Did you know that almost a third of Americans have used dating apps? And that dating app revenue exceeded $5.6 billion in 2021? Needless to say, the dating app industry is lucrative and offers an excellent opportunity to generate income.
With little knowledge of app development, however, entering the dating app market is challenging. That’s why we, at Idea Maker, have created this extensive guide. In this article, you’ll gain an understanding of how to get started in developing your very own dating app. Keep reading to learn more.
What You’ll Learn In This Post:
- Dating app market trends
- Features of a dating app
- Four steps to developing a dating app
- How to market and monetize a dating app
What Is a Dating App?
A dating app is a mobile application that connects individuals based on a set of defined preferences, usually with the aim of sparking romance. Though this isn’t always the case, as there are many apps focused on finding friendships and quick hookups. Dating apps are typically loaded with GPS functionality to enable connections based on locations. That way, when users connect, they don’t have to travel far to meet in person.
Dating App Market Trends
Dating apps should pander to the dating habits of their users. This means that if you’re looking to develop such an app, you need to stay on top of market trends.
Discreet Video Calls
During the COVID-19 lockdowns, dating became even more challenging than usual. If a dating app user connected with someone they liked, there was little to no possibility of meeting them during the height of the pandemic. As a result, many dating apps increased their capabilities by integrating video calls.
Adding video call features raised the question of security. For example, discerning someone’s location from background elements is a possibility that can put users at risk. To protect the safety of their users, dating apps have integrated ways for users to blur their backgrounds and faces, ensuring that their identity is secure.
Once upon a time, hopeless romantics were exposed to a poisonous sea of potential partners, all with vastly different interests. Now, there are a multitude of niché dating apps aimed at connecting users with similar interests and values. For instance, Dig is a matchmaking app for dog lovers, while Veggly is for vegetarians and vegans.
The benefit of niché dating apps is that it removes the fear of interest-isolation – everyone on the platform has a mutual bond over one particular topic, interest, sexuality, or dating preference. As a result, niché dating apps are growing in popularity.
Top 3 Dating Apps
There are many dating apps available, each with different aims and target audiences. Yet not all dating apps are created equal; few reign supreme. Here are three of those few.
Launched in 2012, Tinder is the pioneering force behind the “swipe right” and “swipe left” epitaphs for which this century will be remembered. The app uses location to connect users based on proximity and essential dating preferences, such as sexual orientation. Even after ten years, Tinder remains an industry leader, thanks to its gratifying and simple user interface (UI) that allows users to easily connect with potential partners.
A unique take on modern dating, Kippo is an excellent example of a niché dating app aimed at gamers. Unlike other romance apps like Tinder, Kippo is part virtual world, part dating app. Users can create a profile with pictures of themselves, their interests, and their favorite video games while also designing an avatar and interacting with other users in the Kippo virtual world.
Launched in 2014 by an ex-Tinder co-founder, Bumble follows many of the same functional principles as Tinder, including the swipe right and left gestures. Unlike Tinder, however, Bumble deletes matches if users don’t interact within 24 hours. Another interesting aspect of Bumble is the fact that women have to make the first move–men cannot message first.
Essential Features of a Dating App
Though messaging apps each have different nichés and aims, they generally share several features in common.
In-app messaging is an absolute must for any dating app. Once users match with a potential love interest, they need a convenient way of communicating. Integrating in-app chat features means users can message each other without the fear of revealing too much personal information, such as their social media profiles. As we learned earlier, personal privacy and security are top concerns of dating app users.
Users need the option to set their dating preferences, so they are matched with the right people. Some dating apps, like Tinder, limit the parameters by which users can customize their preferences, opting to focus on location instead. Others offer niché preferences to increase the chances of matches. Either way, all dating apps allow users to set dating preferences to some degree.
Dating apps should allow users to build profiles that they’re happy to present to potential love interests. This means giving users the ability to upload pictures, edit their bio, and list interests at a minimum. Profile pages should also include dating preferences and details such as height and nationality. Of course, it’s best to keep each parameter optional.
Under the Hood: Technical Considerations
Before we move on to the steps involved in developing a dating app, let’s take a moment to understand some crucial technical considerations.
Are you planning to build your dating app for both iOS and Android or would you prefer native functionality for a single platform? If the former is the case, you’ll need to explore cross-platform mobile app development technologies. At Idea Maker, we use React Native and Flutter, as they provide the power of native mobile apps with the convenience of cross-platform compatibility.
MVP or Feature Rich?
Do you want to build the minimum viable product (MVP) or a feature-rich application? At Idea Maker, we recommend developing a scalable MVP. This means building a dating app with essential features only so that it’s poised for further development once a deployable base is created. Doing so means your app gets to market sooner and at a lower cost. However, if you’re absolutely certain of your app’s required features, building a feature-rich application is viable.
4 Steps to Build a Dating App
Now that you have a solid understanding of dating apps, their features, market trends, and technical considerations, it’s time to start building your application. Here are four key steps in the development process.
The first step in creating a successful dating app is to research your niché, researching the expectations of your target audience, and setting out your overall goals. Entering this process with a clear understanding of your audience and goals leaves you poised for greater success, as well as a robust and cohesive development.
The two main types of research are primary and secondary. Primary research involves gathering information yourself through first-hand observations like surveys. Secondary research, on the other hand, consists of using information collected from third-party sources, such as online journals or websites.
Once you understand the expectations of your target audience, you can enter the design phase, creating an app mockup with necessary features clearly outlined. Your design should follow proper user interface and user experience design principles, as discussed in this Idea Maker guide.
Additionally, your app design should convey your desired messaging, matching its niché and branding. For example, if you’re creating a dating app for dog owners, it will need to include relevant images, design elements, and features most likely to appeal to this audience.
3. Develop and Test
Next, it’s time to build your app based on your earlier design. Coding your app is usually the most time-consuming part of the process and requires technical knowledge. If you lack this knowledge, you should consider hiring an expert mobile app development company.
When employing a development agency, there are several factors to consider. Do they offer cross-platform app development? What is their previous experience? And do they offer post-release support? These factors should be scrutinized before hiring.
4. Deliver and Maintain
Finally, once your dating app is developed with the necessary features, it’s time for deployment. This means releasing your app on your chosen platforms, such as iOS and Android. If you’re working with a development company, they can help with this process.
After your app is live, you’ll need to carefully monitor it for bugs so they may be quickly fixed. Maintaining your app is crucial to success. Otherwise, users could get frustrated with your broken mobile application.
Once your app is available in app stores, you’ll need to generate a solid user base in order for later monetization. Here are some ways to do so.
App Store Optimization
Like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), App Store Optimization (ASO) involves positioning your app’s store pages for maximum visibility. This is done in a similar way to SEO by using relevant keywords, in-store page titles, and descriptions. There are also several ASO ranking factors to consider, including keyword usage, reviews, ratings and conversion rate.
If you’re already familiar with SEO principles, you can apply them to ASO. Otherwise, check out this Idea Maker article to get started.
Google Search Ads
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads can be placed on Google search results targeted at users with specific interests and who search relevant keywords. Generally speaking, PPC ads yield high impression rates but low conversion rates. Still, they are an excellent way to create brand awareness and can be placed with a small budget. It’s best to run a few test ads with low budgets before running long-term, expensive campaigns.
Once you’ve built up a user base, you can then work to generate revenue. There are several ways to do this.
One common way to monetize an app is using the SaaS business model. This is where users are offered different levels of access to features for different prices. For example, most apps provide a limited free version and a feature-rich paid version with a mid-level offering somewhere in between. Offering a free version is an excellent way to entice users into wanting more features and ultimately encourages them to upgrade.
You can also offer paid emojis exclusive to your dating app for users to use while messaging. If you opt for a subscription model, this can be part of the upgraded account. Otherwise, you could charge for emoji packs or even individual icons at a low fee.
Another way you can earn revenue is to allow advertisers to run ads on your platform. This allows you to generate income every time the ad is viewed and even more when it’s actually clicked. You can also allow users to remove ads from the app for a one-time or recurring fee.
Idea Maker’s Experience In Mobile App Development
At Idea Maker, we have extensive experience in application development. Quick Friends, for example, is a cross-platform social networking application we developed that offers many features that can easily be translated into dating apps. If you’d like to learn more about our services, schedule a free consultation with us.