Decoding the Revenue Secrets of Free Hookup Apps like Tinder and Bumble


Dating websites and apps have historically been among the most competitive online services, as customers tend to be selective when selecting dates; developing and keeping customers is challenging, and investors typically see such ventures as too risky an investment opportunity for their funds.

And yet the leading dating apps generate vast revenues despite providing free services? How are these dating apps so profitable despite such challenges as the pandemic? Tinder & Co’s profits even continued rising during times when many businesses struggled for survival! What’s the secret behind that success? Can monetizing dating services still work effectively while offering them at no charge?

–       Uncover the most Profitable Business Models and Experience Gained by Top Dating Market Players.

Global Dating App Monetization Prospects Dating services usage data shows steady expansion both in terms of user base and revenue growth. The lockdown of social activities compounded this trend as isolation led people to increase their use of dating apps more heavily. A survey from Pollfish recently demonstrated this by showing 7 of 10 Americans would continue using services for online dating after the pandemic is over; furthermore, users appear willing to pay for such a service: 7 out of 10 users stated willingness to do so when asked by Pollfish in questioning them!

Most dating apps are offered for free to attract new users; once created, newcomers can search and communicate with potential matches without incurring costs or making payments to users they like. So how are dating apps making any revenue then if most are used free?

Eventually, users find they have used up all their free swipes, can no longer video call with another user, cannot search for matches in another city, etc – these limitations exist solely to increase app usage and generate revenue; once engaged in this process they become willing to spend some money to unlock those restrictions and gain additional options that enhance their online dating experience.

The Key Principle in Dating App Monetization

1.    Dating App Revenue Models Based on Subscription

Before entering the dating app market, carefully consider its monetization model. Your chosen strategy can have significant ramifications on its development as appropriate features and an admin interface are required for it. Furthermore, this decision also determines how much revenue can come in from the best hookup apps and future users, so making this choice at an early stage before development actually commences is imperative. There are three major subscription models which make money off dating apps which you should select one or more from for success:

❖    Freemium:  A freemium business model involves giving away primary app features for free while charging extra features at a fee, typically as startup projects look for ways to generate revenues quickly.

–        Freemium offers several key goals:

●      Brand Awareness Building

●      Spreading information about their new product

●      Attract customers

●      Increase brand recognition

❖    Fostering customer loyalty:  Most online dating apps operate under a freemium model; Tinder offers special features like unlimited swipes and the ability to search matches across different locations with its Tinder Plus subscription plan, while free users are limited to searching matches in just one area and receiving up to 25 swipes daily; there are more features unlocked by Tinder Plus paid plans as well.

❖    Bumble provides another freemium model example: A free user can upgrade to Bumble Boost and unlock its SuperSwipe feature which displays interest for particular matches; additionally, Bumble Boost includes the “Spotlight” feature so they can place their profiles at the top of the list for increased views.

Dating websites still make money off free users via in-app purchases and advertisements displayed to these free users; thus offering multiple revenue channels and increasing user retention.” This combination works effectively within the online dating industry.

2.  Paid Subscription

While freemium models involve unlocking certain extra features, membership models require users to pay an annual subscription fee in order to use your application for an agreed-upon time period.

It means users won’t be able to use it until payment has been completed; many customers view mandatory payments as the determining factor when considering any app purchase decision; as a result, there are significantly fewer fake profiles and fraud in such apps like Tinder and therefore potentially increasing trust for your product or service.

Membership dating websites make money by offering multiple pricing tiers, from an entry-level plan with lower fees to premium membership programs at higher costs. In general, the longer an agreement lasts the lower its monthly costs are. At eHarmony for instance a 1-month basic plan costs $59.95 while signing on as an annual subscriber costs only $239.40 which works out to just $19.95/month!

Paid membership ensures the service receives revenue from each registered user, but at a lower user growth than freemium apps – but attracts audiences more serious about dating.

3.  VIP Membership

Paid and freemium subscription models alike can combine VIP features. By paying an increased subscription fee, users can purchase VIP status. In general, there are two directions in which these features go: 1) enhanced features 2) customized features

4.  Enhance User Profiles through Various Promotion Tools

Extending system functionality with extra capabilities VIP plans typically expand the system functionality with additional capabilities that include more precise match generation, additional analytics on users’ activity, and increased options for privacy and anonymity.

It all depends on the nature of the app! Typically dating apps make money after becoming known on the market by offering VIP plans like dating apps like Tinder have done since2015. Plus, Gold and Platinum plans were unveiled from 2015-20 respectively as Tinder Plus, Gold and Platinum plans appeared progressively throughout their existence.

Product owners can leverage technological updates by selling these extra capabilities at additional prices as part of offering VIP plans as part of making money after becoming recognized on the market!

5.   Revenue Channels Beyond Subscriptions

Subscriptions aren’t the only monetization strategy for dating app products – multiple other revenue channels exist which help monetize free users as well. Here are the most prevalent approaches used today.

Advertising Dating users represent an ideal audience for numerous industries to advertise products and services they provide; therefore dating apps make an effective venue to advertise them – for instance, restaurants, flower delivery services, jewelry stores, and travel agencies all benefit from high conversions with dating ads.

Dating apps make their money through advertisement views, clicks, or transactions depending on their ad models. Advertisements come in all forms from banner ads to texts to context ads to video ads to surveys – some apps even give premium subscribers an ad-free subscription so only free users see ads visible within an application.

6.  Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing works similarly to display advertising; as an app or website owner, you partner with affiliate networks instead of specific product/service companies to sell ads on your space.

As an affiliate marketer, creating compelling dating platforms that draw in and maintain an audience are crucial components in selling ads through various affiliate networks – ultimately yielding earnings by sending app traffic towards targeted products/services via them.

Introduce additional paid features for users through In-App Purchases Offering paid options as in-App Purchases is another way of giving users additional features they want in your application, like smileys and advanced formatting tools for text messages one way; free hookup apps provide this same ability to buy one-off premium features such as Bumble offering 24h extension every 24 hours whilst Bounce Boost subscribers have an unlimited extension.

7.   Virtual Gifting

People enjoy giving presents as a means of encouragement or showing affection towards one another. As part of a dating app’s revenue generators, virtual gifts offer an easy and cost-effective way for users to express themselves while showing appreciation. iOS app development companies could charge users for sending greeting cards, virtual flowers, candies, or gift cards among other virtual presents sent. With virtual Gifting being so user friendly it offers another dependable stream of revenue generation within this revenue generator option.

8.  Offline Promotion

Although offline dating events might not seem ideal at present, they could generate greater earnings in the future. Hosting parties for app users is an effective way to promote brand recognition among target customers while simultaneously increasing interest in your dating product.

Something Tinder-like app development was known for doing when increasing its user base from 5k to 15k by hosting student parties at colleges and universities around the country – the student had to install the application and search for promo code before entering the party; word-of-mouth proved highly successful as this approach at drawing in new users over time!

Diversification is often key to business success; for startups specifically, this means finding an optimal balance between using all available revenue-generation channels while still offering user comfort – user retention is your guarantee of brand loyalty, as is strong revenue streams.

How Do Leading Dating Apps Earn Revenue?

For an understanding of dating app monetization theory in action, look at how leading players have managed to rake in impressive revenues year after year. Implementing similar practices while improving them with ongoing upgrades will transform your product into an impressive profit generator.

1.    How Does Tinder Earn Its Living?

According to estimates as of Jan 2021, Tinder had generated $65 Million in in-app purchase revenue worldwide – making them one of the leading results among dating apps globally. So how exactly are dating websites earning their living this way?

Tinder currently enjoys a global user base of 66 million with 6.7 million paid subscribers and two primary revenue sources that help monetize both free and paid subscribers: Tinder Plus, Gold, and Platinum subscriptions are offered worldwide at various rates (in the USA these cost $9.99/$22.99/39.99 per month respectively).

To earn revenue from its free users, the company uses in-app advertisements as a revenue stream. Ad forms and placement vary: some appear on the match list when swiping left/right while there may also be direct messages delivered directly into users’ inboxes.

2.  How Does Bumble Make Money?

Bumble, which ranks second globally in dating apps, offers three options to make money through it:

(1) Dating App

(2) Business Model

(3) Modes available; and

(4) Options for ads-supported dating mode only

Bumble Date provides similar functionality as Tinder while Bumble BFF allows people to meet and make new friendships through meeting up at events. Bumble Buzz offers professional networking. Dating-wise, Bumble offers exclusive female empowerment: when heterosexual matches occur only a woman may initiate communication. This approach has gained immense traction. Bumble earned $3060.5 million in revenues in 2020. Bumble monetizes through three strategies.

Subscriber-based model (Bumble Boost):  Bumble Coins provide in-app currency to purchase additional features like Spotlight or SuperSwiping; its premium plan, Bumble Boost, costs $14.99/month over 1, 3, or 6 months respectively.

Bumble’s average revenue per paying user stands at $27.75 while total in-app purchase revenue reached an astounding total of $190,756 million in 2020 according to Statista.

3.  How Does Hinge  Make Money?

Hinge is one of the main competitors to Tinder with an unusual mission statement – targeting serious relationships rather than hookups through its motto “Designed to be deleted.”

Assuming its potential users are serious in their intentions, Hinge uses a freemium model; users download the free subscription with certain limitations which are removed with paid upgrades such as Preferred Membership subscription; paid options include these benefits: Unlimited Likes and See who liked you

Filters provide detailed match selection. Preferred Membership plans cost $9.99/month or $20.97/3 months/2 months. As of 2020, Hinge had over 400,000 paying users and 6 million active monthly users.

Dating apps are paid for their easy use, safety, and fun services, making user experiences exceptional and up-to-date. Discover how you can build a dating app that stands out in today’s market.


Dating applications offer multiple monetization avenues. Mobile dating applications have transformed the dating industry; mobile apps have become one of the easiest and fastest ways for singles to meet each other. Over time, an app must remain adaptable enough to handle various monetization strategies depending on its level of recognition and market share.

A mobile app development company or startup needs a high-quality application with a user-friendly design that’s fun to use and an aggressive marketing plan in place to generate revenues and bring customers.