Tech & Trends17 Dec 2021
10 min read

How to Monetize a Dating App: Online Dating Sites Revenue & Statistics

Dating applications are perfect tools to make money from. They are trendy, popular, easy to use, smart enough but most importantly, they satisfy some of the essential pain points relevant to the human – the desire for love, friendship, support, acceptance, and commitment. Dating applications and websites are also on the rise in the background of a recent pandemic that limited the usual opportunities to meet somebody in real life. 

How much money do dating apps make and how to earn from a dating website? Let’s review the business models the most popular dating solutions follow, take a look at online dating app revenue statistics and proceed with choosing the right monetization strategy for your online dating project.

6 Dating Apps Monetization Strategies to Choose From

How do free dating sites make money? We have already dwelled on how to create a dating website, and in fact, nothing is free, especially in such a lucrative niche as personal relations. So, the online dating websites that seem to be free or can be partially available for free are still monetized, according to any of the business models below.

1. Advertising

This is the easiest and most intuitive business model since it allows for accessing an online dating website for free. Instead, the users have to tolerate the ads that are impossible to skip. Sometimes, the advertising can also be irrelevant to the user’s interest, so, despite the simplicity, you should be careful with this business model. It can also be not the best choice when the target audience is solvent enough, preferring to pay for saving their time.  As a rule, online dating startups follow this tactic in the first stages of their project growth, with the goal of attracting the users, showing them the benefits of the application, and offering opportunities to block the ads. Next, mature projects tend to switch to more advanced business models.

2. Subscription

Charging users a subscription fee is another popular tactic on how do online dating sites make money. It is also perfectly compatible with the previous one so that novice users can use the app for free but with ads, and those who already appreciated the features of the app, can buy a subscription package. 

The advantage of this approach is that you can customize the subscription packages depending on the users’ necessities, providing them with more or less value for a reasonable fee. As a rule, the users also have a free trial period to find out how the application works for their goals, and then, pay for proceeding with it. 

3. Freemium

This dating app revenue model means allowing the users to use the basic set of the features for free but more advanced and more effective functions should be paid for. This monetization strategy has a lot in common with the subscription approach. The difference is that in the case of freemium the app can be available for free for as long as the user needs it when the subscription business model allows for using the app for free only during the trial period.

4. Credit system

A credit system means the users have to buy some credits or in-app currency to perform certain actions within the app. This business model is typical for the “mail order brides” platforms. 

Quick fact! Mail order brides is the approach that roots back to the very beginning of online dating as such. There were specialized platforms that required men to pay for the opportunity to write to the women they like, charging some amount of credits for each letter.

To date, some classical online dating websites, especially those offering to meet a marriage partner from abroad, follow this system as well.

5. In-app purchases

This business model is clear from its name. According to this tactic, the users have to pay for something valuable they can get within the app, for example, virtual gifts like flowers or teddy bears. Most often, this approach is combined with the previous one.

6. Mixed model

As the name suggests, a mixed business model implies combining the features of some monetization tactics into a holistic strategy. For example, advertising can be combined with subscriptions to block it, credit systems can be mixed with in-app purchases, or there can be a personalized and separate monetization strategy for certain groups of users. As for the latter, sometimes men are required to pay while women can use the app for free. As a rule, a mixed business model allows for achieving the highest online dating sites revenue.

How Do Dating Apps Make Money With Examples

How do dating apps monetize their software? Let’s find it out, researching the examples of the market-leading solutions. 

  • Tinder. In our recent article, we have already discussed how to build a website like Tinder. As for the business model the app follows, the creators of Tinder decided not to reinvent the wheel so they monetize their app with the help of a subscription. There are three tariff plants each of which comes with more or less advanced features, plus in-app advertising. Most users report that paid Tinder features are pretty effective, so the subscription is worth its cost (which is still pretty reasonable). 
  • Bumble. Bumble also follows the subscription business model which, in general, is pretty similar to the one of Tinder. There are two subscription packages, plus one more interesting feature – on Bumble, only women can write the first message. 
  • Badoo. Badoo is an online dating app that has a credit system in-built. With the help of paid credits, you can improve the visibility and discoverability of your profile in search to get more likes and messages. However, most users report that Badoo works well even without paid options.
  • OkCupid. This online dating application follows a freemium approach, allowing the users to proceed with the platform for free or pay an affordable fee to unlock more opportunities, like better search results filtering or better profile visibility.

Online Dating Facts and Statistics

Let’s find out how much do dating websites make by reviewing recent statistics and research. 

Online Dating Market Statistics

  • Global online dating market revenue was 3 billion in 2020
  • There will be 277 million online dating apps users by 2024
  • The revenue of Tinder is 65 million

Online Dating Success Statistics

  • 30% of US adults have used a dating app at least once
  • 12% of dating apps users committed to serious relations with somebody they met on the platform
  • 57% of online daters are exceptionally positive about using online dating software
  • Most online dating apps users confirm that finding a potentially suitable partner isn’t much difficult with the help of the platform
  • 50% of US online daters consider this idea to be relatively safe

Dating Apps Popularity Facts

  • Tinder is the most downloaded and the most popular online dating app with the largest revenue
  • Tinder and Bumble are the most popular dating apps in the US by the audience size

Tinder and Badoo were among the apps the users subscribed to the most frequently during the lockdown.

Top Tips for Choosing the Right Business Model for Your Dating App

In addition to helping people with their current relationship issues, the core goal of creating dating sites is to make money. So, you have to be smart with the monetization strategy you choose to drive profits and constantly attract new users. Here is how to choose the right tactic for your project. 

  1. First, promote for free. How much money do dating websites make? The matter is that for the first time, they make nothing or almost nothing since most of the startups get started with promoting their applications for free, using the advertising model. However, take the specifics of the target audience into account when deciding on this step. For example, EliteSingles, the website aimed at finding a marriage partner with high education and stable level of income, was monetized from the very beginning since its target audience is serious about their intentions and would like to solve their pain point asap, being ready to pay for it. 
  2. Consider the target audience, their goals, and solvency. Logically continuing the previous point, make sure to perfectly tailor the target audience’s expectations to the business model you would like to follow. As a rule, subscription is the classic of online dating websites but sometimes freemium can be more winning. To make the right choice, test several approaches with your users. 
  3. Move to a mixed model step by step. How to earn from a dating website that already has loyal users? It’s time to move to the mixed model, creating more monetization opportunities and tailoring them to the users’ needs. 
  4. Stay in touch with the users and listen to their feedback. With the goal above in mind, make sure to survey your users, finding out their actual opinions and expectations as to the features they would like to pay for. This is an evergreen tactic that is always helpful from both a business and technical perspective.
  5. Consider business consulting, analysis, and development services. As the last tip on how to choose a monetization strategy for a business website, consider getting in touch with professional startup consultants for business analysis services. They will help you with market and users research, business strategy development, and choosing the right business model. We, at Binerals, are here to help you with these tasks, along with the development of an industry-disruptive online dating application or website.


Creating an online dating website or mobile app is a pretty winning idea in 2022. The market for these apps is projected to grow, while more and more users become ready to give this opportunity a try. However, even despite the popularity of online dating software, creating a technically-powerful solution is still the most important task.

Our development company would be happy to support you with an online dating solution creation, following the best industry practices along with the Agile approach in mind.

Get in touch with us now for more help! 

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