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How to create a dating app like Tinder or Bumble

Nowadays people do not meet each other at a library or through friends. The most romantic way to find your partner in 2022 is to swipe right. That's why currently the dating app market is a fast-growing and profitable place to found a startup. To buttress it by arguments and give you more insights on the mobile app development process, we created a comprehensive guide about the dating app world. Learn about cool examples, necessary features, costs, and timelines and find out how to create a dating app. Let's go!

Reading time: 14 minutes

Dating App Development
Table of contents

    Market overview: why are dating apps so popular?

    A dating app is a mobile platform that connects people with certain interests — romance, casual sex, or friendship. The software usually allows users to browse photos and contact each other through chats and video calls. 

    Dating App Development

    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 Now it sounds so outdated, right?

    Dating websites removed a middleman between partners-to-be and left them with tons of options on their own. Since match.com was released, 75 million people have registered on the website and more than 1.78 million of them pay for their subscription. Then there were eHarmony, PlentyOfFish and OkCupid.

    Tinder’s appearance in 2012 revolutionized the market and stimulated the growth of online dating platforms, especially mobile dating app development. The company turned a process of searching for a partner into a fun game. Users were offered to swipe cards with photos of the candidates — to the right if they want to connect, or to the left if they prefer to dismiss. Now people spend hours looking at the profiles of potential partners, reading their bios and swiping the cards.

    dating app development

    Statistahttps://www.statista.com/outlook/372/100/online-dating/worldwide says today around 300 million people around the globe use various online dating services. By 2024 it is expected to increase by 440 million users, alongside growing interest from the investor’s side. That is why if you have been thinking about the idea to create a dating app, it is the time.

    Researchers say, now more than 39% of people find their significant others online. A recent studyhttps://web.stanford.edu/~mrosenfe/Rosenfeld_et_al_Disintermediating_Friends.pdf 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, especially now, when 2020 and coronavirus have completely changed the dating game.

    The global dating service market is growing rapidly and, according to datahttps://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-dating-apps-market-is-expected-to-surpass--8-4-billion-by-2024--300967392.html, it is expected to surpass $ 8.4 billion by 2024.  

    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 open an app with video functions or voice chat like Bumble, Badoo, The Intro, etc., and see if there is chemistry between you two?

    Let’s see what the numbers say. We gathered some interesting statistics and facts about apps market:

    ❤️ According to a recent study, 56% of responders plan to continue or start online dating more in the upcoming years.

    ❤️ Users under 30 spend at least 10 hours a week swiping on an app.

    ❤️ Tinder observes over 6.5 million downloads every month and remains the most downloaded in the United States.

    ❤️ United States, India and China generate the biggest revenue on dating apps.

    ❤️ Investors are interested in apps targeting the Asia region, especially China. In recent years several Chinese companies received funds from venture capitalists: Tantan got $70 million, while Bluedraised a Series D of $100 million.  

    ❤️ It was reported that Tinder has over 6.03 million paid subscribers. 

    Overall, 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 a dating app and hire a development team, it is right now.

    Target audience: single and not only

    Let’s talk about the target audience. For successful mobile development of an app that will become popular and eventually will draw the attention of investors, you need to know who will use a solution and why. We researched multiple studies on the demographics and user experience of dating platforms and created a portrait of a perfect swiper. You will be surprised to hear that, but online dating is popular among various age groups: from 16 to 65+.

    An average user is 25-34 years old,male, single and lives in a city. Usually, by that age, people already graduate from college and get a job, some of them even make it to the senior level. It means only one thing: this audience is able to pay for premium services and extra features.

    According to a studyhttp://www.wired.com/2015/05/tinder-users-not-single/amp, 62% of dating apps’ audience is male and only 38% are female. Most of them are not in a relationship, but not all — 30% of users are married and 12% are in a relationship, statistics say. Surprise!

    76% of users belong to the urban population, while 17% live in suburbs and 7% reside outside big cities and towns. As we mentioned, age groups are different and lay out like this.

    dating app development

    In general, dating apps are the most popular among millenials who are looking for meaningful connections online. Demographics show that users on the platform usually have enough income to pay for extra features and engage with the content more. 

    Dating mobile app development is not easy. Even though the market is fast-growing, it is also saturated. That is why the first thing you should do is market research in order to analyze user experience and find the right niche. Maybe you want to build a 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 to start mobile development.

    How does a dating app work?

    The main idea of the dating app is to connect people who are looking for love or other pleasures. How to make them interested in each other? There are lots of ways but they all can combine into 3 general categories. You can choose one of them or create your own algorithm and build a dating app. 

    • Geolocation. It 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. However, if you want to expand your geography and look for people in other cities and countries, it is also an option, just need to pay for an upgrade 😉
    • 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 is how eHarmony’s site and app work. Also, there is a Tastebuds.fm app that matches people based on their music preferences. Basically, there are infinite ways to create a new user experience, just need to find what can be important for people. 
    • Niche-based. Such apps are targeted to a specific group.  You probably know about 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 is quick, direct, and discreet.” That is the perfect description for the niche they have occupied. 

    Current apps are usually a mix of all these types, but we recommend using this classification when defining the audience and main features for your app.

    App categoryExample
    Geolocation networksTinder, Bumble, Hinge
    Questionnaire-based eHarmony, Tastebuds.fm
    Niche-basedPure, Grindr

    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 of dating mobile app development. ‘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 make your own dating app.

    A personal profile. It makes the first impression in online dating, therefore users spend a lot of time choosing a profile picture, writing a smart and funny bio, or picking their hobbies. Some apps even went above and beyond and came up with unusual features for a user profile. For instance, Tinder allows users to sync up with their Spotify accounts and add favorite artists to the profile description.

    Another example is Hinge that introducedhttps://www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2021/10/27/22746297/hinge-voice-notes-prompts-profile voice chats and prompts in the bio in October 2021. With this feature, everyone can add a short audio clip, up to 30 seconds, to a personal profile to help people know you better and decide if they like your voice before a first date.

    The launch of the voice prompts impacted the engagement and the marketing strategy of the dating app. The feature wenthttps://www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2021/11/30/22809684/hinge-voice-prompts-tiktok-shortform-audio-viral viral on TikTok, attracted new users, and brought attention to the update — around 46% of the audience have tried the prompts and 13% of newcomers skipped the onboarding to go straight to the audio.

    dating app development

    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.

    Dating App Development

    Geolocation features. Let users decide how far they want their match to be. Maybe, their dream partner lives in France, Spain, Mexico or even Bali? Don’t limit the choices. Implementation of this feature will also help your app increase the customer retention rate (CRR) — with 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.

    Dating App Development

    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.

    Dating App Development

    Push notifications. They 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.

    Dating App Development

    Ice Breakers. Messaging functionality is essential for a successful dating app. Apart from the ordinary chatting interface, it is important to keep in mind that many people are stressed out about starting a conversation. 

    To help users start a conversation, you can suggest some questions to ask a potential partner. For instance, “What is your favorite day of the year and why?”, “If you win a million dollars, what would you spend them on?” or “What is your dream getaway?”. This will give customers ideas what to ask about and will make them feel more comfortable and even thankful to your dating app.

    Also UI/UX design and copywriting can be your solution that helps users with the communication problem and spark an interest in sending a text first. Try to keep it positive and empathetic — relationships are related to emotions, and that is where users tend to feel anxiety and lack of assertiveness.

    Premium options. They are a way to earn money and 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.

    Dating App Development

    Monetization: how do dating apps make money?

    There are numerous monetization strategies if you decided to make your own dating app. Recently Tinder revealed their earnings  reporthttps://ir.mtch.com/news-and-events/press-releases/press-release-details/2020/Match-Group-Reports-Fourth-Quarter-2019-Results/default.aspx 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.

    Dating App Development

    • 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.

    Dating App Development

    • 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.

    Dating App Development

    How much does it cost to create a dating app?

    If you got to this part of the article, then we definitely convinced you that dating apps are a trending sector of mobile platforms, and the perfect time to hire a development team and create one is now. Let’s discuss the budget and calculate how much money you need for dating app development in 2022.

    The general rule is the bigger development team you hire and the more complex an app you want, the more you have to pay for the development.

    Our mission is to try to make the process of dating app development for our clients as transparent as possible, and we always openly discuss all future steps. The average development time for the Purrweb team is 4 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 (to distribute the tasks over developers, supervise all of the elements are finalized on time and to reports to our clients)
    • QA Testing (to perform tests on every part of a mobile app, find any possible bug that might occur, and get rid of it before the official launch)

    Overall, the team of 6 people will work on your dating app development. 1 UI/UX designer, 1 backend engineer, 2 frontend engineers, QA engineer, and 1 project manager. 

    An average dating app with a basic set of functions built by the Purrweb team costs around $54,400. We develop minimal viable products because it is the faster and more safe way to check if your idea works. If it turns out to be in demand, you can always put additional functions and develop the application to the ideal. To create a fully packaged app is expensive several times and has more financial risk if something goes wrong.  

    We can recalculate the final costs of the development in case you want to add or take out extra features when approving concepts or mock-ups.

    StageApproximate costs
    Project estimationno costs
    UI/UX design6100$
    Development stage40800$
    QA Testing4500$
    Project management3000$

     

    Technology stack for developing dating apps

    Fast development speed is fundamentally important for any startup. To achieve it, consider what tech stack you choose. At Purrweb we work with React Native framework that allows us to make a dating app like Tinder quicker than if we used other technologies. The framework allows us to we also don’t need to involve two teams building apps for iOS and Android. Instead, we create two different dating apps with one code, while native UI-elements will make them perform like solutions built with Swift and Java. 

    For React Native, there is a huge library of native UI elements that make your daing app as native as full-format versions. It also works with real OS functionality, such as camera, microphone and GPS. Your users won’t feel any difference. Moreover, React Native has a large community and a wide ecosystem. This allows you to quickly eliminate errors and expand functionality.

    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 4 months. Once it’s done, go share the product with users and get initial feedback or present it to investors and get financial support.

    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.

    How to create a dating app step-by-step

    It’s easy to create a successful dating app when you know your target audience and their requests and have a development team that you can trust. If you decompose this big task into small steps, it will make the process even easier. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to make a dating app.

    Step 1. Find an idea

    For that, you need to understand what people are missing now in dating apps. Research or even your personal experience will help you figure this out. The main thing is that the problem should concern a lot of people, and your idea really solves it.

    Step 2. Plan the project

    In this stage you define the app’s functionality, choose the way of mobile development (MVP or full packaged app), find a team, and budget the cost of dating app development.

    Step 3. Create a design

    You need to think about how your application will look like. It is better to offer the team a number of references that will help them more accurately implement the idea. UI/UX designers will then check how usable it is. It is important to make the user experience as simple and comfortable as possible.

    Step 4. Develop the app

    The team will develop the filling of the app: the frontend — what is visible to the user and what he can use, as well as the backend, which stores all data on the server.

    Step 5. Test the app

    Before the release of the app, it is necessary to give it to QA testers. They will find possible bugs and report them to the developers for fixing.

    Step 6. Release the app and get feedback

    Now when everything is ready, launch the app in the App Store and Google Play. Don’t forget to collect feedback from users after some time. This will allow you to improve the app, add important features and as a result increase the audience even more.

    Final thoughts 

    The dating app market is a fast-growing and profitable place to begin your startup in 2022. The pandemic taught us to date online and existing services crave for new features like voice clips, video messages and calls and mutual online activities. It can be an option to watch a movie together, schedule a sweet and special message for morning or order flowers right in the app.  If you have been having an idea to develop an app like Tinder, the perfect time to start executing it is now.

    If you are 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 $1.4 billion in 2021 — 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 6 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 us, it will take you 4 month to create app like Tinder and will cost you around $54,400. You can check our portfolio with previous projects and reviews here.https://www.behance.net/search?search=purrweb If you’re ready to start, fill in the form below and we will contact you within 24 hours.

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    FAQ s

    • How much does it cost to develop a dating app?

      Creating a dating app from an idea to a launched solution costs around $54,400. The way we calculate the final price is very transparent: it depends on what services you need and how much time the development process will take in working hours.

    • How long does it take to build an app?

      With Purrweb it will take you 4 months to create and release a dating app to the market.

    • How to find a contractor for a dating app?

      When looking for a developer, always check their reputation and reviews, ask for a portfolio and trust your guts.

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