It’s not that this might surprise anyone, but there is no other way for mobile dating apps that the one going upwards. In 2014, the dating industry is expected to generate $2.1 billion in revenue according to IBISWorld dating expert Jeremy Edwards. And since every other mobile user is literally tied to the smartphone from morning till night, online dating app development is definitely going to pay off. Why don’t we try to see what you can stuff your dating app with to make the users fall in love with it.
What are the popular dating apps out there
All know the world’s largest online dating site Plenty of Fish, 70% of the logins of which come from mobile devices, Badoo that is positioning itself as a dating-focused social network or Cupid.com with its paid memberships. Let’s be honest, I doubt if there is anyone planning to repeat them and go through the same monetization schemes and the same portion of criticism. Mobile dating has to be different not only because it’s obviously not web but also because it has the potential to undermine the very problems that online dating created.
Among the currently buzzworthy mainstream-oriented dating apps are a fast-growing Tinder, OkCupid with its quizzes and multiple-choice questions-based algorithm, Zoosk that has as many as 26 million members worldwide, HowAboutWe and so on. Moreover, I am including Grindr for gay men and a new iOS app for lesbian called Dattch to this list of exemplary examples. Actually app programming in the gay dating area makes sense as it’s not such a crowded market as the one for straight people.
Dating apps common features
The matter of fact is that for developers, there is not much difference between creating mobile dating app and social networking applications: user profiles with listed interests, media content like pictures and videos, messages, chats, friends lists, etc. Another common feature is discovering new friends in real time based on the location pinpointed in users’ devices, matchmaking algorithms, organizing events, gifts, and so on. So why don’t we look at all, one after another?
I am only mentioning it to say a few words about the Facebook integration. Majority of dating apps, both for Android and for iPhone (or other iOS device), use signing up with this social network. Why do they do it? Not only because one click instead of typing in email address, password, postal code and the rest, is more convenient for a user. Facebook sign up gives access to user data, which you can use in your app to suggest singles in the user’s location, find common friends and interests, not mentioning name, pictures, sexual orientation. However, it is important to make it clear for users that you are not going to post and share any information associated with your dating app to the Facebook timeline. The thing is, people still find using dating apps a bit embarrassing and do not fully trust «sign up with Facebook».
I like what Dattch does in relation to that. They stress it very explicitly saying: «We will NEVER post anything to your Facebook» and explain why they use Facebook. As long as lesbian dating apps have common problems of heterosexual men infiltrating the apps and soliciting women for threesomes or any other sort of having fun, Dattch is using Facebook to check if you are female so you don’t need to worry about straight men and time wasters. What is more, Dattch checks supplied email addresses against a third-party supplied database to see if it’s been used to create accounts elsewhere on Twitter, LinkedIn or Foursquare. This is meant to check if the user is a real person, and also a woman. You’ve got to consider these issues in mobile online dating apps development.
Linear format of presenting interests and favorite stuff on user’s profile – what OkCupid relies on – is already a step back. The most recent trend is Pinterest-style image boards. The reason is not only success bringing attempts to snap up the image wave and become a dating version of Instagram, but also a more user-friendly mission to eliminate the excruciating task of writing about yourself. Furthermore, images can often describe a person better than words.
Online dating is often associated with fake. In order to bring online and mobile dating to a new level it should evolve past this negative characteristic. What I mean is making it possible for an app to gain more sense of reality. Instaumour, for example, has video profiles, video chats and virtual phone calls. You can read my interview with its founder Jason Sherman here. But keep in mind that such a dating app development takes significantly more time and resources.
Anonymity, identity obscurity behind weird user names (something like «badgirl24») is better to avoid. A dating app is supposed to be about meeting people, so you have to push your users to use their real names. I am sure, they will appreciate that.
Usually messaging plays an important role in dating apps. So important as to make it a premium feature in apps like Zoosk, OkCupid, HowAboutMe. Still I think attaching a price tag to the possibility of reading and writing messages within subscription to a dating app is not the only possible way to get the revenue (Tinder and Grindr feel fine being completely free). More than that, paid subscriptions can harm your app’s success. However paid or not, implementing real-time messaging and push notifications on the delivery is a must for a dating app.
This feature to be taken care of when a user logs-in. Your app should ask the user a permission to capture their location. You can also integrate maps to show the current location, just like HowAboutWe does. Getting current location through Facebook or Foursquare integration can also be an option.
Check out: Cost of making an app
You can argue about that, but assessing people’s personalities using Math is terribly hard, if not impossible. So my point is that it’s absolutely not a necessity for a dating app to develop matchmaking algorithms. But to the credit of the apps that have them, recommendations based on matchmaking technology are capable of generating revenue, even though users still tend to call them rubbish. Behavioral Matchmaking algorithm that works for Zoosk can evaluate compatibility between Zoosk members by learning from «yes»/ «no» responses. Synapse, the matching algorithm Match app uses, suggests possible mates according to a variety of factors: user’s stated preferences, interests and on-site actions.
Sometimes common interests are not something users are looking for in a dating app. Tinder is often called a «hookup-enabler» app (though Tinder is trying to get rid of this definition). It’s enough to look at pictures of the people nearby and swipe right to indicate interest. Users who both swipe right on each other’s profile can contact each other and set up a date.
Heavenly Sinful dating app has an interesting matching scheme. Your intentions heavenly or sinful are put on a mood map for people in your neighborhood to see. Then as matches came your way, you can swipe up for a heavenly match or down for something more sinful.
Building another dating app with auto-renewable subscription is like stepping on the same rake. Tinder is so trendy because it has changed the game. Since launching in 2012 the app’s simple format has helped it spread and only now they started thinking about monetization of some kind. Among a possible choice there are stickers, advertising, charging money for swipe back in case of an accidental left instead of right.
For Grindr revenue comes from ads and Grindr Xtra — essentially a paid app version without ads and more guys to choose from.
You may think of many more features that can entice people to pay for, as in this intimate sphere pushing the right button can bring lots of money.
One of the apps we developed (cannot tell you the name of it for the reason of our client privacy) has similar matching scheme as the one Tinder uses. It’s all about meeting creative people — the app allows you to describe yourself in photos, music and video using Instagram, Facebook photos, Spotify, Soundcloud and Youtube. Similar to Tinder, you can swipe «yes» on each others profiles. Only when you both say yes, then it’s a match and you can start a conversation.
- Dating app development case study: How we build Entourage, a group dating app
- How much does it cost to build a dating app like Tinder?
- 5 Successful Dating Startup Stories
- How to get the first traffic for your dating app
What remains to dating apps when they reach the goal
The main goal of all dating apps is finding a partner. Once this goal is reached, users stop being engaged with the app. This seems to be a problem for the dating industry. That’s why apps like Zoosk are thinking about the ways to keep happy couples attached to the app. Gifts ideas, digital scrapbooks, restaurant discounts, relationship advice from experts and so on, may help get people back on the mobile dating road.
Another idea is organizing events for matched-up pairs. For instance, HowAboutWe launched HowAboutWe for Couples service offering date plans, for which the company handles all the arrangements. Grouper has something like this too — for $20 they set up a meeting for one person and his or her two «wingmen» to meet a someone else and his or her two friends. Also Grouper is responsible for buying the first round of drinks.
I am going to finish this long dating narrative with what IBISWorld dating expert Jeremy Edwards said about mobile dating apps. He stated: «Users are most likely to be attracted to simple applications and interfaces, so businesses that are able to entice consumers with new and exciting mobile functionality will be the most successful».