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How to Create a Dating App: From Concept to Successful App

25 min read
How to Create a Dating App: From Concept to Successful App

The romance described in books is no longer a reality. As luck would have it, we live in the digital world where even personal life is built online. And here we have dating apps connecting millions of lonely hearts.

Have you ever wondered how to create a dating app?

With the market full of such solutions, it might seem like a waste of time to build a dating app. Such competitors like Tinder make the market even more challenging. Still, if you have a good dating app concept and are wondering how to make a dating app, the idea is worth pursuing.

According to research by IBISWorld, the market size of dating services in the USA is estimated at $4 billion in 2020. During 2015-2020, the average industry growth was estimated at 11.9%.

Analytics give positive predictions for the market due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Social distancing and the inability of in-personal meetings will drive the demand in online dating solutions.

The interest in knowing how to make a dating app is fully justified by the future growth in demand for such services. This article provides insights into the following aspects of dating app development:

  • why making a dating app in 2021 is a good idea
  • technical aspects & key features to build a dating app
  • how to create a dating app step by step
  • the best ways to make money with your dating app
  • cost to create a dating app
  • our experience in creating a dating app
  • where to start with your dating application

Let’s dive right into the guide and learn how to create a dating app.

WHY BUILD A DATING APP IN 2021

Aside from asking how to create a dating app, you are probably interested in knowing whether it’s worth building a dating app.

Generating one of the highest user engagements, dating apps can be considered worthwhile investments and potential revenue streams. Today, over 32.2 million people use online dating services in the USA alone, almost 10% of the whole population worldwide. In the years to follow and up to 2024, the market will show distinct growth and will reach 35.4 million users.

Over 30% of US adults have used online dating solutions, and 12% found a committed relationship from it.

Statista proves once more that building a dating app today is a very profitable business:

  • the revenue in the online dating segment is estimated at $4,754 million in 2020
  • the number of users in the online dating industry is expected to reach 276.9 million by 2024
  • 43% of dating applications users are aged between 25-34 years
Tinder Demographics in the USA

Market research clearly demonstrates that there is still enough room for future growth in demand for online dating solutions.

People use such solutions for a number of reasons. Just take a look at the image demonstrating the main reason why users choose online dating.

Main Reasons why Users Choose Dating Apps

Such solutions in the form of mobile applications offer a lot of benefits. The main dating apps benefits include the following factors:

  • great for introverts and busy people
  • provides an ability to find a soulmate in nearby locations
  • availability of the service at any time
  • no unwanted attention and connections

If you are still not sure what to do, remember the success of such applications as Tinder, Badoo, Match.com, and many others.

Today, Tinder is the most popular dating application in the world with over 57 million users around the world. The company is estimated at $10 billion, which is an unprecedented amount for the industry of solutions for online dating.

Before we move to explain how to create a dating app, let’s take a look at the main payers on the market and study the apps that will become your main competition. Over 5.9 million of users are subscribers of premium Tinder Plus and Tinder Gold.

Best Mobile Dating Apps in the USA

HOW TO CREATE A DATING APP

To become the next Tinder-like app owner or get a better dating app, you need to be ready for challenges. We can’t help you create an app for your own, but we can definitely guide idea execution. So here is a brief strategy to create a dating app.

Step 1. Find your niche

Begin with finding your niche. Even if global players lead the industry, there is still vast space to present your idea and gain user engagement. Niches in dating apps can be anything that may drive user interest.

Step 2. Choose a business model and monetization

Defining the business model in the first planning stages is crucial to set the future app feature set. Popular monetization types for dating apps are as follows:

  • Premium account
  • Unlimited likes for a limited time
  • In-app purchases
  • Ads 

Step 3. Choose the tech stack

The dating app tech stack depends on several factors; platform, app complexity, and features.

  iOS Android
Programming language

Swift 5 (preferable)

Objective-C

Kotlin (preferable)

Java

OS

iOS 12+

watchOS 4.0+

tvOS 12+

Android 10

Minimum supported OS: Android 5.x Lollipop

Database

PostgreSQL

MySQL

PostgreSQL

MySQL

IDE Xcode 11+ or AppCode Android Studio
SDK iOS, Cocoa Touch Android SDK
Webserver Nginx, Apache Nginx, Apache
Cloud storage

Amazon services (S3, EC2, etc.)

Heroku

Rackspace

Amazon services (S3, EC2, etc.)

Heroku

Rackspace

Social authorization

Facebook SDK

Twitter SDK

Google+ SDK

Instagram SDK

Facebook SDK

Instagram SDK

Google Play service authentication

TwitterCore

Social notifications

LoadableViews

RxSwift

DTTableViewManager

TRON/Alamofire

RecyclerView
User profile

LoadableViews

TRON/Alamofire

RecyclerView

Fragment with User Info

Search

LoadableViews

RxSwift

DTTableViewManager

TRON/Alamofire

RecyclerView for search results

EditText widget for a search field

Chat

SwitActionCable WebSocket for communication with Rails

ActionCable WebSockets

CoreData framework for offline chats storage

RecyclerView
Push notification User Notifications Framework Firebase Cloud Messages
Analytics Analytics SDK

Fabric

Firebase Analytics

Payments

Stripe

Braintree

PayPal

Stripe

Braintree

PayPal

General tools

Twilio

Elasticsearch

Google Maps

Google Analytics

Twilio

Elasticsearch

Google Maps

Google Analytics

If you want to know how to make a dating app that will provide users with a seamless experience, keep in mind the following two approaches:

  • Don’t use a free dating app template. Even though its use might seem like a more cost-efficient option, in the end, you will get an application that won’t be able to meet customer expectations. Only custom development will help build a dating app with a unique feature set and great user experience.
  • Native app development, as compared to hybrid app development, has a lot of benefits. Therefore, creating a native app for iOS and Android is recommended to avoid app performance and user experience problems.

Step 4. Choose an app development team 

The only way to succeed in your project is to find a reliable development team with relevant experience to create a valuable application. Whether you are thinking of cooperating with an in-house dev team or outsource app development, pay attention to the talent pool, portfolio, and hourly rates. 

THE BASIC FEATURES OF A DATING APP

The first step in finding out how to make a dating app is which features constitute an average application. Even though you need to build a dating app based on a unique idea, some features form the basis of every solution for online dating.

How to Create a Dating App: Features

Let’s investigate how to make a dating app from the functionality point of view.

  • Online dating algorithm

This is one of the most popular features of dating applications. Such algorithms streamline the process of finding soulmates in an application. Companies integrate Artificial Intelligence to make their online dating algorithms even more precise.

According to an extensive study made by eHarmony, 64% of users are looking for someone that they have the same interests with, and 49% are looking for someone based on physical characteristics. Thus, when making an online dating algorithm, it might be a good idea to include a few characteristics for better matchmaking, like:

  • matching by interests
  • matching by physical characteristics
  • matching by location
  • Social sign-up/sign-in

When you consider how to create a dating app that will provide seamless user experience, don’t forget to provide them with a simple registration and sign in. The integration of social sign-in is one of the most popular solutions. You can implement the feature in different ways with Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Instagram being the most popular integrations for this functionality.

  • User profile

The user profile is an integral part of dating app development. Users should have the ability to include in their profile information about themselves. Field with possible data you collect depends on the matching algorithms you are going to use, and usually includes a name, gender, age, interests, hobbies, etc.

Integration with social media can simplify the process of filling out all this information, as the main info can be extracted from social networks. Thus, users can save time on providing personal information, adding photos, etc.

  • Geolocation

In most cases, users look for someone based on the region where they live. By integrating the geolocation feature, you will make it even easier for them to meet someone by providing them with suggestions based on location.

  • In-app messaging

When you build a dating app, the messaging feature should become your number one priority. Regardless of the matching algorithms you use, the next step is direct communication between users. Message editing is a nice-to-have addition to basic functionality, as everyone can make typos in their messages.

Aside from basic in-app chat, you need to provide message encryption for better user protection. Also, to make communication more vivid, including the support for GIFs, stickers, etc. You can also take it a little further and implement video calls.

You also need to take care of security matters and allow users to block other users and band them from sending them messages.

  • Feed

The vast majority of applications have this feature. You can take a little bit further and bring a touch of social media to your dating app by allowing them to upload their photos, share interesting information, etc.

  • Stories

Stories are another feature of social media that you can use to build a dating app. All groups of users love sharing stories, especially millennials. If you are looking at how to create a dating app for a younger audience, stories are your answer.

  • Missed connections

This is a very useful feature that can increase user engagement with your application. You can notify users about missed connections, send reminders about possible dates, and tell about other users based on their location, interests, etc.

  • Date suggestions

Running a dating app based on the use of artificial intelligence provides you with infinite possibilities for features development. One of them is advanced date suggestions. Your application can provide users with recommendations on how to spend their first date based on interests, location, visited places, and other information that characterizes them.

  • Push notifications

This is another feature powerful enough to guarantee high user engagement. A new dating app can notify users about likes, interest in their profile, invites to dates, etc.

  • Settings

Every application must have a basic set of settings. When you build a dating app, you need to provide users with the ability to turn on and off the sound, set up notifications, customize filters, and so on.

  • User complains

Very often users try to get other users involved in comfortable conversations, send inappropriate photos, and harass others trying to get their attention. Your application should provide users with the ability to report such individuals and block them from getting in touch with them in the future.

  • Admin Panel

When deciding how to create a dating app, don’t forget to include the development of an admin panel. As an app owner, you need to have the ability to moderate content, block users, help users solve issues, and have full control over your applications to avoid harassment and quickly react to the complaints from other users.

How Do Dating Apps Make Money?

Revenue Generated by Dating Apps per Minute

DO YOU WANT TO KNOW HOW DO FREE APPS MAKE MONEY?

Check the article that lists all the services coming into app development. Discover these and other details inside:

How do Free Apps Make Money 

HOW TO MAKE MONEY WITH DATING APPS MAKE?

Let’s find out how to create a dating app that will generate money. There are a few monetization strategies that you can use with your dating application today. Your applications should cover all development, marketing, and related expenses to become profitable.

Here is how to make a dating app with the most popular monetization strategies:

  • Advertising – this monetization strategy prevails among apps, as almost 90% of all applications utilize the model. You can integrate different ads into your application and get money for ads view, click-through rate, etc. Please just be sure not to overstuff your app with ads as they should not interfere with user experience. Also, you can allow users to turn off all in-app ads by making a payment.
  • Freemium model – this monetization strategy allows users to get some additional features for a payment. Users can be billed annually, monthly or quarterly.
  • In-app purchases – integrate your app with different services that allow you to book tickets to a concert or a theater, send flowers and compliments to others. This feature can bring you money in the form of a commission from local companies you will work with.
  • Account boost – some users might be interested in promoting their account with a paid option to appear in search results more often.
  • Sponsorships – this monetization strategy can be included in an app at later stages after it has become popular. You can get in touch with people that might be interested in placing their ads inside your application. The main requirement for such a model is a huge user base.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO CREATE A DATING APP?

You are probably interested in how much money it might cost you to build a dating app today. The final cost depends on several features, supported platforms, and integrations.

Usually, developing an app may cost $50,000 – $80,000. Medium complexity apps start at $50,000 for a single app version (iOS and Android). The price includes the development of a single application with a back-end and basic admin panel. If you will want to go out and implement some advanced features that require a lot of custom coding, the price for a single version can reach $100,000 and go beyond.

If you decide to make a dating app for iOS and Android, the development price for two app versions will start at $100,000.

Please remember that the location where you outsource the development of an application for dating app development is the main price differentiating factor. In Europe, the average hourly development rate is $50, while the hourly rate for the USA is around $100-$150.

The final cost of the dating app development depends on the development hours and hourly rate. The development of MVP may take up to 330 hours.

DO YOU WANT TO KNOW HOW WE ESTIMATE THE APP DEVELOPMENT BUDGET?

Check the article How Much Does It Cost to Build an App? That lists all the services coming into app development.

ADDEVICE’S EXPERIENCE IN DATING APP DEVELOPMENT

Our team has over 7+ years of experience in the development of robust mobile applications. We know how to create a dating app from our experience, as we successfully worked on the same project.

How to Make a Dating App: Addevice's Experience

Woo is a popular dating app with over 10+ million downloads on Google Play alone. This application aims to help women find their matches. The app has a complex architecture and provides several features, including location-based matching, social media integrations, in-app payments, and advanced privacy options for women to feel safe and protected.

Out matching algorithms use Artificial Intelligence to provide users with recommendations based on their interests and preferences. The application allows users to communicate with the help of in-app chatting and VoIP audio and video calls.

Do you want to know more about our experience with dating apps?

Check out the portfolio to learn more about the projects that our team has successfully delivered to the market.

HOW TO CREATE A DATING APP: WHAT’S NEXT

In the modern world where every second of free time counts, dating apps are high in demand among busy people.

When you are creating a dating app, start with being original. Don’t try to copycat Tinder or any other popular solution. Here is what you need to do to build a dating app that will become popular:

Step #1: Research the market to study your competitors and find a lucrative niche.
Step #2: Define your target audience, identify their pain points, and decide how you can help.
Step #3: Come up with a unique app idea and create its concept. Include the features for the first and further versions, including matching algorithms, user interaction, and so on.
Step #4: Find a reliable dating app development company that will provide you with development services.
Step #5: Create appealing UX/UI design and make your app interface unique with branding features like logo, icons, etc.
Step #6: Apply high standards of data security and protection to ensure user protection and safety.
Step #7: Add a unique touch to your app with further app versions by adding Artificial Intelligence, Virtual or Augmented Reality.
Step #8: Develop the first version of your application, probably starting with a single version to test your idea.
Step #9: Launch your application to the market, analyze user behavior, and plan for further updates.
Step #10: Create and launch a comprehensive marketing campaign aiming at user acquisition and retention.

Have an interesting dating app idea?

Let’s bring it to life together. We know how to make a dating app from our experience and are ready to support you in building your app. Feel free to get in touch with us to ask any questions regarding dating app development.

Frequently Asked Questions on dating app development

How much does it cost to build a dating app?

Usually, developing an app may cost $50,000 – $80,000. Medium complexity apps start at $50,000 for a single app version (iOS and Android).

How much money do dating apps make?

In 2020 dating app industry generated $3.08 billion in revenue. By 2025 the numbers will increase to $5.71 billion.

How long does it take to build a dating app?

The final cost of the dating app development depends on the development hours and hourly rate. The development of MVP may take up to 330 hours. worldwide

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