How To Create a Dating App? Tips from Dating App Developers

dating app development

The online dating industry grows year after year. As of 2017, it is worth more than $3 billion. Many see developing a dating app as a profitable undertaking.

Here are a few more interesting facts about the investment value of dating apps:

  • Annual revenue from dating apps now tops $3 billion
  • An average consumer spends $243 for in-app purchases and subscriptions
  • More than 49 million people in the US alone have tried online dating. In the UK, 7 million people have used a dating app
  • 80% of dating app users are millennials

But how do I create a Dating App?—you want to know. VironIT has experience developing successful dating apps for both iOS and Android.

The dating app development process has been illustrated by Alexey Grakov, CTO & co-owner of software development company VironIT, in the video below:

 
 

The following are takeaways from his talk:

  • Focus on building dating apps, not dating website.
  • Build a clickable prototype, it is really useful.
  • Avoid developing two applications (iOS & Android) at the same time.
  • Pay attention to the dating app icon quality.
  • Specify the right keywords to drive traffic from application stores.

If you want to know more about the dating app development, catch up on article reading. We hope our expertise will help you develop a dating app.

 

How to create a dating app?

If you want to build an app for Android, iOS, or Windows mobile, but lack the technical skills to handle it on your own there are many ways to do it. But we want you to start with these options:

  • Use a WYSIWYG (What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get) app builder
  • Customize a Clone script
  • Develop a custom app

So you can get your app in front of the right people fast. So let’s take a brief look at some pros and cons.

 

Dating app builders

Dating app builders allow you to create a user interface using drag and drop method, tweak backends and make minor changes.

The distinct advantages of these builders are hosting and bootstrapping your backend. They provide basic UI elements, documentation and tech support in case there are any complications. You don’t have to pay up front, and the only thing you have to pay is a monthly subscription fee.

But among its drawbacks are limited customization and lack of additional features (like Tinder signature swipe). In some cases, you’ve got limited access to code to export it, or it becomes inaccessible if you stop the monthly payments. User experience optimization is almost impossible, though it is a core priority for dating apps. Moreover, the technology stacks the builders are offering are bitterly limited.  Here is a list of WYSIWYG app builders: Appmakr Mobile App Creator, Biznessapps, Snappii App Creator, Appy Pie, etc.

These solutions definitely have a potential, but if you’re planning to improve on and develop your app in the future, they are not going to be enough.

 

Customize a Clone script

A clone means you create an identical or close copy of a popular dating app. Using clone, you don’t have to think up new features as they are already in the clone script. A user interface is also well developed and user-friendly.

First, you have to find an existing code available on the dating app you want. Then you will hire a developer to customize and upload the app to app store. But that could take a long time and come at an extra cost.

 

Custom dating apps

If you decide to go with the custom app development approach, you will build an iterative and responsive solution with a team of professionals. Such apps need a database to store their data, and a backend to function.

A custom app is created using the cutting-edge technology to meet your business requirements. Your dating app is maintained for as long as you need it to be. You will have full access to a technical support team that was involved in the development process. So all encountered issues are resolved more efficiently. And you can actually rebuild your entire app or parts of it if necessary.

Obviously, custom app development will cost you extra. Thankfully, this approach to the problem has no more drawbacks.

 

Dating App Features Analysis

Since it’s already clear that this business is both top and profitable, it makes sense to see what particular functions these apps offer. In a nutshell, this is what users expect from a dating app:

tinder-features

 

User profile

Most dating apps offer linear profile views: bio, images, interests, age, etc. You can offer users a Pinterest-like way to organize their pics and info, or keep it simple with minimal design and focus on pictures and swapping.
dwayne_hill

Dwayne Hill has been spotted on Tinder, describing himself as a 6ft 5in Emmy Award-nominated actor who loves cuddles cats

Some essential points we advise when creating a dating app:

  • Big, clear pictures and the ability to add/store a few different ones
  • An “About me” field with a few suggested points
  • Like/dislike and messages
  • To reduce fake profiles, encourage users to use real names and ages or to log in through social media accounts
  • Include an anonymous “save for later” button for the indecisive types
  • Additional custom features for a dating app, including video messages, in-app calls, custom stickers and emojis, and other.
 

Access Control & Security

Most users would rather not let their neighborhood know about their online dating activity, and people do not want their user data to become a public asset. For those reasons, we advise you to use SSL certificates and HTTPS connections for added security.

The majority of Android and iOS native apps allow you to sign up through email/password or a social media account.

Dating apps offer social media logins and integrations not only because one-click sign up is more convenient than typing in an email address and password; a dating app is about meeting people, so users should be encouraged to show their real names and include information about themselves in their profiles. In general, the best way to balance your company’s need for user growth and the quality of users is to create a two-step login option.

However, there is another concern: many users are wary of providing personal data. That’s why you should clearly communicate your data protection policy. Highlight that you will never disclose or post anything on their behalf. Clearly outline which user information you collect and store in the first place.

 

In-app Messaging

Your aim as an app developer should be to make it exceptionally convenient for users to interact. To get a competitive edge that you’ll need in this niche market, take things one step further and let users send handwritten messages or built-in stickers or voice messages. It surely won’t hurt.

In-app Messaging

“In-app messaging” provides text messaging and multimedia content, e.g., pictures, video, and thumbnails of a URL link, offers rewards or contributes to navigation through other key events inside the app. It consists of messages that a user or service provider exchanges during the mobile service experience, triggered by specific events or user experiences.

To incentivize people to start conversations, you can send them reminder messages and push notification so they don’t forget about the matches that are waiting for them.

Apps that feature in-app messaging experience an activation rate 27% higher than apps that do not, with an average of 13 apps launched per month.  

Geolocation Features

Although some people are ready for long-distance relationships, the truth is that the majority of us are not. That’s why “search nearby” should be one of the essential features for any dating app. With dating apps, we implement location based searches, which allows users to adjust the area for themselves.

When a user logs in, information about his or her current location is sent to the server. The server then evaluates it and configures a list of potential matches according to location and search parameters.

 

Matchmaking algorithm

Smart matching usually is based on 3 key points:

  • Psychological compatibility
  • Common interests
  • Physical characteristics
Matchmaking algorithm

The app uses info on your Facebook profile to find matches, based on shared Facebook friends and interests. Additionally, it lets you try your hand at matchmaking: you can pair two Facebook friends that you think should get to know each other better

 

How does matching work? The app shows different profiles, and you are matched with 10–20 profiles ranked on a “more attractive” side. After that, you will see the profiles you’ve been matched with and are now awaiting your swipe back as well as some non-matches in between. The more you are swiping left and the more often you log in to the app, the more matches you are likely to receive.

 

Personalized Push Notifications

push notification

This feature is what makes mobile apps a better alternative to websites. Push notifications encourage user retention, so you absolutely need to have this feature if you are going to succeed with your app for dating. Notify users when a new perfect match is found or send them cheer-up messages when they do not seem to have much success among other users.

 

How much money do dating apps make?

Statistics provided by Statista shed light on mobile dating market revenue in the United States from 2009 to 2011 and offer a forecast until 2017. In 2009, annual revenue in this market in the US amounted to USD 43 million, growing to USD 108.9 million in 2010 and eventually reaching USD 416 million in 2017.

 

How do dating apps make money?

How do free dating apps make money? In recent times, we’ve been getting quite a few questions about the hottest topic on the app market. Let’s look at five basic dating app business models:

 

Subscription

Users pay a certain fee to use the app for a week or a month or some other period of time. The payments are likely to be recurring. For example, Tinder allows you to see your mutual Facebook friends when perusing profiles. That said, it’s really easy to go over to said mutual friend’s profile, browse their friend list, and find the person you’re interested in.

 

Freemium

Basic functionality is always free of charge. If you want to use additional features like unlimited access, better profile visibility and others, you will have to pay a fee.

freemium  

Gifts

Users buy in-app digital stickers, gifts, emojis, flowers, etc. and send them to each other. It’s one of the hottest and newest ways niche dating apps are monetizing their membership base.

 

Advertising

Advertising is a core money generator. Apps generate money by selling space for ads to third-party companies.

 

Offline services

Many dating companies have begun hosting local dating events such as speed dating, charity auctions, and local dating mixers as an extension of their online services, bringing virtual users together in the “real” world, along with a sense of authenticity to online dating. Dating apps can either host the event themselves and sell event tickets online to app members or partner with local networking organizations and local restaurants or venues.

Apps are also trying to focus on offline-dating. Companies like Sirf Coffee focus on setting up one-on-one interactions offline; others such as Floh function more like the online membership to an offline club.

Apps are trying to focus on offline-dating. Companies like Sirf Coffee focus on setting up one-on-one interactions offline; others such as Floh function more like the online membership to an offline club

 

What is Dating App Technology Stack?

So, how do you create a dating app ? Start by understanding the tech stack, which goes into it first. Here’s what our development team has used to create one of the dating apps:

 

AFNetworking

AFNetworking is a networking library for iOS and Mac OS X. It’s built on top of the Foundation URL Loading System, extending the powerful, high-level networking abstractions built into Cocoa. It has a modular architecture with well-designed feature-rich APIs.

AFNetworking powers some of the most popular dating apps for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac

Facebook SDK

This open source library is designed to support the Facebook Graph API and the official Facebook JavaScript SDK, which is the canonical way to implement Facebook authentication. You can read more about the Graph API by accessing its official documentation.

 

REST API

REST stands for Representational State Transfer. It relies on a stateless, client-server, cacheable communications protocol, and in virtually all cases, the HTTP protocol is used. REST is an architecture style for designing networked applications.

 

Realm

Realm Database is an alternative to SQLite and Core Data. Thanks to its zero-copy design, Realm is much faster than an ORM, and often faster than raw SQLite. It allows one to get started in minutes, not hours.

 

Animation

Dating apps developed by VironIT have several distinct features that make them stand out among dating and social apps. Not only have we implemented the general design of the app, but we also developed several animations that complement the general feel of the app.

 

Socket

Socket is a different TCP protocol from HTTP, providing full-duplex communication channels over a single TCP connection. In simple words: There is a persistent connection between the client and the server and both parties can start sending data at any time.

So this information should have satisfied your basic curiosity. If you want to receive a full tech stack for a dating application, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@vironit.com. Now let’s take a closer look at the app development time and cost.

 

How much does it cost to make a dating app?

Now that you’ve learned more about the essential features, let’s look at how much does it cost to develop a dating app. Total project timeline, depending on the scope of your requirements, can vary from 600 to 2500 hours.

The following time expenditures for making an app should be considered:

  • App development for single platform – nearly 1000 hours,
  • Backend – 200+ hours,
  • Design – around 100 hours,
  • PM / QA – up to 100 hours.

Summarizing all the factors and making a crude approximation, a basic app for both iOS and Android will cost around $16k but can be more expensive depending on team’s hourly rates.

To build a dating app with the essential features outlined above, you’ll need to put together a team of the following professionals:

  • UX/UI Expert
  • iOS /Android developers
  • Front-end developer
  • Back-end developer
  • Project manager
  • QA specialist

If you need to come up with something better, you can build an app like Tinder. But be ready for a heavy budget.

 

How much does it cost to develop the Tinder app?

Tinder app functionality requires complex architecture and lengthy development. But first, how long did it take to develop the Tinder app? Even a simple version for one platform may consume over 1500 hours.

The biggest cost components to making a basic app:

  • Design — about 200 hours, $3.5–5k
  • Mobile app for Android or iOS — about 500-1000 hours, $10–15k
  • API — 350–400 hours, $10-12k

The big factor to calculate the total cost of an app like Tinder is the hourly rates of the development team you’d hire. The rates may vary from $25 to $150. So a Tinder clone can cost you from $50k for a basic app with limited features to $135k for a multi-platform app with all and premium features.

Of course, these are an approximate estimation, and the final Tinder app development cost will depend on the scale and specifics of the project.

 

Does it seem too expensive? Then take a look at open source clone scripts. There are many sources listing Tinder clone scripts. Some of them are mentioned below.

Contact us and we would be happy to provide more accurate cost estimates based on your project specifications and outline the different content production options possible.

You might also want to check out our case study that talks about bi-curious dating app development.

 
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  • Emily Harris

    Awesome article, thanks!
    How much does it cost to create a simple app?

    • Robert Kelley

      Well, it’s a good question. However, it’s not that easy to answer. The cost varies from developer to developer. Besides, there are plenty of factors that affect the cost. It completely depends on the average time required to develop an app and hourly rate of app development. I recommend this company, they will answer all your questions – http://woxapp.com/en/

    • Darya Tryfanava

      Thank you. The simple app for both iOS and Android will cost around $16k but can be higher depending on the team’s hourly rates.