How To Make Money on a Dating Apps: Unlocking the Secrets for Developers and App Owners

25 July 2023 Writer: Lera Grechanik 45234 views

Investing in the development of a dating app can yield lucrative returns. Although quantifying "love" is a complex task, extensive data clearly demonstrate the demand for dating apps in the present market landscape.

  • By 2022, the financial gains from the online dating market are projected to rise from $1,225 million in 2016 to $1,610 million
  • The dating app industry experiences an annual growth rate of approximately 5%, indicating a sustainable trajectory for the foreseeable future.
  • A remarkable 80% of dating app users have expressed satisfaction with their experiences on these platforms, underscoring the positive impact and positive impacts they supply to individuals seeking connections.

The potential for monetization in the dating app industry is immense. In 2021, the average user was spending around 1.5 hours per day engaging with dating apps. When comparing the dating app developing costs to the projected revenue, the concept of creating such an app becomes an epiphany of opportunity.

At Celadonsoft, we possess contemporary expertise in developing successful dating apps for both iOS and Android platforms. We are eager to share our insights with you, enabling you to create a high-quality and profitable product that can generate substantial earnings within the realm of dating apps.

Celadonsoft Dating App Case Study

Celadonsoft dating app case study

3 Key Strategies for Monetizing Dating Apps

Strategy #1: Paid Subscriptions or Premium Plans

A widely adopted approach is to implement paid subscriptions or premium plans, where users pay to tap into the app for a specified duration or crack extra functionalities.

Daters can opt for premium features on monthly, bi-monthly, semi-annual, or other flexible subscription periods. This monetization method works best for already popular dating apps with a substantial user base. To cater to diverse user preferences and affordability, it is advisable to offer different subscription plans and durations.

The fees can be paid regularly, such as a monthly subscription, or as a non-recurring payment, like a yearly subscription. Within this strategy, discounts can be incorporated to incentivize users who choose long-term payments. For instance, offering a lower monthly rate for an annual subscription (e.g., $10 per month or $110 per year). Alternatively, a once-off fee option can be provided, granting users full access to all premium features.

While many dating apps are initially free or claim to be, the freemium model endorses paying users to gain entry to extended functionalities and features. This approach helps broaden the app's reach and user base. Other methods to monetize dating apps include offering virtual gifts or expanding the partner search radius. 

dating app case study - Premium version

Now, let's delve into some of the most prevalent examples in greater detail.

  • One effective approach to monetize dating apps is by limiting a fraction of features in the free version and offering them exclusively to paying users. Leading dating apps, like Tinder, employ this method to generate revenue. For instance, Tinder introduced a crucial and distinctive feature that can only be enjoyed by premium users. An example of this is the ability to "swipe back" to a person you have previously swiped. By monetizing swipes in this way, Tinder successfully drives user engagement and generates revenue. To make this monetization strategy work, two essential elements are required: strong brand recognition and user loyalty, both of which were established before the introduction of Tinder Plus.
  • Another approach used by dating apps to generate revenue is by granting "extended" features. They furnish extended functionality for users who choose to pay. Let's consider the example of Bumble. Free users typically have a 24-hour window to initiate contact with a match, after which the match is lost. However, with a premium subscription, users can extend the match duration and gain access to more potential matches within those 24 hours. On Tinder, users can pay for unlimited swipes, Super Likes, location changes, boosts, and more. Tinder stands out by endowing premium users with exclusive features without overly limiting the experience for free users, ensuring that everyone can have a positive dating experience.

By strategically implementing these monetization strategies, dating apps can effectively generate revenue while maintaining a balance between offering value to paying users and providing a satisfying experience for free users.

Strategy #2: Monetization Through Advertising: Dating Apps Generate Revenue by Selling Advertising Space to Third-Party Businesses

Another viable approach to earning money is by integrating ads into your dating app. These ads appear within the app interface, generating revenue when users view or interact with them.

A prime example is Grindr, which generates revenue through a combination of ads and its premium subscription, Grindr Xtra. The premium version presents users with the privilege of accessing to a broader range of matches and increased options.

However, it is crucial to consider that relying solely on ads for revenue can be intrusive and potentially lead to user dissatisfaction, as evidenced by popular apps like Tinder and Bumble, which do not incorporate ads.

While incorporating ads can be a profitable strategy to monetize dating apps, it is essential to strike a balance between revenue generation and preserving a positive user experience.

Monetization strategy for apps: App Ad

Examples of ad banners in an app. Source: dribbble.com

Including advertisements in your dating app can be a profitable means of generating revenue, particularly when you have a substantial user base of non-VIP users. When implemented in a respectful manner, native advertisements are the optimal choice for dating apps. Tinder exemplifies this approach by seamlessly integrating ads that do not disrupt or annoy users. Although effective, it's important to note that advertisements can be costly, with expenses reaching up to $5000.

Different Ad Formats for Your Dating App:

  • Banners: A simple format where static or dynamic ads are placed on your app's banner. To ensure success, high-quality graphics and a compelling call-to-action (CTA) are essential.
  • Interstitial Ads: Similar to banners, but they occupy the entire screen. This format helps overcome "banner blindness," where users become accustomed to ignoring banner ads. By using full-screen interstitial ads, including videos, you can capture users' attention. However, be cautious as this method may disrupt the user experience, so consider pausing ads during screen loading or between levels.
  • Native Ads: These ads should interlace with the users' experience and avoid causing irritation. An excellent example is an ad by online retailer Very, which perfectly integrates within user-created content on platforms like Pinterest.
  • Video Ads: Video ads are highly popular due to their high click-through rates (CTR) and engaging nature. According to eMarketer, mobile video ad spending in the U.S. is projected to reach $24.81 billion in the next two years. This format is effective as users' ad viewing time gradually increases over time.
  • Rewarding Video Ads: This format rewards users when they watch the entire video without skipping. Unity Ads has referred to this format as the "hottest revenue generator" of our time. A study by OpenX indicates that almost 80% of users would watch a video until the end if they received a discount or reward afterward.
  • Playable Ads: As the name suggests, these ads engage users through interactive gameplay elements. Users get a limited preview of the advertiser's app before being prompted with a call-to-action (CTA). This format helps reduce uninstall rates as users can assess the app's quality before committing.

By utilizing these diverse ad formats, you can effectively monetize your dating app while considering the user experience and maximizing revenue potential.

Strategy #3: In-App Purchases

Implementing in-app purchases, such as coins, icons, likes, smileys, and more, provides an excellent monetization opportunity for your dating app. If you are developing a free app without in-app purchases, offering this option becomes crucial for generating revenue while enhancing the user experience.

In-app purchases often revolve around virtual gifts that users can send to their dates or profile boosts to make their profile more appealing. These purchases add value and engagement to the app, making it enticing for users to invest in additional points or features.

In-app purchases: coins, icons, likes, smileys, etc.

Source: behance.com

When considering integrating in-app purchases, it is essential to focus on how they enhance the user experience. By providing additional benefits through in-app purchases, you can reduce user churn and incentivize continued engagement. Striking a balance between offering valuable perks and maintaining a free app with an exceptional user experience is key.

If you choose to implement in-app purchases, the Celadonsoft developers team recommends utilizing the StoreKit framework for iOS and the In-app Billing API for Android. These tools streamline the process and ensure seamless functionality within your app's purchasing system.

Three Effective Ways to Optimize In-App Purchases:

  1. Pre-planning: Dedicate time to plan your in-app purchase model in advance. This proactive approach will save valuable resources down the line. During the Unity game development services stage or when creating a product roadmap, think ahead and identify milestones that will enable the successful monetization of your dating app.
  2. Branding: Pay attention to the name of your app, as a captivating and memorable name can enhance the appeal of your monetization model. Additionally, develop creative copy that is professionally crafted and engaging, contributing to the overall success of your app.
  3. Bundle Offers: Encourage users to make purchases by offering bundle deals that provide discounts. The perception of a better deal motivates users to buy more at a more affordable price. Some users may even be willing to spend more for the perceived value and savings, significantly boosting your return on investment (ROI).

By implementing these optimization strategies, you can maximize the effectiveness of in-app purchases, attract more users, and drive higher revenue for your dating app.


There are additional monetization avenues to explore beyond in-app purchases. Some dating apps offer branded offline goods, such as flowers, sweets, greeting cards, and more. This presents an opportunity to generate revenue, particularly during special occasions like international hugging day and Valentine's Day, when users are more likely to make purchases.

Another strategy to enhance your app's engagement is to integrate third-party services like booking or taxi services. By providing these services within the app, users can conveniently plan dates without having to leave the app. This benefits both the app, as it generates additional income, and the users, as they save time and effort in planning their outings.

Additionally, hosting offline events or facilitating the sale of event tickets directly within the app is another option to consider for generating revenue. By organizing dating events or offering event-related services, you can create additional income streams and foster a sense of community among your app users.

Exploring these offline monetization methods alongside in-app strategies can provide a comprehensive approach to making your dating app financially successful.

Use a Variety of Dating App Monetization Techniques to Be Profitable

A comprehensive monetization strategy should encompass multiple methods to ensure revenue generation while maintaining a positive user experience. By incorporating various techniques and approaches, you can enhance both the app's income and the overall user experience.

For instance, a popular approach is to combine different monetization methods within the app. One effective example is running ads while simultaneously offering users the option to pay for an ad-free experience. This integration of multiple monetization methods allows for a balanced approach, providing users with choices while maximizing revenue potential.

Key Considerations for Success

  • Continuous Acquisition of New Customers: To ensure profitability, it is essential to consistently attract new customers to your app. Implement effective marketing and promotional strategies to expand your user base and reach a wider audience.
  • Balance between Male and Female Users: Maintaining a balance between male and female users is crucial for the success of your dating app. Keep in mind that, in most cases, around one-third of all users are women. Strive to create an inclusive and diverse user community to enhance the overall experience.
  • Engage and Retain Current Users: Recognize that users often utilize multiple dating apps simultaneously and may not be fully loyal to a single platform. Therefore, it is equally important to focus on engaging and retaining your existing user base. Regularly introduce new features, offer incentives, and foster a vibrant and interactive community to keep users actively using your app.
  • User Churn: Even with a successful and stable product, it is inevitable to experience user attrition over time. As users find matches and establish connections, they may naturally leave the app. Be prepared for this churn and continuously focus on attracting new users to offset the natural decline.

By addressing these "underwater rocks," you can navigate challenges and optimize the growth and profitability of your dating app.

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Tips to Boost Engagement Metrics in Your Dating App

To create a successful and revenue-generating dating app, it is essential to attract new users while retaining existing ones. To achieve this, you must focus on creating an engaging app that stands out in the market. Developing a comprehensive marketing strategy will play a vital role in achieving these goals. Here is a simple step-by-step guide to help you attract customers and improve key performance indicator (KPI) metrics.

 

Maximizing Revenue: Key KPIs and Metrics for Your Dating App

To drive the success of your marketing strategy, it is crucial to define key performance indicators (KPIs) accurately. By identifying the right metrics at each stage of the user's journey, you can analyze data, identify milestones, and overcome obstacles that may hinder users from spending more within the app. Real-time data analysis enables you to optimize your app's performance effectively. Here are three essential metrics for any dating app:

  • Cost per Acquisition (CPA): CPA measures the cost associated with acquiring a new user or customer. It helps you understand how much you spend to acquire each new user. By monitoring CPA, you can assess the efficiency of your marketing campaigns and make informed decisions about allocating resources to maximize ROI.
  • Lifetime Value (LTV): LTV represents the total revenue a user generates throughout their entire engagement with your app. Calculating LTV helps you estimate the long-term profitability of each user. It allows you to identify high-value users and tailor retention strategies to maximize their lifetime value. Increasing LTV is crucial for sustainable revenue growth.
  • Abandonment Rate: The abandonment rate measures the percentage of users who start but do not complete a desired action or journey within your app, such as profile creation, subscription sign-up, or making a purchase. A high abandonment rate indicates potential points of friction or user dissatisfaction. By analyzing this metric, you can identify pain points and optimize your app's user experience to reduce abandonment and increase conversion rates.

Understanding and monitoring these key metrics will provide valuable insights into your app's revenue generation potential. It empowers you to make data-driven decisions, optimize user experiences, and drive higher engagement and revenue for your dating app.

Abandonment Rate

The abandonment rate is a metric that measures the ratio of completed transactions in your app compared to abandoned ones. Users may abandon transactions due to factors such as poor performance, long loading times, and unsatisfactory user experience. Monitoring the abandonment rate is crucial as it allows you to identify gaps and areas for improvement within your app.

By analyzing the abandonment rate, you can pinpoint the specific pain points or obstacles that lead users to abandon transactions. This insight enables you to take the necessary steps to address these issues and create a smoother user experience. By optimizing performance, reducing loading times, and enhancing the overall user experience, you can encourage users to complete more transactions without abandoning the app. This strategy ultimately helps improve the app's performance and increase user engagement

Cost per Acquisition (CPA)

The CPA metric indicates the cost associated with acquiring a new user who becomes an active and paying customer. It encompasses various expenses, including advertising costs, technical expenses (such as hosting), investment in mobile app development services, and creating the textual content that users see. While these costs may take time to determine the overall cost per user, they are crucial in determining the overall cost per user.

By analyzing CPA, you gain insights into the effectiveness and efficiency of your marketing strategy. It helps you prioritize different aspects of your marketing efforts, allowing you to allocate resources effectively to optimize user acquisition and improve ROI. Understanding the CPA metric enables you to make informed decisions about budget allocation and refine your marketing approach to acquire new users more cost-effectively.

Total Cost of Campaign / Number of Acquisitions = Cost per Acquisition

Lifetime Value (LTV)

Lifetime Value (LTV) represents the total revenue generated by a customer over their entire engagement with your app. This metric allows you to assess the value of different segments within your target audience and make informed decisions on how much to invest in acquiring new users. It is important to consider the churn rate and other mentioned metrics in conjunction with LTV.

In simple terms, the LTV should always surpass the customer acquisition cost. This ensures that the revenue generated from a customer over their lifetime is greater than the cost incurred in acquiring them. By maintaining a positive LTV-to-acquisition cost ratio, you can ensure the long-term profitability of your app.

To put it simply: LTV must always be higher than the customer acquisition cost.

Moreover, LTV serves another purpose by providing valuable insights to calculate potential income in the future. Increasing LTV is achievable by actively listening to user feedback and fulfilling their demands. Additionally, offering experienced customer support adds value to your app and makes it more appealing to users.

By understanding and optimizing LTV, you can effectively gauge the revenue potential of your app and take action to increase customer value. Continuously meeting user demands and providing exceptional customer support enhances the overall user experience, driving higher engagement and long-term profitability.

Consider Celadonsoft, Your Trusted Partner

As was mentioned above, our team has vast expertise in developing dating applications. Here goes a detailed case study.

Our team sincerely reckons that any dating app is not about just simple swiping left & right. We believe dating apps should be something more, a place where people can find their "soul mate." At the same time, one of the most important factors is the quality of customer service and user-friendly interface.

The Celadonsoft team will be glad to share our rich dating app development experience with you, not only in creating an application but also in its promotion and monetization.

Celadonsoft Advises

    • Target Organic Growth: Focus on attracting the segment of your audience that grows organically, which often includes female users. By making your app appealing and user-friendly for this demographic, you can attract more users while also catering to their specific needs and preferences.
    • Focus on a Specific Region: Instead of targeting an entire country, consider focusing on a particular region or city with a high concentration of potential users, such as areas with many students. This approach allows you to concentrate your efforts and assess the response before expanding to broader markets.
    • Embrace Niche Experiences: Rather than competing directly with industry giants, concentrate on providing unique and niche experiences. Differentiate your app by offering specialized features or catering to specific user needs. By excelling in your niche, you can attract users who are seeking something different from well-known apps.
    • Prioritize Trust and User Experience: Avoid using fake profiles as it undermines trust and leads to user abandonment. Building a trustworthy app involves not only having a comprehensive user database but also prioritizing a seamless and positive user experience.
    • Leverage Social Media Power: Begin your marketing campaign before the app's release by utilizing the power of social media. Create buzz and anticipation by offering unique features or advantages for early followers. These early adopters can become your core customers and contribute to the app's popularity.
    • Freemium Model: Consider adopting the freemium business model, where the app offers free basic functionality and additional features that users can pay for. Strive to maintain a good balance between free and premium features, providing value to both types of users. This approach has proven successful for many dating apps.
    • Non-Intrusive Advertising: If you incorporate ads, ensure they are not overly intrusive. Native ads that blend seamlessly with the app's design and user experience are preferable. Strive to strike a balance where ads do not disrupt the user journey but still contribute to revenue generation.

 

Read also about TikTok business model

By following these recommendations, you can optimize your app's growth, user engagement, and revenue potential in the competitive dating app market.

 

 

Areas of responsibility - brand and growth marketing. Strongly believes that software development is an art and marketing is not just about sales but about sharing your passion. Her educational background in the field of business and marketing allows her to create expert content and help others to grow and expand knowledge.

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FAQ
01.
How Much Money Do Dating Apps Make?
Sanya
Sanya
Project Manager

Dating site usage statistics show a constant increase not only in the number of users but also in income over the years.

And during the pandemic, the figures have increased significantly. Self-isolation and restrictions on social activity have significantly enhanced this dynamic, as quarantine has "transferred" all contacts online. The latest poll from Pollfish suggests that 7 out of 10 Americans continue to make friends online after the end of the lockdown. And an additional critical nuance here is that users are willing to pay for online dating services.

 

02.
How can developers leverage user data to generate revenue on dating apps?
Nik
Nik
Head of Sales

Developers can leverage user data to generate revenue on dating apps in a few ways:

  • Data-driven advertising: Analyzing user data, such as demographics, interests, and preferences, to provide targeted advertising opportunities to relevant advertisers. This can increase the effectiveness of ads and attract higher-paying advertisers.
  • Market research and insights: Aggregating and anonymizing user data to provide valuable market insights to businesses, researchers, or marketers who are interested in understanding dating trends, user behavior, or preferences.
  • Personalized recommendations: Utilizing user data and algorithms to offer personalized recommendations, such as suggesting potential matches, date ideas, or local events. These recommendations can be sponsored or promoted by businesses, generating additional revenue.
03.
Are there any other potential revenue streams for dating app developers and owners?
Valeria
Valeria
Head of Marketing

Yes, there are additional revenue streams for dating app developers and owners. Some examples include:

  • Affiliate partnerships: Partnering with other businesses, such as restaurants, gift shops, or clothing brands, to earn a commission on referred customers or sales made through the app.
  • Premium features and add-ons: Offering premium features or add-ons that enhance the user experience, such as advanced profile analytics, video chat options, or profile verification services, which users can purchase for an additional fee.
  • Events and offline experiences: Organizing or partnering with event organizers to host dating events, speed dating sessions, or exclusive meetups for app users. Charging tickets or entry fees for these events can generate revenue.
  • Licensing and white-label solutions: Licensing the dating app's technology, framework, or branding to other companies or entrepreneurs who want to launch their own dating apps. This can provide a one-time or recurring revenue stream.

It's important for developers and app owners to carefully consider their target audience, user experience, and ethical considerations while implementing monetization strategies.

 

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