How to Build a Dating App Like Tinder: Guide, Costs, and Tips
- Updated on 11 Jan 2024
- 20 min
In today’s fast-paced world, dating apps have become extremely popular by offering convenience and an easy way to meet potential partners.
As one in five relationships now start online, having a user-friendly dating app is no longer a luxury for singles – it’s a necessity.
Back in the day, friends, family, and even neighbors played matchmaker, introducing couples that would live happily ever after. But now, with busy work schedules and lives spent glued to phone screens binge-watching the latest Netflix show, people have less time to go out and meet new people face-to-face.
That’s where dating apps come in. Available 24/7, right in one’s hand, these apps use special algorithms to instantly match users with compatible partners.
In this article, we will explore the factors that contribute to the popularity of Tinder, along with offering advice and best practices for creating a successful dating app to help users find romance.
Let’s get started!
Why Create a Tinder-like App?
Gone are the days when 5 PM marked the end of a workday, and people had time to meet and socialize with potential dates.
Tinder has not only changed the face of online dating but also carved a unique mark among online dating apps. While the intent here is not to replicate the online dating giant, it is to deliver something even better.
But in order to quantify whether developing a Tinder like application feasible or not, here are a few pointers.
What is Tinder? The Basics
Tinder allows users to swipe left or right across multiple profiles in order to find a possible date as per geographic proximity. But only when both parties like each other, they can chat, and a physical date might be on the cards.
Twitter was released in 2012, (yes, when the world was predicted to end due to a cataclysmic event). While the app saw its inception and development in a startup incubator Hatch Labs, in the lovely Los Angeles.
In just two years’ time, it managed to achieve more than a billion swipes a day! And has ever since connected countless hearts.
Today, the Tinder app is up and running in a whopping 196 countries, so it is pretty much accessible all across the globe. Besides, a user spends at least half an hour on Tinder each day, on average.
Now let’s have a look at the revenue side of Tinder.
Tinder is the top grosser among all the dating apps in the world, with a hefty $78.4 million plus in user spending. That’s not it. Tinder revenue also surpassed the second top-grossing app, Bumble by more than $50 million.
In fact, in the first quarter, Tinder yearly revenue grew higher than even Netflix, in the non gaming app category.
Meanwhile, Tinder success stats also state that until last year, it had over 100 million downloads and 30 billion matches.
To get a better grasp of Tinder’s journey, here is a brief on Tinder’s success in 2019.
Now though matching this scale seems hard, it is definitely not impossible. If you plan in the right direction, validate an idea and come up with an app that’s better than Tinder, there is nothing stopping you!
So if it seems like it is worth all the hype, you must look forward to developing not a similar, but better dating app. So next we have an insight into the business value of developing an app like tinder but better.
Business Value of a Dating App
Developing a dating application can be a highly profitable business.
Tinder alone generates revenue of $78.4 million-plus in user spending in a year. An application becomes valuable when it is touching the lives of people in some way.
Also, if it provides people with some kind of facility that no other app is providing, then surely the app makes its way in the market.
Developing a dating app can bring a fortune for you if everything is done in a planned way and the execution is done with perfection.
There are several benefits of making a dating app such as:
- Major Monetization Opportunities
There are various strategies that the developers use to cover the monetary aspect of the app. Third-party services and in-app advertisements are some of the ways through which one can make money through an app.
There are studies that show that 20% of the users of dating apps use the premium features in order to get the results.
- Significant User Retention Rate
The retention rate of an app is calculated by analyzing how much of the app does the user use after the installation. It is very important to build a connection of the app with the user so that the engagement remains constant.
When making a dating app, the engagement of the people is high as the app provides new alternatives every day for meeting new people. More people equals more money.
- Huge User Database
One of the biggest advantages of developing a dating app is that the app never falls short of users.
In these times, when people do not have the time to find a partner for themselves, a dating app gives them a big opportunity to find new people.
Dating app provides users with the people of distinct interests, age, and gender. If your app has an interactive interface and is providing good features, then there is very little chance that people will not like the app.
A dating app is the need for every other mobile user these days.
- Generates High Revenue
Developing an application can be a really profitable solution for developers.
Tinder was just launched eight years back and it has made a big market value in the industry. As per the stats, Tinder makes up to $800 million within the total Group Match revenue of 1.72 billion dollars.
So there are multiple dating app benefits that can be availed by the developers provided that the app is good and helpful.
Well, it isn’t a one-step journey that will lead to the development of Tinder like app. You will need to develop a process flow that factors in every single step. Here’s how it goes:
Ideation: Yes, the basic idea is to build a dating app, but what kind of dating app are you looking to develop? There are matchmaking apps, dating apps, hook up apps, and several other niches.
Making a Rough Sketch: Penning down or making a rough structure for the application is the next step. This is where you can also create a wireframe. Explain what the users will experience, create information architecture.
Designing: Any app won’t look good with a simple design. You need to make it look attractive. Work on the designing part and make sure that your dating app has set everything right.
The concepts, layers, graphics, icons, interface, dashboard, and everything else. It has to look beautiful.
Coding: This is where you start to bring the application to life. Start with the coding part for both iOS and Android versions or learn how to outsource. This part will take the longest time. Make sure everything is perfect and bug-free.
Testing and Quality Assurance: Test every sequence at least three times. You cannot make your dating app live while it still has some bugs. Testing is essential from every angle. Check whether every function performs as desired.
Look for errors in the design, the framework, the coding and everything else. Leave no stone unturned.
Debugging: Yes, there will be some bugs in the beginning. Fix them and revise the coding part before testing it again. Your dating has to be flawless and to ensure that repeat these two steps, testing and debugging.
Make it live: In the last step, make your application live. After submitting it to the app store and play store, you need to start promoting it.
How to Make a Better Dating App Than Tinder
Tinder itself is a wonderful app and its popularity is proof of that! However, there are several drawbacks of it too. So in order to develop a dating app better than Tinder it is advisable to cover the drawbacks of Tinder.
The matchmaking algorithms should be better to help users find a match with authentic users. All the basic functionality should be added with a simple and interactive user interface.
Also, the app must be integrated with various additional features. These include social media, geolocation, spam detection, calendar, and others.
This makes the app more interactive and engaging for the users.
How to Build a Dating App Like Tinder
Developing a new dating app like Tinder is neither hard nor a child’s play! Such applications come under social category, with the intention to enhance social interaction. In this particular case, to find a suitable romantic partner.
But at the same time, no two dating apps are alike and touch different perspectives of communication, or the way communication takes place. Albeit, there are a few things that are common, and a few where you can play around with creativity.
So here are a few steps to follow before making a dating app.
- Finalize the functionality principles of the dating app.
- Create a structural outline of the app.
- Choose the appropriate tech aspects to be added to it.
Before we dig deep into how to make a dating app like tinder a conscious clarity about the expected end product is necessary.
Suitable App Architecture
The app architecture takes into account the features to be built into the application. Plus, the possible risks and glitches that may occur. It will make a clear picture of how the users will interact with the app.
Besides, incepting the launch screen is also a part of the app architecture. It is the screen that first appears while the app is still loading.
Tech Stack for a Dating App
There are a lot of tools that are required to develop a dating app like tinder. Consequently, there are different tools for both iOS and Android app development. And there is also no shortage of these tools.
You can extend the list as per the required services and additions for your application.
Here are a few essential tools that are required for developing such an application:
|Category of Tools
|React Native, Laravel
|PayPal, Braintree, Stripe
|Other Important Tools
|Elastic-search, Google Maps, Google Analytics, Twilio, UserNotifications Framework, etc.
Top Integrations for a Dating App
Developing a dating application like Tinder can be quite useful for the people and it can generate good revenue if it hits the market right.
Must-Have Tinder Features
One of the reasons why Tinder became a hit is because of its simpler interface. It has a very basic yet appealing interface that can be used by people of any generation.
This is a quality that every application must have so that more people are able to use the app without much trouble.
The whole UI of a mobile application takes around 3-4 weeks for development.
Rest depends on the number of hours your developer works and the size of the team. Outsourcing the work to workplaces that offer lower rates can bring down your cost than hiring people from other developed countries.
But, the key is to make sure that you get quality work and do not compromise on the quality aspect.
Though internet connectivity is not an issue, however, there might be times when it goes out of access. For instance, in a lift, a basement, or a far-flung campsite might not have a good connectivity score.
To kill the boredom or stay updated if one can have access to a dating app, what can be better.
Naturally, when Tinder made this feature available to its users, it saw an increase in its user base. Thus, if you too wish to garner a large number of users, this feature is a must-have.
What if a user wants to have a live video conversation with a match before going on a physical date?
The intention might be to ascertain that the person on the other end is legit and not a made-up profile. Or perhaps a little warming up with a future date will avoid awkward situations on the date night.
Besides, it also helps in deciding to take things further or not.
Adding this feature will require the developed to utilize either peer to peer connection methodology or the STUN Server method for development. And this process has to be combined with robust back end support and a good UX/UI design.
Adding a video chat option to the application will take around 120 to 130 hours using the third-side API.
In terms of cost, then it will again depend on your choice of developer. A local development team in the US taking $100 – $250 per hour. While the outsourcing development team could take significantly less.
The prices based on the location.
There always runs an excitement in the mind of a user who uses such dating apps. It is very important to include features that will notify the user when someone swipes right on their profile.
This feature becomes of high importance to people who regularly stay updated with the app.
For instance, when a person gets a message, they should get a notification so that they do not have to constantly keep checking the app for any new update.
Creating an easy and effective profile is one of the most necessary aspects of such applications. Matching is done on the basis of a user’s profile so one must create a profile that is not too complex and is appealing.
So the functionality of the app should be such that it must help the user to create an attractive profile for them.
Moreover, you can also set up your profile via Facebook. When we login to Tinder, the app gives you an option to connect through Facebook.
This not only makes it easier for the users to log in but also for adding information into the Tinder account.
Geo-location and Proximity Integrations:
Geo-location integration is the crux of a dating app and a major reason for Tinder’s success. Most singles complain that they are unable to find dates, so a dating app must be able to bridge this gap. And not deliver a wider one.
Besides, users can also have the option to specify their flexibility with respect to the location. For example, one person may be comfortable finding a date just a mile away, and another in an entire state.
Moreover, the closer a match resides to you, the better are the chances of it going to the next level. So if an app suggests matches with a user’s neighborhood, the chances of an old-time crush or a random friend appearing as a match go high.
Therefore, while developing a dating app, it is essential to offer personalized and local suggestions.
The users must be sure that using the application they will get some good results. This can be ensured only if the profiles that are being matched are from the surrounding areas. So a dating app should always set their search criteria to be local.
Tinder has a proficient feature whereby, you will get suggestions according to your current location.
For this feature, you may need to add another 130 hours of work to the plan. 130 hours means that cost will rise up to around $10, 400 if you use a local agency in the United States.
Want something specific? There are many kinds of users on an application that has a huge user database. Some people want to limit their search to a specific name, age, or any other criteria. This helps them to find the profile of a person that they just viewed once.
Tinder has made a wonderful new addition to the app that helps in protecting the LBGTQ users.
In many nations, same-sex acts are not legal and one can be punished for it. When any such person travels to a state that does not permit it, the app automatically disappears their profiles. This helps the person stay out of trouble.
One of the best features of Tinder is that a person can start a chat with another person only if there is mutual consent with each other. Only when both users initially swipe right to each other, the match will be made.
Tinder made its way throughout the world as it was launched on both iOS and Android platforms. Today, more than fifty percent of the world’s population uses smartphones, so it is very necessary to develop an app that can work on both platforms.
Awesome Concept of Mutual Matching
Tinder became an explosive application in the market because it bought a new concept of mutual matching.
It made it easier for the users to make a match as only a swipe from both ends is the gateway to go ahead unlike the old chat system for making a match.
Setting up with Tinder is a cakewalk, especially since it fetches the basic info directly from your Facebook account.
But users have the freedom to choose what to display and what not to. Additionally, users can also cap the geographical area, age, etc for Tinder to find a match.
Consequently, they may choose or reject a match as per their will, from a set of results on their screen.
Some additional features that you must definitely include in your app to get the right attention, are below.
When dating apps suggest many matches, it is natural to go on more than one first date, until cupid strikes.
For this reason, it is important that users are able to manage their dates and respective venues. Thus, the calendar integration comes to the rescue in such scenarios.
Users can easily keep a track of all the dates they have in the pipeline in the dating app itself.
Tinder integration is really important. It not only helps in tracking future dates, but also past activity.
Besides, one may wish to stay in order with respect to the past, present, and future dates. So make sure to add this in your new application.
Social Media Integration
To boost the authenticity and increase the scope of finding an ideal match, this integration is a must. In online dating finding information from social accounts spices up the conversation to quite an extent.
In fact, it becomes easy to impress a match, as well as, to predict if the heartstrings will attach.
Spam/ Player Detection
Another cool feature is detecting spammers. This cool feature will save many from fraud, freeloaders and time killers. If you are able to get it into your app, it ought to get a lot of attention and credibility.
The Match Behind the Matching Algos
All the dating apps from Tinder to OkCupid employ one or the other algorithm to come up with suitable matches. Now Tinder makes these matches with major focus on Geography and similarity in answers.
On the other hand, OkCupid includes users’ expected answers from a future date in order to predict a match. Since you are developing a new dating app, you must look for creating an advanced algorithm to deliver accurate matches.
For this, you may experiment with integrating artificial intelligence. Or something close to Netflix’s personalized recommendations. Or perhaps, try the quantum computing route, if you have the funds for it.
Building the Development Team
Well, how many people do you need for app development? Well, it depends on how much are you willing to spend on your application. A good team will consist of 7 to 10 people.
An ideal team for developing an app like tinder will include, 1 Business Analyst, 1 Project Manager, 1 Backend, 2 Mobile Developers, 1 UI/UX Designer, 1 QA tester, 1 Devops, 1 Tech Lead.
App Development Process Steps
Mobile application development process steps:
- Idea Discovery And Analysis
- Feature Specifications
- Business Analysis
- App Architecture
- App Store Launch
Dating App Development Costs
Isn’t that the million-dollar question?
To answer your question, it can cost you around $97,000 if you are hiring developers from Western European and Central European countries.
And if you were to hire someone from Ukraine for the same task, the cost can come down to around $55,000. And these costs are applicable for both iOS and Android versions.
Yes, this is a big difference. But the reason for this difference is that the hourly rates prevalent in these regions. And if you are able to find a good, trusting, and intelligent freelancer, the cost will further come down to $40, 000.
|Hours Taken For Task
|Summary Hours Taken
|User Experience research
|User Interface kit
|Backend & Frontend Development
|Summary (For Android and iOS)
Let’s talk about app development cost breakdown.
At first, there is project planning and competitor analysis in the non-coding part.
For the coding part, you have UX and UI designing for iOS and Android. Added to this, there is front-end and back-end development, quality assurance, and testing. Everything takes time and effort.
So, whosoever you hire, be it an agency (local or outsourced) or a freelancer, they will charge you as per the number of hours.
Tinder App Design Costs
Tinder is a beautiful application. It has intuitive features and amazing graphics. The interface is friendly, it is easier to navigate through the app. Moreover, any first time user can easily set up their account on tinder and start matching.
And this is the true motive of every user. That they need to start matching and swapping profiles right away. In that, if your application is making the user drift away from this, it will lead to disappointment.
So, it is essential to make a good design for your application. It has to be attractive and easy to use.
If we are talking about just the designing part, then it comes under UI and UX. So, as per the above table, UI and UX will take around 120 hours for both Android and iOS platforms.
Using the same rates as given above, you will have to spend $5, 250 for designing a Tinder-like app if you outsource that task to Ukraine.
Today boys and girls don’t have to roam in bars to find a good date. Dating applications have made it super easy for all of them to find each other. Tinder is one, but there are a lot of competitors of tinder out there.
There are OkCupid, Bumble, Zoosk, Happn, Skout, and many others.
Tinder alternatives like OkCupid will cost somewhere in between $20,000 to $30,000 for development.
This is because tinder is the best platform and has a worldwide audience. It works as per the region you are operating it from. Better designing and more coverage will certainly cost more as opposed to a normal design and ordinary interface.
Dating App Money-Making Models
But how does dating apps make money? Isn’t that an important question to answer. The online dating industry is said to be a $2-billion big market. How can you capture a chunk of this revenue with your dating app model?
People look for love online and dating applications are the best sources to help them fall in love. As a service provider, you can monetize this opportunity and ensure heavy profits.
Dating applications like tinder, bumble, and ok cupid have various options to make money. These include subscriptions, advertisements, in-app purchases, and paid plans.
This provides the users with exclusive benefits and perks that are not available to the freeloaders. In the dating applications, those who may be using the free version can do so for a certain period of time.
After that, they have to subscribe to keep using it.
Giving free access for a limited period of time will make sure that the users get a taste of what they are missing if they are not subscribing to the service. So, it is essential to provide free access and then ask for a fixed cost.
Also, the subscription has a recurring period, meaning that once the period expires, the user has to repay the amount.
- Advertisements: One of the best tinder revenue models is running ads on their platform. But, advertisements will only come once the application is famous enough for people to use it.
40 million Americans use online dating applications or websites on a daily basis. So, you can rest assured you will get enough members to log on to your application. The ads are placed in between the profiles.
When the user swaps a profile towards either direction, an advertisement will pop up among those profiles.
Also, pop ads are a great alternative to display, search, or native advertising. They allow your landing page to appear automatically at just the right spot during your visitor’s browsing session.
It is pretty simple to attract users on dating applications. And if the products are marketed with a correct approach, there will be conversions for sure!
- In-App Purchases: Just like in games and other applications, the dating apps can also have some in-app purchases for the users to buy. Tinder gives options to buy some extra perks and features that can help the users to match.
Some dating apps have a coin system. Like they will provide coins to the users for using a service, but these coins are to be bought. Service can include anything from Swiping Back or Checking out who has hit like on a person’s profile.
There are some apps that charge coins for video calling, but this call will be charged in coins.
- Plans: This is the last but not least method to know how dating apps make money. Tinder has two plans, Tinder Gold and Tinder Plus. Both of these plans differ in terms of services and features.
These premium plans are much like subscriptions, but they offer a one-time cost. Once the user has paid for the plan, they can use the application for a longer period of time without having to repay.
These are the four most common and profitable methods by which you can generate some good dating app revenue.
Marketing Tips for Your Dating App
Everything matters in the application development process. From the initial wireframe to the final bug fixing, it all needs planning and execution. Similarly, marketing is also an essential aspect of this process.
Yes, it is a bit easier to market dating applications than other apps. But this was not the case back in the early 2000’s when OkCupid came out. Even though there was a huge audience, the internet was not very optimistic to let it settle.
But, only a few years after that OkCupid was everything people would talk about. A website that helps you find a date, hookup, or even fall in love, who would miss that.
So, there is a big difference in marketing your dating app back then and now.
Today, it is fairly easy to tell people about your product. The results will depend on the direction you take and the way you go forward. To help you with it, let’s find a few methods that you need to implement.
- Media Outreach: Go out and let everybody know about your application. Use social media to your benefit, create a hype in the market. Of course, such promotion requires its own tactics, hacks and “best practices”. Case in point of a bootstrapping growth hack is a social media activity of Lil X Nas. I’m sure you hear Old Town Road. The secret is not just musical talent, but pure hacking of social media using… memes. Adapt this strategy to your startup and you are doomed to success.
- Paid Promotions: Believe it or not, you will need paid promotions for your application. Targeting the right audience via PPC campaigns and Facebook ads will prove profitable. Another good option is to use bloggers as brand advocates. The main thing is implementing paid channels according to the general promotion strategy.
- Optimize for online stores: Both App Store and Play Store have distinct algorithms. Understand them and use the right keywords, add videos, and good descriptions. The only way to find the optimal presentation in stores is to use A/B testing. There are many tools, that run campaigns automatically.
- Optimize for Google: Most importantly, use the power of content and rank on Google. The key is on-site and off-site Search Engine Optimization or SEO. There is a list of 200 ranking factors of Google.
- Take help from Influencers: Influence marketing is always on the rise. So, ask some influencers to help you market your online dating app. After all, Influencer marketing has an 11x ROI than other forms of digital marketing.
It is obvious that developing an app like Tinder is no child’s play. There is a lot that you need to consider and implement before even writing the first line of code.
A Tinder like app requires extensive research, market analysis, and intricate coding. And using of PoC, prototypes and MVP is a good choice before you budgeting the full product.
An app that is largely based on customer experience has to be developed with precision. So, make sure you consider every single aspect, plan every detail, and not to forget test, test, and test.
Ready to Develop Your Own Dating App?
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At SpdLoad, our team of expert developers can help make your vision a reality.
We specialize in designing and launching innovative mobile apps equipped for scale and growth.
Contact us today to discuss your vision. Let us help you create the next Tinder from concept to launch.