondes in the 'Seeking' category.
But Kivits says that people also sense whether they feel compatible with you based on your likes, interests and whether or not you seek the same kind of relationship as them.
“When potential partners check your profile, they will access all sorts of factors such as whether they are physically attracted to you and whether you seem approachable, inviting, and genuine which they are most likely to assume based on the images you pick," she explains.
"People often deem certain characteristics more attractive, and they will be drawn to this when online dating. For instance, brunettes receive more 'likes' than blondes on Seeking.com and men over 6ft get higher engagement rates than those under 6ft on average."
"They will also be wondering whether they sense compatibility according to your likes, preferences and interests, and whether you’re looking for the same kind of relationship or level of commitment as them."
With this in mind, it's also important you pick the right dating site where you’ll have the opportunity to meet like-minded people.
Overall, Kivits says you have to make sure your profile reflects the real you and that your pictures match this and your future aspirations.
“Make sure your dating profile reflects the things that inspire you, talk about your dreams and goals and how you go about stepping closer towards them," she says. "Speak about what makes you feel happy, what makes you feel peaceful and what makes you feel excited. Then make sure you are choosing images that reflect this and your core values and aspirations.”