In one of his songs, Elvis Presley’s asking: “Are you lonesome tonight?” Many things have changed since then, but people keep looking for connections and relationships as they always did. It’s human nature to love and to be loved. However, 75% of Americans say that it has become more difficult to find someone to date in the last ten years.
According to the same resource, almost half of men and women find it hard to approach people. It’s no wonder that dating apps quickly gained their popularity and continue to march the planet, transforming the ways we build our romantic life.
With that in mind, it’s a good moment to leverage the situation and create a dating app that will generate value for both business and users. Let’s see what to consider before hitting the ground.
- What Is a Dating App?
- Types of Dating Apps
- 3 Easy Steps to Create a Dating App
- 8 Key Features for Your Dating App MVP
- Monetization Methods
- How Much Does It Cost to Create a Dating App?
- Final Thoughts before Getting Started
What Is a Dating App?
A dating app is a mobile software application that enables people to connect based on certain mutual interests, locations, and intentions. Commonly, it allows app users to find each other, chat, and if both like to engage further — go on a first date.
In the beginning, there were only mail-order bride services. Further, in the 1990s, dating websites appeared. Now, since people spend a humongous amount of time on their phones, mobile dating apps are as wanted as ever.
Apps like Tinder, OkCupid, or Coffee Meets Bagel allow users to browse photos, message each other, and make video calls. Moreover, gamification elements included in dating apps make our search for love fun and stress-free. Needless to say, it’s one of the reasons why these apps are so successful.
If you consider building a mobile solution of that kind, then you might want to know what types of dating apps present on the market.
Types of Dating Apps
Depending on the principle of matching people, there are primarily four groups of apps that currently exist. Usually, modern dating mobile solutions are a combination of several types.
As derived from the name, this type of matching is used to connect people based on their location or proximity to each other. For example, Tinder offers you the ability to choose how close your possible match should be to you. Another option available in the app now is to go global and see people from around the world.
Apps with a questionnaire-based matching algorithm first ask users to answer a set of questions about their interests and expectations. Then, in accordance with their responses, the app connects people with similar personal values and goals. eHarmony illustrates this type of dating applications really well.
A traditional dating app represents an addition to a website platform that looks like an online catalog of people. OkCupid is a good example in this category. Their application complements the website and replicates its main features.
This group of dating apps aims to match people with certain common interests. Pet owners, jogging lovers, veggies, or even people with the same dislikes — there are plenty of options to choose from and find your niche.
3 Easy Steps to Create a Dating App: What to Start With
Once you’ve decided what kind of dating app you want to build, you might wonder what steps to take next.
Step 1: Know Your Target Audience
First of all, you need to understand your target audience. App users may vary, depending on the type of dating solution and its business goals. Users can be of different ages, have their unique objectives and specific preferences. Know your audience and ensure you’re heading in the right direction to meet their requirements.
Step 2: Analyze Market Competition
Every business initiative related to the launch of a new product requires market research. The world has already seen a plethora of dating apps. Some of them are extremely successful in general; some found a particular niche to thrive, others deliver value by implementing exclusive features. Take time to analyze your competitors and explore the ways to take advantage.
At the moment, the US dating app market share looks like this:
Source: Business of Apps
Step 3: Choose the Right Development Team
When you’re ready to transform your dating app idea into reality, you need to choose a reliable software partner. With so many IT service providers out there, it might be challenging to decide on which one suits you best.
Prior all, consider the qualification and experience that software vendor has in dating app development. Check the company’s portfolio, read reviews, and ask for references.
Make sure your development team provides relevant technical background and expertise sufficient to address your app’s requirements and goals. When you outsource mobile app development to build a digital dating solution, look for a team with the following technical skills:
|Programming languages||Swift, Kotlin|
|Frameworks||React, Node.js, Express.js, Next.js|
|Cloud storage||AWS, Azure, Google Cloud|
|Payment gateways||PayPal, Stripe|
After you’ve partnered with an IT company, you can explain your app idea to the development team and move to the discovery phase. Your software vendor will help you define the app’s features and functionality based on your preferences, needs, time, and budget.
8 Key Features for Your Dating App MVP
Trivial as it sounds, but to make your dating app successful, you need to incorporate in it a set of features that users will find valuable and engaging.
On the one hand, chances are the more features you’ll include, the more expensive app development will be. On the other, you can always start with an MVP. First, offer key basic features to provide users with the main functionality and add more later, if needed.
Here, we’re listing the most common features a dating app should have to stay competitive on the market.
1. Signing In
Asking users to fill out the long form in order to sign up doesn’t seem a very good idea. It’s cumbersome and takes quite a lot of time. On the contrary, social login ensures a smooth and effortless process of registration in a couple of clicks. Alongside the access via Facebook or Google accounts, there’s another seamless way of signing in to your app — through a verified phone number.
Additionally, before asking new users to create a profile, provide them with short but effective onboarding. Introducing key features will make the first interaction with your app transparent and intuitive. This will help you engage and retain users.
2. User Profile
A complete user profile is something more than just a bio description taken from an existing social media account. To make the matching process accurate, smooth, and quick, it’s essential that a user could give more details about his or her dating preferences, hobbies, lifestyle, and values. Thus, include the option for users to insert this information when creating a user profile.
Moreover, it’s hard to imagine digital dating without profile pictures. Enabling users to upload photos from their devices or choose pictures from Instagram is an important functionality of a dating app.
Similarly, connecting your app with, for example, Spotify offers an opportunity to share music tastes and increases the chances of meeting a like-minded person.
3. Matching Algorithm
No match, no date. Only after matching users can decide to chat and see if they’re willing to communicate offline.
There is a wide variety of matching algorithms that dating apps can apply. It is a key factor differentiating your app, thus it must be properly planned and incorporated into the app architecture.
In general, matchmaking techniques depend on the type of app you chose to create. For example, mathematical algorithms connect people according to mutual interests, values, and preferences.
Another option can be behavior-based matching. In this case, Big Data and AI technologies help find and analyze patterns in user behavior and activities outside the app — social networks, music apps, etc.
Usually, dating apps incorporate location-based rules to make a match between users. It’s a common practice to combine this algorithm with the others since most people search for matches within their area.
Many dating apps use geolocation as the main principle to show and connect people with each other. Naturally, we tend to choose and meet others if they’re located in close proximity to us. Provide your future users with an option to select a city, region, or distance range where they want to find a match.
In digital dating, one of the most common ways to express your interest in someone or show indifference is swiping. This gamification feature is implemented in many dating apps and enhances user experience and engagement. Depending on whether users like or dislike a profile of a potential match, they swipe to the right or to the left accordingly.
6. In-App Messaging
This is a core feature for a dating app. After all, how else can people communicate to know each other better when they’re matched?
In-app chat enables users to send text messages or stickers, share videos and other content they like. With more options to diversify conversations, your mobile app will have more opportunities to keep users engaged and help them express their intentions.
7. Push Notifications
If you want to drive your dating app engagement and user retention, then don’t forget to implement push notifications. It’s a great way to notify users when they have a match or new messages. After all, you can just remind them to check the app or stay up-to-date with the latest news.
This feature allows users to change various settings and adjust their personal preferences. Generally, the options include upgrading subscription plans, controlling data usage, managing notifications and payments. Also, there should be a possibility to alter discovery settings related to age, gender, distance, etc.
Another significant moment to consider when you’re about to create a dating app is how it will generate revenue. Even if there can be slight differences between iOS and Android monetization strategies, dating apps for both platforms use the same revenue sources.
Below, we’ve picked the most common approaches that app owners usually go for to make money:
- In-app purchases
- Premium subscriptions
All the listed above ways allow companies to attract, engage, and retain users, which eventually drives revenue. For example, in-app purchases, if they are enticing enough, make it easy to show interest in someone and steer the conversation in the right direction.
Premium subscription plans enable users to boost their accounts, get unlimited likes, and unlock additional features.
On top of that, there’s always a good old method — ads. However, try not to burden your audience with too many ads as it can be intrusive and lead to increased uninstall rates.
Finally, you can enable third-party companies to promote their products and services through your app and charge them according to the cost-per-click or cost-per-mile model. Relevant offers such as flower delivery, restaurant and hotel booking, or taxi order help users plan their first date right in the app.
How Much Does It Cost to Make a Dating App?
As a complex and comprehensive process, mobile development includes many aspects that impact the final cost of the application. Since every custom-built application is unique, there’s no one-fits-all answer to estimate the development budget.
In general, the cost depends on the app requirements, the scope of work, and, of course, the rates of software vendors. However, there are several key factors to take into account when calculating the total dating app development cost — design complexity, functionality, set of features, and the number of active users you expect after the app’s launch.
Based on our profound experience, the development of a mobile dating app requires a team of at least 6 specialists: 2 Developers, a Business Analyst, a Project Manager, a QA Specialist, a UX/UI Designer. On average, the project implementation can be estimated as follows:
- Analysis and prototyping – 200 hours
- Project management – 180 hours
- Frontend development – 520 hours
- Backend development – 680 hours
- QA testing – 180 hours
- Deployment – 80 hours
On top of that, we recommend considering 10% of the development cost for contingency in case any unforeseen project circumstances appear.
With that in mind, building a dating app requires around 1960 hours. Depending on the outsourcing location and qualification of a development team, the average hourly rate varies between $30-100. Thereby, an approximate cost of a dating app with a basic set of features can be $58,800 to $196,000.
Ready to Build Your Dating App?
Increasingly, people search for love using the latest technologies and turn to digital dating through their mobile devices. Despite the competition in the dating app market is tough, there are still plenty of opportunities to seize.
With various mobile solutions for any taste out there, it’s important to find unique features that will serve you as a competitive differentiator.
The goal is to develop such an app that will deliver value to users, meet their requirements, and show them new benefits. It will help your dating solution become a breakthrough.
If you already have an app idea in mind, all you need to do is validate it and choose a trusted software vendor. Our team’s extensive expertise supported many companies with the development of efficient and engaging dating apps.
Velvetech will be happy to provide you with first-rate mobile development services to address your business goals. Contact us today to build a robust dating solution that will melt the hearts.