How to Create a Dating App: Joining the Tinder Hype
Forget any bias towards dating apps like Tinder. Three-in-ten U.S. adults say they have used such an app or website according to Pew Research Center. So look through the business lens at the concept of online dating. This market lives out to the hype and doesn’t show signs of declining. How to create a dating app?
Is It Worth Building Another App Like Tinder?
We live in a world where technology and immediacy are the need of the hour. And online dating moves from the hype to an ordinary way of relationship building. Nearly 6 of 10 online daters say that they had a positive experience with dating apps. What spurs people to look for their significant other online? That is two aspects of technology innovations:
- the upcoming of the World Wide Web in 1995, then
- the rise of smartphones in the 2010s.
Today we get socialized and communicate online. The pool of potential partners in dating apps is much larger than meets through family, neighborhood, or college. Besides, it is a non-intimidating way to scan for a potential partner. To strengthen this thought, here is the proof from Statistia: In 2019, there were an estimated 25.1 million smartphone dating app users in the U.S., up from 18 million in 2018.
So the question “How to create a new dating app?” turns out to be set just in the time.
Dating App Landscape: What Apps Are Out There?
Two decades of commercial dating have overturned the way people build their relationships. Either you are an introvert, a wallflower, or simply too shy, the dating app comes into play.
Let’s make things clear. There is no shortage of dating apps out there. Check out this chart from App Annie. It shows the most popular apps on Android and iOS markets.
However, dating applications vary in the types and concepts of how they work. Here is the pick of the most spread ones:
- General includes the apps that are the best suited for
- casual dating (i.e., Tinder, Badoo)
- long-term commitment (i.e., eHarmony, Match, Parship)
- open-minded (i.e., EliteSingles, OkCupid, Plenty of Fish)
- busy people (i.e., Luxy, The League, The Inner Circle, Happn)
- romantics (i.e., Bumble, Hinge, Coffee Meets Bagel)
- mature, but young at heart (i.e., SilverSingles, Lumen, Ourtime)
- Geo-location apps help to find a potential partner near you (i.e., Tinder, Badoo)
- Matchmaking got the algorithm in the core. It suggests a potential partner to a dater (i.e., Zoosk, Hily, Pairs, Tantan, Shaadi, YouBride)
- Group accentuates on communication, not mere swiping profiles (i.e., Twoo, Azar, Double, Tapple, Wishdates)
- Music helps to find people who share your music tastes (i.e., Tastebuds, LetsTuneup)
- Gaming apps have game elements instead of mere scanning or swiping (i.e., XO, DatePlay, The Catch, Vouch, Elimi, Jigtalk, Peekawoo, Find Your Lobster)
- LGBT dating apps for a comfortable scan for a significant other (i.e., HER, Chappy, Scruff, Blued, PinkLobsterDrink, Grindr, LGBTQutie)
- Religious apps to find a match among people who share the same standpoint (i.e., Christian Connection, Swipe, Ishgr, Yenta, Muzmatch, JDate)
Looks like there is no room for launching a new dating app. Not exactly. There is no app that can fulfill all customer expectations. And the competition helps you more than you think. People, who have used at least one dating app, have overcome their stigma. They have no fear of trying something fresh and outstanding.
Customer Expectations: What Is Behind a Successful Dating App?
Creating a successful app isn’t necessarily rocket science, it just takes a great idea and shaping it into an application or website. The abundance of Tinder-like apps on the market proves that.
- Dating App Concept
In between those two success aspects, you will have to deal with a concept of your product. What is going to be in the core? A geolocation search, matching algorithm, or focus on communication. Either way, it should attract customers to download your app and create profiles.
- Market Research
The targeted audience is the key to further dating app development. Due to the market research will know trends and demographic parameters. Take time to analyze the competitors, feature sets, monetization options, and user reviews. So you will spot the gaps in their apps and turn them into advantages for your product.
The market research also provides you a solid ground for drawing business and budget plans. It adds some tips on how to get your first daters, too.
- Name, Logo and Design
The blindly obvious things. Thus, more than often underestimated. A catchy name and a logo that reflects the name and concept. It takes time, but it will pay off in the end.
- Make It Engaging
Shift the emphasis away from the boring questionnaire, and go towards gamified user flow. On a pragmatic ground, gamification will motivate daters to use the app and fill out a profile, add quality pictures, chat and engage with other users.
Various scams and fakes are all around the web. No wonder that security became much relevant to our online lives. The Pew Research Center chart depicts it vividly. People care about their privacy and personal information safety on dating apps.
Note that investments in security and privacy are not budget burning. Think about your users’ security: profile verification, blacklist option, and content filtering for hate speech, nudity, or inappropriate content.
The other aspect is more technical. You need a qualified team to build an app without leaks and blindspots. Depending on the location you want to focus, consider following HIPAA and HITECH (for the US), PIPEDA (for Canada), or GDPR (for the European Union).
How to Create a Dating App? A Peak into A Technical Aspect
Dating App Architecture
How much do we really understand, when we hear about building a dating app? Does it all boil down to the concept shaping into the Android and iOS apps? Nope. This kind of service is quite complex. Even if you aren’t going to run a dating website, you still need an admin panel, server, and database.
The architecture itself is a broad notion. It can be a structure of an app, a service, or a feature. Let’s look at the dating app structure in terms of front-end and back-end.
The appearance of the service - an app (aka a mobile client), a web version(aka a browser) - rendered from the back-end server.
Here is located the heart of your application. The back-end may include admin panel, server API, business logic. The last one encompasses databases and servers. Those elements are going to deal with lots of operations and data. That’s why database and server should be powerful and secure enough.
When you come up with ideas on how your dating app should work, you need to choose platforms and technologies. You can check out the tech stack of Tinder as an example. But it is subjective so don’t take it as ‘what ought to be obligatory in my case too.’
Do you want to build a truly worthwhile app? Then pay attention to future scaling while you’re selecting the programming languages, frameworks, databases, and servers.
That said, if you guided towards the native dating app development, then your technologies will look like
The cross-platform development of the dating apps is quite often frowned upon. Still, it is also a good option that may bring another win-win: a smooth performing app without burning a pile of money on two development teams. You can read more about the React Native app development here.
UI/UX and Design
The attractive UI and smooth UX will help to retain customers. Easier to write than do. Still, there is always a way to do things right. Look closer to the trends, maybe blurred background images or swipe navigation fit into your dating app concept.
Another goal on your list is a color palette. The moderately vivid and ‘positive’ color schemes may turn out a good choice.
Don’t underestimate the importance of user onboarding. The quick guide enhances user experience and helps to avoid any messing around.
7 Must-have Features
This is might be a good time to ask, what features you want to have in a dating app? The minimum set of features will look like:
The social network registration is more preferred. The reasoning is quite simple. A) It is easier as all data user provided on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn goes to your dating app. And b) it is a kind of additional authentication of a user.
Still, you can offer an email or phone number registration to get more customers who want to stay anonymous or have no accounts on social networks.
Allow your daters to look through their lens for a potential partner. Deliver a set of filters for gender, age, location, online, or new users.
#3 User profile
It is a kind of a basic need for the dating app. Each user wants to have a separate page with a photo, nickname, and short bio.
This is a place to become interactive. You can follow a Tinder-style and offer swiping as a search for a potential significant other. Simple sorting out: right - like, left - not in my taste.
While adding ‘like’ thumbnail, enable also the ‘undo’ option. When people swiping profiles for a long time, they may like someone by mistake. So help them to fix that.
Overall, dating apps are networking ones. That’s why they presuppose the heavy accent on the communication. Once there is a match, people can start a conversation.
Here you can include some conditions: If daters don’t communicate within 24 hours, their match expires. Or ladies should make the first step and break the ice like in Bumble.
Another example is Lume that offers X conversations. Or provide one-liner responses in free subscription and personalized messages in a paid one like Telegraph.co.uk/dating does. You can come up with your own options.
This option seems to be equally important to matching or chatting. Your daters would like to know when they get a like, a match, or a message. Once the event happens, the information routed to a server and then back tor a user via a push-notification or an email.
We all have second thoughts. The setting allows your customers to update their pictures, change preferences, and bios. If your app suggests some kind of feed, the user can set the preferred gender, age, location, or interest preferences.
MVP development is a vital phase of product development. Why? You test your dating app in the real-life, check your marketing assumptions, get feedback from users. That is a lot of valuable information for further app improvement.
How Much Does It Cost to Build a Dating App?
That’s a good question. But the answer is variable as it depends on
- tech stack
- a number of supported platforms
- a number of features you want in your MVP and full-featured version of the app
- development team size
- time frames
Definitely, there are some rough estimates for developing a dating app.
Business Model: How to Monetize a Dating App?
Without further ado, many dating apps end up gravitating towards ads monetization options. This is the easiest, but a user-annoying method for earning money. Some vendors offer freemium with ads or a paid subscription for getting rid of them.
The subscription is another popular business model. For example, you can offer some paid options like
- unlimited messaging, likes or swipes
- boosting the profile higher in the search
- getting the list of those who looked at or liked the user’s profile
- providing an ‘invisible’ mode to check out profiles anonymously
Sounds like a fair to pay for those options. Though, you have to offer a well-performing app and a large pool of potential partners.
Another tried and true option is an in-app purchase. You can suggest paid one-liners or icebreakers, stickers, or gifts. The type of those products relies heavily on your dating app concept.
Some dating app vendors also run offline events to enlarge the user base and engage their daters offline, too. Although, in the lockdown period this isn’t the best option. On the other hand, you can offer special badges where people define the preferred way of communication: virtually only, socially distanced, or socially distanced with a mask.
Why Should I Choose Outsourcing App Development?
You have a big idea, but no tech background. Or your budget doesn’t allow hiring the in-house developer team. No worries. IT outsourcing keeps proving its value and growing its popularity. You can search Clutch, Upwork, GoodFirm, or G2.com for outsourcing companies. Here is a do and don’t guide on how to choose your outsourcing partner:
- Sift through all the options and narrow the list of those who have experience in building mobile apps.
- Check out the portfolio and customer reviews before getting in touch with the agency or company.
- The contract is a strict thing where changes are unwelcome. Make sure you describe your expectations and requirements clearly. Leave no space for assumptions and provide detailed instructions.
- Fight the temptation to hire an outsourcing vendor that is below your budget. Choose the agency that offers a balanced price and qualified team.
Besides, Eastern Europe provides qualified outsourcing agencies and companies that offer less expensive rates. If you want to create a dating app, schedule a call with the Apiko team and we’ll help you to shape it into an app.
Distilling the most helpful tips from this post, you will get the next bullet points:
- The dating apps are on the hype now and there is room for new, niche apps.
- Apart from the idea, take the time to do market research and competitor analysis.
- Pay extra attention to the security aspect - it is super important.
- While selecting the tech stack, think about further development and system scalability.
- Don’t overload your dating app with features. Launch the MVP to test your concept and assumptions.
- Consider outsourcing your dating app development.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of matching algorithms are available for a dating app?
- Geolocation. The app requests the user’s permission to track the location of the device and/or the internet connection spot. So the profile appears for other daters nearby. Tinder, Happn, MeetMe, Grindr, and Skout use this matching type.
- Compatibility calculates user preferences to find the match. The app offers a questionnaire where a dater describes likes and dislikes. Then an algorithm calculates the percentage of matching. Here are the sample apps: Coffee Meets Bagel, OkCupid, and eHarmony.
- Behavior matching takes user information provided during the registration and data from other apps like social networks or music platforms. Here works AI that helps to find the potential partner. Zoosk is an example of such an app.
Can I use a free dating app template for building my dating app?
Where to get a user base for my dating app?
- run ad campaigns
- prepare social media campaigns
- reach the influencers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest (it depends on your targeted audience)
- run PR campaign and reach the reporters via HARO, PRNews, PRWeb and the like
- create a website and work in content marketing direction (if it resonates with your targeted audience)
- prepare an offline event