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App Development
8 minutes read

Dating App Development: Everything You Need to Know

by Jose Gomez
App Development
8 minutes read

Dating apps have forever changed how we meet new people. Although the idea sounds simple, an app that helps people get together was enough to alter human relations. That’s why thinking about developing a dating app is not a crazy idea. As a matter of fact, there are many opportunities.

Although probably only Tinder comes to mind, the dating app market has grown to be an interesting and diverse one. By 2024, the global dating app market is expected to surpass the $8.4 billion mark. Its future seems very promising, and even more interesting, there seems to be a lot of opportunity for new game players. 

Thanks to their potential to target niches, dating apps can be developed for all sorts of different user preferences. In this post we discuss the basics of dating apps, how they work, and what you should consider if you are thinking about developing one. 

The Dating App Market

One of the best things about meeting people online is that we get to meet people we wouldn’t normally meet in real life. Although we live in a hyper-connected world, we seem to move around in the same social circles, go to the same places, and hang out with the same people. 

Having an app to meet strangers opens up many opportunities for users looking for a serious relationship, meet new people, or just go out on a date to see what happens.

A Niche Market

Some apps target very specific categories of users, while others focus on broader audiences. Others even target specific geographical regions. These are some of the most popular names in the industry.

  • Badoo
  • Tinder 
  • Bumble
  • OkCupid
  • Happn
  • Coffee Meets Bagel

If you are thinking about developing a dating app, taking a look at the existing ones will surely help you get an idea of what works and what doesn’t. 

Dating App Innovation

Although it may seem that there’s not much to innovate in terms of dating apps, the contrary is actually true. There are a lot of opportunities for companies to develop different business models. Each app can therefore target a specific audience and, in turn, use customized features that differentiate it from competitors. 

These characteristics result in a very dynamic dating app market. For example, we’ve seen how an app like Bumble, which focuses on women making the first move, has been able to gain an important market share in a market that belonged to behemoths like Badoo and Tinder. This can be explained because it is the users who decide what app they like at the end of the day. 

How Dating Apps Work

Dating apps work in a simple way thanks to a great User Experience (UX) and gamification principles. To use them, you need to log in and create a profile. This can be easily done with the use of authentication methods that sign you in using your Facebook or Google account; that way you can access other information that’s connected to your social media profiles. 

The better your profile, the more likely you will find people who are interested in you. Adding pictures, the music you like, your hobbies, books you’ve read or a description of who you are can help people know more about you.

Once you are done with your profile, you can move on to configure other aspects of the app. You can share what you are interested in, or even specify if you are looking for something in particular, like only men, only women, or both.

The app will show people who are near you (some apps even have a passport premium feature to virtually relocate users to other places). You can see their profiles and find out more about the users that look interesting to you. To indicate you like them, you can swipe in one direction, or if you don’t like them, you can swipe in the other direction. If someone likes you back, you will have a new match. Once you have a match, you can start talking to the other person. 

How Dating Apps Make Money

There are many different ways in which dating apps make money. In general, they offer a freemium model where some basic functions are available to all users. The catch is that other features, the really good ones, are only available if you pay.

Some dating apps will ask you to buy tokens that can be used inside the app to unlock certain features. Once you use your tokens, you will have to buy more. Other dating apps offer a subscription model that allows you to access a feature a number of times or use it as much as you want. Depending on their needs, each user can choose the plan that is most convenient. In other words, dating apps offer a hybrid business model that combines Software as a Service (SaaS) and in-app purchases. 

Additionally, many dating apps also use in-app advertising. This is a practice that many different industries are adopting throughout their apps, so it is not surprising that it is also the case for dating apps. 

Dating App Challenges

By combining great features, a powerful UX, and gamification principles, dating apps have become a fast-growing market. However, there are many challenges that need to be overcome. The good thing is, if you are a new player in the market, you might have a chance to compete against established ones. 

Whether your dating app has already gained some traction or you are just planning its development, these are some of the challenges you will encounter:

Security

This is probably the most important challenge that dating apps face. It involves not only security in the digital sense of the world, but also in the physical world. The former means guaranteeing users a decent level of privacy as well as the right authentication protocols. The latter means guaranteeing them that their experiences with other users will go well. That is why companies like Tinder have added an emergency button in some regions; users can contact emergency services in case they encounter a threat.  

Build a Network

This is one of the hardest things for any new dating app. After all, it is a network, and like any other network, it is only as good as the number of users it has. The challenge consists of bringing people together to use your app. Once that is done, you will be able to gain some traction and attract more users organically. The difficult part is to overcome the initial inertia.

Competition

There are many opportunities for the dating app market, so how is it possible that competition is a threat? The two do not exclude each other. The fact that it is very attractive makes many competitors want to join the fun. Due to this, it is important that any app that wants to remain in the game stays relevant to users. That can only be done with the right UX.

User Experience

The UX is very important no matter the app industry you are in. Digital dating is no exception. Users are very strict about the apps they download, so building the right UX for them is highly valued. Understand their needs, and if you are competing at a niche level, make sure to deliver on your promises. Having a top design team helps you guarantee a seamless experience.

Creativity

One of the best things about this industry is that it is very new, and because of that, there is a lot to do. Creativity can open up many new opportunities, but to do so, you will need a great team. Only by having the best people on board will you be able to offer users new and innovative features that can spice up their digital dating experience. 

Dating App Opportunities

Although challenges exist in the market, there are also many opportunities to capitalize on. These are just some of them:

  • Implement powerful AI and Machine Learning algorithms to enhance the UX.
  • Address specific niche opportunities.
  • Focus on connecting specific types of users regardless of their location.
  • Offer premium features that users are willing to pay for. 
  • Enhance the digital experience with on-site physical ones. 

Dating App Development

One of the key success factors of any world-class dating app is its development. Like any other industry, developing a world-class dating app needs to meet the highest coding standards. At the same time, it needs to consider the right UX for your users. 

Partnering up with a qualified development partner like Koombea is a great alternative. We have been building apps since 2007, helping our clients develop apps that users love. Additionally, we consider every detail of their business. 

Don’t just take our word for it. Contact us for a free consultation and find out why we might be what you are looking for.

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