Dating apps were long on their way to the mainstream before the pandemic, but the number of users in recent years has only continued to climb. A report from Statista shows that in the United States alone, the number of dating app users increased from 26.1 to 34.5 million users between 2017 to 2022.
Another report from the Pew Research Center shows that dating apps are extremely popular among those in their 20s and the LGBTQ+ community. As dating apps become the status quo for people searching for love, or even something more casual, there is a perfect opportunity to bring your ideal platform to the app store.
In this article we’ll be discussing what steps you may want to consider before tackling the creation of your very own Tinder-like dating app.
What Is Tinder?
When you download the Tinder app, the first thing you’ll do is create a profile, adding your photos and characteristics. If you fit someone’s search preferences, location, age range, and dating purposes, your profile will be put in a queue of hundreds of profiles for them to see. At this point they can send a “like,” prioritising them in your queue. Provided you’ve both liked each other, this will trigger a match and open a chat between the two of you.
How Are Users Matched?
The algorithm used in Tinder is by no means new. It uses something called the Elo system, widely used, especially for ranking chess players. The points you have, and therefore rank for, is determined by how many likes you receive and who they come from.
If you receive a like from someone who has received significantly less, then your score might not be affected. You’re more likely to come across people in your queue who have received a similar amount of likes from the general user population.
Tinder Market Trends
Different dating apps are culturally categorised, with some being known for finding that perfect long term partner, and some being a safe space for people over 50 to engage. Tinder is more primarily used for what’s being called “hookup culture.” With its swipe right for a like and left to decline, it allows for quick, purely aesthetic dating choices.
Reports show that 60 percent of users on Tinder are under the age of 30, supporting the idea that a majority of its users prefer the app to its competitors as they look for quicker, more casual romantic interactions. Having a particular purpose or demographic in mind for your dating app can be extremely helpful, especially if it’s at the forefront of the app’s mission.
Male Dominated Platform
According to reports, three out of four Tinder users are males. While Tinder allows for anyone of any sexuality to use the service, for male to female matching it shows that there’s not as much balance as you may want on your platform.
Paid Subscription Usage
Tinder employs a paid subscription service that allows for multiple features, including a boost for your profile, and a super like feature. Reports show that year over year the number of users accessing this has increased substantially. The sharpest rise in subscribers was around the beginning of 2019, furthermore, the pandemic seemed to have no impact on this number.
For more information on Tinder’s revenue and usage: Tinder Revenue and Usage Statistics (2022) – Business of Apps
Popular Features of Tinder
Tinder employs multiple unique features. It’s important you use your features to create a unique brand for your app that supports your user base.
Tinder gives you a brief glance at profiles while swiping through your feed. In one tap you can flick through their uploaded photos, or look into the additional information they’ve added, their interests, education level, or star sign.
Tinder’s swipe feature allows for much quicker, spontaneous decisions. Add in to this how quickly you can glance at someone’s profile photo and make your decision by flicking your finger across the screen. For those using Tinder as a faster, effortless method of meeting people, the swipe feature makes the process as efficient as possible.
Recently Active Status
Tinder will also show you whether or not somebody has been recently active, or even if they’re active now. People can occasionally set up an account and not have enough time to sit down and swipe or they might even simply lose interest. The recently active status allows users to see who might respond quicker and who might actually still be looking for love.
Social Media Integration
Tinder allows you to display certain features from your spotify account by linking the two in Tinder’s settings. Allowing your users to display content from the other many social media accounts out there may be beneficial to making your app wildly different from the others.
Top 3 Tinder Competitors
Dating apps have become a popular market in recent years, with many competitors each having their own take on what’s important to their user base. From different gimmicks to different priorities when it comes to dating, here are a few of Tinder’s competitors and what makes them special.
Bumble came about when Whitney Wolfe Herd, its founder, found that many of her friends were still waiting to be approached for their number or to be asked out. She decided to create Bumble, a platform where women are encouraged to make the first move and have to message first. It is first and foremost a platform for women to feel empowered and to take the onus of that all important conversation starter.
Hinge and Tinder began getting popularity around the same time, but Hinge has since taken another path, choosing to focus on meaningful relationships rather than casual interactions. With its many prompts, voice notes, and Instagram integration, Hinge lets you display your unique character through a plethora of avenues.
Match is one of the most popular and longest standing online dating services. Much like Hinge, it looks to create long lasting and meaningful relationships. Match allows users to upload their religion, smoking/drinking habits, and longest relationship time, all in service of letting your potential future partner know as much about you as they can before matching.
5 Steps to Build an App Like Tinder
Now that you’ve learned a bit about Tinder and its competitors, you can begin to see what makes dating apps work, and maybe, how you’d like yours to work. We’re going to talk about some key steps below, to help create a clear plan and purpose when building your app.
1. Determine Niche
Every app has a niche.Whether you’re looking to give people a particular experience, or you want to give a marginalised group a platform to date someone they otherwise wouldn’t have, you need to determine your unique selling point.
Zoosk is a dating app specifically designed for gamers, allowing people of a similar interest to find others who find it as important to them in a relationship. Your app could focus on a particular profession that makes dating hard, it could help people in similar life circumstances get to know each other, or it could be designed to pair people who share characteristics they feel are important to them.
The opportunities are endless, just bear in mind if you’re only catering to a particular group, your growth may be limited. However, if your dating app brings a new element to dating that your competitors have failed to consider, you could bring a whole new pool of users that are looking for a fresh experience.
2. Design App
When designing your app there are a few things to consider, including how simplistic or complex the app will be, and whether or not this adds to the user experience. It’s important to consider what your target audience would want out of their app, and how your overall brand and features will support that.
Wireframes are a fantastic way to plan for your app. While you should be able to talk through your app’s purpose and desired design, wireframes will help you clearly and concisely deliver those ideas to your developers. Creating a wireframe allows for anyone working on your project to use your visual draft when it comes to creating your user interface.
You’ll want to ensure you’ve fully considered how it’s going to look for the user, and if it delivers on your app’s promise. The key elements at play here are the UI (User Interface) and the UX (User Experience).
Your user interface will be important for the customer journey. What will be the options once you’ve seen a profile? What will be the main centrepiece of someone’s profile? Once you’ve decided how it’s going to look and what features will be present, you can begin to see how this translates to the user experience as a whole, and whether you need to tweak some design features.
3. Develop Your Tinder-Like App
You’ve decided how your app is going to look, how this supports your niche, and what the main focus is. Now you can get down to developing your app. Provided you’ve got the skills to do so there’ll be no need to communicate your ideas to an external provider. For anyone without knowledge of app development, you may need to hire an expert, which comes with its own considerations.
If you’re going to hire an expert, you should first check their portfolio to see if they’ve worked on any similar projects, and see what extra services they offer. You might also want to consider if they’ll be offering post release support. Hiring a separate developer to make changes post release might be slower and more costly than keeping in touch with your original developer.
Beta testing is a fantastic opportunity to gauge what’s working and what’s not. Beta testing is where you give out an early version of your app to a select group for testing. You’ll want to set out defined goals to measure your success. Are you going for a particular amount of positive responses? Do you want a set amount of matches? Do you want people to spend a set amount of time on your app?
It’s important to set out a clear timeframe for your beta, doing a thorough beta test might save you a lot of hassle in the long run, provided you’ve got the budget for it. You might want to run multiple cycles with different demographics to ensure consistency.
It’s also a key opportunity to see how people find the user interface, whether or not they like the matching system, and if your unique selling point is as well received as you’d hoped.
You’ll also be able to see if there’s any bugs or glaring issues that could be resolved with the help of a developer.
5. Deliver and Maintain
Finally, you’re ready to release the app onto the market. Now if you ran the app’s beta for long enough, and got support on clearing out any bugs you discovered along the way the app should be fairly polished. But, there’s no saying you won’t come across more once it’s released to the wider public.
The next phase of your app development might be the most important, as you monitor reviews, customer feedback and bug reports. The ongoing post release support from your developer can be extremely useful at this stage, so you can swiftly deal with any issues with your app.
Feel free to make any adjustments to your app that you feel aren’t quite hitting the mark or aren’t delivering on your mission. If you’re receiving feedback that it’s difficult for your users to get the most out of your app, maybe consider adding a new feature or removing some.
Your user base should be quite clear about what they don’t like and what’s not working, consider how you can best solve those issues going forward.
Dating App Development Cost
Development costs can be tricky, especially if you’re going it alone. If you want to build a feature rich app from the beginning, you’ll likely need some help from investors or your very own substantial capital.
You can always build an MVP (Minimum Viable Product), the main purpose of this being to get the basics in first. The MVP will get your app out there, gaining attention, whilst you work on adding features to get the app where you want it to be. If you do use MVP, and funds still run low, you’ll have a working app on the market ready to show potential investors.
Depending on what your target audience is, you might be able to focus your marketing in some key areas. If your app is open to any and all users, then you might consider some of the following to maximise your efficiency when marketing.
App Store Optimization
Search engine optimization is extremely helpful when it comes to marketing, and it’s much the same with app store optimization. You’ll want to use similar keywords in your description to your competitors, effective tags for your customer base, and key in-app images to show the customer what they’ll be looking at as a regular user.
Whether the customer uses those keywords in an app store search or on the web, provided you’ve given an accurate description of what they might search for, you’re more likely to be higher up on that list of results.
Google Search Ads
Google offers Pay-Per-Click (PPC) adverts, driving you to the top of the results page. They can do this through a multitude of avenues, such as search campaigns, video campaigns, and Google Play app campaigns. Over time you can monitor the increase to your app’s download rate with the clicks you’re receiving on Google to weigh up if it’s an effective marketing strategy for you.
Social Media Marketing
With social media marketing you have a couple of options, paid or organic. Your organic marketing is free of charge, you create a page, publish posts, and make effective use of hashtags. People following hashtags are more likely to see your posts, and more likely to share your posts, once more putting your app on peoples screens.
Your paid social media marketing can either boost your organic marketing or design specific adverts. Paid social media is usually more beneficial for bringing in new audiences, allowing for more targeted adverts.
How to Monetize Your Tinder-Like App
You’ve created your app, used effective marketing, and built a steady following. What now? Monetizing your app is going to be instrumental in ensuring you have the cash flow to keep up with the competition and expand where necessary.
A lot of your competitors are already using what’s known as the SaaS business model. This model will offer your app with minimal features as a free product, before then introducing extra features for a premium subscription service. This allows your app to be used by all while you monetize those who really want to get the best experience.
Perhaps the subscription model isn’t for you, but you do need to monetize a single feature, like emojis, to generate revenue. Whether you want to use a basic pack of emojis or even specifically themed GIFs, allowing for more customisation in how people present themselves on your app could be an extremely effective tool for both users and yourself.
Running advertisements on apps and games is by no means new, but it’s also popular for a reason. Whether you use a subscription service in tandem and only use ads for those accessing your app for free, your daily users and registered accounts will give you a clear indication of how effective running ads might be for you.
Idea Maker’s Experience In Mobile App Development
Idea Maker has its very own team of experts, ready to build apps for clients like yourself. With a lengthy portfolio and similar products such as Quick Friends and I Am Available, Idea Maker might just be the app developer for you. If you’re looking for a trusted and professional app developer look no further than Idea Maker. Schedule a free consultation with us today.