With an overall cost of $2.2 billion by 2015, online dating industry has turned into one of the most profitable niches for app developers and marketers. It highlights a rapid growth each year with no tendencies to slow down. We can witness some great examples of successful dating applications that come with enormous revenues and subscribers around the globe. Tinder is certainly the app to take as an example. How much does it cost to develop an equal platform? Many developers are eager to know the exact figures.

Market research is the best bet whenever you plan to build your own fresh dating app with an innovative feature or create a platform that is equal to Tinder. Let’s find out what are the most recognizable and successful applications available on the market. We are going to analyze their types, monetization model and other key factors.

Dating app classification

Dating apps can be classified in accordance with their type. We are going to divide those types into several major groups:

Matching by geo location. These dates are based on the same algorithm as Tinder. The main idea is to find all possible matches in your area by user’s location. There are some other popular dating apps of the same type including Bumble and Tangle.

Apps based on matching algorithm. This is another group of possible dating apps based on offline matching services. A user can find a perfect match in accordance with his or her personal data and survey information. eHarmony is a fine example of such dating service.
Traditional dating apps. These are the apps the entire online dating industry started from. We all remember those old-fashioned dating sites featuring the same functions and tools available on the pilot web version of the resource. Some of them do not still have mobile apps being unable to compete with the main rivals in the niche.

Niche-based applications. The main missions of these services is to divide users into special groups uniting them in accordance with their preferences, interests and purposes. Some may find this app group a bit limited with opportunities and features. On the other hand, they let users choose people to match from a preferable circle or social layer. The League is a prototype of such social services letting people choose a match by profession or degree.

Bristlr is another good example of a niche-dating application that unites people with beards.

Summing up the information, we have stressed some key challenges and obstacles that may appear when developing your own essential dating app.

Dating app monetization strategies

As well as any other mobile application, dating apps offer several monetization strategies. We have come with some of the basic ways to make a profit. You are free to add some new and unique features as well. Basic monetization solutions include:

  • Fees for subscription. In other words, a user should pay for using your app for a given period.
  • Ad campaigns and selling space to third-parties is another way to make some money.
  • In-app currency, icons, coins and other types of in-app purchases.
  • Premium accounts and paid additional features. Whenever a user wants to unlock a specific function, he or she needs to pay a fee.

Generally, dating app developers make money by charging fees for additional options and features. Here are some clear examples.

Access Restrictions. The idea is to limit the number of fundamental features like responding, sending messages of looking through profiles. Such model can be implemented as a motivation for users to pay for particular features as well as obtain premium accounts and get an access to the app without any limits or restrictions. Tinder tends to use the same motivation and encourage more users to get premium accounts. Establishing fees for some crucial features is typical for major dating apps.

Extended options. This model is actually equal to the previous one. Whenever a user is eager to benefit from extended features and no restrictions, he or she will need to pay. The only difference is that you pay not to access a particular function but to extend it. For example, Bumble email users have only 24 hours to message a girl they like. Otherwise, they will lose the match. An extended feature provides the extra 24 hours to initiate a contact.

Despite the variety of monetization strategies, many dating app developers face difficulties when making a profit from their services no matter how successful they are.

What monetization difficulties can a dating app developer face?

They key to success is to acquire as many users as possible. Otherwise, your app will hardly be profitable. Creating a growing user’s database is not as easy as it may seem at first sight.

Another crucial obstacle is a misbalance between girls and boys as app users. It is really hard to stick to a balanced proportion.
Developers should also keep in mind that most people use several dating apps at the same time. In other words, you are likely to complete with three or more other applications and offer your users some unique features or lower prices.

In case your app is a success, you should be prepared to lose some of your users. After someone finds a match, he or she is likely to leave the application, as there is no point in using it. In other words, your product should be trendy featuring some latest mobile and web tendencies. We have numerous examples of great apps that left the market right after their successful debut.

We tried to proceed with the most detailed research of both iOS and Android dating app markets to determine some of the key features most users want to see in the application. Developers should also consider some basic KPI factors including income metrics, the level of users’ engagement and interaction, etc. Such analysis will keep you focused on the main points and modify your service in accordance with users’ needs resulting in higher revenues.

Ways to enable high level of engagement with a dating app

Dating app metrics consists of three fundamental KPI factors. They typically include:

  • The length of session;
  • The rate of retention;
  • A number of visited pages per session.
  • Is there any way to increase the level of users’ engagement? Yes, there is.
Step 1

Use various types of matching algorithms and do not stick to one only. Developers implement two major types of matching algorithms when building a dating app.

  • Survey-based algorithm is based on the information about users. In other words, you find a match in accordance with your common preferences, hobbies, interests, goals, activities and more factors. The main benefit is that such algorithm is mainly based on the quality of the match but not their quantity. According to the latest psychological researches, we may not like it when the choice is huge. We would appreciate more a match with the same topics to discuss. Even a couple of matches would be a good news.
  • Facial recognition algorithm follows the idea that we are likely to choose soul mates with some common facial features. We do not know about any applications that implement these technologies. On the other hand, Tinder already uses a bot for its Eigenfaces app. It constructs models of faces in accordance with your preferences and dislikes to enable an automatic search.
Step 2

Do not forget to deliver a selection of filters in order to make your app as engaging as possible.

The more filters you provide the easier it will be for users to find a match. They may include various factors ranging from age, gender, weight and height to type of body and appearance, interests, music preferences, activities, hobbies and more. However, such filters can be found in numerous dating apps alike. So, you need to think of something original and unique. For instance, you may enable users to look for a match in accordance with their favorite meal or cuisine, type of preferred public places, auto brand, etc.

Geolocation appears to be one of the most important and handy filters according to the latest surveys. However, the function should not be limited letting users find a match not only in their hometown or borough but also in the working area. A user must have a chance to establish his or her own borders of the geolocation. It will let you improve the rate of retention.


Keep in mind that most people use dating apps because they are shy or embarrassed. It may be hard for some people to get on well live in the foci or café. For this reason, anonymity may appear to be a vital feature when choosing between your application and another service.

On the other hand, anonymous communication should have nothing in common with fake profiles. Both men and women are eager to feel confident about the fact that their match is real Linking the page to social network profiles is a good solution to this problem.

On the other hand, there is always a user who does not want to share his or her personal data. Partial anonymity would be the best bet in such situation. It lets both see names and faces without any personal information like telephone number, city or address.

Step 4

A good idea is to motivate users to share some content. For example, Tinder encourages people to share their photos using Tinder’s Moments section. Although available for 24 hours only, such photos may appear to be a good motivation for others.

Whenever you need to increase the retention rate, you need to make people use your app repeatedly. Push notifications are a good idea. Your mission is to inform users whenever they have a new match, like or message. The idea is to keep them engaged 24/7. Developers often use constant suggestions or recommendation. Keep your users always curious about what is going on inside the app.

Our recommendations when building a dating app
  • Target the audience that is hard to grow organically. These are females when it comes to dating application. So, choose a specific way to target them
  • Focus on a particular region. You will hardly cope with an entire country. Start with a town or city, launch a university dating app.
  • Do not try to outrun Tinder or other dating app giants. You are likely to fail. However, you may offer something unique to attract users who are fed up with the most popular apps. There is always someone looking for something new.
  • Never use fake user accounts. This is a bad idea when generating a users’ database.
  • Work out a wise and efficient marketing campaign to make your product hit the headlines at once. Use social networks and other traffic channels.
How much will a dating app cost?

There are many factors that determine the cost of app development. They include application complexity, a number of features to implement, the amount of working hours and more. If we speak of an app like Tinder, be prepared to pay up to $350,000. A more simple application may cost you from $28,000.

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