17 min
Apr 03 2021
Nikita L
Nikita LExecutive Director
Alex K
Alex KTechnical writer
Big tech corporations no longer limit dating app development. Some entrepreneurs see it as a reliable startup idea with great monetization potential. With careful planning and proper market research, it's possible to build a successful dating service that targets niche audiences.
How to make a dating app? This article covers key aspects of the development process and gives some insights into how to hire mobile app developers to build a reliable and successful product.


A dating app is an online dating service in the form of a mobile phone application. The phone's GPS location functions, easy access to users' picture galleries and digital wallets improve the conventional approach to online dating.
Such apps speed up and simplify the process of meeting potential dating partners. Users set their personal preferences, share their pictures and hobbies, chat, and flirt with each other. Their goals may vary from looking for a casual-hookup partner to meeting a significant other.
Dating app development has a great monetization potential, as such services keep a solid place on the global market. The 2019 US Current Population Survey reported 117.9 million single adults from 18 years old. In 2018, the same survey reported 115.8 million.
The recent statistics from Statista show impressive numbers of online dating service users.
Online dating service users infographics


Mobile dating app key functionality
A dating app can be simple or have more elaborate functionality. However, there are key features every application should include to attract users and make their experience pleasant.
User Registration
Registration is a necessary step for entering the mobile dating app. The most effective way is to register through social media authorization. It's fast and convenient. Registration via email or mobile phone number is another option if the user prefers to keep anonymity or simply doesn't use social networks.
User Profile
It's beneficial to have flexible user profile functionality. Most people prefer to visualize information. That's when picture gallery integration is important. For those who like to share more information for better chances of finding a soul mate, there should be options to share their hobbies, life values, meeting objectives, and similar information. Better user profile functionality makes the application seem more effective.
Search Function
Functional search filters reduce the time to search for potential matches. Each user has a different preference set, and filters are a great opportunity to follow these preferences as precisely as possible. The basic filters usually are gender, age, and location. You can also improve functionality by adding search by users online, new visitors, interests, and other parameters.
Private chat is an essential part of dating app development. Users should be able to communicate one-on-one. You can limit it by certain conditions, such as chat opening only after mutual likes. It usually solves many problems with unwanted communication. The best chats have convenient features like adding content and blocking users.
User-Friendly Design
Convenient and intuitive design ensures the best user experiences. All the app's functions should be easily understandable and run fast. It should also be optimized for any device. A user-friendly interface, pleasant design, and convenient element placement would make users feel relaxed and comfortable.
This function is vital for today's dating app development. It's quite problematic to go on a date with someone 500 miles away. With the geolocation feature, your app will show other users within a specific radius.
Push Notifications
All popular dating apps have notifications, and now it's an essential feature, even if the user is offline. Fast responses enable instant communication and bring a better user experience. You can integrate an optional function of sending notifications to the user's email or mobile phone.
Social Network Integration
Although many people prefer to keep anonymity when using dating services, other users are happy to share their social network profiles to make sure they have a lot in common with their potential matches. Social network integration is also a smart move for further marketing promotion of your app.


There are three main forms a dating platform can take - a classic website, a progressive (or cross-platform) app, or a native mobile application. Each variant has its strong and weak sides, and the final decision depends on several factors like the development budget or your project goals.
Dating Website
A website is a classic approach to online dating. Dating websites have their strong position on the global market and attract millions of users. Pages like target a particular audience and don't have mobile app versions.
What is good:
What to consider:
Progressive Web App
Progressive Web Apps (PWA) act like mobile applications but are distributed through a web browser. They can be imagined as very mobile-friendly websites that can function offline and have other strong features. Many extremely successful projects in various fields use PWAs to provide their services - Starbucks, Uber, Pinterest, Spotify, Yummly, and others.
What is good:
What to consider:
Progressive mobile applications are often considered a hybrid of a website and a native app. They combine the ease of a website opening with native app functionality, including push notifications, native navigation, etc. However, they also have several important weak sides that you should consider.
Native Apps
A native app is a mobile application created for a particular platform and directly installed on the user's device. Users download native apps from Google Play Store or Apple App Store. They are meant to work only on the target operating system, and it has many advantages.
What is good:
This is a no-compromise solution. Native apps are undoubtedly the best option in terms of performance and functionality. You will be able to use all device-specific functions and achieve the best user experience possible.
What to consider:
One native app means one platform application. The second platform development will become another project and budget. However, Clubhouse is the latest example of a one-platform software that so far proves very successful.
Each of the mentioned options has advantages that can help you successfully reach your objectives. Presence on different platforms will undoubtedly mean a better potential reach, but you will still need to put a lot of effort into making your app popular.


Configuring monetization tools is the main business feature. There are many ways of dating app monetization, depending on how you set the software functionality. It can include subscription, paid functions, advertising, third-party services integration, and much more. There are several main monetization techniques you should consider.
As the name suggests, it's a combination of free and premium versions of the app. Upon registering at the dating service, every user gets a free set of basic functions. Extra features are available at extra payment. The main point here is to make paid features attractive to interest as many users as possible.
Advantages Disadvantages
This model allows you to gather the user base for retargeting quickly. Users like freemium models, as they can test the app before spending money. People who try the service before the purchase are more likely to become loyal customers. It may be challenging to balance between free and paid functions. If there are just a few free basic features, the user may not keep the app for a long time. At the same time, too many free features may discourage the user from purchasing advanced functionality.
Paid Subscription
The subscription-based model implies regular payments for access to the app's features. If your software is appealing and helps people reach their goals, this method can be very profitable even with a low subscription cost. In some way, it's similar to mass media paywalls, when readers get some limited content for free and have to subscribe to access the rest.
Advantages Disadvantages
The subscription provides a predictable application revenue that comes on a regular basis from loyal users. Unlike the freemium model, where paid features can be described “like what you have, but a lot better,” the subscription model implies a “paywall” that completely prevents users from using the application after the free period ends. If you didn’t manage to win the client’s heart during the free period, they might leave as soon as it ends.
Creative features
Some dating app creators take a creative approach to their product monetization. If you carefully analyze your target audience and their needs, you may come up with some novelty ideas useful both for you and your users.
In many cases, monetization methods work best when combined. Some models allow you to get your first earnings immediately after the release, while others take time. You shouldn't forget about advertising as it's a stable and flexible monetization tool working well in combination with all other models.


The best way of planning how to build a dating app is to carefully analyze your potential competitors' experience. By comparing their monetization strategies, distinctive features, and updates, you can see what works best. Here are the most popular services and their brief overview.


Tinder was developed by IAC Holdings in 2012 and has become the most popular dating service worldwide. It has PC and mobile versions and a simple registration process. You can initiate communication once you have a match. It works with the geolocation function - if you change the country, your location and potential partner choice change automatically. Key advantages include an easy selection system, simple and quick communication, no annoying notifications, and plenty of potential matches.
However, Tinder is more popular among younger audiences. It also lacks individuality - it doesn't take into account important profile factors like nationality, values, religion, etc. The service provides only basic functionality for free.
Pricing example: Tinder Gold 12-months $149.99.


Bumble is known as a feminist dating service. It was created by Whitney Wolf in 2014 and has reached 22 million users. In Bumble, only female users can initiate communication in heterosexual matches. By introducing this feature, the app's creator tries to protect users from harassment and spam.
The service has many successful features: detailed filters, thorough security checks, video communication options. There are many extra paid functions.
Some users criticize the project for very harsh registration conditions. However, if it makes the service secure, it may hardly be seen as a major drawback.
Pricing example: Bumble Boost 6-months $47.99.


Badoo positions itself as a dating-focused social network. It was launched in 2006 by Russian entrepreneur Andrey Andreev. It's popular due to its system of filters - you specify your interests, and by certain parameters, you can choose a person not far from you. Badoo marks the people around you with a blue flag. Also, the platform offers you a match that may interest you.
The app, however, has limited functions. In the free version, only people with mutual likes can see each other. It significantly narrows your opportunity range and partner choice.
Pricing example: Badoo Premium 6-months $47.99.


Happn is a location-based social search service that allows users to like or dislike other users and chat with each other in the case of mutual likes. The app was created by Didier Rappaport in 2014 and developed by FTW & Co.
The application has an attractive design and an interesting underlying idea. It's more of a meeting app than a dating service. The functionality is focused on live communication and designed for the big city's quick lifestyle.
However, the app is often criticized for the limited functionality in the free version.
Pricing example: Happn Premium 6-months $89.99.


There are proven models and approaches to software development. An experienced multi-expertise team helps their clients to choose the strategy and guides the entire project till its completion.
The main goal here is to compare the offers and choose trusted experts with proven experience completing similar projects. Successful companies are proud of their projects and make their experience available online. You can compare real clients' feedback.
A perfect candidate to work on dating app development is a tech company with a well-established developers' team. Exceed’s team includes these roles:
Software development is a complex and multi-stage process requiring excellent teamwork and flawless communication inside the team and with the client. Best custom development companies always show interest in a long-term tech partnership and provide further tech support.


Exceed Team can custom make a dating app for you. But why choose us?
Software development process
The software development process includes several stages. The developers choose a software development lifecycle model depending on the project's goals, objectives, and desired functionality. Here are the necessary stages:
1. Idea and Careful Planning
The more detailed you express your idea, the easier it is for the team leader to articulate your goals to the tech team. All stages must be carefully planned to ensure a smooth process and eliminate possible drawbacks.
2. Market Analysis and Research
At this stage, you need to conduct the necessary market analysis to define your target audience, monitor your competitors, and register the solutions that work best in this niche.
3. Functionality and Prototyping
The experienced tech team helps you define your future product's functionality. Creating a minimum viable product (MVP) first is a very good strategy. This way, the product's functionality is tested on the early users, and their feedback helps to make further improvements.
4. Design and Development
This is the most time-consuming stage. It's when your actual final product is created according to all the previous feedback reports and design improvements.
5. Quality Assurance
Even reliable products always have bugs to fix and room for improvement. QA engineers ensure the software works smoothly and eliminate malfunction possibilities.


The first and most important factor is the project's complexity. How many platforms should your product work on? How sophisticated do you see its functionality? You should think through these and many other points before starting your project.
For example, Android app development takes up to 20-30% longer and is at least a third more expensive than iOS as it needs testing on various devices. As a result, there are more bugs and more corrections.
Simple apps are relatively easy and quick to build. They contain about five screens, don't exchange data with multiple databases, don't collect user actions analytics, and have limited personal account functionality. It might not be enough for a successful dating service.
More complex apps have about ten screens, provide personal accounts supported by social network authorization, and are integrated with many external services like payment or analytics systems. You can build in rating, feedback, advanced search, and many other features.
Points to Consider:
When trying to estimate your project's budget, keep in mind that each advanced feature will affect the budget and timeframes. A trusted development company will help you go through all possible factors and plan everything in detail.


At first glance, dating app development may seem like a very adventurous startup idea. However, dating services revenue statistics have shown solid growth. Dating apps play a socially significant role and also bring a good profit - naturally, provided the monetization and work organization are correct.
Dating services revenue statistics
Most popular questions

How to Build a Dating App?

The two things you need at the beginning are an outlined idea and a trusted mobile development team. Once you analyze your competitors and know what to offer to your best target audience, the chosen team will guide you through the entire development process.

What Is the Most Popular Dating App?

Tinder is considered the most popular dating service worldwide.

Which Dating App Has the Most Users?

How to make an app like Tinder? Everything starts with a detailed plan. The most important step here is to choose a trusted team of experienced professionals. Mobile app programmers with expertise in custom software development will help you plan the entire process from the idea till your product's launch.

Which Dating App Has the Most Users?

In September 2019, Tinder reported 7.86 million users, and Bumble reported 5.03 million users. In March 2020, had 182.5 million visits per month.

How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Dating App Like Tinder?

The final dating app cost always depends on many factors: the size of the developers' team, the project's complexity, the number of platforms, and desired functionality.

How Long Does It Take to Build a Dating App?

In general, you should be ready for 9–10 months of work to build an app like Tinder.
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