How To Create a Dating App Like Tinder

Written By Prateek Sharma

Dating apps not only bring many individuals a step closer to their dating partners and potential soulmates, but they are also a great business venture. For developers, dating apps can earn a handsome profit.

Indeed, the statistics are telling. In May 2021, Tinder saw 6.5 million downloads. It was followed by Badoo with 3.9 million and Bumble with more than 1.7 million.

Dating apps—particularly for casual dating and hookups—are a growing trend. The forecast for 2024 indicates a total number of 280 million users of dating apps, with 113 million users seeking a match and 70 million users looking for casual dating.

Nonetheless, the dating app development process is not as easy as it may sound. A lot of homework must be done before creating a dating app like Tinder.

Though it would be unlikely for your app to dethrone Tinder, people are still likely to use it if it’s been properly developed by considering factors like graphics, UX, and features. If you are thinking about how to create a dating app, I’ve got you covered. Keep reading and I’ll give a walk-through of everything you need to know to set up a dating app like Tinder.

Identify Your Competition

There are already so many dating apps active in the market—why would we need another one? Simple: Because there’s always room for something new if it fills a gap in the dating app world.

If a new dating app has a unique feature that can delight users, it can promise better results in terms of more downloads and increased conversions.

Hence, competitor analysis is mandatory, since it gives deeper insights into creating the right dating app. Competitor analysis identifies the weak and strong points of your rivals. Such details will help in determining an effective strategy for building a dating app.

Taking a closer look at the features of a competitor’s app never did any harm. It is vital to figure out what a competitor does that makes it stand out from the crowd. Similarly, noting their blunders can help prevent you from making potential mistakes in your own development process.

Matching Algorithms

Popular dating apps like Bumble, OkCupid, Tinder, Hinge, Grindr, etc., have a similar tech stack and a different set of algorithms. It is the algorithm magic that binds all dating app users together. Users tend to stick with an app as long as the app’s algorithms are displaying desired results.

Users are divided based on the search results shown in these apps. For instance,  some users prefer potential matches who have common tastes, whereas some prefer those who appear charming.

Consequently, there are not many mathematical calculations involved; it’s mainly preferences that matter. And here is where experimenting with artificial intelligence comes into the picture. Dating software development companies (and this section) focus on certain algorithms that cannot be ignored.

Location-Based Algorithms

The location-based algorithm specifies results for the user within a particular area. Individuals can find their potential partner as per their preferred location within a city or state.

Many dating app developers monetize the app by offering in-app purchases for expanding the search radius. Users need to render a certain fee for expanding their specified location.

Behavior-Based Algorithms

Nothing feels better when you and your potential partner have the same tastes and choices! A behavioral approach is another way of accumulating users’ data and bringing up profiles with similar interests.

create a dating app
Source: Quora

Since people do not disclose everything related to their interests, the behavioral-based algorithm is the best solution. It gathers the data of the user based on their social media handles, preferred playlists, etc., which helps in determining the right match based on common interests.

Non-Overwhelming Structure and Design

The golden, unspoken rule for making a successful dating app like Tinder or OkCupid, is zero complexity for the user. An app that doesn’t overwhelm its users comes out ahead in the long run. Let’s dive in and understand more about the specifics of design for dating apps.

A Catchy Name

The name should complement the core functionality of the app, helping to make it relatable to users. OkCupid, undoubtedly, is the best example of a catchy name for a dating app.

Target Audience

An app cannot sustain itself in the competition unless it is being utilized by the target audience. This applies to every dating app on the Google Play Store and App Store. Young adults are the prime demographic for dating apps, and it is vital to integrate the right set of features for the target audience.

For example, Bumble has a set of advanced features in its premium version. It allows users to filter the preferences based on physical features like height, weight, smoking/drinking habits, education, etc.

Pleasing UI Design

Modern yet intuitive UI design keeps the user hooked on the dating app. Be it Tinder, Bumble, or OkCupid, the UI design is trendy yet simple. Look at the login designs of Tinder and Bumble compared below.

create a dating app
SOURCE: Miro. medium

They neither overwhelm nor confuse the user. In fact, such designs are easily understood by new users because they’re directing the user to log in through different options. Simple as that!

Technology Stack Needed

It’s now time to… pop the question: How do you make a dating app?

Software developers must choose the correct software for each development. Dating app development is no different and has its own specific requirements.

  • Programming: Java, Kotlin, Swift. These languages do not require hardcore coding skills. The code can be easily amended without starting from scratch.
  • Database: MongoDB, SQL, Redis. All these are open-source platforms with features like ad-hoc queries, replication, file storage, load balancing, etc. These databases are considered perfect for storing user data in the cloud.
  • Framework: React Router, Node.js, Express.js. These open-source frameworks help in building scalable network apps.
  • Cloud Storage: AWS. For many dating applications, AWS is the king of storage, because it gives access to data anywhere, at any time. It eliminates the demand for buying your own storage space.
  • Web Server: Nginx. A web server is a vital element for distributing content on the web/app. Nginx is one of the top choices for handling over 10K connections simultaneously.
  • Payment Gateways: Stripe, PayPal. Users need to render a fee for utilizing paid features of the app. PayPal and Stripe are regarded as useful because of the international usage of these payment apps.
  • General Utilities: Google Maps, Google Analytics, Optimizely. Tracking the number of users from every location helps developers to bring in custom features/services that are desired.

The MVP Requirements

Everyone wants to create a dating app that stands out from the competition and has unique features. However, a particular set of features must be present in every dating app development arsenal to ensure smooth operation. The following sections share which features must be included and what each entails.

  • Easy Sign-in. The traditional sign-in process is history. Users appreciate the instant sign-in process that keeps the hassle of forgetting their password at bay. Hence, you should allow users to sign in using their Google or Facebook accounts.
  • User Profile. The user profile is the identity of the dating app user. Here, all details and preferences of the user are shared. Since the information is extracted from social media handles, no user needs to put extra effort into filling in the information manually.
  • Geolocation. This feature makes it easier for the user to identify the location of the potential match. They may change their location preferences for dating purposes.
  • Chatting. The feature of chatting allows the user to initiate a conversation with potential matches. Such a feature makes it easier for both users to break the ice and strike up a friendly conversation.
  • Matching. The matching feature is the heart and soul of dating apps. When there’s a match, users can then initiate a conversation and may choose to meet in person.
  • Push Notifications. Dating app users will receive all notifications related to chats, profile visits, heart ratings, etc., under the push notification section.
  • Swiping Feature. Swiping is common in dating apps. Such a feature simplifies selecting/rejecting profiles of potential matches. Swiping right indicates selection, whereas, swiping left means not interested.
Create a dating app
Source: Dribbble

How Do Dating Apps Generate Revenue?

Dating apps can generate revenue through widely accepted monetization strategies. Here’s a quick look at some of the ways to monetize a dating app.

  • Ad-free Content. Users can pay a certain amount to subscribe to the ad-free content of the app. This is a biannual or annual subscription where users do not receive any ads.
  • Gifts. Premium subscription app users can gain access to additional features, such as sending gifts to potential partners while chatting. This feature can be integrated with a fixed fee.
  • Unlimited Right Swipes. Dating apps like Tinder and Bumble follow this evergreen strategy. They offer unlimited swipes through the premium upgrade where users get the benefit of more right swipes.

How To Build a Dating App Like Tinder

The concept of dating apps has proved to be a superb innovation. Building a dating app isn’t rocket science, but a streamlined development approach with the right set of strategies related to its marketing is required.

By integrating the right features, algorithms, and tech stack, building a successful dating app will be smooth sailing. It doesn’t demand out-of-the-box thinking, just addressing specific requirements and desires of users.

The ideas and points shared above will help you on your journey to creating a stellar dating app. And if you already have a unique idea for a dating app that will fill a gap in the market, you’re well on your way!