The Business of Dating Apps and How They Make Money

woman getting matched in a dating app

Dating apps have exploded in popularity over the last few years. Despite initial public skepticism, dating apps have become ingrained in everyday life. From Tinder to Grindr, there’s an app out there for everyone looking to meet someone new. How do dating apps make money? Let’s take a look at some of the most popular dating apps and how they generate revenue to stay in business.

The numbers vary wildly depending on whose report you look at. But one thing is certain, people are using online dating more than ever before, so there’s little doubt that these platforms are generating big bucks in advertising revenue alone. A good example would be recent news where Bumble bought the French dating app Fruitz, a dating app that targets the younger generation, born from 1995 to 2015, and has been ranked fourth on the iPhone’s lifestyle category in France.

Sponsored Articles

The dating app space is crowded, and it’s only getting more competitive. To set themselves apart from competitors, apps create sponsored content to get new users interested in their services. Users come to dating apps looking for love—why not convince them they can find that love while making money at the same time? Popular free dating apps like Tinder or Bumble have partnered with brands like Netflix or Fandango to create sponsored articles where a paid representative of a brand creates short stories about how love blossomed on one of these platforms. This way, brands capture potential users who may be learning about them for the first time and give current subscribers an exciting look into what’s going on behind the scenes of their favorite platforms.

In-app Purchases
man getting matched in a dating app

Most popular dating apps like Tinder or OkCupid are free to download and use. However, most of them rely on in-app purchases that bring in most of their income. For example, users can buy things like extra swipes, more matches, etc., within Tinder’s app. The cost of these add-ons can get pretty high, with many being over $50 a month!

Subscription Fees

Subscription fees are quite common among online products and services because they give users a sense of ownership by paying off their investment into your product or service upfront. Another benefit of subscriptions is that users may feel inclined to come back again in the future if only not to lose access again. The main drawback of subscription-based models for dating apps is that there’s an annual fee, meaning it’s hard to get users coming back regularly unless you have something extremely valuable to offer. Tinder, for example, does offer an app for free, albeit with limited functionality but uses its paid subscription service Tinder Plus as an incentive for frequent use.

Referral Programs

With so many dating sites, apps, and niche communities out there, it can be tough to gain traction with new users. To stay competitive, apps offer incentives for members to bring their friends to sign up—like a $10 credit or a free month of membership. Once they’re on board, these sites make money by charging fees like sending premium messages or extra profile views.

Customized Searches

With apps like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, and Match, people are presented with several potential matches each day based on their gender and location. However, as these apps collect more data from you, they also become better at understanding your preferences—and can deliver even more precise results. That’s how dating apps make money: offering you highly-targeted search results that you might not find on other apps.

Advertising Through Swiping

Swiping apps make money via in-app advertising. It is how they can provide users with access to unlimited profiles for free. Some of these ads may be targeted based on a user’s location and age, while others will be targeted based on profiles you swipe right or left on. Of course, paid upgrades exist—especially when it comes to services like Tinder Gold—so many users choose to pay to jump the queue. If you want to grab people’s attention, try incorporating some GIFs or commercial videos with the help of Final Cut Pro (FCP). You can ask your creative team to make them with just a few FCP plugins. When users open the app, they’d see exciting content and advertisements targeted at them.

Eye-catching Interface

As everyone knows, eye-catching design is a great way to get people’s attention. It is especially true when it comes to dating apps. Indeed, good design can help you stand out from your competitors and connect with more potential dates. Popular dating apps did just that. Bumble and Tinder both have easy-to-use interfaces; once someone signs up, they know what to do without learning how to navigate an app like they would if they were playing Candy Crush. The simplicity of these apps means there’s less user error, which makes for fewer customer service calls for dating app developers.

There are several ways dating apps make money, and these platforms have revolutionized matchmaking in recent years and aren’t going anywhere soon. Even if you’re not interested in meeting someone new, it’s interesting to see how these apps make money and what they can teach us about e-commerce and technology.

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