Whether we like to admit it or not, most of us have used a dating app at some point. After all, it’s one of the most convenient ways to meet people for possible romantic encounters. People that we would most likely never meet or dare to chat up in a social setting.
But for many, particularly younger users, these apps aren’t strictly for dating. Millennials and those in their late teens love using apps such as Tinder for casual hookups. As of January 2021, Tinder garnered 6.44 million downloads by mostly male users in 196 countries. And while many of these users seek sexual intimacy with no strings attached from a Tinder match, 13.6% have ended up engaged or married.
Of course, Tinder isn’t the only game in town. Regardless of its popularity, it simply can’t fulfill the needs of every target user. Someone looking for a serious relationship won’t use this particular dating app, given how it incentivizes casual relationships. And this is great because it opens up opportunities for alternatives. Below, we’ll take a deeper look at this market segment and reveal the cost of development.
Notable Frustrations Of The Dating Game
Some people are social butterflies or move in the right social circles. Thus, they face little difficulty in finding a date and enjoying fulfilling romantic relationships. But that’s some people! The hard truth is that most people don’t have the necessary social skills, cachet, and circle of friends to open up exciting dating opportunities.
And it gets even worse! For those living in the boonies, dating opportunities could be next to zero. Without the amenities of the big city, such as bars, coffee shops, cinemas, theaters, theme parks, gymnasiums, restaurants, and nightclubs, few opportunities exist to meet people in the real world.
And what about those hard-working professionals that do live in the big city? Sadly, many of these individuals seldom have the time to use these amenities to meet people. Or when they do, they’ll be lucky to meet people that are a good match for them.
The Early Days Of Online Dating
During the mid-90s, the first online dating websites emerged. Kiss.com and Match.com allowed online users to meet strangers and form relationships from their home or work computers. It was a convenient and safe way to initiate romantic relationships with people from similar and dissimilar backgrounds. And during the later part of the 90s, the internet quickly became inundated with a plethora of dating websites.
These websites impacted the cultural milieu considerably. And to such an extent, that 1998’s “You’ve Got Mail” movie shed some light on romantic relationships formed online. But this didn’t mean that online dating was regarded as an acceptable way to meet others. Quite the opposite, during the 90s and 2000s, there was a stigma associated with online dating. Those that used these sites were labeled as either desperate or socially inadequate. Unfortunately, some of this negative sentiment is still around today but to a lesser degree.
Why The Dating App Is A Game Changer
We need to understand that these dating sites appeared when the internet was still in its infancy. Neither the internet nor online dating played a significant role in most people’s lives, especially during the 90s. But with the advent of the smartphone and its wide adoption globally, the internet became accessible to the masses.
From 2010 onwards, smartphone users became accustomed to downloading apps that fulfill specific needs. If they needed to do banking, they’d download their bank’s app. And if they needed to order a pizza, they’d download their local pizzeria’s app if one was available. And similarly, those that wanted to engage in some online flirting wouldn’t be left out in the cold. In 2012, Tinder launched as the ultimate matchmaking app for young singles.
Now, many blame Tinder for promoting and perpetuating the hookup culture. And this isn’t necessarily untrue. Tinder’s primary focus is to match people based on their physical attraction, determined if they swipe right on each other’s photos. Additional factors that may determine a match include age range and location, and both parties are notified if they have friends in common.
It’s an effective system that delivers a near-endless number of matches for those seeking quick, casual relationships. At the very least, it’s speed dating on steroids, and it’s easy to pinpoint why it’s so successful. It makes finding prospective dates within a user’s location a near painless process. And while users can and do reject others by swiping left, this doesn’t stop two-way matches from materializing eventually.
Key Features Of A Dating App
Now, let’s take a look at what makes up a dating app. We’ll use Tinder as the baseline, as it’s pretty much the gold standard as far as dating apps on Android and iOS are concerned.
The following list briefly describes the functionality necessary to make a Tinder-like dating app:
- Authentication – Ensure that users don’t create spam accounts by requiring them to log in with their social media accounts. Then, tighten account security by implementing the OpenID Connect protocol or OAuth 2.0 authorization framework.
- User Interface (UI) – It’s crucial to keep your UI clean and simple. Users would rather spend their time finding new matches than trying to navigate complex UI.
- User Experience (UX) – Tinder’s innovative swipe functionality is user-friendly and part of what makes the app so successful. Furthermore, the app employs gamification features, making it more addictive and fun to use than its competitors.
- Matchmaking Algorithm – Tinder is nothing without its trailblazing matchmaking algorithm. Ensure that your dating app effectively matches users based on their location, recent activity, and gender preferences, at the very least.
- Location Targeting – Utilize analytics data, Google maps, and GPS to determine user locations.
- Text Messaging – Once users match, they’ll want to chat with each other. Therefore, a robust text messaging service built within the app is essential.
- Push Notifications – It’s crucial to notify users about special events, successful matches, and whether others are looking at their profiles.
- Database Backend – You’ll need a place to store user data and payment information. That’s why you’ll need to set up a database and wisely choose the technology stack that best suits your needs.
Cost Of Development
Building a dating app with a core feature set that closely resembles the above can cost between $60,000 and $150,000, provided development time is between 2-5 months. However, the cost of development can exceed $150,000 and even reach $300,000 if additional features are requested and development time is between 5-10 months. Carefully consider what platform-specific features and integrations you’ll need for Android, iOS, and the web before commencing development, as these will impact development costs.
The Bottom Line
Developing an online dating app can be an exciting endeavor and one that can positively impact users. However, the online dating segment is well-established and quite competitive. That’s why it’s crucial not to cut corners and implement all the features that users have come to expect from market leaders, such as Tinder. Contact us today to learn how NS804 can help you make the kind of apps users will fall in love with!