How to Create a Highly Engaging Dating App: A Step-by-Step Guide

1. Why A Dating App? Table of Contents hide 1. Why A Dating App? The Potentials: The Definitions: The Science Behind: 2. How To Build …

How To Create A Dating App

1. Why A Dating App?

The Potentials:

Dating apps have become popular since OkCupid and Tinder launched in the early 2010s. About 30% of US adults have used a dating app and 39% of online daters have found a committed relationship or marriage through an app, according to a 2020 Pew survey

The Survey Statistics

The Survey Statistics

This growth has contributed to a shift away from traditional methods of meeting potential partners, such as in malls, restaurants, or parks.

According to Statista, the dating app industry generated an estimated $1.7 billion in revenue in 2019. Market analysts predict a stable annual growth rate of 5%, with an average revenue of $5 per user.

Nevertheless, despite dating apps having been on the market for over a decade, there is still ample opportunity for entrepreneurs and developers to enter the industry. New dating apps emerge from time to time, presenting openings for those who wish to gain a share of the market.

So, what is a dating app that makes it such a lucrative and popular app development?

The Definitions: 

According to Ben Stone, who is a senior curriculum developer at Codecademy: “A dating app is essentially a mobile messaging app that facilitates the connection of users who share a mutual interest. ”

The key technological innovation of a dating app is its ability to prevent unwanted messages from individuals who do not fit the user’s preferences.


Dating Apps’ Definition

Dating Apps’ Definition

The Science Behind: 

The dating app matches profiles based on various factors and preferences to create a user’s display. This is achieved through proprietary matching algorithms, according to Ben.

To create a dating app, learning a mobile app programming language like Swift, Java, Kotlin, or React Native is essential. Codecademy’s Build iOS Apps with SwiftUI is a good place to start for iOS app development.

front-end and back-end are both necessary for the app to function correctly:

  •  A front end provides a way to navigate the app on mobile devices


  • A back-end stores user profiles and messages.

To make a dating app boom, a unique idea is necessary to attract users. There are many apps tailored to different niches and personalities, such as apps for cat lovers or the LGBTQ+ community. To get inspired, check out the stories behind popular dating apps.

2. How To Build A Dating App?

Here’s a clear and comprehensive 6-step-by-step guidance:

  1. Do a Market Research and Competitor Analysis: 

When creating a new product, such as a dating app, the initial step is conducting extensive research on the market and competitors. This stage is crucial for achieving success and worth investing time and money into.

To conduct thorough research, start by:

  •  Compiling a list of successful and unsuccessful dating apps.

  • Then, read user reviews to understand what they like and dislike about the apps.

  • Finally, do also try out the platforms yourself to form your own opinion.

It is essential to gather data on the number of users and their demographic characteristics to understand your target audience. With this information, you can create two lists: one for mistakes to avoid and another for desirable features to include in your app.

If you lack the necessary expertise or want a high-quality competitor analysis, hiring analytics and marketing professionals is advisable. These insights are valuable when determining how to develop a dating app and what features to incorporate.

  1. Target Audience Analysis

If you want to create a successful matching app, it’s essential to understand the preferences of your intended user demographic. While you could create a generic app that meets the needs of various population groups, it’s important to customize the design, features, and even the name of the app to appeal to your target audience.

Then, from there, create a Specification, your dating app’s very own Unique- Selling Point (USP) blueprint.

After completing market research and understanding the target audience for your app, it’s important to outline the app’s individualistic business processes and general structure. This is typically done through a specification document, which provides a thorough description of the app’s MVP features, localization mechanism, monetization plan, and any other relevant details. The developers will use the specification to build the app, while designers will use it to create the app’s visual appearance.

  1. Start Crafting: Development Stage

After completing the market research, you can begin creating the basic functions and capabilities of your app. With the insights gained from the research, you will have a better understanding of what users want and how to deliver it to them.

Here are 8 Must-have Dating Features suggestions for you:

Must-Have Features of Dating Apps

Must-Have Features of Dating Apps

  1. Personal Setting:

To make the process convenient, it’s important to add functionality and grant customization. Thus, the settings feature should allow utilizing various filters, selecting categories, enabling sounds, etc. Any mobile app should contain a page with private settings. Here’s what you should include:

  • General information about the app and its Terms and Conditions.

  • Contacting the support team.

  • Setting up notifications and filters.

  • Linking a profile to other pages.

  • Deleting an account.

  1. Smart Matching:

Dating apps can now utilize artificial intelligence to implement smart matches based on various factors such as age, gender, location, interests, and preferences. By incorporating more features, the accuracy improved- with more matches and users can find potential partners based on their specific needs and expectations.

This feature enhances the user experience and increases the likelihood of users returning to the app.

  1. Direct Communication:

Another crucial feature that any dating app should have is a chat system. Once users swipe right on each other (thus creating a match), they should have their own space to talk intimately and converse casually.

Your app will require:

  • Chat feature;

  • Video call feature

  • View the user’s profile;

  • View mutual connections

  • Send pictures and audio during chats

  • Additional aiding funsies for the chat are appreciated: gif, memes, sticker packs…

  1. Localization 

 To enhance the user experience, incorporating geolocation is highly recommended.

It enables users to focus on a specific region and connect with potential friends or partners within acceptable and travelable vicinity.

Even if your app is designed for finding a match abroad, knowing the location of a person can still be useful.

Eg: A user may be interested in finding a match from a particular city like Rome or arranging to meet up for a coffee during a business trip to London.

Essential Features of Dating Apps 

Essential Features of Dating Apps 

  1. Swipe to Choose

If you prefer the classic approach and aspire to build an application resembling Tinder, the swipe functionality is essential.

By swiping right on another user’s pictures, you convey that you find them appealing while swiping left communicates disinterest. This feature’s brilliance lies in its straightforwardness, as it adds an element of gamification to the procedure, rendering it engaging and swift.

  1. Push Notifications

Although some users may opt to disable push notifications immediately after signing up, dating apps rely heavily on this feature.

It enables the app to send alerts about new matches or messages to users even when they are not actively using the app. This reminder ensures that users don’t forget about the app and encourages frequent log-ins.

  1. Security

Even though dating apps are created for entertainment purposes, as a developer you shouldn’t forget that they are a popular source of harassment. That is why it’s important to consider security issues and offer a chance to search for a partner anonymously.

Another feature to implement is the profile’s verification. Your app should check the social media accounts of a new user and make sure that the person’s identity is authentic and genuine.

Finally, there should be an option to report if someone is causing trouble. If not, you risk losing a user for good.

  1.  Personal Profile

It’s crucial for every user of a dating app to have a profile that showcases their interests, preferences, and hobbies. To save users’ time, you may consider automated extraction from their social media accounts.

A user’s profile should include various sub-features:

  • Personal profile viewing

  • Profile editing, where users can add information, interests, photos/videos, and more

  • Profile verification through Facebook, Instagram, email, or phone number security checkers

  • Popularity tracking to see how many users are interested in their profile

4. UI/UX Design: Work on the UI/UX design

The interface of your online platform is a critical factor that can significantly impact a user’s decision to continue using your app or to seek alternatives. To create a good design, it’s important to prioritize simplicity and intuitiveness. Users expect a clear and easy-to-use UX design without any confusion. The buttons should be visible and user-friendly, while the color scheme should be consistent with the overall theme. If you’re unsure, you can always analyze successful competitor apps to see what design features they utilize.

User convenience and satisfaction largely depend on the UI design, which is especially important for dating apps. Therefore, special attention should be given to creating an intuitive and clear UI design during the development process of a dating app.

5.  App Testing:

The final step is to test the application to identify any errors or flaws in the product, which is carried out by the QA team. There are various approaches to conducting the testing phase, including utilizing in-house experts, releasing the MVP version on app marketplaces, or uploading it to testing websites to allow users to test the product and provide feedback.


3. How To Code A Dating App:

Each stack for dating apps may include:

  • Programming languages (mobile development) – Java, Swift

  • Frameworks – Node.js, Express.js, Next.js, React Router

  • Database – PostgreSQL, MongoDB, Redis

  • Cloud storage – Amazon S3

  • Web servers – Nginx

  • Payment gateway – Stripe, PayPal

  • General utilities – Optimizely, Twilio, Google Maps, Google Analytics.


4. Different Types of Dating Apps:

Navigating the world of dating apps can be an exciting adventure, with a diverse range of options to suit every taste and desire. Whether you’re a hopeless romantic searching for a soulmate or an adventurer seeking thrills, the variety of dating apps available can be a huge advantage in helping you find what you’re looking for.

At the same time, it’s important to approach these platforms with a sense of maturity and responsibility, keeping in mind your values and intentions as well as the well-being of others.

Nevertheless, listed below are varying types of dating apps:

  • Casual Dating Apps: allow their users to browse profiles, search for matches, and chat with potential partners without any commitment. Oftentimes, these are the platforms for “hook-up culture”

Eg: Tinder, Bumble

  • Serious Dating Apps: provide advanced search options, detailed profiles, and messaging features for users seeking more than just a casual fling.

  • Niche Dating Apps:  Niche dating apps cater to distinctive interests or lifestyles, such as religion, sexual orientation (LGBTQ+ community), seniors, and athletes, helping users find like-minded people in their area.

Eg: Grindr, Blued, Elite Single…

  • Location-Based Dating Apps:  Use GPS technology to help users find potential matches nearby based on similar interests or regional locations.

Eg: Tinder

  • Social Networking Apps: This type is a combination of dating features with traditional social media platforms to create a more social and interactive platform


5. How To Monetize A Dating App?

How to monetize a dating app

How to monetize a dating app

In-app Purchases: 

  •  In this model, users will have pay-per-use options where they purchase in-app upgrades, in place for unlimited swipes,  virtual gifts, songs, memes or playful interactive gestures (poking, hugging…)


  • These subscription plans grant paying users premium access for some time. The popular options will be per month/tri-monthly/yearly.


  • Permit third-party companies to promote your app and gain commission from the clicks, views, and impressions they generate.

Pay per Action: 

  •  One more potential strategy is to implement a fee system for users who wish to perform certain actions, such as messaging other users or accessing specific profiles. This approach can help to ensure that the platform remains sustainable while also providing users with more targeted and personalized features..

  •  This tier could provide users with exclusive content and access to additional features, offering a more personalized and premium experience. By offering this type of upgrade, the app can potentially increase user engagement and generate additional revenue.

Matchmaking Services:

  • Charge users a fee for custom matchmaking services for their perfect match.  By implementing a fee system, the app can offer personalized and targeted matchmaking services while generating additional revenue.


6. Conclusion:

Isn’t it mind-blowing that there are currently, over 40 million Americans who are using online dating applications? This data, according to Pew Research, indicates that the interest in dating apps will continue to grow, creating a window of opportunity for new applications to enter the market.

Whether one accepts or rejects the idea of online dating, the fact remains that dating apps have become a widespread phenomenon that is here to stay. For entrepreneurs and startups, this presents an abundance of business opportunities. However, developing a dating application from scratch is an arduous process, involving a range of tasks from conducting comprehensive market research to hiring proficient developers and marketers.

To ensure success in building a custom dating app, securing professional advice from a development company with relevant experience is paramount. At CMC Global, we offer consultancy and full custom development services on projects of any level of complexity. If you possess a brilliant concept and are exploring how to develop a dating app, our team of experts is available to provide guidance and support.

Contact us for further consultation!