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Statista forecasts growth of online dating revenue to USD 1 billion in 2021 in the US only. This says one thing: the online dating app market is on the rise. These numbers indicate that online dating apps and other similar tools the primary way of meeting people. With the demand as high as it is, can there be a place for entrepreneurs and for startup owners to wedge in the dating industry, and perhaps, create a successful dating app?

If you are determined to take a shot in the industry, let’s talk about dating app development and figure out how to make a dating application and how much does it cost to develop a dating app?

1. Dating App Development Trends & Statistics

As previously stated, modern technologies have completely transformed how we find someone to date, and online dating is no longer frowned upon.

  • More than a quarter of committed relationships begin on the internet.
  • Around the world, approximately 40 million people use dating apps and websites.
  • The total revenue generated by all dating apps is estimated to be around $2 billion per year.
  • Tinder, the most popular dating app, has around 50 million users worldwide, with 60 percent coming from the United States.
  • Tinder’s total value is estimated to be around $1,6 billion.

The demand for dating apps is increasing, as is the market for them. As a result, if you want to create a dating app, now is the time. In this case, you should look to industry leaders like Tinder for inspiration. Let’s take a look at how to make a dating app similar to Tinder.

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2. Dating App Development | Key Features

Tinder, as previously stated, is one of the most popular dating apps in the world, and its secret weapon is its gaming spirit and swiping feature. You swipe right if you like someone’s profile and left if you don’t. More specifically, a dating app is a subcategory of a social media app that focuses solely on dating. As a result, the overall functionality is similar to that of most social apps.

We’ll go over the most important tech components and aspects for dating app development in this section:

  • The Matching Algorithms
  • Socials & Communication Intergration

2.1. Matching Algorithms in Dating App Development

A dating application’s matching algorithm is one of the most important functions that is derived from a set of attributes. You can choose from the following options if you want to learn how to make a dating app with proper matching algorithms:

a/ Usage of Geodata

An algorithm can offer users dates in their immediate vicinity based on geolocation data if that’s what they want. On the other hand, if a person is considering relocating, they will most likely be more interested in making new friends in the area. In any case, geolocation matching has many advantages and is an essential factor to consider when developing a dating app. Also check our the guide for the most dangerous state for online dating.

b/ Mathematical Algorithms

Mathematically-based matching is based on algorithms that analyze information provided by users in their profiles and through various surveys, such as:

  • Personality characteristics (e.g. age, gender)
  • Compatibility of interests (e.g. music taste, hobbies)
  • Physical state (e.g. height, physique)
  • Friend connections to build better trust and user safety (uses data from social networks)

Although mathematically based matching is common, it is not without flaws. This is due to the fact that people could just lie about themselves in surveys and online profiles (like mentioning that they are fond of music or literature they have no idea about). As a result, it is recommended that you use behavioral analysis to get a better understanding of a person’s personality.

c/ Behavior Analysis

When compared to mathematical matching, behavior analysis is far more complex. This research is based on a person’s actual digital footprint (information on social media, search history, YouTube playlists, pages visited, movie preferences, etc.) This kind of analysis is now possible thanks to Big Data solutions.

d/ Advanced Matching (AI & AR)

With the help of AI or AR, advanced matching algorithms can also be implemented. A dating app, like Netflix and Amazon, can make recommendations based on complex data analysis. More efficient matching and predictions could be achieved by using facial recognition, biological data, and behavior analysis. By implementing precise filtering within the app, users can connect with their preferred people and, as a result, use the dating app more frequently.

2.2. Socials & Communication Intergration

A dating app’s messenger is another essential feature. Whatever matchmaking method you use, the next step is always communication. Let’s look at how to make a dating app that has a good communication system. Setting some rules about who messages first or encouraging users to send an initial message is a good way to start. Additionally, building a dating app with message encryption is recommended to cover the security side.

Consider incorporating GIFS, symbols, stickers, or video calls for more advanced communication to improve the experience of using a dating app.

a/ Swipe Surge

As previously stated, Tinder users can swipe right to like other profiles and swipe left to dislike them. Swipe Surge, according to the Tinder press release, increased user activity by up to 15 times. This feature also boosts the user’s ability to make matches by 250 percent.

b/ News Feed & Stories Content

A personalized feed is a common feature in social networks, but most dating apps lack it. Users will be able to express their thoughts and ideas, as well as share photos, allowing them to have a better chance of finding their soulmate if this is implemented. Aside from that, you can use a basic short story content feature like Tiktok, Instagram, or Facebook, which are becoming increasingly popular nowadays.

c/ Like Features & Messesage Editing

Every like, swipe, friending or unfriending someone, comment, or message in a dating app carries a bigger emotional burden compared to conventional social media apps. Therefore having a wide selection of emoji, unique animated stickers and gifs make a huge difference for usability. Additionally the option to edit sent message can sometimes be a life-saver for many users, since the mistyping of some words can hit hard on one’s confidence.

d/ Verification system & Private Chat

Implementing a multiple-step verification system with: social media, photo, phone number, e-mail, etc may at first sound tiring but to many it is the deciding factor whether they want to use this app or not. Since privacy is one of the top priority when using something like a dating app.

e/ Push Notifications

People can use notifications to stay up to date on new possible dating matches, events, or messages. You can use this feature in conjunction with geo-location functionality to notify users when someone they’d like to meet is nearby, or you can use birthday alerts. The notification feature can be very useful with a little imagination.

3. Dating App Monetization

The dating app industry has money and consumers who are willing to invest money to find a partner, according to statistics. Match Group has grown its paying subscriber base from $3.4 million in 2014 to $10.8 million in 2020. In the second and third quarters of 2020, another 700,000 users signed up. Tinder, on the other hand, has 6 million paying users worldwide.

You must detail the scenario for the return on investment while estimating the cost of developing a dating app, preparing your budget, and/or raising funds. Consider the following revenue sources if you’re trying to figure out how to make a dating app that makes money:

3.1. Advertising Model

Affiliate networks are the most effective method. You can display relevant and interesting deals from bars, cafes, shops, jewelry stores, florists, and other businesses. Affiliate companies typically pay commissions based on clicks or installs. Some project owners are willing to compromise on UX in order to benefit from ads by offering paid ad-free versions. With the variety of competition in the dating app game, you don’t want to ruin your design with intrusive advertisements.

3.2. Freemium Model

Users can choose to be billed monthly or annually. Additional features include unlimited swipes, profile showcases, and an ad-free app version in this model.

3.3. Affiliate Model

Usage of related content is a much easier way to integrate ads in dating software creation. You may sell discounts to companies that operate in the dating industry. Coffee shops, jewelry stores, facilities for couples, and exclusive deals, for example. Tokens may be used to purchase presents for others. Your app will disseminate event information and tickets, giving you visibility as well as commitment fees. Whatever monetization potential arises for your dating app, it must be considered in terms of applicability.

4. Technology Stack for Dating App (Like Tinder)

Tinder’s visual simplicity reflects the extensive work that developers of various technologies have put in. Tinder’s kit contains a website and an API in addition to the main app. Like any other complicated solution involving large quantities of user data, Tinder’s success is its most valuable asset, and it must be implemented using the best technology available.

Building a dating app needs more than just the stack, a list of APIs, and even bits of obfuscated source code, so the following information does not guarantee you a Tinder clone. It’s all about how you perceive the problems the app helps you solve and how well you understand the technology that can help you.

You can’t explicitly search for dating app developers because dating apps aren’t as unique as games, where you can learn to work exclusively in the gaming industry. Instead, a team of software developers with a shared understanding of mobile and database technology will work together to create a popular dating app.

Android/iOS mobile app stack: Backend/API stack: Website stack:
  • Swift
  • Objective C
  • Java
  • Ruby/Cucumber
  • Rubymotion
  • Node.js
  • JavaScript
  • HTML5
  • Elasticsearch
  • MongoDB
  • Redis
  • AWS
  • Python
  • Bash scripting
  • Mapbox
  • GoDaddy SSL
  • jQuery
  • Node.js
  • Nginx

5. Dating App Development Cost

If you want to create a dating app as a full-featured application and launch it quickly, dividing the full product into a few logical app versions is a good idea. This entails integrating the most important features first and saving the rest for later versions. As a result, you’ll be able to strike a good balance between app development costs and benefit.

According to our experience, developing the first version takes about 3-6 months and costs between $60,000 and $80,000 per platform (iOS or Android + back-end development + simple admin panel). This is the lowest amount you can expect to spend on the first edition. Depending on your requirements and needs, the cost of developing a dating app can go up.

  • Development approach
  • Number of platforms (plus adaptation to devices – web responsiveness)
  • Location of a software development partner and their rates
  • App design complexity
  • Number and complexity of features during dating mobile app development in the first and subsequent app versions
  Basic version (minimum feature set, 1 platform) Full product (more features and design of a larger complexity, 1 platform) Large app (complex app design, development, and support, 2+ platforms)
UX/UI Design $5,000+ $15,000+ $25,000+
Custom Development $40,000+ $95,000+ $200,000+
Quality Assurance $5,000+ $15,000+ $25,000+
Project Management $7,500+ $15,000+ $35,000+
Business Analysis $2,500+ $10,000+ $15,000+
Total setup $60,000+ $150,000+ $300,000+
Time 3 – 6 months 4 – 9 months 9+ months

Extra note: Asking how to make a dating app close to Tinder isn’t a good idea. The Tinder app was created, scaled, and promoted by that organization, which received a $50 million investment. Such a budget is not available for every product. You can, however, write your own success story. Simply put, don’t plan to create an app like Tinder, as cloning an existing product would not yield a good result. Instead, consider introducing a novel concept to the market.

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6. Step-by-step on How to Build a Successful Mobile Dating App

To begin, you should create a dating app that caters to a specific but appropriate audience. If you want to create a dating app with more trustworthiness, you can focus on matches with specific interests, preferences, or relationship goals, or even allow group dates.

6.1. Conduct Market Research

To continue the debate about whether or not to create a dating app, figures show that 19% of couples met their spouses on a dating website. Take a look at the data from Stanford University, which shows how meeting partners has changed over time. In today’s world, 40% of Americans use online dating services (more men – 52.4 percent , than women- 47.6 percent ). Consider this: in the United States, over 11 million people use a dating app at least once a month.

Statista provided the following insight about the online dating market:

  • Revenue in matchmaking will reach US $2,652m in 2020
  • Revenue predicted at 10.5% annual growth rate (2020 – 2024)
  • Average revenue in online dating, per user amounts to US $32.91
  • The projected market volume in 2024 will amount to US $3,961
  • Currently there are 80.6M users in the matchmaking sector in 2020
  • In 2020, most revenue was generated in China (US $503m)

Furthermore, according to IBISWorld, the dating service market has grown at an annual rate of 11% over the last five years. However, only 27% of US adults used or were currently using a dating app or website as of April 2020, indicating that there is still plenty of space for creativity and consumer attraction.

Key takeaway: Dating apps account for nearly a quarter of the dating services industry’s sales, and they’re getting bigger every year. This is attributable to the increased use of the Internet and mobile devices.

6.2. Competitor Analysis

The majority of dating apps (Tinder, OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, and so on) are owned by the Match Group, which is worth noting. By 2020, the company will have surpassed 10 million paying dating app subscribers around the world, and it will continue to grow through foreign acquisitions such as Meetic in Europe and Eureka in Japan. Facebook is now developing its own dating app. More specifically, the network would make date recommendations based on upcoming activities, personal status, and interests.

But you want to know how to build a standout dating app? First and foremost, you must thoroughly research your competitors.

6.3. Dating App Idea Validation

Developing a new app is difficult because you never know how it will work or whether it will be well received by users. You may simply ask your future users how to build a dating app that meets their needs in this case. Conduct a few polls and specifically ask the target audience what features they want to see and what elements are most relevant to them. Then you can build a fantastic user matchmaking algorithm and define your dating app’s USPs.

  • Target Audiences
  • Critical problem that users have
  • Your solution
  • Unique selling points
  • Your app’s advantage
  • Channels of advertising
  • Development Cost
  • Key indicators of success
  • Revenue channels

6.4. Design UI / UX for Dating App

When it comes to going across app windows, the user interface (UX) should be well-considered. The app’s features should be supported by the user interface (UI). Create an app name and logo that is simple to remember. Additionally you could consider the following expert advice if you want to learn how to make a dating app with a unique design:

  • Utilize current design trends such as blurred background images, transparent components, and swipe navigation.
  • Color schemes that are constructive and energetic should be used.
  • To engage with your audience, use interactive elements.
  • Include an easy-to-understand onboarding process.
  • For app engagement and interaction, pay special attention to gestures.

6.5. Choose the ideal Tech Stack & MVP Development

Clarification of the project’s specifications, the business goals, and project prototyping will all be part of this point. If you wish to test out the app first then we would recommend you going for a MVP version at the start. Below are a few features that you should take notice while developing a MVP Dating App.

Feature Description
Social sign-in Empower your app with sign-in via social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn for a more seamless experience.
User profile Each user has their own profile where one indicates interests and hobbies.
Geolocation With this feature, the app users will choose the region where they want to find a soulmate and even choose nearby locations.
Matching To make the matching process more accurate, use AI-based algorithms.
Chatting When users have a match, they can start chatting and get to know each other better. Also, it is possible to add stickers and GIFs optionally to make messages more vivid.
Push notifications Push notifications will inform your app users about their matches.
Settings Settings include main features like select by categories, on/off the sound, customize different filters, and so on.

7. Conclusion – Should You Go For Dating App Development

The development of a dating app could be a very lucrative investment. Even, developing a matching app is a difficult process that necessitates not only financial resources but also considerable expertise from your mobile development team. We hope that our guide on how to make a dating app has given you a better understanding of how to make your own Tinder app and what monetization techniques to use. The only thing left is to find a capable development team to bring your concepts to life.

According to a study conducted by Kaspersky Lab, the top reasons for using a dating app are for fun, to make friends, and to spend time with someone interesting.

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