The days of meeting your soulmate outdoors are gone. In the high-tech world, you don’t have to look for your match, even for speed dating, in bars or museums. Many websites and apps undertake the responsibility of matching people relying on similarity, compatibility, and mutual sympathy. Dating apps boast about their accurate and innovative algorithms.Dating app development can be both profitable for you and a good solution for people that want to find a soulmate. Let’s dig into what makes dating apps so funny and engaging. We have some things to say.
- How to create a dating app?
- The way a dating app works
- Advantages of dating apps
- UI/UX and app structure building
- Tech stack for dating app
- Options to create a dating app
- Basic features for your MVP
- How much money do dating apps make?
- Monetization ways
- How much does it cost to make a dating app?
- Dating app cost calculator
- How much does it cost to develop the Tinder?
How to create a dating app?
Ever wanted to create a dating app but never knew how? Well, follow these steps, if you want to make a splash:
- Have a look at the dating app functionality.
- Determine key benefits before you build a dating app.
- Build the structure and design of a dating app.
- Utilize the tech stack to create a dating app.
- Add MVP features to your dating app.
- Choose the monetization model for your dating app.
- Publish your dating app on app stores
The principle of dating app functionality
Because it’s already clear that this business is both popular and profitable, it makes sense to dig deeper into the question and see what particular functions these apps offer and why they do what they do.
Getting started with dating apps
The technology of attraction: Matching algorithms
The matching feature helps to bring people together with minimal effort for both parties. It is implemented extremely simply: look at the photo, and if you like the person, swipe right, if not, then left. Tinder also provides Super Like function.
You have more chances of successful dating to meet your soulmate in your city than in another country. To provide you with this opportunity, dating apps use GPS information to show users nearby.
A mathematical algorithm matches users by finding related answers provided in an application form. It is based on the compatibility percentage of answers given for each question or all questions.
Most people have a “fake it ’till you make it” mentality. This points to incompatible matches. However, behavior-based matching operates with data collected from external sources like social networks. An analytics approach improves the chances of the correct match.
Switch for a moment from reading to video, and check some great suggestions on how to create a dating app by Alexey Grakov.
Advanced matching methods
To ensure suitable matching dating apps, apply new technologies like ML, AI, VR, and AR. For users who don’t want to waste their time, the online dating industry offers a video chat option for virtual dating. For example, blockchain technology can provide users safe verification.
Now let’s take a look at some dating apps’ benefits to understand why people need them. It will help you to know your customer.
Why are dating apps beneficial?
Fast and efficient
A dating app provides you more options and flexibility than a dating website. It allows users to access accounts on the go or before sleep swiping. The dating app will definitely simplify the search for a soulmate.
Good for busy people and introverts
Some people have a really busy schedule and have a lack of time to build new relations. Those who enjoy spending time alone also face a relationship issue. That is where a dating app comes to the fore. It enables such people to find a time and resolve to meet a soulmate.
Find a soulmate nearby
Dating apps allow you to configure the settings for detecting other users by age, gender, and maximum distance. In the free version, the maximum distance is 10 miles.
Drop unwanted connections
If users expressed mutual attraction, then the system records the coincidence and opens up the opportunity for real-time communication. If sympathy disappears for one reason or another, the user can be blocked.
Dating apps provide you with a wide choice of potential soulmates from various countries.
Build an app structure and design
Choose a catching name
Note that your app’s name should be brief and eye-catching. Drag out a spoken word till it sounds like singing.
Know your client
You can build an app that fits all the requirements of various target audiences. However, it would be better to define a specific target audience for your dating app. It will help you to save time and money during the development and promotion stages.
Make an amazing UI/UX design
Provide users with an easy-to-use, intuitive, and clear design. Note that UX should not be confusing. Choose standard pleasant colors and large buttons.
Deal with a marketing plan
To promote your dating app, grow your client base, and increase clients’ loyalty, you should create a marketing plan and think through each stage.
Tech stack for dating app
Let’s start by understanding the tech stack, which goes into it first. Our development team has used AFNetworking and Facebook SDK libraries, REST API, Realm Database, and Socket TCP protocol to create one of the dating apps.
To identify the user location, the app uses the smartphone’s GPS or data from the Wi-Fi network connection. 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, but we also developed several animations that complement the general feel of the app.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Now let’s take a closer look at the development time and cost.
Options to create a dating app
If you want to build an Android, iOS, or Windows mobile native dating app, 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 an app builder
- Customize a Clone script
- Develop a custom app
This way, you can get your app in front of the right people fast. Let’s take a brief look at some pros and cons.
Dating app builders
App builders allow you to create a user interface using a 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 if 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.
Its drawbacks are limited customization and lack of additional features (like Tinder signature swipe). In some cases, you’ve got limited access to the code to export it. It also 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 extremely limited. Here is a list of builders: Appmakr, Biznessapps, Appy Pie.
These solutions have 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 because they are already in the clone script, and a user interface is also well developed and user-friendly.
You have to find an existing code available for the app you want. Then you will hire a developer to customize and upload it to the 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 cutting-edge technology to meet your business requirements. Your 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. All encountered issues are resolved more efficiently and you can rebuild your entire app or parts of it if necessary.
Obviously, custom development will cost you extra. This approach to the problem has no more drawbacks.
MVP for a dating app
Social sign in
The majority of Android and iOS native apps allow you to sign in through email/password or a social media account. Dating apps offer social media logins and integrations not only because one-click sign-in 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.
Most dating apps offer linear profile views—bio, images, interests, age, sex, etc.
But you may offer users a Pinterest-styled way to organize their pics and info. Or keep it simple with minimalistic design and focus on pictures and swapping.
Some essential points we advise you to consider when making a dating app:
- Big clear pictures with the ability to add/store a few different ones
- “About me” field with a few presuggested points
- Like/dislike and message functionality
- To reduce fake profiles, encourage users to use real names and age or log in through social media accounts
- Include an anonymous “save for later” button for the indecisive types
- Additional custom features for a dating app may include video messaging; in-app calls; custom stickers; in-app gifts, stickers and emoticons; and other sweet little perks to break the ice.
Although some people are ready for long-distance relationships, the cold truth is that the majority of us are not. That’s why a “search nearby” should be one of your essential features for any dating app. With dating apps, we implemented search based on geolocation, which allows users to adjust the radius for themselves.
When a user logs in, information about his current location is sent to the server.
The server then evaluates it and configures a list of potential contacts according to location and search parameters.
Smart matching usually is based on three key points:
- Psychological compatibility
- Common interests
- Physical characteristics
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 see the profiles you’ve been already matched with and now awaiting your swipe back with some non-matches in between. The more you swipe and the more often you log in to the app, the more matches you are likely to receive.
In the dating apps, it all starts with pictures but ends up with conversations. Your goal as an app developer should be to make it exceptionally convenient for users to interact. To get a competitive edge that you’ll surely need in this niche, 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 provides text messaging and multimedia content, e.g., picture, video, and the thumbnail 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 interchanges 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 notifications so they don’t forget about the matches that are waiting for them.
Apps that featured in-app messaging experienced an activation rate 27% higher than apps that did not, with an average of 13 such apps launched per month.
This feature is what makes mobile apps a better alternative than websites. Push notifications encourage user retention, so you absolutely need to have this feature if you are going to succeed with your dating app. Notify your users when a new perfect match is found or send them cheer-up messages when they don’t seem to have much success among other users.
Make sure that swipe gestures are clear to the user. Swiping can increase engagement and enable your app to provide a better, smoother user experience. Find out what works best for your target audience and optimize it.
Settings involve essential features like sort by categories, the sound setting, different custom filters, etc.
Admin panel allows you to block and control users, address issues, keep an eye on the app.
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, the 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?
Note, you don’t have to make your app paid to generate revenue. Let’s look at five basic monetization methods:
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. 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.
Basic functionality is always free of charge. If you want to use additional features like the following:
- Account boost. To become the first one in the search list, the user can pay a fixed fee.
- Smart swipe. Machine learning algorithms can change the order of your photos depending on the interests of the user who browses them.
- Unlimited right swipes. Free app enables a limited number of daily right swipes. The premium app provides users with an unlimited number of right swipes.
- Ad-free. The premium app allows users to avoid ever-irritating advertising content.
Users buy 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 is a core money generator. Apps generate money by selling space for ads to third-party companies.
Many 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 members or partner with local networking organizations and local restaurants or venues.
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. Total project timeline, depending on the scope of your requirements, can vary from 600 to 2500 hours.
The following time expenditures should be considered:
- Development for a 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 it can be more expensive depending on the 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
- Frontend developer
- Backend 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.
Dating app cost calculator
For more accurate cost estimates, you may use an interactive dating app cost calculator. Select the items that best describe your dating app and the features you require. It provides you with some figures that you can use for further assessment.
In the following, you can find out the cost of the Tinder app.
How much does it cost to develop the Tinder?
Tinder functionality requires complex architecture and lengthy development, but how long did it take to develop the Tinder clone? Even a simple version for one platform may consume over 1500 hours.
The biggest cost components:
- 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 application with limited features to $135k for a multiplatform app with all free and premium features.
Of course, these are approximate estimations, 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 and two of them are mentioned below.
- Tinder Clone iOS Application
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, which talks about bi-curious dating app development.