There was a time when it was unusual, and even a little weird, to say, “I met a great guy/girl online!” In some cases, meeting someone online even seemed a bit taboo. To stir the pots even more, at some point someone figured out how to start dating app development– and finding love moved from online to the palms of our hands.
Today, online and mobile dating is a natural part of our culture. According to The Knot, online dating is now the most common way for engaged people to meet. But let’s face it, there are almost as many dating apps on the market as dating apps; and of all of them, only a handful can secure more than a few thousand users.
If you’re looking to start a startup in the mobile dating sector, I’ll be honest… you’re up against a tough challenge. There’s a very fine line between great dating apps and cheesy dating apps, and a disappointing ratio of dating apps that succeed to those that don’t. The good news is that if you know how to build a dating app the right way – you can drastically minimize the risk of failure. Will the next biggest dating application be you?
In this article, we’ll explain what you need to know about creating and developing a dating application, and specifically, we’ll explore exactly how to create a dating app that sucks.
Why dating apps suck
First, let’s get something straight – not all dating apps are shit, just most. Also, not everyone vacuums for the same reason. There are some apps that have millions and millions of users like Tinder and Bumble. Some others serve super niche markets and may have a smaller but still significant user base; like Bristlr, a dating application for beard lovers that has around 150,000 users. If there are millions of mobile data service providers, why do so many dating application startups fail? Simple… because they suck, and here are three reasons why:
Most dating application entrepreneurs don’t really know what their intended user really wants—and if you don’t know what they want, you’ll never know how to create a dating application that meets their needs. What does dating mean? Does this mean that someone wants to date many different people and enjoy their single life – or that they are dating to maybe find that special someone? Dating apps are readily available and are often used by a wide variety of dating sites with conflicting goals. Some users may be looking for a lifelong companion, while others may be looking for a one-time hookup. Popular online sites like Match have been able to attract individuals with similar goals by charging higher fees and going through a very thorough matching process. For someone looking for long-term potential, swiping on Tinder can lead to many low-quality dates before a true match is ever found. According to Psychology Today, only 8.9% of Tinder users actually use the app because they want a relationship — while most people just signed up for the hype.
While there are probably hundreds of dating apps on the market, many of them seem almost identical in technology and functionality. Or they use the same technology but instead serve a niche market. Tinder, for example, introduced the “swipe dating” model, and since then hundreds of other swipe dating apps have hit the market. One might be a dating app for farmers or a dating application for people who love country music — but innovation in the mobile dating industry has been relatively flat over the past few years. Many brands have figured out how to make a dating app, they just haven’t figured out how to make an app that actually moves the industry forward.
No Growth Plan
Some dating apps seem promising at launch, gaining some hype in the early days, only to quickly fall off the map completely. Successful dating apps require a deep level of traction and strong momentum. Even the best dating app concept will fail if they can’t bring enough people to the app to make it worthwhile. Dating app consumers are not extremely loyal – if there isn’t a large pool of potential dating partners available in their specific areas, they will quickly move on to the next dating app. Likewise, if they log in every day and no new potential matches ever appear, they’ll switch to an app with deeper local penetration. Knowing how to build a dating app is more than just creating a great idea, you also need to implement an effective growth strategy to create the necessary momentum.
Comes With Dating App Concept
The point of any dating app should be to make dating easier, more convenient, more efficient, or at least more fun. No one needs just another dating app, people need the right dating app that will truly serve their needs. When developing or evaluating your dating application concept, consider the following questions:
Who are you helping? Knowing your customer is everything. Not every date is the same. A 20-year-old millennial date may be looking for something completely different than a 50-year-old recently divorced date.
How do you help them? Once you know your consumer’s goals, it becomes easier to figure out how to help them. Identify what your customer is really looking for and design a solution to help them meet that specific goal.
how are you different Consumers are not typically loyal to just one dating app, just as most people have profiles on multiple social media platforms?
Proof of demand
It’s a fact that people want to date and that people are open to being helped by technology. However, this is only assuming that your concept is the right one to help them meet their dating goals. Before developing your dating app (even before you touch the first line of code, it’s important to prove that singles would even be interested in using the dating application concept you’ve developed.
Instead of jumping the gun and immediately hiring your local dating app developers; start by sketching your idea to visualize what it will look like, then let the app design it. Develop a low-featured (or no-featured) demo or prototype, or in some cases, a well-built video app will suffice.
- It’s amazing, just like you thought it would be. They all love it, say they would use it, and tell you it’s exactly what they were looking for. You are ready to move on to development.
- It’s great – most people like it, but a lot of people also had suggestions for how it could be improved. With a few tweaks and a slight twist, the app concept can be strengthened and streamlined.
- Everyone hates it. Most people comment that it wouldn’t really help them, or that it wouldn’t help them better than other solutions. Either way, the cost of building a dating app is extremely high – and you’ve just saved tens of thousands in unnecessary development. Back to the drawing board on the dating app!
Finding the right developers
Finally, having the right dating app developers on your team is important. Your developers should not only understand apps, but they should specifically understand the features of dating apps and have a lot of experience in building technology with a lean process.
At Moon Technolabs, we know exactly how to run a dating app that’s not for nothing. We’ve worked with several dating app startups – helping them raise hundreds of thousands in seed funding for investors to bring their app ideas to life. Are you ready to create the next big dating application innovation? Contact us today to find out how we can help you achieve your app launch goals.