September 6, 2019

Mobile app development has opened new opportunities for dating. Despite the huge number of dating applications, many users are still searching for their favourite one. You have all the chances to enter the market successfully as long as you learn how to create a dating app and implement it properly. In this article, you will find important details on the dating app development process, main features and ways to monetize your app.

List of contents

REASONS TO CREATE A DATING APP

These apps have become so popular since people can simplify a huge part of daily life digitally including personal relationships. They have found this service less time-consuming, interactive and efficient to find the soulmate. Before we proceed to the question “how to make a dating app”, we consider checking the benefits your business get with this application. 

  • High user retention rate – The retention rate is calculated by analyzing the users’ engagement after application installing. It is rather important to build a long-lasting connection with your users than just attract them for a few-time usage. The popularity of online services is constantly increasing as it provides a new alternative for meeting people. The average user spends 90 minutes a day to search the dating app in comparison with 5 minutes on a calorie counting one.
  • Lots of monetization opportunities – Dating app development covers monetization strategies. It is common that dating app developers include monetizing the properties, in-app advertisements, and third-party services. The nature of such applications supposes high motivation of the user-based. Studies show that 20% of the users are interacting with paid features, which are highly rated across the whole mobile app industry.
  • Overall dating apps high revenue  – Mobile dating app development is a really profitable solution. As for the example, Match.com that is on the market since 1995 has decided to launch its own mobile application Tinder in 2012. According to the statistics, Tinder makes up $800 million within the total Match Group revenue of 1.72 billion.
  • Huge user-base – It is not surprising that the user number just boosts. Mobile dating apps are developed for users of different interests, gender, and age. Focusing on a particular group always pays its toll. The user penetration of this application category is already 3.0% whereas it is going to reach 3.6% by 2023.

FEATURES OF DATING APPLICATIONS

how to create a dating app: the most common features

User profiles

The profile introduces users to the potential matches, therefore the attractive and purposed design is a must-have. People want their profile to be a reflection of their actual personality and exhibit their best sides. Thus the profile should give wide customization options, generally look good and be intuitive to navigate.  The first impression is created online through the profiles that cover all the necessary data.

Geolocation

This functionality improves users’ engagement. Not everyone wants to text someone who is located miles away as it is less likely to meet them. The great option is to give the chance to the users themselves to pick regions or provide in-app suggestions due to their locations. However, this function should not restrict those who often travel or just searching for people to chat with. Manual location selection must also be included as one of the options.

Matching 

This is the most important feature of these services nowadays. Unlike before, people used that the apps offer them other users instead of the list of profiles that can be browsed. After all, this is the main task of any mobile dating apps – to match people. AI algorithms enable successful matches due to their common preferences. Quick matching is required by the market needs as the users look for convenience and flexibility. Everyone would rather spend time chatting than a time-consuming profile search. They expect this functionality from the app itself. Also, the application should analyze previous users’ interactions and pick up people who they’re likely to have a conversation and date with. The data about previous interactions should not be left forgotten, but carefully processed by the application’s machine learning algorithm. It is done to provide every user with a personalized experience that helps them achieve their goals on the platform. 

Chat

You are not able to create a dating app without a real-time chat where you can communicate and send pictures. A few things to remember here: the users can initiate the conversation only with the ones who have also liked them. In case they dislike the started chat they have the opportunity to disable it. Such options as messages likes, emojis or GIFs are highly rated by all the users. Like any real-time chat, the internal messenger should send push notifications about new messages for users’ convenience.

Social media integration

Providing customers integrate other social accounts with their profiles enables higher engagement within the app. However, your application should guarantee a high level of privacy and security to avoid any data leak.

Push notifications

Any mobile dating app development covers push notifications. Useful, informative, catch-up and relevant messages encourage often returns and engage users to stay longer within your app. More than half of the customers agree to receive them daily.

Settings

Predicting preferences is an inevitable part of how to make a dating app successfully, though give some power to users. Include match criteria filters (age, gender, hobbies, location), on/off push notifications and sounds, private profiles, etc.

Admin panel

Like any other service, it requires an admin panel through which authorized staff can manage the application. Usually, this type of platform is built as web applications. Leveraging it app owners employees can access the admin panel, global settings, fix issues with payments, accept and close support tickets, resolve disputes, observe analytics, etc. 

HOW TO CREATE A DATING APP

Planning

It seems pretty simple to define your audience – people who are looking for a soulmate. Though the professional business analysts will advise being more specific and categorize your audience. In order to make a dating app for a wider audience, target groups of different ages, hobbies, music tastes, etc. Thus it is much easier to specify future features due to the users’ needs and come up with an original name. Such product will carry out more value and have more chances to succeed. 

UI/UX design

Intuitive design is a must-have for such product. The primary focus should be on the search tab and users profile since these are the screen where people will spend most of their time interacting with your app. From the UX perspective, users’ profile needs to present their owners in the best light with all the necessary attributes like the cover photo, age, gender, location, and a brief bio in the first screen. In short, it is better to be a photo on the whole first screen and a bare minimum of information over that photo. That will help the user to understand whether it is worth it to research a profile further. Secondary attributes like favorite genres of movies or cuisine preferences usually are visible only in case if the user is interested to view more details.

Another tip about organizing UX is to give a new user a chance to browse for first matches as soon as possible to connect the person to the application and show value in it. Thus the aforementioned secondary information about personality needs to be asked later by the application in order to improve the matching algorithm.

Back-end development

In order to create a dating app, you should develop secure and powerful servers and databases as you deal with tons of personal information. Adding social media integration increases its amount and requires particular database connections. For example, you can integrate personal data like name, age, gender, interests, mutual connections from Facebook whereas pictures and locations from Instagram.

Front-end development

In short, front-end developers will render and organize the data from the back-end server into the mobile software itself. It is obligatory to learn how to build a dating app for both platforms, so you will need to make a choice on native or hybrid development. Developers can apply native frameworks (Objective-C, Swift, Java, Kotlin) or hybrid ones (React Native, Xamarin, Ionic). 

Testing and launch

QA team works in parallel with developers and a minimum of 1-2 weeks after launch to define the possible bugs and make sure all modules are working properly. Having the ready application is not the final step, it should correspond to the App Store and Google Play rules. The mobile dating apps with low security of transactions or inappropriate content won’t be approved by moderators.

Post-launch support

It is great to know how to develop a dating app, however, remember about constant improvements and maintenance. This type of apps opens up monetization opportunities. It is profitable for owners however users will not pay more if the value stays the same. Deliver updates, come up with new premium features, improve performance, etc.

PRIVACY AND SECURITY IN MOBILE DATING APP DEVELOPMENT

Whenever you search for how to make a dating app, this is a top requirement. Dealing with personal data, private messaging and pictures demands strong data protection and security. Dating app developers cannot provide just basic security but cover all the aspects. You might remember the data breach of Ashley Madison that is the dating service for people who are married or in relationships. A huge amount of data including users’ real names, emails, match history, credit card records were released by the hacker group in 2015. The users weren’t just shocked but completely fearful as most of them were also threatened personally by emails. 

Therefore, every dating app development company should start implementing security requirements during the whole dating app development process.

  • It is common to use the HTTPS protocols to check certificate authenticity. Thus applying some additional cryptography tools and techniques like AES and SHA256 encryption protocols should be considered. 
  • The secure code can be written only with authorized APIs. Creating a central authorization for the entire API is a smart step for delivering maximum security.
  • You won’t create a dating app with high-level security avoiding strong authentication and authorization, for example, using a phone number. It is normal to ask your users for it as you want to provide them with privacy.
  • Make sure you enable appropriate communication between servers and data is only presented on request.
  • You immediately need to test your application if changing something. Security patches are required for every update and release.
  • The security team should be added to the agile process upfront. Since they won’t be capable to change a lot when the product is almost ready.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO DEVELOP A DATING APP

The cost always depends on the chosen features and the development strategy. It is required to cover basic functionality whereas the premium features could be added gradually. For example, you cannot release the product without an internal chat however you can add in-chat ads later. Be organized and consistent on every stage and look for secure solutions. The high-quality application will definitely justify your bill. 

Today’s dating app framework choice enables the development of both native and hybrid applications. We have calculated the average dating app cost covering all mentioned above features and security implementation.

  • Native iOS development could cost up to $35 000
  • Native Android development will cost $30 000
  • Hybrid dating app development cost is estimated at $50 000

Taking into account received calculation, we can say that mobile dating app development cost for both platforms and a web portal for service management could fluctuate from $50 000 to $90 000.


HOW DO DATING APPS MAKE MONEY: MONETIZATION STRATEGY

how to create a dating app: monetization strategy

Membership fee

The company might charge users once they download the application. This will be the average app price starting from $0.99 to $9.99 in the Apple Store or Google Play. The fact of purchase won’t mean much for your business if you don’t keep your customers. App rates and user feedback is in the first place. Membership fee comes with advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, people can prefer your free competitors, on the other hand – a small symbolic fee is the best protection from fake profiles and fraud. Those who choose to use this approach can leverage its marketing and position the application as a premium dating service with the curated audience. However, if the company applying fee only for profit, this is not the best way to monetize the app.

Paid subscriptions

When to create a dating app, include several options that differ by the duration and included features. For example, Tinder that is a well-known free application still has one-month, 6-month and 12-month paid subscriptions. Moreover, users choose between Tinder Plus (9.99 USD/month) and Tinder Gold (14.99 USD/month).

Premium features

It is a part of the monetization strategy where users are not charged for the initial download and basic features. However, the apps can have some restrictions on the number of free searches and matches for the day, improved profile visibility for money, etc. This is arguably the best way to monetize the apps since you ask people for money only when they are highly engaged and are eager for more. 

Make sure you provide great user experience even without additional functionality. It is unlikely someone will pay extra if they are not satisfied with the basic version. On the contrary, giving too much won’t encourage upgrading. Tinder offers such in-app purchases like 1 boost for $6.99, a package of 5 boosts for $17.99, 5 super likes for $5.99.

In-app ads

The advertisement has always been profitable for software owners. Just exclude irritating pop-ups and learn new ad types, especially native ads. On the contrary, some businesses offer the paid premium version with no ads as a smart step of the monetization strategy.

Third-party services

Definitely, consider cooperation with third-party businesses. It is no question that emojis, digital gifts, kisses, and flowers are necessary, however, online communication can be diversified by flower delivery, restaurant reservation, taxi calls, movie/concert/sports game ticket booking, etc. Moreover, about 66% of users say that they have had in-person dates at least once, so they will be happy to have the ready solutions on how to arrange their real dates.

IN CONCLUSION

We hope that you have found all the necessary information on how to create a dating app, clarification of the development process and additional ways to monetize your services. 

Defining your users’ expectations is a powerful tool to reach success. Learn market needs, target your audience and provide a valuable product.  

If you need professional consultation, feel free to contact Existek. We are an outsourcing company that has found a huge number of reasonable solutions. Our company will be glad to share our extensive expertise in mobile app development with you. Describe your needs in the contact form or start the discussion in the chat widget on the right.