According to Wired, Tinder has 10 million active users, compared to the newer apps just launching that probably number more in the thousands. Coffee Meets Bagel told us they have “hundreds of thousands” of users, but most of the newer apps are just crossing a few thousand users.
Lisa Hoehn, head of Profile Polish , says more users leads to a bigger pool to pick from, but that’s not necessarily in everyone’s best interest.
Most singles say they’re looking for a match that shares certain interests with them, so a niche platform may be a great option. If, for instance, you’re only looking to date a farmer, farmersonly is probably the best site for you. If you’re looking for a vegetarian on the other hand, veggiedate is probably for you.
And while some of these newer apps like Wyldfire may not be as niche as those two sites, it may be a bit self-selecting in terms of the people that are drawn to the smaller apps, and you may just find the perfect match, despite a slightly smaller pool.
So. who’s paying?
Just like with any app or startup, these dating platforms all need to figure out a way to stay afloat while still providing a valuable service to users. And while they may focus simply on acquiring new users at first , eventually the investments run out and a revenue model must trickle in.
In the old days, many of these dating platforms simply charged a monthly fee; a handful of sites maintain that model to this day. But for now, the newer dating apps are mainly steering away from those setups.
Some apps – like Coffee Meets Bagel – opt for a “freemium” model, charging for special features like revealing who’s viewed your profile or chatting with an expired match. According to Kang, 3-8% of Coffee Meets Bagel users pay for these premium features.
Other apps are looking into creating added value by letting users narrow down the matches they are served by filters, such as religion IOS dating app and ethnicity.
Brooks thinks in-app spending is the way to go for these guys. Virtual currencies reel people in and can make the experience addicting, just like in popular games. Whether it be paying for the ability to open a chat, or the ability to see more matches, apps will have to find some way to create added value that is worth a user’s financial investment.
Wyldfire spices up the generic ad by using serving them up as rewards when users accomplish something like getting another user’s contact information or getting a certain percentage of likes. They will receive an ad for something like $20 off their next Uber as a congratulations for hitting that milestone.
Is love in your future?
Justin McLeod, founder and CEO of dating app Hinge, foresees a consolidation similar to the way Facebook took over the social network space.
In its early days, Facebook competed with platforms like MySpace, Orkut, and Hi-5, but it eventually became the dominant sire.
“There certainly isn’t a need for so many dating apps and platforms,” he told Business Insider. “Networks are strengthened as more people join them, and it creates a virtuous cycle that eventually only allows two or three players at most to participate in the market.
“With the huge shifts in context that have occurred with mobile, social, and big data over the last 10 years, the existing online dating paradigm was ripe to be disrupted. In the future I think you’ll see Tinder, Hinge and perhaps one or two others as the dominant participants in this space.”