How To Make a Dating App Like Tinder?

What do we know about love?

It’s an amazing feeling. It’s hard to find and it has also gone digital today.

You no longer go to a professional matchmaker or ask friends to hook you up with someone. You can simply tap and swipe an app for relevant candidates.

While it’s hard to explain love in numbers, you can easily break down the dating industry to some raw figures that would justify the market depth for building a Tinder clone:

  • Annual revenue from dating apps now tops $2 billion.
  • An average consumer spends $243 for in-app purchases and subscriptions.
  • Over 49,250,000 people in the US only have tried online dating, which makes it 15% of all Americans. In the UK 7 millions of people have used a dating app.
  • Tinder currently boasts over 50 million users globally and 10 million active daily users. 60% of the app’s users come from outside the US.
  • Tinder is estimated to be worth $1.6 billion with $121 million generated by subscriptions only.

Market depth and profitability – checked. Now, let’s have a closer look on your target audience to understand how to make a dating app everyone loves (pun intended).

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Target Audience Overview for a Dating App

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There are no age limits for online dating, however, young adults are still being the most active market share (27%). However, the older folks (from 55 to 65+) have also joined the online dating bandwagon.

  • 52.4% of online daters are male and 47.6% are female, though the latter are usually less active and often require additional engagement factors. Women are also less likely to initiate the contact first.  
  • 64% of users claim that common interests are the most important matching factor, with physical appearance named as the dominate factor only by 49%
  • 71% of online daters believe in love at first sight.
  • Women tend to receive 17 times more in-app messages than men users.
  • Yet, men tend to be 21.9% wordier when answering dating questions for their profile.
  • Spelling mistakes in male profiles diminish their chances for response by 14% whereas misspelled words have zero impact on female profiles (this is the case for having a built-in spell checker).
  • 20% of online daters have asked someone to review and help them complete their profile.
  • 33% of female and 20% of male users retouch their profile pictures – remove skin imperfections, whiten teeth etc. (consider a built-in photo editing to stand out from the dating app crowd).

These stats should give you some ideas of the types of users your dating app will cater. Based on this data and some additional digging you should come up with relevant user stories and functionality for building your product’s MVP.

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The Essential Dating App Functionality and Cool Additional Features To Set You Apart

Wondering how to build an app like Tinder?

The truth is – the majority of dating apps have similar functionality and design to social networking apps:

  • User profiles.
  • Messaging functionality.
  • Newsfeed/content feed with the latest updates.
  • Search, contact and integration options.
  • And the unique element – matchmaking algorithm.

Shall we take a quick look on the essentials and the respective dating app development costs involved?

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Login and Privacy Considerations

Everyone remembers the notorious Ashley Madison case when tons of private data leaked into the world web? Online dating and privacy concerns always come hand in hand.

Most users will rather not let their friends, colleagues and current partners know that they are active in the online dating scene. And of course, no one wants their user data to become a public asset.

Our dating app development company always insists on using SSL certificates and HTTPS connections for added security. If you are considering geo-integration functionality for your app, we’ll make sure that the 3rd party integration will no snoop on your users’ data and re-sell it for advertising purposes.  

Social media logins and integrations come as the 2nd major aspect of personal dating security as those allow to verify users’ identities and protect everyone from possible sex offenders and harassments. Users should also have the ability to report abuses and inappropriate behaviors. Tinder, by the way, has already faced a harassment lawsuit, so do take this issue seriously.

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Additional security measures may include:

  • Additional profile photo verification by requesting users to snap a picture from their device and the app algorithm will ensure that it matches those listed on their profile.
  • Bubble app has taken another approach and introduced the women first messaging system, meaning girls should make the move right after they’ve got matched. This was aimed to reduce a number of inappropriate messages female users get and the response has been overwhelmingly positive so far.
  • Siren app offered women an option to initially blur their profile photos and get messages from people only interested in their answers to dating questions.
  • You may require double verification e.g. both via Facebook and LinkedIn to create a more refined user-base.
  • Set a minimum required amount of Facebook friends/connections to weed out potential spammers and frauds.
  • You can create an exclusive invite-only dating app or “luxury” functionality that would require not only additional screening, but a personal invite from an established community member as well. Marketing such a product can be harder initially, though.  

In general, the best way to balance your company’s need for user growth and the quality of users it to create a two-step login option.

  • Generic login with email/pass or one social media accounts, which would give limited access to the app features. Signing up and getting a taste of your product would be easy.
  • Additional verification to unlock complete functionality. For instance, integrating Facebook/LinkedIn/Instagram etc. or uploading additional verification documents like ID copy/social security number.

However, here pops another concern – a lot of users feel reluctant about the providing too much personal sensitive data for the fear of getting busted with online dating.

Hence, you should clearly communicate your data protection policy. Highlight that you will never disclose or post anything on their behalf and outline which user information you store and collect in the first place.

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User Profiles

Most dating apps offer linear profile views – pic, a list of interests, questions answered etc. However, that shouldn’t be the norm. You may want to experiment and offer users a Pinterest-styled way to organize their pics and personal tidbits. Or keep it simple like Tinder does with minimalistic design and focus on pictures and swapping.

Some essential UX and UI guidelines to consider:

  • Big clear pictures with the ability to add/store a few different ones.
  • About me field with a few pre-suggested questions the struggling users may answer and enlist.
  • Like/dislike and message functionality.
  • Encourage users to use real names and age to reduce “fakery” or better pull this data automatically from their social profiles.
  • Include an anonymous “save for later” button for the undeceive types.
  • You can add some custom twists like in-built face tune for pics. Sure that may drive the dating app development price tag higher, but some users will definitely appreciate this.
  • Additional custom features for a dating app may include video messaging, calls, custom stickers and in-app gifts and other sweet little perks to break the ice and foster going offline.

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Messaging

You have two most common options here:

  • Make the messaging free and unlimited like Tinder and Grindr does.
  • Require users to purchase credits once the user hits their weekly/monthly limit (OkCupid and Zoosk strategy).

Additional cool messaging perks to consider:

  • Video chats/video exchanges.
  • Encourage women to message first over men.
  • Set of pre-made icebreaker questions to keep the conversation flowing.

Geolocation

Your app should match-make people in the same area, not on different continents You can monitor user logs and auto-update their profile based on this data. Don’t forget to ask for permission during the initial login!

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Matchmaking Algorithm

That’s arguably the trickiest part of your product. Playing some sort of clairvoyant and stating and John should like Jane is difficult, especially on a large scale. Here’s how various dating apps are tackling this process:

  • Long user surveys and questionnaires to define their personality (eHarmony and Match have notoriously big ones)
  • Tinder bases their matchmaking just on profile pictures.
  • Zoosk assesses your personality based on simple yes/no questions and proposes the most relevant matches.
  • Heavenly Sinful app took another root and allows users to scale their intentions on a heavenly/sinful scale, add them on the mood map and get matched with people nearby.

Basically, all the “smart” matchmaking algorithms used in dating apps can be broken down to 3 key factors:

  • Psychological compatibility – the app assesses your personal traits like temperament, social style, values etc.  
  • Shared interests – hobbies, favorite movies and common experiences the users list on their profiles.
  • Physical characteristics – achieved through a variety of complex factors, most dating apps prefer not to disclose.  

Speaking of a dating app like Tinder, where the major emphasis is put on appearance specifically, there have been some speculations on how exactly their algorithm works:

  • You are first matched with 10-15 profiles ranked on a “more attractive” side to encourage the app usage.
  • Next, the app will show you the profiles you’ve been already matched with and now awaiting your swipe back with some non-matches in between.
  • The more you swipe and the more often you login to the app – the more matches you are likely to receive.
  • Tinder is rumored to secretly reward people, who swipe right often as the app wants more matches and conversation to happen. While if you’re swiping left too much, you get marked as “picky” and your profile will be shown less.

This is the essential functionality for a simple dating app with a few possible twists. Let’s have a look how much developers will charge you for such business project.

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So How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Dating App?

By the time you decide to hire dating app developers for your startup, you should have a clear understanding on the features you wish to implement and the manpower required to do the job.

Here’s a three-step checklist to help you with this task:

Next, let’s have a look at the man hours required for the key features:  

  • Authorization via Facebook/Instagram/LinkedIn and social data sync (32-44) hours)
  • Profiles functionality and design (28-40 hours)
  • App settings (28-36 hours)
  • Geolocation integration (28-48 hours)
  • Messaging system (90-150 hours depending on the requested functionality)
  • App feed and discovery settings (32-48 hours)
  • Payment integrations for in-app purchases (90-150 hours)

The team you should hire for your project:

  • UX Designer
  • UI Designer
  • 2 iOS developers/2 Android developers
  • Front-end developer
  • Back-end developer
  • Project manager
  • QA Ninja

Now let’s take a closer look at the possible project timeline:

Dating app with basic functionality or MVP:

  • UX/UI design – 230 to 300 hours.
  • Coding for two platforms  – 400 to 600 hours.
  • PM and QA  – 200 to 300 hours.

Final cost: $30.000 to $50.000 depending on the team’s hourly rates.

Dating app with advanced functionality:

  • UX/UI design – 950 to 1800 hours.
  • Coding for two platforms – 1500 to 2500 hours.
  • PM and QA – 750 to 1250 hours.

So what’s the final price tag? $80.000 to $200.000 depending on the advanced functionality and hourly rates.

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