Even if you are very excited about your idea to start a dating website/ app project, at some point, you might catch yourself frustrated as you have no idea how to monetize it. You probably want to cover your investments as fast as possible and start earning from your dating website project.
To bring some clarity, we’ve highlighted a list of all possible monetization options for your online dating business and examples of the best industry practices.
Firstly, let us talk about the online dating industry market in general.
There is no doubt COVID-19 period affected the dating market a lot. While people couldn’t go out on dates due to the restrictions or simple precautions, their online presence increased so did online dating.
Another factor is fashion. If dating online used to be almost embarrassing, the trend has changed positively in recent years. The pandemic only boosted the already rising demand.
According to Pollfish, 7 out of 10 Americans stated that they were already using a dating app before the COVID-19 era, and more than half are planning to continue doing so.
Image - Polifish
One more important thing to note: you should start planning how to make money with a dating app before the development starts so that your interface and admin panel could support the settings.
This business model allows users to use the main functionality of the platform for free and pay for additional functionality. For example, sending unlimited messages or limitless swiping for Tinder-like applications. So how could you turn free users into paid ones? The main idea is to select the specific set of features users potentially wish to upgrade for. Freemium is the ideal business model for start-ups that aim at gaining an audience, building customer loyalty, and developing brand awareness.
Tinder allows free users to do up to 25 swipes per day, set the basic search filters, chat with matched people, and basically, that’s it. However, the simplicity and the visual aspect of the app helped to attract and hook the audience for about a decade. Additional functionality comes in three membership levels: Tinder+, Tinder Gold, and Tinder Premium. This ladder of features and prices covers the gap between a “wow, that’s too expensive” paid membership and a free one. As an expert in dating, Tinder knows that moving things smoothly and slowly is always for a better result.
With Bumble, users can also swipe through other members’ profiles, match with potential dates and send messages. Also, the platform allows free users to extend one match per day, adjust their search preferences, make video/audio calls, play Question Game, etc. Nevertheless, this app is famous for providing a more positive experience for women: it's ladies who are in charge of starting the conversation within 24 hours.
The payment model is slightly different from Tinder, as Bumble offers to buy rather features than membership. The Spotlight feature boosts the user's profile for 30 minutes to make it more visible. SuperSwipe shows particular interest in the potential matches. The users can basically purchase the number of times these features will be used.
The difference between a freemium and a paid subscription model is that the last implies payment for a certain time. It means that potential users can use the app only after paying for it. This “entrance fee” plays a role of a so-called filter that indicates fewer fake profiles and fraud and also helps to build up a reputation as a trusted platform. This model suits dating websites whose target audience seeks more serious dating. The paid membership model can also be a good solution for some niche dating websites if they offer something truly valuable and unique.
Of course, if you feel like it’ll be hard for you to convince potential users to sign up right away after they discover your dating app, you can offer a free trial period. And as soon as it ends, you can terminate the user account until payment is done.
A free trial is a common practice for online services to gain an audience and win their loyalty.
Usually, dating apps offer a variety of subscription packages for different time lengths. But the common rule is the longer you subscribe, the less you pay per month.
eHarmony - a quite popular service for serious relationships - is combining two strategies by offering free features for a basic plan and Premium Memberships for 6 months ($65.90 per month),12 months ($45.90 per month), and 24 months ($35.90 per month).
One more website to check out for benchmarking is one of the oldest dating services - match.com. New users can explore the website for free for three days during a trial period and sign up for either 3, 6, or 12-month plans at the end of it. The main advantage of the website itself is the large database that has been collected since 1995. As eHarmony, match.com is mainly popular among those who are looking for serious relationships. So if your site’s concept refers to the same dating motivation, you may seriously consider paid subscription option.
Check the article "Payment providers and gateways for dating websites: important nuances to know".
You should consider this monetization option if you’ve already attracted some visitors to your website. There are mainly two approaches to placing an ad on your website.
The first one is when you have to find the advertiser by yourself through the internet, your local or online community, etc. You can also mention on your website that you are offering ad placement so that potential advertisers can contact you with their offers. After that, you can manually place an ad banner or text on your site. You can charge advertisers for ad placement the same way magazines or newspapers do. You can use a plugin or any other tool that will count the number of times the ad was shown to a user or clicked, you’ll be paid accordingly.
The other way is to add Google AdSense to your website and thus become a part of Google Content Network - a collection of sites where Google runs contextual advertising. In other words, when advertisers come to Google, it “sends” their ads to promote through its network websites. When users visit your site, they are shown the most relevant ad targeted specifically to them. Even if it’s Google that administrates, sorts, and maintains the ads, you can manage the type and category of the ads you want to show.
There are various ad types and forms Google support. You can always select which of them you want to run on your dating site. It can be an image, video, text, or interactive advertisement. The flexibility of Google AdSense allows you to control ad placement and select the pages and parts of your dating website where to show it.
There are also four ways for revenue calculation, you can choose which one you want to use.
The most popular way to run an ad on your mobile application is through AdMob. Basically, the general idea is the same as AdSense, but running ads on your mobile dating app.
As in AdSense, there are many types of ads you can choose to use on your dating app: banner, interstitial, native, and rewarded. And of course, you have control over which option you want to use.
Affiliate is a type of marketing where you’ll be rewarded as a publisher of the ad for each customer or visitor a business receives. There are two terms that are important to distinguish: affiliate network and affiliate program.
An affiliate network is a platform where publishes (people who want to promote other’s services or products) and advertisers find each other. In a way, it’s a matchmaking service that connects publishers and advertisers. When you get the advertising asset, you attach a unique code to it so that any time the desired user action will be fulfilled, you are getting paid. The action can be a purchase or just a click, it depends on the program you’re joining, the advertiser, and the ad asset.
Check the article to explore how to promote your dating site.
One more way to monetize your dating website and boost engagement is to allow users to send each other gifts. It can be virtual flowers, sweets, greeting cards, or anything else. Even if a gift is not real, the users will be glad to have one more way to express their attention to potential dates. It can be especially suitable if your website's audience is international.
Virtual gifts can also be as real as physical ones. For example, a gift card or a coupon for any online or local service or store. You can even connect this monetization method with an affiliate program by establishing a partnership with a real business by selling their products or services as virtual gifts. Just be creative!
We hope that now you have a better understanding of how you can make money on your dating site and app. But even if there are many ways to monetize them, they all require dedication and time to kick in. If you are not familiar with digital marketing, you have to give yourself some time to dig into it.
You don’t have to choose one way of monetization over the other. The best strategy is to combine different options. Think about what will suit YOUR dating website concept and audience.
However, you are not alone! Our team of development and marketing professionals is ready to help you on your journey to success. Contact us for marketing advice and dating website development.
Even if you are very excited about your idea to start a dating website/ app project, at some point, you might catch yourself frustrated as you have no idea how to monetize it. Here’s a full guide on how exactly you can monetize your dating website or app.
Alexa is a sure-handed digital marketing person who helps small and middle-size businesses to grow online. She believes that a well-thought SEO strategy, smart targeting, and communication strategy could skyrocket any business.