Dating is big business nowadays and according to an estimate, in the year 2018, in the US alone, the dating business was pegged at $3 billion a year and growing at a compound rate of 12-15% annually.
This has created a huge market opportunity for those who want to leverage this demand to build a new start-up through a highly engaging mobile dating app.
While earlier people used to look upon online dating a bit strange, but the millennials have completely changed this perception.
If we look at the age group of 18 to 24 years old, we will find that their use of a dating app as increased three times in recent years.
Even in the age group of 55-64 years (in the US), the use of the dating app has almost doubled.
The existence of more than 1500 mobile apps dedicated to providing dating services shows the huge market for such an app.
If you want to enter this market and are looking for a viable business model, then you should read through this article and select one of the many that we have mentioned here.
However, before you think about a business model, you should look for a niche market where you can establish yourself by providing your app users highly customized features that are best suited for their needs.
You should do thorough research on what are the expectation of your target app users and then plan on finding the right platform with the relevant features that will fulfill those needs.
Once you have taken care of the app design and development process, the next part is to figure out how to monetize it and earn a healthy return on your investment.
How do dating apps make money?
There are several business models that help you to monetize your dating app and some of these are as follows.
The freemium model:
People love to get something for free so that they can try it out and if they find it interesting then they will invest their money in it.
In the freemium model, many basic functionalities of the dating mobile app are offered for free to the app user.
The revenue is garnered through advertisement or unlocking a premium service in the dating app for a fee.
The most attractive part of such a business model is that there is no entry barrier.
In such a business model, you have to wait for the app to get traction in the market so that it can build scale, increase loyalty and get more active users of your mobile app before you start offering paid services.
Earning money through advertisement:
This is a completely non-subscription-based model where all the services of the dating app are offered for free.
Dating app makes money through using an in-app advertisement, wherein the advertisers from the clicks (of the app user), reviews or transactions, pay a certain fee to the administrator of the app.
Some dating app that follows the business model of Tinder charge for every ‘right swipe’ on their app from the advertisers.
As such apps are completely free, they are very popular amongst those who are looking for a cheap alternative to find their soul mate.
You can even tweak this model by adding a new segment wherein the app user would not see the advertisement if he/she pays a fee.
In-app purchase model:
This is somewhat like a freemium model with a slight twist to it.
In this kind of business model, there is no entry barrier (the basic membership is free), but to use some enhanced features, the users have to pay extra.
The extra features can include a host of new ideas like; allowing the app user to look for their soul mate from a particular geographical area, getting extra time to decide whether a potential match deserves a message and so on.
The enhanced features can also include several options to make the message to the potential match more attractive. These can include cute -looking emojis, romantic music tracks, attractive design template, et cetera.
Such a dating app is focused on high earning professionals who are looking for a great experience and are not stingy in paying something extra to get it.
In such a business model, the app user has to pay a fixed subscription fee and then he/she can use all the features of the mobile dating app without any hindrance.
If you want to implement this business model for your dating app, then you must offer your app users something which is very attractive and they believe it gets them the best value for their money.
Using affiliate networks:
This is one of the oldest online business models which many dating sites use in their overall marketing strategy.
In the majority of the cases, the dating sites (or apps) that are using affiliate networks use the cost per click strategy to share the revenue.
You can improve your chances of getting more subscriber to your mobile app if you display the deals of affiliates who are related to the dating industry like the florist, the gift card store and so on in the app.
Digital Gift revenue model:
You can also add a gifting section in your dating mobile app.
Through this section people who have matched and have agreed to take on their relation forward can send each other something cute and attractive through the dating app.
The app user can send virtual gifts like digital flowers, e-cards, gift cards or even partner vouchers that can be redeemed for physical products.
Many a time it has been found that the dating apps that offer this service do so as a part of their affiliate program.
However, some of the new dating apps are offering this service as a standout feature so that their app users can get a better experience by using their app.
Off-line monetization model:
You can host local dating events which include speed dating, local dating mixers, bringing the virtual users in the real world as well as clarity options.
You can do this on your own or you can sell event tickets online to site members that can use local restaurants and venues for offline activities.
Therefore, the question, how do dating apps make money? Has no one size fits all answer.
You have to pick the right monetization strategy for your mobile dating app by looking at your competition as well as experimenting with different models available find the right one that suits you.
By Ravi Makhija
who is an entrepreneur, an IT professional. Tech geek. Loves writing about new technologies and the latest trends in IT field.
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