How To Make A Dating App: Practical Tips And Advanced Monetization Methods

14 SEP 2019
16 MIN


The days of meeting someone special in parks, cafes or shopping malls are gone. The world has never been so connected as it is now. It's the Internet that connects people when the lack of time and dynamic pace of lives push them away from each other. In the world of gadgets, it isn't necessary to hunt for your soulmate, even for a short-term relationship, in pubs or libraries. Numerous websites and apps hold the responsibility of matching people resting on similarity, compatibility, and mutual sympathy. Dating apps boast with their accurate and innovative algorithms. It's time to learn the ropes, I suppose.

Dating app development can be both profitable for you and a good solution for people that want to find a soulmate. So check this article out to see how to build your dating app.

How to create a dating app

To give you a hint on how to create a dating app, follow these steps below:

  • Step 1. Study the functionality principle of the dating app
  • Step 2. Analyze main benefits before you build a dating app 
  • Step 3. Create the structure and design of a dating app 
  • Step 4. Use a right tech stack to create dating app 
  • Step 5. Add MVP features to your dating app 
  • Step 6. Choose a monetization strategy

Want to start right away?

Contact us to get consulted by our specialist and move to project planning in no time.

The principle of dating app functionality

Dating apps belong to a 'family' of social apps; that's why special attention is normally paid to supporting human interaction and meeting user's particular needs. Certainly, there are no two identical dating apps: each existing app (Tinder, OkCupid, Pure, eHarmony, just to name a few) has a specific set of features and concept that ensure the needed result. Nevertheless, we can sort out a few things that you can't pass round if you want to build a dating app.

Getting started with dating apps

The first interaction with an app is like the first date of great importance. So, it's always a good idea to introduce your app's functionality to the user. Top existing dating apps do not neglect the power of the first impressions. You also shouldn't. Something like a sliding tutorial will make the user fall in love with your app at first sight.

Tinder-like app development: steps to build it. Read How much does it cost to develop an app like Tinder?

The technology of attraction: Matching algorithms

Alright, after inputting valuable information about themselves, dating app users are ready to get down to business and do what they are supposed to do find Mr. or Mrs. Right. The first step in this fairly delicate process is matching users. Dating apps may use a wide variety of matching techniques to match up partners who like each other. Let's explore some of them.

Location awareness

It's always nice to make a new acquaintance within your area chances of success increase. You are more likely to live happily ever after with someone in your city than on another continent. No wonder, dating apps tend to employ GPS components in their matching algorithms. Having suggested a list of users nearby and brief information about them, the app lets you decide who you like and wish to start communication.

Mathematical basis

Another technology, which is widely used, is the mathematical algorithm that connects people by finding similarities in answers given to a suggested questionnaire. Such algorithms are mostly based on the compatibility percentage of answers given for each question separately or all questions collectively. Some dating apps, like OkCupid, for example, determine the compatibility rate in a more complex way taking into account not only your answers but also how you would like someone else to answer and how important this question is for you.

Behavior-based matching

It should seem that question-based compatibility is enough to give users a clue who can suit them best. However, the reality is that people tend to provide inaccurate information about themselves. It may happen unintentionally, or someone may consciously conceal certain things. This leads to incompatible matches.

How did popular dating apps succeed? Watch this video to find out: 

Best Dating Apps: What Stands behind the Success?

There is a solution, however. Algorithms for behavior-based matching are more complicated than mathematical and location-based ones as they operate with data gathered from outside sources (social networks accounts, profiles, groups they visit, musical playlists, etc.). Generating and analyzing large datasets require significant resources. It's where a Big Data analytics approach helps to increase chances of the right match.

Advanced matching methods

Dating platforms become smarter. Way smarter. They apply new technological advances to improve user experience and ensure more accurate matching. Machine learning technology, artificial intelligence (AI), VR & AR all these influence dating apps evolution as well. To be specific, the particular machine learning technology that powers Netflix and Amazon's personalized recommendations can be applied to dating apps.

Data, available in social networks and other media is being thoroughly analyzed, layered and structured, which allows not only efficient matches but also make predictions. Facial recognition, GPS, and biological data supported by AI are going to boost matching algorithms and connect people in entirely new ways.

So it is the time to mention a few benefits to understand how dating apps can be advantageous and why people need it. It will help you understand how to make dating app.

Why are dating apps beneficial?

Considering the overall popularity of dating apps, it would be better to list 5 main benefits that let such apps prevail and be popular.

how to develop a dating app

Strong sides of dating apps

Fast and efficient. Apps, unlike a website, give users more freedom and permanent availability. Dating apps provide users with an opportunity to get a quick access to their account when they hit the road, for example. With the help of a dating app, users can simply look for a soulmate wherever they are at the moment. Life becomes more flexible, people can build relationships on the go.

Good for busy people and introverts. Some people literally live at their work. They want to build new relations, they want to love and be loved but they simply have no time to visit different places to meet somebody. That is where dating app comes in. It helps such people always find some time to meet an interesting person. The same concerns introverts - people which don't have good communication skills. An app can help them fight with this personal fault and find a good interlocutor.

Find a soulmate nearby. The majority of dating apps offers users a geolocation feature that makes it possible to find a person nearby. It means that user will not only meet somebody, but a new friend can also even live on the distance 1 km from him or her. It is a really impressive thing.

No unwanted connections. Nobody will be able to attack the user with a large number of letters if the user doesn't want to. As a rule, in almost all dating apps it is possible to start chatting only when users put likes to each other. It means that when you like photos of man/woman, they need to like you back. So you have a fellow feeling and you need to go on.

Variety. Due to online dating, it is possible to meet somebody you didn't even expect to meet in real life. People of various professions, from different regions, register in the dating app and all of them have a wide choice of potential soulmates in this service. So it is possible for the user to find who they have been waiting for.

Build an app structure and design

When we have listed main benefits, we can proceed directly to the development process and start with making a dating app structure. Let's see how to do it!

how to start a dating app

Main steps to create a dating app structure

Choose a catching name

'Catching' word is the most appropriate word in this case. People need to remember the name of your service, it should be short and associative so users will be able to hear it once and remember forever. Word of mouth will also work here since users will share the name of your app with their friends.

Brand name generator as the tool to start a business. Read Top 12 business name generators in 2018 and tips on building a premium brand name

Determine your target audience

What is the age range of users you create an app for? Of course, you can create a general dating app that can meet the requirements of both youth and an older generation. Ok, then, what will be a distinctive feature of your app? It will be similar to other counterparts and you will gain nothing. So, it would be a better option to create an app for a specific audience, a specific region and so on. It will help your app stand out from the crowd and achieve a success.

Make an amazing UI/UX design

The interface of the app should be catchy as well so users will feel positive when they start using it. Keep up with a simple principle - build simple and intuitive design. Users want to deal with a clear UX that is not extremely unique and that isn't confusing. As for UI, bright colors and clear buttons will surely be adopted well by users. Don't complicate - and you will succeed!

Deal with a marketing plan

Apart from good design and the right target audience, you shouldn't ignore brand promotion and increase your customer base when you create your own dating app. That is why you should create a marketing plan and think over each step to increase customers' loyalty and engage more users to your app. Marketing plan plays a very important role in the brand promotion and it should be competent, so mind it.

So when you decide on how to make a dating app for Android or iOS, these 4 simple steps will help you create an overall structure of your dating app and promote it wisely.

Tech stack for dating app

To make a dating app, you should get acquainted with the main tools that can be used for the development of dating app by Cleveroad specialists. But our developers can use different tools, everything depends on your specific requirements.

Tools needed for your dating app development

Types of toolsMobile/back-end

Programming languages

Java, Kotlin, Swift


Node.js, Express.js, Next.js, React Router


PostgreSQL, MongoDB, Redis

Cloud storage

Amazon S3

Web servers


Payment gateway

Stripe, PayPal

General utilities

Optimizely, Twilio, Elasticsearch, Google Maps, Google Analytics.

As we have just noted, a toolset can be extended and modified depending on the personal requirements of the customer.

MVP for a dating app

Although you want your future dating app to be a unique product that will not be similar to any existing apps, there is a range of features that should be integrated into your app mandatory to create a working app. So pay your attention to these features that will be listed below to see how to build a dating app.

Social sign-in

Long registration processes already seem like a prehistoric fact that cannot survive today. So sign-in feature is a first must-have feature. Let users register using their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn account and start looking for a soulmate. Moreover, social sign-in gives users an opportunity to share your service in social media.

feature

feature in dating app

User profile

Each user should have it's own profile where his/her interests and hobbies will be indicated. As a rule, all main information is extracted from social networks so users don't need to spend their time on it. Users can read profiles of each other to understand better what an individual likes or dislikes.


Due to this feature, it will be possible for people to choose the region where they want to find a soulmate and even choose nearby locations. It is unlikely that users from different parts of the country will ever meet, so this feature must be included in your app.

geolocation feature

Geolocation feature: find a soulmate nearby you


Modern technologies allow developers to integrate AI-based algorithms to activate smarter matches including all hobbies, location, age etc. Searching perfect soulmates becomes more convenient and flexible, so users will quickly see potential candidates they can try to meet.

matching feature

Matching feature in dating app


How is it possible to communicate with each other without the chatting system? When users have a match, they can start chatting and get know each other better. Also, it is possible to add stickers and GIFs optionally to make messages more vivid.

See how to create a chatbot wisely. Read Chatbot fever: how to build a chatbot

Push notifications

Users will see important reminders from the app as well as notifications about matches when they are not in the app. So users will not waste their time and they can switch to chatting with their potential soulmate.

push notifications dating app

Push notifications in Date Finder app


If you build a dating app with the foresight to traditional matching model, then swiping feature is necessary. When you browse photos of women/men, swipe to right side means you like a person, swipe to left means you skip this photo. Everything is simple.


Settings include main features like select by categories, on/off the sound, customize different filters, and so on.

settings feature in dating apps

Customize your preferences in dating app with settings

Admin panel

You should have your personal admin panel that you will enter using a common PC. You will be able to block users, solve main issues that may arise, provide an with total control.

Cost of making a dating app

Of course, you probably want to know how much money you will need to invest in the development of your dating app. This section will highlight everything concerning the price.

As for platform type, there is almost no difference in iOS and Android app cost. So, first, we will show you the time required for the development of each basic feature for one platform (iOS or Android).

  • Social sign-in - 15-26 hours (min-max)
  • User profile - 45-67 hours
  • Geolocation - 5-10 hours
  • Matching - 70-90 hours
  • Chatting - 131-189 hours
  • Push notifications - 13-20 hours
  • Swiping - 11-14 hours
  • Settings - 20-29 hours
  • Admin panel - 20-36 hours

Taking into account the average hourly rate of $50, we can calculate that minimal cost for the development of your dating app for one platform will be $16,500, while a maximum cost is $24,050 and higher. However, it is an approximate dating app development cost since development time always includes meetings, DevOps, release to productions, and other services. Besides, this estimate includes only basic features. **So we may make a final and detailed estimate upon your request if you provide us with a full description of your requirements. **

Let us estimate your project!

Contact us with project details and we’ll craft an in-depth estimate for you. With love.

How do dating apps make money?

We have already discussed a few times that there is no need to make your app paid to generate revenue. A number of widely accepted monetization methods are at the service of savvy app creators.

Premium apps. The majority of dating apps offer free services to anyone, but some of them use premium app version as well. So you should think about this option to gain a good profit. The premium app can offer a few additional features like the following:

  • Boost the account. Users can pay a fixed fee and become the first one in the search list for an indicated period of time. Everything is fair;
  • Smart swipe. Integrated machine learning algorithms change the way how users can see your photos. Order of the photos can be changed depending on the interests of the user who browses them. It gives more chances for a candidate;
  • Unlimited right swipes. In a free app, the number of daily right swipes can be limited, so people can use a premium app that will give them an unlimited number of right swipes;
  • Ad-free. Premium apps will be ad-free and users will not see any advertising content that may irritate them.

Gifts. This app for those who are looking for love - that is why users should have an opportunity to send gifts to each other like flowers, kisses, greetings and so on. This feature may be offered for a fixed fee.

Advertising. The way of monetization for 90% of apps. Integrate different advertising into your app, but don't overfill the app with an ad, otherwise, your users will stop using the app and find another counterpart.

Learn about payment gateway integration into your app. Read How to integrate a payment gateway in a mobile app

Our Experience

At Cleveroad, we've already worked on several dating projects. Greenlight Dating is one of them. Find more details about this project on our portfolio page.

The app is targeted on the US regions where Tinder is not quite popular. It's main idea is to help people find a friend or soulmate using a well-known mechanic. Greenlight also offers chat to matched users and daily questions so that they could learn more about each other.

Greenligh Dating app

Greenligh Dating app

As said, the app uses a good-old mechanic of matching people. Except that users press on a traffic light-like buttons rather than doing left-right-swipes. The green light shows a great sympathy (similarly to Superlike in Tinder), the yellow light is used for like, and the red light for dislike.

The app is currently available on iOS. Our team has used a bunch of technologies to embody the client's idea and deliver a reliable app with great user experience.

You can see the technologies used for this project below.

Greenlight Dating tech stack

Greenlight Dating tech stack

Of course, today there is a huge number of dating apps which can fit every taste, but imagination has no bounds and we have a great field for the creation of innovations which can make a breakthrough. Being armed with the everything said above, you can enter the competition with your product creating a dating app of high level.

Ready to build a dating app?

Leave the tech part to us. Our specialist will consult you and estimate your project at no charge.


Frequently Asked Questions

The approximate development cost of one dating app for Android or iOS is $16,500 minimum, considering $50 as an average hourly rate. However, everything depends on your requirements and services we will provide you with.

To monetize your dating app, you may use three options like a premium app that includes account boost, smart swipe, unlimited right swipes, and no ads. Then you can provide users with an opportunity to send gifts that cost a specific money amount. Finally, you may add advertising that is the most popular monetization way.

First, you need to find the right and unique niche. That is, you need to give your future users something new they haven’t seen before. Then, think about choosing a proper business model for your app. And, finally, make sure your app is bug-free. If everything is done, you may launch your app and succeed.

You need to study the functionality principle of a dating app first. Then, analyze the main advantages your app will provide future users with. Build the structure and design of a dating app, choose a tech stack, add MVP features, and think about monetization types.

The minimum development time of a dating app starts from 330 hours. But it includes basic features only, and the final estimate may be different.

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