Did you know that 39% of people find their significant others online? A recent study conducted jointly at Stanford University and the University of New Mexico says that using a dating app like Tinder or websites like match.com is the most popular way for American adults to meet their partners. Now that people tend to use their smartphones all the time, mobile app development sounds like the best decision for a startup.
Because of the pandemic, all romantic things have moved online, and they are not going to bounce back. People prefer to see and evaluate their potential partners on video chats before meeting them for the first time. Why waste time when you can just do a dating app with video functions like Bumble, Badoo, The Intro and etc., and see if there is chemistry between you two?
Nowadays we mostly look for love online. This is why the global dating service market is growing rapidly and, according to data, it is expected to surpass $ 8.4 billion by 2024. There are 7.9 billion people on the planet and existing services do not cover all diverse age segments, regions, and interests. If there is the best and most profitable time to launch and develop dating app, it is right now.
How do you build dating app like Tinder, but better? We decided to share with you step-by-step instructions with prices and timelines on dating app development.
What exactly is a dating app?
A dating app is a mobile platform that connects people with certain interests – romance, casual sex, or friendship. Software usually allows users to browse photos and contact each other through chats and video calls.
In the beginning, there were dating websites. In 1994 kiss.com was launched, followed by match.com in 1995. After the era of mail-bride order services, it was a revolution Before the first website, women listed themselves at a special agency and men received a catalog by mail to select one for marriage. Now it sounds so outdated, right?
Statista says today around 196 million people around the globe use various online dating services and by 2024 it is expected to increase by 80 million. That’s why if you have been thinking about the idea to create dating app, it’s the time.
Where to start?
Creating a universally loved dating app like Tinder is not easy. Even though the market is fast-growing, it is also saturated. That’s why the first thing you should do is market research in order to find the right niche. Maybe you want to build dating app for dog lovers and match them by breed they prefer? The key to success with such services is to find your audience and target them with your app. Define your potential users and the dating app type.
Existing dating services roughly fall into 4 categories based on what they use to connect people:
- Geolocation network that matches you to people who are in a certain geographic location. For example, Tinder with customized proximity that allows you to set if you want to see people who are no more than 5/10/20/50 kilometers away. The Bumble app also uses the same idea.
- Questionnaire-based. Matching algorithm-based apps ask their users to complete a survey about their values and expectations. Then, a machine algorithm uses the answers to match people. That’s how eHarmony’s site and app work. Also, there is a Tastebuds.fm app that matches people based on their music preferences.
- Traditional dating apps platforms that look like an online catalog to scroll. For instance, the website OkCupid and their app that fully replicates the browser version.
- Niche-based. Such apps are targeted to a specific group. You probably know about the Pure – an anonymous app for hookups. As they say on their website: ‘Pure is for when you’re looking for an after-dark adventure, not a relationship. It’s quick, direct, and discreet.’ That’s the perfect description of the niche they have occupied.
Current apps are usually a mix of all these types, but we recommend to use this classification when defining the audience and main features for your app.
Key features of a dating app like Tinder
After you figure out the category of your dating app, it’s time to think about key features. ‘What to include?’ has always been the question, and we have the answer. Here is a list of 5 features you should definitely implement when you build dating app.
Social media integration. We recommend thinking about privacy and reliable background checks beforehand. Generally, apps like Tinder implement social media integration and thus pass the buck to Facebook. In the best-case scenario, you can find people’s real names, schools and friends list there. Some apps, like The League, rely not on Facebook, but on LinkedIn. Others require identification. When it comes to dating and personal data, safety is one of the major concerns, and background checks are crucial. Users entrust their photos, location, and sexual preferences to you, and they expect it to be secured. You should figure out what works best for you and how you want to authenticate users on your dating app – with a mobile number, social media account, ID, or reference code from someone they personally know – options are unlimited.
Geolocation features. Let users decide how far they want their match to be. Implementation of this feature will also help your dating app increase the customer retention rate (CRR) – by enlarging the area people will discover new accounts to look at and swipe. To identify user location, Tinder utilizes the smartphone’s GPS or data from the WI-FI network connection.
Matching algorithm. Two things should be defined before you start dating app development – how to match and how often to match. For instance, some apps use survey-based algorithms, based on questionnaires people fill in about their lifestyle, hobbies, work, romantic preferences, and goals to achieve. Tinder uses a user-driven swipe – to the right if you like a person, and to the left if you want to move on.
Push notifications help to increase a dating app’s engagement. It can be notifications about a new match, a new message, or just a friendly reminder to check the app. As a provider, we recommend using Apple Push Notifications Service for iOS, and Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) for the Android app.
Premium options are a way to earn money. Apps offer users to pay fees to unlock some extra features. For example, the basic plan on Tinder allows you to see people who are up to 100 km away from your current location, but with Tinder Gold, you can choose any location and look for your perfect match in specific places like Paris, Istanbul, Los Angeles or Seoul.
Let’s talk about money. How do dating apps make money?
There are numerous monetization strategies for dating apps. Recently Tinder revealed their earnings report for 2019 – the company made $1.2 billion on swipes and matches. The app has several ways of making money:
- Profile upgrade. There are three options: Tinder Plus, Tinder Gold, and Tinder Platinum, and each of them has its own benefits. Let’s take Tinder Gold as an example – the upgrade allows users to enlarge the searching area, look for people in different regions, and see how many likes they have gotten. The cost of this feature varies from $ 15, 00 to $ 83.99, and depends on location, age, and gender. The app gives you a choice – you can subscribe, or make a one-time purchase.
- Interface upgrade. Same idea – if you accidentally swiped someone to the wrong side and want to rewind, Tinder will offer you to upgrade your plan to access extra features like rewinding.
- Ads that occasionally pop up between swipes. Dating apps serve as perfect marketplaces for brands because you can collect and analyse users’ data and their behavior in order to suggest advertisers a suitable selection of target audiences for their product needs.
How much does it cost to create app like Tinder?
We try to make the process for our clients as transparent as possible, and we always openly discuss all future steps. Average dating app development time for the Purrweb team is 5 months. Let’s do math now!
When you create dating app with us, you will pay for:
- UI/UX-design (including everything you want — from gamified elements like swipeable Tinder cards to quizzes on an idea about a future partner)
- Frontend development (we use React Native to cover a larger market by building an app for both iOS and Android)
- Backend development
- Project management
- QA Testing
Overall, the team of 6 people will work on your dating app development. Here is the timeline for each service needed:
According to similar projects we have made, the estimated cost of a dating app like Tinder is from $80,000 to $100,000 for a full cycle of development.
Where to find a developer for my dating app?
We know that finding a reliable and trustworthy contractor is never easy. What can you do to do a background check on an outsourcer?
- Before hiring someone to develop dating app, we recommend Google a company name and check out their website and client reviews. Then visit platforms like Behance and Dribbble and thoroughly study their design works. Companies who value their reputation care about their online presence and showcase what they can. At Purrweb, we run the blog in order to help you learn about the experience we have in full-cycle app development.
- Choose outsources who can develop dating app using React Native. The framework allows us to create two different dating apps with one code, while native UI-elements will make them perform like solutions built with Swift and Java. Our experience says if you want to test a business idea, React Native is the perfect solution that saves time and your budget. At Purrweb, the average time required to develop a fully-functional React Native app from scratch is 3 months. Once it’s done, go share the product with users and get initial feedback or present it to investors and get financial support.
- Trust your guts. After you read a company’s blog and check the projects they’ve already delivered, listen to your inner voice. If something confuses you about a developer – it’s better to keep looking until it clicks.
To learn how to choose a contractor and make sure they do not steal the startup ideas more, check out our article with the instructions.
To sum thing up
The dating app market is a fast-growing and profitable place to begin your startup in 2020. The pandemic taught us to date online and existing services crave for new features like video messages and calls, mutual online activities (maybe, watching a movie together in an app), and so on. If you have been having an idea to develop app like Tinder, the perfect time is now.
If you’re still on the fence, look at stats – the dating app audience is rocketing, and in 4 years it is expected to reach 270 million people across the world. Tinder made $1.2 billion in 2019 – more than Reddit, VSCO, Shazam, and millions of other apps.
In order to create dating app like Tinder, the first thing you are advised to do is to define your niche. Who do you want to lure to your network and why? Then figure out key elements – feel free to use our list of 5 features your app needs, or just ask us about specific details for your upcoming project.
We will be happy to help you develop dating app. With Purrweb, it will take you 5 months to create app like Tinder and will cost you around $85,000.