Match Group CEO: The stigma against dating apps is eroding

  • Stocks of Match Group, the parent company to the popular dating app Tinder, are up 30 percent so far this year.
  • "It's a global phenomenon, and it keeps growing," says Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg.
  • Tinder continues to add new features, including the recently announced setting that allows female users to start the conversation.

As online dating becomes more widely accepted, Match Group continues to expand globally, said Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg.

"What's happening here [in the U.S.], now, is transcending across the globe, where there's a lot higher stigma," Ginsberg told CNBC. "And as that erodes we think we're going to grow that [global audience] fast as well."

In the Olympic Village in Pyeongchang, South Korea, swipes on Tinder, the popular dating app owned by Match Group, rose 600 percent in the last week, Ginsberg said. The app had a similar traffic rush four years earlier, during the Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

"It's a global phenomenon, and it keeps growing," Ginsberg said on "Squawk on the Street." Ten years ago only 3 percent of relationships began online, she said. Today it's closer to 30 percent. Stocks of Match Group have risen 30 percent so far this year.

The company also said Wednesday that Tinder is launching a new feature that allows female users the option of initiating all conversations. The setting is similar to a feature of dating-app rival Bumble. There is no target date for when this feature will be installed.

Today, Match Group has 38 brands — including Match.com, PlentyOfFish, OkCupid, the Japanese brand Pairs, and OurTime, for people over 50 — in 190 countries. Tens of millions of people use the products in 40 languages, said Ginsberg, who took over as CEO of Match Group in January.

"One size does not fit all in this category," Ginsberg said. "The portfolio approach globally really does make sense."

Tinder, though, is by far the most profitable, Ginsberg said. Last September, the company introduced Tinder Gold, which allows users — for $14.99 a month — to see their "likers" before they match.

"Gold is very simple," Ginsberg said. "You get to see who's liked you, which is probably the most human, driven, curious thing: I want to know who's interested in me. It's been a real win for the business."

And the app is not just for casual daters. Ginsberg said many relationships and even marriages began on Tinder.

"Open up the New York Times marriage section and you'll see Tinder weddings," she said. "People use our products for a variety of reasons."

Ginsberg, who is married with two children, celebrates her 12-year anniversary with the company on Valentine's Day.

In 2015, InterActiveCorp (IAC) spun off a portion of Match Group in an initial public offering. IAC remains the largest shareholder of Match Group.