Dating services are one of the most dynamically developing areas of the mobile application market. The popularity of dating resources has been facilitated by the digitalization of society, quarantine restrictions, and social isolation.
Despite the large number of available services, demand still exceeds supply at times. Data from market research firm Apptopia showed that Bumble was downloaded approximately 2.05 million times in the US in the second quarter, up nearly 18% year over year. And the number of Tinder users increased by more than 30% by the end of 2021.
It’s no wonder why many entrepreneurs would also like to enter this lucrative online dating niche. If you are one of them, start your journey by getting to know rivals and find out how many resources you have to invest in developing your own dating application.
What is a Dating App?
A dating service is an online platform for finding a soulmate, or just a room for communication. By the set of interactive features, they resemble social networks, where users chat, upload and comment on content.
What are They Used for?
There are times when online dating is used to learn a foreign language or improve one’s communication skills. But the main goal of dating apps and services, of course, is to help you find a soulmate, or at least someone with whom you can talk and brighten up a boring evening.
Dating App Types
There are 4 main types of dating apps and you need to decide which one you want for yourself:
- Dating apps that use geolocation as their main method of filtering users.
- Traditional dating apps that are more like a regular social network with profiles.
- Niche dating apps that help with finding a partner from a certain circle of people (for example, users of a certain age, profession, interests, and even health problems).
- Dating apps based on matching algorithms or AI-based dating apps. This is the most advanced approach to developing a dating service, since by analyzing the user’s behavioral patterns, AI can more accurately select the most suitable interlocutor in terms of character and interests.
Popular Dating App Features Comparison
Key Dating Application Features
Dating apps are categorized as social, so there is a strong focus on supporting human interaction and meeting specific user needs. Of course, no two dating apps are exactly the same, as each has a certain set of features and concepts that provide the desired result. However, there are basic features without which no dating app can be considered a full-fledged one.
By syncing with social media accounts, some apps make it easy for their users to get started. So having a Facebook account, for example, you can link it to a dating service for a quick login.
Some applications require more detailed information about their users and even identity verification for security reasons.
When synchronizing with a page on a social network, user data, including the profile picture, can be transferred to the dating application. The data can be edited.
Notification settings vary from app to app, users can get pop-up notifications if someone likes their photo, or in case of mutual matching. Notifications may be duplicated by mail or mobile phone. This will allow the user who received the response to react more quickly.
Search filtering is an important criterion to reduce the time users have to search for candidates with whom something good can come out. Each visitor has a different set of preferences, and filters are a great way to follow those preferences as much as possible.
Filters can be completely different. Required: gender, age, and location. The functionality can be improved by adding search by online users, new visitors, interests and other parameters.
Geolocation is a must-have tool to limit your search. Proper use of geolocation will help implement additional features. For example, an app might show people using the same service within a certain radius. Then, when you’re ready to go on a live date, it’s nice to know that you won’t have to travel 500 km to get there.
Communication within the application can be carried out through a personal chat, as well as a video or voice call. To avoid problems with unwanted communication, it may be limited to certain conditions, for example, when access to the chat is only granted after mutual matching.
To enable international relations, the chat can be made to support different languages.
Setting up monetization tools is the main function for a business. After all, the application, ultimately, is created in order to make money. There are quite a few ways to monetize a dating app. The functionality is configured depending on the selected method. Among the most common ones: subscriptions, paid features, promotional content, integration with third-party services, and much more.
Whether it’s a swipe or a like, the way you express your preference should be a piece of cake. Through these mere actions, users start interacting with each other. Therefore, the feature should be instantly clear and simple so that people know what is required of them: swipe to the right, double-tap the screen, click the “like” icon, and the like.
Unique Dating Application Features
When developing a dating app, special attention should be paid to security features. Users must be sure that their personal data will not fall into the wrong hands and will not be misused. Therefore, in order to create a secure environment for strangers to meet online, it is recommended to use multi-factor authentication to verify app users.
The profile is the first thing the user sees. Therefore, it must convey as accurately as possible the personality of the one it represents. The personalization feature will allow the user to choose the theme or colors for their page. You can also increase the selection of interests to display, add space for a description, or allow photos and videos to be added.
A great solution for unintentional likes. Most apps don’t have this feature or offer it for a fee. Therefore, it can become your competitive advantage.
Sometimes you want to forget about romance and just have fun with your friends, so playing right in the app is a great solution that not many similar services can boast of.
To be honest, this is not such a unique feature, since almost half of the dating services have it, and yet Tinder is not one of them.
Advanced AI Algorithms
With the help of deep neural networks and big data, you can create a self-learning algorithm that will match users more efficiently, increasing the likelihood of mutual liking.
It is possible to create a system that notifies people if they receive the same messages as other users.
What to Consider When Developing a Dating App?
In order to lay the foundation for any successful product, especially if it’s a dating app, it’s essential to answer the question: Who are your future users? You can find the answer to it by conducting audience segmentation. Use psychometrics and demographics to portrait your user.
Demographic data will provide general information: age, gender, marital status, education, occupation, etc. Usually, a person indicates these basic things himself when registering in the application.
Psychometry helps to find out about a person something that does not lie on the surface: character traits, interests, lifestyle, opinions and values. This way you will understand how users behave and why. Such information is typically obtained using social networks. Data should only be collected with the permission of the user.
Having a detailed user profile, you can create the most accurate candidate selection algorithm.
To help collect data, you can use surveys, analyze the audience of competitors, and study user feedback.
The main function of any dating application is the selection of profiles based on the similarities of accounts (matching).
Most of these products use one of four methods:
- Mathematical algorithm;
- Behavior analysis;
- AI and AR use.
Location. Most often, dating applications use geodata to select profiles. In this case, users set limits on the search distance and the application shows the accounts that are within the specified radius.
Geolocation works as a starting point. People nearby appear on your list, you get access to their profiles with general information and decide whether to like, swipe and continue chatting.
Math data. This type of algorithm uses people’s responses and their matches to calculate a percentage of compatibility. Calculations are based on information that users provide in their profiles or through surveys.
The mathematical algorithm may not be perfect, as people tend to exaggerate and distort information in order to show their best.
Behavior analysis. This method involves the analysis of all available data about the user: social networks, playlists, visited pages, etc. It takes much more money to implement this type of algorithm, since big data solutions are required.
AI and AR use. Advanced algorithms involve AI and AR. Artificial intelligence uses biological data, face recognition and collects a comprehensive analysis, based on which recommendations are selected in a dating application. AI-based algorithms provide more accurate results.
The idea of creating niche dating apps is spreading, meaning you focus on one aspect and use it to match profiles. This may be an interest, a field of activity. For example, a dating platform for musicians. Here you can use your imagination and create a thematic interface.
Competitors – a storehouse of useful information. Leverage their experience to avoid mistakes and create something better. Learn what features competitive apps have, what kind of reviews do their users leave, what are the good and bad things about the product? This will help you figure out how to approach development and which feature set to use.
As we already found out, the set of basic functions is usually about the same. But If your dream is to create something unique and not just another copy of Tinder, then you need to consider adding a few additional useful features to stand out from the competition.
If you are going to hire people to create a dating app, spend some time and study in detail the experience, completed projects and working conditions with the proposed team.
The team is created individually for the project, since each service requires narrow specialists with certain expertise. In the process of work, the team can be supplemented by other people, but the main composition must be determined at the beginning of the project.
Typically a team consists of:
- Project manager
Communicates with clients and the team, coordinates common actions, controls timing, resolves conflicts and manages risks.
They think over the architecture of the application, write the code, and together with the manager decide how the functions of the service will be implemented.
- UI/UX designer
Thinks through the design of the interface and plans the user experience.
Check if the application is working properly.
The success of your application largely depends on how competently you approach its promotion. After all, no matter how awesome your brand-spanking-new product turned out to be, everything is pointless if no one knows about it.
Therefore, a well-thought-out marketing strategy aimed at attracting new customers and increasing audience loyalty is an important part of creating a dating app.
Stack of technologies
When you already have a clear idea of what your product should be like, you have done marketing and business analysis, you can move on to the actual development of the application.
If you have hired professional developers, you won’t need to go deep into the technical details, but in any case, it will be useful for you to know the stack of technologies that today is preferable to use when developing a dating application:
The most essential components of your application are powerful servers, secure databases, and APIs, as you will be storing a lot of data and collecting it through various services.
Dating App Development Cost
Undoubtedly, anyone who invests in a dating app would like to know how much it will cost them. Moreover, an investment is not only money, but also precious time. And given that professionals tend to charge by the hour, the time really becomes priceless.
Let’s take a look at how much your competitors have invested in app development to get an idea of what you need to expect.
Bumble is a typical dating service that, although not much different from its competitors, has several features that have ensured its success in the romance industry.
This application was especially appreciated by the female users due to the lack of spam from annoying men. The fact is that here a man cannot write to a woman first, even if they like each other. The first step must be taken by the lady.
In addition, Bumble has created a service within a service called BFF. As you can guess from the acronym, it is designed to find friends. This is very clever from a marketing point of view, because after the application has helped you in finding your betrothed, you do not have to delete it from the device.
How much time and money will it take to create such a well-thought-out application as Bumble?
Many people associate the dating service with Tinder. These two concepts seem to be interchangeable. Although Tinder is not a pioneer in this area, it has achieved unprecedented success. It’s inspiring, isn’t it?
The app is known for its unique AI matchmaking algorithm and the simplest swipe process. Advanced protection of user data, integration with Amazon services, well-thought-out design and functionality that is constantly updated and improved, also make a great contribution to the application’s relevance.
How much does it cost to develop an application whose user stories become the basis for popular series (alludes to The Tinder Swindler)?
Hinge service is not made for passing-fad infatuations, but for people who want to settle down with someone special. No wonder the creators of the application say that it is “designed to be deleted”.
One of Hinge’s most famous success stories is that of former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg and his husband Chasten, who met on Hinge back in 2015.
Therefore, if you want to create an application with a similar purpose, helping lonely hearts find each other in this vast world, you should look at it closely.
OkCupid is known for its unusual social experiments on its users. The experiments being conducted by the OkCupid team aim to find better ways to interact with users, as well as to understand their behavior and what is of value to them.
As part of the “Love is blind” experiment, photos were removed from user profiles. As a result, people on the dating site responded to their first messages 44% more often than usual.
In another experiment, OkCupid tried to understand whether people who are “incompatible” according to mathematical algorithms are really incompatible, or do opposites still attract?
It seems that the application can be a real laboratory of experiments, where its users are the test subjects.
In 2019, Badoo entered the TOP-5 most profitable app developers in Europe. And today the project never ceases to amaze with its cool new features. One of the latest implementations is the “Clips” feature, where users answer questions that appear on a profile by recording 15-second videos. Badoo believes that live videos will help make app communication more honest and safe, as well as allow users to express their personality and make their profile more authentic.
How to Calculate the Cost of Developing your Dating App?
The cost of a dating app development can be calculated by adding together the cost of the hours spent, the costs after the application is published on the App Store or Google Play, and extra expenses.
Cost of development hours
During the valuation phase, specialists from different departments (e.g., coding, design, QA) determine the number of hours that will be spent on project tasks. It is multiplied by the cost of an hour – each specialist has his own rate and to a large extent the price depends on the location.
Consider the example of the cost of developing an application like Tinder by specialists from the U.S. or UK. The average hourly wage for a specialist there is $120. If it takes roughly 1,700 hours to build an app for one platform, the development cost would be $204,000.
The average hourly wage for a Canadian specialist is $80, so development costs there are $136,000.
In Eastern Europe, such as Ukraine, the development of an application will cost even less, somewhere around $80,000.
Of course, these are very rough estimates of the cost of developing a dating app. The final price is influenced by a lot of factors, as well as your individual requests.
Key factors that determine the cost of development:
- type of application development (clone or from scratch);
- application complexity;
- development team qualifications;
- development approach (freelance, outsource or in-house);
- UI/UX design complexity;
- number of platforms (Android, iOS or both);
- application functionality (MVP, Basic, Advanced, Super Functional).
Dating App Development Timeline
The development of a dating app usually consists of 6 stages, some of which may take place simultaneously.
Stage 1: Business analytics
This includes the definition of the target audience, market and competitor analysis, and the formation of an MVP. The first stage takes at least 100 hours.
Stage 2: Specification and Wireframes
The specification includes a description of:
- systems and mechanics;
- security and documentation requirements;
- user interface requirements;
- app content.
A wireframe is an application page layout that displays the arrangement of elements: buttons, images, texts. Sets of wireframes become a visual scheme of user interaction with the future application. The second stage takes at least 100 hours.
Stage 3: UI/UX design
The design development process also consists of several intermediate stages: concept, UI kit development, layout and prototype creation. Depending on the complexity of the chosen design, the whole process can take from 30 to 120 hours.
Stage 4: Frontend (iOS + Android)
This is the most time-consuming step, which, depending on the complexity of the application, can take from 320 to 950 hours.
Stage 5: Backend
Another time-consuming process takes between 310 and 960 hours.
Stage 6: QA Analysis
The stage at which the quality of the application is tested takes from 50 to 130 hours.
Stage 7: Application launch
In general, a basic application can take 910 hours to develop, while a more advanced one can take up to 2,400 hours.
The Trembit development team creates unique products for both small businesses and large organizations. The developer company has more than 120 successful projects, including the geosocial mobile application for online dating and messaging DateNight.
An experienced team of specialists develops both dating applications from scratch and using off-the-shelf software products. Trembit leads its clients’ projects from inception to post-launch, supporting the application and helping it keep up with current trends.
Dating apps will be in demand as long as people are afraid of loneliness and they need someone nearby. This means that such services will always earn a good income for their owners.
The main thing is to brainstorm the idea, calculate your costs, find a great development team (by the way, we have one) and create a unique application that would differ in some way from existing dating services.