Contacting someone better looking than you often leads to a match

Internet dating has become a normalised way for people to meet a love interest.

it's the third most popular means of meeting a long term partner.

It's estimated around half of all 18-34 year olds now use dating apps.

Researchers say the science behind the secret to success in online apps is:

- Aim high

- Keep your message brief

- Be patient

Scientists reckon 'punching above your weight' or playing 'out of your leave is a winning strategy.

Men had greater success when they approached women they believed were more desirable than themselves.

While both men and women contact potential partners who are, on average, around 25% more desirable than themselves.

Silver foxes around the country will be happy to hear that men  hit their attractiveness peak at 50.

Data analysis from an online dating site shows men are least sought after at 18 and had most approaches as they hit half a century.

The algorithm looked at how many messages people got and the popularity of who sent them.

Better educated men also got more attention.

This in contrast to women who were most in demand at 18 and their academic success made no difference.

The study has been published in the journal, Science Advances.