How to make a dating app and what are the costs?

how to make an app like tinder: article cover

If you dream about your own startup but still don’t know where to start, you may ask Google for help. And Google may tell you something like "The idea must be unique, so you can stand out in the market and attract a large audience." And it is true, but not really true. The biggest secret is that coming up with something SUPER unique is tough because the market is full. And what is more important, you don’t have to do it.

You can choose something timeless to create your app. It is unlikely that people will stop communicating with each other in the next 1000 years, but ways of communicating may change. Once upon a time, people got to know each other offline; later, there were special websites. Now, with the popularity of apps, came Tinder, Badoo, and Bumble, familiar to many. The point is that you don’t have to create something exceptionally unique, but you can add some unique functionality to something that already exists.

If you are looking for a date or trying to find new friends, you can always do it in an old-school, offline way. But it’s always a lottery, and you may end up embarrassingly trying to ask for a date from someone who is already in a relationship or to start a conversation with someone who doesn’t want to communicate at all. That’s what makes dating apps cool!

They’re for people who are already open to communication. Dating services help find partners of interest — for romantic relationships, sex, or friendship.

In this article, we will tell you how to make a dating app and what features to add, as well as what is the price of creating a dating app and where to find the team to develop one.

Key reason to make a dating app

It is unlikely that our society will take a step back and use apps and gadgets less. This is confirmed by statistics predicting the growth of the number of apps until 2024. According to the digital market forecast, the number of online dating services users in the segment of casual dating is expected to reach 70.0 million worldwide in 2024.

how to make an app like tinder: Tinder’s user growth statistics
That’s how Tinder’s audience has been growing during the last few years

Yes, apps became especially popular in the days of the pandemic, and you may think that in safer times, people would return to their pre-pandemic habits. But the truth is that since society has already appreciated the convenience of apps — they will not refuse them. So when is it better to start realizing your ambitions and making your own dating app?

Dating apps in a nutshell

What are online dating apps like? These are the apps that allow users to view photos, check profile descriptions, have a chat, and call each other. The functionality of dating apps helps users find the right person thanks to segmenting people by age, location, interests, and even political views.

Dating services can be divided into 3 categories:

  • Geolocation-based
  • Audience-based
  • Compatibility-based

Of course, if you want to make a dating app like Tinder, you don’t have to choose one of these options. Whether you want people to search for a date simply by their location, or you want users to know if their communication goals are the same — it’s up to you!

If you would like to develop an app like Tinder — feel free to get in touch!

Dating apps features

Let’s talk about features to add to your dating app! And please keep in mind that it is not a list of must-have features, but a list of tips on how to make your dating app more interesting.

Messenger. The more flexibility your mobile app offers for communication, the less likely users are to move to other platforms. To improve messaging experience, consider implementing GIFs, symbols, stickers, or video calls for more advanced communication

Text may be enough for a simple conversation the first time you chat, but it’s limited to forming more intimate relationships. While developing a dating app, consider adding some file-sharing features to allow users engage in more interesting conversations.

Selection algorithm. It is possible to develop an algorithm for selecting a person according to physical parameters or compatibility of interests. An app can be focused on information based on a person’s digital footprint.

how to make an app like tinder: digital footprint
Information about social networks, search history, YouTube playlists, and visited pages can be called digital footprint

Gamification. In the process of creating a dating app, think about adding gamification as it increases user engagement. With the help of gamification, you can expand your user base and make your dating app interesting. Users can participate in various competitions and earn points. For example, you can give matching profiles an opportunity to participate in a competition where they have to say what they like and what they don’t like.

Notifications. After surfing the dating app space, the user waits for a reply message from the person they like. In order not to miss this moment, it is important to add a notification system so the user can get information about the interactions with their profile or response to the message. Plus, notifications affect the user’s engagement with the app.

how to make an app like tinder: notifications
Push notifications can raise user retention rate by 3 times

Facial recognition for finding lookalikes. Using AI facial recognition technology, you can get people to find a partner who looks like the person they want. Users can upload a photo of a celebrity, a public figure, or even their ex, and the app will display look-alikes.

Support messages. The search for love can sometimes give us not the best emotions. Wouldn’t it be nice if our apps reminded us from time to time that we’re doing well and won’t be alone forever? Or send us a reminder to take a break, enjoy real life, and talk to someone offline.

Alternative search. Not all people want to search for a partner based on profile photos — some consider this approach superficial. In this case, blurring the photos may be one of the possible solutions. At the beginning, the photo of the match is blurry, but the longer the conversation lasts, the clearer the photo of the person becomes. That’s what the S’more app does.

People believed in zodiac signs and mysterious connections long before psychological compatibility and matching algorithms. So based on them, the matchmaking feature is definitely something you can use while creating your own Tinder alternative!

If you already have a unique dating app idea — feel free to get in touch!

How do dating apps make money?

Monetization model is another aspect you have to think about while making a dating app. The strategy you choose affects development, as it requires the appropriate features and admin interface to support it. It also determines how much money you can get from future users. That’s why you should decide on this before you start to make a dating app. The most common monetization strategies are based on in-app advertising, selling premium plans, and various packages like icons, stickers, seasonal offers, etc.

how to make an app like tinder: freemium
Most dating apps are free or partially free

Freemium is when a paid user gets access to a set of additional features and advanced functionality. This increases user loyalty and helps distribute the product. Other ways to monetize your app using this model include virtual gifts or increasing your partner’s reach.

Another way to make money is to use advertising. Ads appear in the app while it’s in use, and money is earned when a user views or clicks on those ads. This is how Tinder makes money.

Below are what popular dating apps use:

  • Tinder provides paid features such as unlocking "unlimited likes" and "restrictions on rewinding and swiping to the right".
  • Pure adds some paid content, and only seven free attempts per night are available for new users; if they want more, they have to pay.
  • OkCupid paid features include account enhancements, information on who has liked who, additional search filters, invisibility mode, and more.

Don’t forget about security while making a dating app

When developing a dating app, it’s crucial to take care of user safety, because it is always a big concern. You can add signing up through a social network in your app, so it increases the chance that the provided data can be trusted. That’s why it’s worth setting up the option of signing up via social media like Facebook or Instagram. To avoid reputation-threatening problems, implement a multi-step verification system.

How to start making a dating app?

To start the development, we think it’s better to hire an outsourcing team with some experience in developing a dating app. This is the most important advantage because they know what pitfalls you may face, can help with the allocation of necessary functionality, and how matching systems in dating apps like tinder work.

Usually, outsourcing agencies already have full-service and well-coordinated mobile app development teams. Instead of a motley crew of freelance developers, there are people with a high level of teamwork. Instead of trying to manage the project yourself, you have a project manager who will coordinate the team and keep you informed. Plus, designers who will make your product look and feel cool, testers who will check it for bugs, and those who will support your project after release.

How much does it cost to make a dating app?

At the beginning of this article, we already mentioned that you need a unique idea to make a dating app. But it can take years to come up with a unique dating app. We recommend the minimal viable product (MVP) and minimum lovable product (MLP) approaches to start with. Both approaches focus on creating a minimal product and getting it to market. So, by prioritizing the features, you reduce your development time and budget — as a result, you reach the market faster and get feedback from your first users.

Here’s the list of features that we recommend including in the MVP of the dating app.

  • Authentication
  • User profile
  • Set up for notifications, mode, and logout
  • Chat with texts and photos
  • Feed formed by location or matched interests
  • Monetization features

To add, you will need an admin panel to manage the app. It would be more convenient to develop a web version. If we were to make a dating app, we would use React Native for MVP of a mobile app as it allows reaching a wider audience and Laravel for an admin panel. In this case, design and development can cost $45,000–50,000.

All in all, after the pandemic the market of dating apps is flourishing. That’s why right now it’s high time to break into it and bring your unique idea to life.

Our Ronas IT team can help you with UI/UX design, branding, graphic, and logo design, or develop a web or mobile product. Tell us about your project and we will help you to bring your idea to life. Who knows, maybe you are the one who will become the owner of an app better than Tinder?

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