How to Make a Dating App

Have you ever thought to make your own tinder app? The market is growing rapidly: almost 30% of relationships have been started online these days. Yep, you heard it right. Moreover, for same-sex couples, it is even higher, around 70%.

Dating Mobile App: Trends

Basically, every 4th person in the US used their iOS or Android phone to find somebody. Investing in this market now is an excellent idea - according to Statista, it will grow by 35% in the next five years: from $538 to $723 million.

Dating Mobile App: Revenue

So, what does it take to make a dating app similar to Tinder?

Good news: it is not that difficult to create a dating app. Average dating application does not need lots of features, and it makes them easier and faster to make. And, of course, cheaper than other application categories.

Table of contents
  1. How to Make a Dating App
  2. Let's begin
  3. Registration
  4. Account
  5. Matches
  6. User Profile
  7. Messaging
  8. Application goals
  9. Additional features
  10. Monetization
  11. Summary

How to Develop a Dating Mobile App

Let's think of the main features of the dating app:

  1. Registration. Nobody wants to see nameless users without profile pictures.
  2. Account. The place where users can set up their profile, photos, images, description, and so on.
  3. Matches. That main screen where the action happens! Swiping, liking,
  4. User Profile. Just a photo is not enough. We need to allow users to view all the details about their potential match: where are they from? What do they like?
  5. Messaging. When users match, we need to help them connect. Chats are tricky in dating apps though. We need to encourage people to talk. Moreover, we need to make sure conversation stays polite.

Of course, these are basic features. If you would like to be a leader in the market, it would be a good idea to think of some unique features. Why not use geolocation, and show people in a cafe where the user is right now? Or use machine learning to understand whom user like, and show them better matches?

Possibilities are limitless, just think of something that user needs, and we will help you implement it in your product. Already have an idea? Just write to us at mail@mova.io, or tell us more about your idea, and we will get back to you with more info!

Now, let's go and check how to create a dating app!

Let's begin

Dating Mobile App: Trends

So, let's figure out what do we start with. We want to create a native dating application for iOS or Android platform. When we develop this kind of apps at mova.io, we prefer to use Swift for iOS, and Kotlin for Android.

However, mobile applications can't work with a back-end server. The back-end is where all the logic happens, and all the data is stored. It is used to authenticate users, to provide a list of potential matches from the database, handles messaging, and much more. Depending on project needs, we can use Ruby on Rails or Node.js. We can even use a serverless architecture with Amazon AWS or Google's Firebase. It all depends on many factors, so if you are in doubt - we can always help you in choosing the right one.

And now, let's talk about each section, and how to make a dating app for iPhone in details.

Registration

Dating Mobile App: Trends

If you want to create a tinder like app, you need to start with user profiles. Dating can't exist without them. We need to allow users to create their accounts with email, phones, or just using their Facebook, Google, or any other way to log in.

It is a good idea to choose a couple of ways to create an account. We suggest going with Phone registration: it will limit the number of fake accounts. And with Facebook - it will help users to speed up the process since we will be able to use some data from Facebook.

On average, developing and testing the registration process can take around 36 hours. It includes registration with phone and Facebook, login for existing users, legal screens, and so on. The price for this section with $35 hourly rate will be $1260

Account

Dating Mobile App: Trends

In this section of the app, a user will be able to set up his profile, choose photos, describe himself.

Here the user can also set whom he is looking for, customize his preferences, privacy and notifications settings, and more.

The basic set of features usually takes 60-70 hours to implement and can cost around $2240.

However, we usually suggest making this section stand out. If your app only asks the user to add photos and description - it won't be very different from any other apps. Think of third-party integrations here. Connecting Instagram feed can take around 14 hours, but will dramatically improve the user experience.

Matches

Dating Mobile App: Trends

Okay, this is what all the dating apps are about. Showing users potential matches.

Although for a user, this section feels simple and just shows random men or women, under the hood of each dating app, lays a sophisticated matching algorithm. The better algorithm is, the better matches your user will get. The better matches he will get, the more engaged with the app he will be.

Matching algorithm will filter all the users in the database by lots of parameters:

  • gender
  • age
  • location
  • popularity
  • profile completeness
  • number of logins
  • custom parameters (height, for example)
  • whether users were matched previously
  • and much more;

Of course, when the matching algorithm will find people to show, iOS or Android app will fetch them and will display to the user. It can be in Tinder's Cards style, where we can swipe left and right to like or pass, classic list of users, or in any other way that you can think of.

On average, it can take 40 hours to add matching logic to back-end and mobile applications with Tinder-like cards and swiping, which can cost $1,400 with a $35 hourly rate.

User Profile

In most cases, a user will want to check additional details about the potential match. This is where we will show all the photos and videos available, text description, info from connected social networks, their education, job, and much more.

The more personalized this page is, the more chances the user will "like" the profile. You, as a product owner, is interested in keeping matches number higher. If the user will open the app, and all the people whom we show won't be interesting for a user - he won't come back. This is not what we want.

The average user profile page similar to Tinder would cost around $700, and take 20 hours. But do you really need an average?

Think of all the possible customizations that you could do. Maybe connect additional social services, to show what each person likes? Imagine integration with some geolocating services, how cool it would be to show "You both like the cafe downstairs"?

This is the section of the app that will event help you attracting new users. The better it is, more chances that users will recommend it to each other.

Messaging

Dating Mobile App: Trends

When users matched, we need to provide a way for them to connect somehow. The most obvious way is messaging.

Of course, we can add audio or video calls as well, but in most cases, it can be an overkill. We are developing a dating app right now, not a messenger. However, we can help you with apps similar to WhatsApp as well.

Implementing text messaging can take 20-30 hours on average, and can cost around $870. However, in dating apps, we will need to go further.

First of all, we need to make sure that conversation stays polite. It is always a good idea to add some kind of filter, just to make sure that nothing offensive will be sent. Some products go further and disable multimedia messages (photos, videos, and so on). Advanced apps do have photo messages, but they make sure that no nudity or anything offensive will be there with sophisticated image recognition algorithms.

Application goals

We described only basic features above. But there is much more to it.

There are now hundreds of dating applications, and most of them are the same. They only include features that were described just now. If you want to make a business and not just an application, we will need to make the app stand out of the competition. We need to monetize it. We need to make users say "WOW!" when they use it, and to make them tell their friends about it.

How can we do it?

Additional features

So, how to make a dating app for android which will stand out? Let's think about interesting features that can improve the user experience.

If you will take Tinder, you will see that they have integrated lots of third-party services that make experience more fun. Spotify helps people understand what people are listening to. Isn't it great to have a match that also likes listening to that weird metalcore band? It also helps to start a conversation easier: "Hey, I know you like The Beatles, let's go see their live show?"

Besides, they show the user's Instagram feed. There is never enough photos in dating applications, and Instagram helps here a lot!

If we take Badoo, they have an interesting "bumping" feature, that tells you that you just bumped into another Badoo user. Maybe you were even sitting in the same cafe, and a possible match was sitting just over the next table?

This is where you can let your imagination run wild. Just in this article we already came up with two unique features (remember geolocation idea?). These features are what will make the user come back.

Monetization

Dating Mobile App: Trends

If you want to make a business, then the app needs to generate money. How to start a dating app that can do it:

  • In-App Purchases. Users can buy access to some interesting features, like showing who liked your profile or making sure that possible match will see that you are interested. Some applications have in-app gifts, that also help to start a conversation.
  • Paid Membership or Subscriptions. There are applications where you have to pay for access. In this case, you will need to make sure that users will get access to the best matches and best experience possible, to make sure they will be happy to continue their subscription.
  • Advertisements. This is the easiest way, but sometimes it can be irritating for a user. We need to make sure that ads won't be shown too often, but will still generate you some revenue.

Summary

In this article we tried to describe how to make a dating app, how much time can it take, and how much it costs. Overall, dating apps are simple. It does not need a many investments to make a basic application, and it will need some interesting key features to make sure that app will stand out.

You can find our interactive estimation for a Tinder-like app here: Dating App Interactive Estimations. You can select only the features that you will need to see how much it will cost, and how much it will take.

And now, let's just sum up all knowledge we have gathered, and see how much it costs to make a native iOS or Android basic dating application:

Feature Average Development Time Approximate Price ($35/h)
Registration 36 $1,260
Account 65 $2,240
Matches 40 $1,400
User Profile 20 $700
Messaging 25 $870
Admin Panel 40 $1,400
Total 226h or 8 weeks $7,870

As you can see, this is an estimation for a basic application and admin panel. You can always try to add more features to our Interactive Estimations, or just contact us if you would like to add some custom functions to the application or make your own tinder app.

If you would like to create a dating application for iOS, Android, or even web, just let us know. Our team of professional developers completed multiple dating apps for these platforms and would be happy to share our experience with you.


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