– Joe Russell, Founder of DreamWalk app developers in Australia
“Users are having good experiences but they’d still prefer not to have to use dating apps!”
About this study
Over the last 10 years the dating app market has become quite saturated. A quick scroll through the App Store will reveal Tinder clones for every demographic, niche and sexual fantasy around.
Despite the saturation, it is still a fast growing and lucrative market. So, it’s no surprise that creative entrepreneurs and app developers keep coming up with innovative new solutions to the age old match-making problem.
When designing a new dating app, it can be easy to fall into the trap of simply imitating Tinder or Bumble.
However, competing head-to-head with these industry giants will likely prove challenging. In order to stand out and potentially cut into their market share you’ll need to think outside the square.
A good place to start is to look at the issues dating app users are currently facing. Unfortunately, finding this kind of information is extremely difficult. After working with a number of dating app founders in my role at DreamWalk, I decided to conduct a large-scale study. The goal was to find out which problems dating app users are actually facing and how satisfied they are with the current app offerings.
In this study I surveyed 805 people in Australia and the US between the ages of 18 and 60. I’ve detailed my key findings below. I’ve also identified some potential solutions to the most common issues and looked at ways some of the other dating apps are handling user’s concerns.
If you are currently designing or developing a new dating app I hope you find this information useful. I also encourage you to share your own ideas and feedback on my findings in the comments section.
How dating app users of all ages rate their experience
- Overall, people are very satisfied with their dating app experiences. Over 44% of those surveyed rated their overall experience at 8 out of 10 or higher.
- A staggering 15.5% gave their experience with dating apps a perfect score of 10.
The experience of 18-24 year olds
25-30 year olds
31-35 year olds
36-40 year olds
41-50 year olds
51-60 year olds
- There is a significant drop off in satisfaction for 51-60 year olds. Only 30% score their experience at 8 or above, compared to the 44% average across all age brackets.
- 51% of users aged 51-60 rated their experience at 5 out of 10 or lower.
Male VS Female Satisfaction
- Men enjoy dating apps more than women with 89% of guys rating their experience at 5+ compared to 75% of women.
Issues users of all ages are experiencing
The biggest problems
- ‘Fake profiles or misleading profile pics’ is the biggest issue facing dating app users, with 51% of those surveyed experiencing it. The problem seems to be the most prominent for users aged 41-50. It is only the third biggest problem for users 18 to 24, with ‘ghosting’ and ‘boring chat conversations’ a bigger problem for young people.
- The top three biggest problems across all age groups are ‘Fake profiles or misleading profile pics’ followed by ‘Boring chat conversations’ then ‘Awkward or non-enjoyable dates’.
Issues men are experiencing
Issues women are experiencing
Male VS Female User Issues
- Surprisingly, male users reported ‘personal safety issues’ being a bigger issue than female users did, with it ranking as the second biggest problem for male users and literally the least problematic issue for female users.
- ‘Fake profiles or misleading profile pics’ and ‘Boring chat conversations’ ranked highly for both genders.
by DreamWalk app developers in Australia
- According to our TURF analysis, if you were to develop a dating app and could only address three issues, you’d have the most impact by focusing on ‘personal safety issues’, ‘boring chat conversations’ and ‘fake profiles or misleading profile pics’.
A few features you might want to consider to reduce or eliminate these issues:
by DreamWalk app developers in Australia
Personal Safety Issues – Mitigation Ideas
Incorporate a comprehensive third-party KYC (know your customer) process to verify user’s personal information.
Make users get a police background check before they can sign up for the app.
Encourage users to organise dates through the app rather than using SMS or phone. This way the app can keep track of the user’s date plans in case of emergency.
Cross reference user details against national sex offenders registers.
Integrate a third-party location-tracking and panic button system like Tinder is doing in partnering with Noonlight.
Implement a buddy system, whereby the user sets a trusted friend to receive details of the dates they organise through the app, including time, location and the contact information of their matches.
Require user’s friends to vouch for their matches before connecting them.
Boring Chat Conversations – Mitigation Ideas
Develop ice-breaker features. For example, Hinge allows users to like and comment on each other’s images and profile info as conversation starters.
Hinge also requires users to answer three profile prompts, which are fun little questions/blurbs that encourage users to let their personalities shine through and make for great conversation topics later on.
Give users conversation suggestions.
Use a chat bot to facilitate the first conversation between two matched users by asking each of them questions in a three-way chat setting.
Design the app to assist the users in setting up real-life dates, reducing the length of initial chat conversations.
Use AI and Machine learning models to more accurately predict compatibility between users, which will organically lead to better conversations.
Fake Profiles or Misleading Profile Pics – Mitigation Ideas
Many of the same recommendations for improving safety apply here also.
Require users to record a video rather than simply uploading a profile pic.
Don’t allow users to upload profile pics from their photos folder or photo roll. Instead make them take a photo on the spot with the device camera.
Require users to take a very specific photo or series of staged photos for your app administrators to review in order to prove they are the person in the photographs. Bumble has been doing this since 2016 and Tinder will soon follow suit.
Use face detection to compare an uploaded profile pic with the device user’s actual face
Use face detection to compare a user’s profile pic with an uploaded and verified scan of their passport and/or driver’s license photo.
Require users to print and hold up a unique QR code in their profile pics for other users to scan to verify
Rely on your network of users to verify the accuracy or profile pics. For example, at least three of a user’s Facebook friends or LinkedIn connections must verify the profile pic before it is approved.
Would users prefer to meet their future partner on a dating app or offline?
Male VS Female Users
- Women are still fond of some good old fashioned kismet, with 77% saying they’d prefer to meet their future partner in the real world rather than on a dating app. In contrast, men are more relaxed about how they meet their special someone with 53% saying they’d prefer to meet someone offline and 43% saying they’d actually prefer to meet someone in a dating app.
Suggestions by DreamWalk app developers in Australia:
- Focus on making women’s experience a great one as they could make or break your app. Women would prefer to not to be using your app in the first place, so it’ll take more to win them over. Also, it goes without saying that without female users, men will not be interested in your app. Bumble addresses this concern by putting women in control. In Bumble female users are the only ones able to start conversations in the app
We learned a lot from this study into dating app user satisfaction. While there is a whole lot more we’d love to know, there were a number of important takeaways. I hope the study helps new dating app startups to design and develop better apps. The most important learnings we gained from the study were:
Users are having great experiences with the current dating app options, so competing with those apps requires out of the box thinking and innovative solutions.
Women predominantly don’t want to be using dating apps, so winning them over is key.
The most important issues to address when designing a new dating app are ‘User safety issues’, ‘Boring chat conversations’ and ‘Fake profiles or misleading profile pics’.
Users over 60 yo are generally having a worse experience than younger users.
I hope you find these insights useful and look forward to seeing how entrepreneurs solve these issues in the next wave of new dating apps.
DreamWalk Founder and Creative Director
Joseph founded DreamWalk back in 2008 with brother Samuel. DreamWalk is an Australian app development company based in Melbourne. Over the last 11 years Joseph has worked with hundreds of businesses and startups to develop innvoative mobile app strategies and design ground-breaking apps. DreamWalk is one of the best renowned app developers in Australia.