By 2018, less than 0.01% of mobile apps will...
4 tips to create a killer dating app
Define your target market
Dating app market is not limited to the tech-savvy (and most often insolent!) youth:
- The number of Baby Boomers who turn to dating apps in the hope of finding a partner for life has recently topped 12% (up from 6% in 2013);
- Although 22% of people aged 25-34 (aka Millennials or Gen Ys) make up the majority of dating app users, 44% of those claim they’re only after “confidence-boosting procrastination” (and therefore won’t spend a cent on profile upgrades, premium search filters and other features you’re going to monetize your app with);
- Gen Zs (or Centennials) do love dating applications (with Tinder favored by almost 40% of respondents). However, they’re more concerned about data privacy and say background checks on people is the #1 way to win their trust.
Meet your customers’ expectations
Besides more accurate matching algorithms, there are basically just two things folks want from a dating app:
- Security. Over the course of five years the number of people who reported being raped while on a date with a person they’d met on a dating site or through a mobile app has increased by 450%. Stories about gay men lured into a trap and beaten up by homophobes appear on the Internet on a daily basis. Minor accidents (i.e., young girls catfished by an old block passing off as his grandson) aren’t even made public nowadays. How to protect your future customers from creeps? Some applications (Gatsby) won’t let you register an account if you have publicly available criminal records. Apps like eHarmony do not allow men to message first. Social media screening helps, too (although you shouldn’t let the app post any data on a user’s timeline without his consent);
- Effortless online dating experience. Think of a feature (something like Tinder swipes) that would make your app enjoyable. Pay close attention to UI/UX design. Make use of Pinterest-like image boards. Develop a funny and informative questionnaire enabling users to set up personal profiles that do get dates. Encourage people to take normal names instead of ridiculous nicks like “ginger 534”. Make online dating great again – and success will follow!
Plan your product feature set
Technically, there are three types of dating apps:
- Applications mirroring the functionality of old-school dating websites;
- Apps that rely on geolocation data;
- Dating apps employing matching algorithms.
Our customer (a promising tech start-up) developed a custom matching algorithm based on personality questions (back-end) and wanted to put it to work on mobile. The algorithm rates users’ answers (yes, no, maybe) and matches potential partners based on their average score. Although the app does not employ geolocation data, it offers a number of custom search filters (which are common for online dating websites) enabling users to narrow down their focus. As of now, the app does not perform background check-ups; however, it meets the overall security/UX requirements we’ve mentioned above and is built with scalability in mind (Amazon Web Services, PostgreSQL).
According to Denis, the minimum feature set for a dating app includes:
- Registration and authorization modules (with advanced access control options including the opportunity to log in/sign up via a social media profile);
- User profile (persuade daters to provide as much data as possible to improve in-app search and matching);
- Geolocation (in the end, online dating is all about meeting people in real life);
- Matching algorithm (either questionnaire- or AI-based; innovative dating applications like Bernie A.I. employ neural networks to automate partner selection/evaluation processes and thus save users a plenty of time);
- Live chat (make sure to leave room for major improvements like voice and video calls);
- Social features (including likes, profile ratings and comments);
- Push notifications (that’s where higher retention rates come from).
Choose the right app monetization strategyTraditional application monetization strategies like one-time payments, subscription fees and ad banners do not really work with dating apps. Even Tinder (50+ million users worldwide) is having hard time trying to acquire premium customers. Guess why?
Users are disappointed with the modern hook-up culture in general (and dating apps as its cornerstone). They feel they have to put too much effort (that is, wasting their time checking profiles and swiping left and right) to get a decent date. Unless your app stands out from the competition, there’s no way someone will pay for it.Going freemium is often the middle ground. However, the features you’re going to charge for should deliver real value to users (like extra questions improving the matching process, gifts, video chat, unlimited number of swipes per day, profile boost or even photo editing options). With 87% and 83% of male and female users (respectively) thinking online dating is “totally acceptable”, there’s no better time to create a dating app than now. What are you waiting for?