How to Create a Dating App: Development, Monetization & Cost

Author: Kamran | September 28, 2022 - TekRevol Team
  • Web & App
  • |

The online dating industry has become a hotbed of innovation, with over 50 million people in the US alone using online dating apps regularly.

Online dating apps are not just the e-version of your typical matchmaking aunt. It is more than that! With a dating app, users can make new friends, connect with more people, build relationships, hang out with people with similar interests, and finally, plan hookups.

This blog is a detailed guide on how to make a dating app like Tinder, covering a step-by-step process for making an app like Tinder. Moreover, it will highlight the ten most popular dating apps and their unique selling propositions so you can take inspiration to plan the features of your dating app.

A Comprehensive Guide on How to Create a Dating App

Below is a step-by-step guide to making a dating app:

  • Conduct competitive research
  • Plan features and monetization
  • Choose tech stack
  • Build an MVP
  • Create wireframes and prototype
  • Development
  • Testing and deployment

Conduct Competitive Research

With hundreds of dating apps out there, it’s essential to first conduct a competitive analysis before entering this highly saturated market. Popular dating apps like Tinder and Bumble offer something unique, something distinctive to the users that they can’t find anywhere else.

Do your research, create a target audience, find your niche, and then give options to people to match according to their preferences.

Plan Features & Monetization

Every dating app has some distinctive features that separate them from the pack. For instance, Tinder has this geofencing feature that allows users to set up a different location and match people in that area. On the other hand, Bumble has this unique feature where only women can initiate a conversation and send a match request.

The online dating industry is complicated. You have to understand that simply replicating the business model of best-performing dating apps and offering a slightly lower price for your services won’t work today. You need to develop a unique selling proposition that intrigues users to switch to your dating platform and create a comprehensive monetization strategy before making your app publicly available.

Choose Tech Stack

The tech stack you will use for your dating app depends on your target market. For instance, let’s say you want to make an app like Tinder for audiences in California, New York, Houston, Chicago, Miami, and Austin. And as most people (around 67%) in California use apple smartphones, you will need an iOS native app before the Android app.

The tech stack depends majorly on the demographics of your target market. Around 87% of Gen Z and millennials in the US use iPhones. Thus, it’s better to enter the market with a native iOS dating app and later build the Android version depending on the need.

There’s another possibility where you could choose cross-platform to build iOS and development Android apps from a single platform. However, this approach is not ideal for creating a dating app due to features like geofencing, GPS tracking, etc.

Build an MVP

Building a mobile app requires substantial capital investment, especially dating and ecommerce apps. Thus, creating a minimum viable product (MVP) to test the waters before going all in at once is better.

MVP development is a method where only the core features and functionalities are developed to check if the app works perfectly and solves the problem it was supposed to. This approach is becoming increasingly popular in the app development industry as it requires less investment and can determine how the app would perform in the long run.

Create Prototypes & Wireframes

After the MVP development, the next step is to create wireframes and prototypes for the app design. The wireframes work as a rough visual guide for the front-end development team to create an interactive mockup of a mobile app.

The prototype includes everything from user interface design to app screens and simulated functions. The development team then uses this prototype to develop the app’s backend to add functionality to the design.

Swift programming language creates the front end of iOS apps, while Java or Kotlin is used for Android.

Development & Programming

The development phase is usually the most time-consuming phase, where the backend development team makes the app design responsive. The dating app development phase involves:

  • creating and linking databases to their respective fields for storing and managing data,
  • adding functionality to the app screens and buttons,
  • building an API, and
  • creating servers.

Ideally, Swift or Objective C is used for backend programming for iOS, while Kotlin or C# is used in Android.

Testing & Deployment

Once the software development is completed, the app goes through a series of automated and manual testing to check for bugs and errors. A dedicated team of software quality assurance (SQA) engineers is assigned to test the app multiple times for the end users before it is made publicly available.

Early access to the app is then given to several dating influencers and coaches for validation. After a series of tests and verifications, the app is uploaded to its respective stores.

Popular Dating Apps & their USPs

Here’s a list of the ten most popular dating apps, along with the unique selling propositions that made them famous:

tops dating apps

The Evil Economics of Tinder & the Need for New Dating Apps

tinder dating app

What once started as a fun and exciting way to meet new people and swipe through the singles in your area has now turned into an evil business that puts money above everything else.

Tinder did really well in revolutionizing online dating and helping people find partners. However, two years later, things took a strange turn when the app started limiting what users could do.

They started by limiting the daily swipes and then added secret desirability score ratings to each user. They also made certain changes in the algorithms that lowered the visibility of users, minimizing the chances of getting matched.

And when people got frustrated and started questioning if there was something wrong with the app, Tinder Plus was introduced. It promised a profile boost and more matches for a monthly fee of $19.99, and guess what? It drove people crazy!

But soon after Tinder Plus was introduced, things began to return to the previous stage– fewer matches, less visibility, and less excitement.

And guess what? The company introduced Tinder Gold – an upgraded subscription model with added functionalities and more daily swipes for $29.99.

Soon after this release, Tinder platinum was introduced for $39.99 with features like direct messaging and super swipe. This upgrade completely deviated from the principle of mutual consent for matching, which made Tinder famous in the first place.

Tinder has used a clever strategy to monetize loneliness. The secret desirability score ratings and age and gender discrimination are often debated as inappropriate and must be changed. It’s no secret why Tinder has countless allegations and lawsuits against them.

Simply put, the less attractive you are, the more money you pay on Tinder.

Tinder vs. Bumble! The Importance of a USP

Tinder Bumble
Net worth $42 billion Net worth $13 billion
75 million users 45 million users
9:1 male to female ratio 4:6 male to female ratio

 

Bumble is an online dating mobile app founded by the famous American entrepreneur and Tinder’s co-founder Whitney Wolfe Herd. Seeing her co-founders go evil, Whitney left Tinder and went on to start a revolutionary online dating app which we know today as Bumble.

What is remarkable about Bumble is its empowering approach toward women and expansion beyond just a dating platform into a women-centric social network. Bumble operates on the same business model as Tinder but with a slight exception – only women are allowed to initiate a conversation and send a match request on Bumble.

Suppose you have heard about Tinder horror stories. In that case, you might know about the countless sexual violation cases, not to mention the countless identity theft frauds and other severe scams leading to severe consequences. It might seem like gender discrimination, but actually, it is not.

Bumble focuses a lot on account verification and ID authentication, unlike Tinder, which was accused of deliberately adding thousands of fake profiles so that users would find something new every time they log in to the app.

With the unique selling proposition of being the most women-centric online dating platform, Bumble has become a huge success. In fact, it’s considered the best dating and social networking platform in the US.

While Tinder has a 9:1 male-to-female ratio, most of Bumble’s users are female, with a 4:6 male-to-female ratio. This huge gap is killing Tinder as thousands of paid subscribers are switching to Bumble daily.

The lesson for passionate entrepreneurs willing to dive into the online dating industry is to create something unique instead of simply replicating the popular ones. Do extensive market research, conduct surveys, and consult dating coaches to learn how you can improve the online dating experience for millions of people around the globe.

Is It Worth Building a Dating App Today?

The online dating industry is growing faster than ever. With Tinder going all evil and prioritizing money above everything, there’s an opportunity for dating coaches and passionate entrepreneurs to dive into this market.

All you need is a monetization strategy that doesn’t contradict with user’s interest and a unique selling proposition that makes your dating app stand out from the pack!

How Much Does it Cost to Make an App like Tinder?

It’s impossible to determine the exact development cost without knowing the features and functionalities required. However, the estimated cost to build the MVP for a dating app like Tinder ranges between $60,000 – $200,000 and even more.

  • Calculate the Cost of Your App
  • Try our app development cost calculator to determine the estimated cost of your mobile app.

Wrapping Up…

This concludes our guide on how to make a dating app.

If you are interested in learning about the app development process in detail, read this comprehensive guide on building a mobile app or fill out this form to book a free consultation with our app development consultants.

Frequently Asked Questions:

The MVP for a dating app like Tinder would cost anywhere between $60,000 to $200,000, depending on the features and functionality required.

Bumble is by far the best dating app for straight women. It’s the first dating app that came up with the concept of a women-friendly dating platform where only women are allowed to initiate a conversation.

  • Tinder
  • Bumble
  • OkCupid
  • Happn
  • EliteSingles
  • Coffee Meets Bagel
  • Field
  • Her
  • Clover
  • eHarmony

Bumble is definitely better than Tinder, especially for women. It has a 4:6 male-to-female ratio, compared to Tinder with 9:1.

  • Conduct competitive research
  • Plan features and monetization
  • Choose a tech stack
  • Build an MVP
  • Create wireframes and prototype
  • Development
  • Testing and deployment

Online dating has become a billion-dollar industry, with apps like Tinder, Bumble, etc., generating hundreds of millions annually.

Author : Kamran

Kamran Arshad is a computer science graduate with a knack for marketing and copywriting. He helps businesses define their brand voice and convert prospects into customers by creating scroll-stopper writing pieces. His favorite writing niches include technology, entrepreneurship, marketing, and organizational leadership. He enjoys watching movies and TV shows in crime, mystery, and thriller genres and playing chess online in his spare time.

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