A Complete Guide on Dating App Development with Costs Overview

A Complete Guide on Dating App Development with Costs Overview


Did you know that the entire online dating industry is slated to become a billion-dollar industry in 2021? There’s literally no stopping its ascent. Much like in most industries that exhibit this remarkable growth, there are opportunities to be had. Heaps of it. This is why there’s no better time than now to start on your custom dating app development if you’ve been meaning to do so for a while now. We’ve prepared this guide exactly for those who are willing to take that next big step, along with an overview of costs.

dating app development

Competition Study – Analyze Your Rivals

We’re going to say outright that the dating apps niche already meets the “saturated” label. Expect there to be tough competition from the start. However, that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to stand out anymore. In most cases, all it takes is knowing what they have to offer.

Know why they are enjoying this much success (or failure). What’s missing in the features they offer? If they reveal client feedback, then search out what specific users say should be the key areas that need improvement.

Of course, it’s also unwise to copy their winning features entirely. At best, you should take the time to brainstorm, hone, then validate your ideas. It also won’t hurt to dive into some recent statistics to see where present trends are pointing to.

Insights on Custom Dating App Development

  • In 2020, the total all-time downloads of dating apps worldwide reached 560 million.
  • More than 440 million are expected to become the total number of active dating apps users by 2024.
  • Dating apps saw a remarkable 30% increase in downloads in the first part of 2021.
  • Close to 50% of users still prefer web versions to mobile, emphasizing the importance of web development.
  • Online dating revenue saw an annual increase of 15% in 2020.
  • The ratio of men and women users is pretty close with men only slightly outnumbering women by 2%.
  • It takes at least 3 months to develop the dating app’s first version, with 6 months as the maximum for most companies. This also takes into consideration back-end development and the admin panel as well as the actual app development.

Know the Matching Algorithm to Make a Dating App

A dating app’s matching algorithm virtually serves as its heart. Without it, you essentially won’t be able to conduct proper matching. The more sophisticated your algorithms, the more your app will stand out.

There’s variety in the matching algorithm for the same reason that dating apps are distinct from one another. You can choose a commonly-used mathematical algorithm, for example, that analyzes user information gathered through surveys. It will analyze age, gender, interests, physical attributes, and even social connections.

Other apps rely on more advanced matching with the help of AI, while others bet big on behavior analysis. With the former, you can count on more in-depth analytics that includes user data (restricted to biological information) or facial recognition.

On the other hand, behavior analysis taps into the user’s digital footprint more. This is usually made possible with the help of Big Data. These algorithms should pretty much dictate how you want your dating app to function.

Key Features to Make a Dating App Competitive

Besides matching, there are features in dating apps that, simply put, make it more likely to be a crowd favorite if included. This fact makes their integration a must. Otherwise, the finished app may not be viewed as a dating app or, worse, won’t stand out. Here they are as follows:

  • User Profile

Users should be given plenty of leeways when building their presence on the platform. What are the most important kinds of information that should be made available to be shared? For one, a dating profile is never complete without a brief overview of the person’s interests and hobbies.


  • Social Sign-In

Being able to access the app’s features directly through social media accounts always adds that much-needed user convenience. This connects your app to many major social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, which only gives it more exposure.

  • Chatting

Being able to communicate with relative ease is always a plus for anyone looking to get to know a potential life-long partner. Chat features should allow them to send emoticons, GIFs, and stickers to send messages in a different, more profound manner. All the better if you can integrate the chatting system with themes unique to your platform.

chatting feature


  • Settings

This includes the usual features like the ability to enable or disable sounds, customize filters, or set other preferences related to the app’s interface.

  • Admin Panel

This is intended to give you complete control of the app should problems occur. It should be accessible via your personal computer or anything you find convenient.

dating app admin panel


  • Swiping Feature

This is arguably optional as a lot of dating apps already incorporate it. If you’re opting for familiarity and something conventional then you definitely have to consider this. This gives the user the ability to tell whether he or she likes a particular user or not by simply swiping to assigned directions.

  • Push Notifications

These notifications keep your user engaged even if they’re currently not using your app. You can, for example, instantly send them stellar matching recommendations, which they’ll only need to tap to learn more about.

  • Geolocation

The ability to set the place or locality where you want to meet people is always a must-have feature for users to narrow down their searches. Yes, you can still feature other people from other countries, but it won’t hurt to give as much control to users in this regard.

  • Secure Verification System

Dating apps are encouraged to heighten their verification processes since it tends to not take long for them to attract criminals and other undesirable individuals. Consider the best verification systems that will suit your features and theme.

  • Capacity to Search for Nearby Matches

Localized searches will always be in-demand because it brings a touch of convenience for people who can’t afford long-distance relationships. It’s easier to meet up if this option is readily available, too.

dating app advanced feature


  • Advanced In-App Search Feature

Advanced searches that let users search potential matches based on their preferences are another must-have. You can include filters such as religion, educational background, political leanings, family plans, or what type of relationship they want to be in.

  • Live Video Chatting

This is pretty much a given, especially since you want people to be able to communicate face-to-face wherever they are. It can be tailored like Tinder’s Face to Face feature, for instance, where both users would have to opt-in for the live video chat to push through.

live video chat feature


  • Real-Time Alerts and In-App Notifications

Being able to keep your users up-to-date regarding all the goings-on in your app is easy if you can rely on these two. In-app notifications are crucial for any promotional activity you do in the future as well.

  • Data Security

Your app can take a big hit if it’s lax when it comes to data security. Approach this with a mindset that every user will be taking extra care of their privacy and data when using your app. Transparency regarding your data security practices is encouraged.

support features


  • Profile Performance Checker

It won’t hurt for people to know where a specific user’s profile stands as far as getting the best matches is concerned. This allows them to easily optimize their respective profiles to gain the most suitable matches.

  • Behavior Analysis

You can allow your users to know beforehand whether their potential matches suit them with the help of Big Data. This normally involves analyzing users based on how they create their profiles, interact on social media, or what groups they belong to.

  • Profile Recommendation

Matching based on user profiles is another effective way for people to connect with others with whom they are compatible. They might share a common hobby or interest, for example, which is displayed on their profile. Their profiles can also display who they’re most attracted to, effectively narrowing down their options further.

advanced search feature


  • Gamification

Gamification done right can boost user engagement and actually help users find the best possible matches. You can always lean toward the tried-and-tested swipe feature integrated into most dating apps. Of course, you can always exercise your creativity and come up with better ways to incorporate elements of it in your app.

  • Smart Photos

Another Tinder original, Smart Photos make A/B testing of the right photo to use on profiles a whole lot easier. This way, they’ll know instantly which one to garner the most swipes or engagement.

photos feature


  • Block

Users should also have the freedom to block other users. This adds to giving users as much control over how they use your app. This includes being able to sever ties with other users regardless of the reason.

  • User Control

Speaking of control, it’s definitely recommended to give people as much of it as possible. Whether it’s profile visibility, setting who they want to see their posts or contents, or modifying other in-app elements, the more leeway you give, the better.

  • Digital Gifting

Digital gifts are just as good as physical ones because they’re given with utmost sincerity. They allow users to show how much they care for the people they’re currently dating. Of course, these gifts also open an opportunity for you to monetize your app.

  • Membership Plans

Another good way to monetize your app is to include membership plans. Assuming you already have premium features in mind, you can offer weekly, monthly, and yearly subscriptions to your app for users to enjoy unrestricted access to these conveniences.

  • Anti-Fraud Screening

Scams and other fraudulent activities tend to plague many dating apps. It’s a good move to be proactive in your anti-fraud screening features from the get-go, particularly if it involves money transfers or risky meet-ups.

  • Multiple Payment Options

Almost everyone wants to be able to have more than one way to pay for in-app purchases or premium subscriptions. It’s safe to say that you don’t have enough payment options. Consider both your and the user’s conveniences when deciding what platforms to include.

dating app developers

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Tech Stack for Dating App

There are plenty of common denominators when it comes to the tech stacks used by dating apps. For programming languages, developers often lean toward Java, Swift, and Kotlin. Frameworks are usually built using Node.js, Express.js, or React Router.

Databases are taken care of by PostgreSQL or MongoDB, while Amazon S3 is used for cloud storage. Many use Nginx as web servers and as for payment gateways, there’s always PayPal or Stripe integration.

Other useful tools to consider include Google Maps and Google Analytics or Optimizely.

Step by Step Flow on How to Make a Dating App: From Idea to Actual Implementation

1st Step: Conduct market research and competition analysis.
2nd Step: Define your audience and figure out how to deliver what they need.
3rd Step: Plan a rough concept or outline of the app with all intended features and functionalities in mind.
4th Step: Take care of the UI/UX design and branding factors such as icons and logos.
5th Step: Boost security and data protection by setting up an organized and strict verification system.
6th Step: Consider any first-rate technology you mean to add like AI or AR/VR, among others.
7th Step: Bug-testing and checking for security vulnerabilities.
8th Step: Create then launch the first version of the app. Use an MVP if necessary.
9th Step: Slowly unlock revenue streams for the app.
10th Step: Plan then start the marketing campaign with an initial focus on acquiring new users.

Cost of Making a Dating App

While every company is obviously different, there is a vivid average cost incurred by plenty of today’s dating apps. The minimum cost for a custom dating app is around $70,000.

Expect this rise further if you choose to add more features or have certain specific improvements you want to be done over the course of the project. To be safe, it’s best to prepare at least $250,000 to $300,000 to ensure that the app will be finished as per your specific requirements.

Ways to Earn Money From Your App!

Much like most in-demand apps, you won’t run out of methods to monetize your dating app. Two of the most proven ways include in-app ads and adding premium features. As long as you don’t sacrifice UX in the process, you’ll be able to earn through in-app advertising. The key is to not stop testing.

As for premium features, you can either opt to offer limited features that make it possible for users to search for prospects more effectively. You can also highlight their profile so they’ll be given maximum visibility in the app.

Lastly, you can also consider affiliate marketing. Work with other industries related to dating like restaurants, perfume shops, boutiques, hotels, etc.


Many people will more or less continue to look for The One, regardless of how long it takes. There will always be people looking for that inimitable spark that serves as the strongest foundation for most relationships. And what better platform that helps people conduct their searches easier than dating apps?

You should capitalize on the sheer convenience it imparts, and think of ways you can stand out from the competition. We hope that the information we provided here will help you know the direction and steps to take from here on.

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