6 Unique Dating App Ideas to Stand Out in a Crowded Market

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A lot of dating apps on the market, like Tinder or Hinge, are too general and casual for serious singles to be able to find "The One." They don't appeal to a specific demographic, which makes it hard for people who know exactly what they want to make a meaningful connection.

You can stand out against these other apps by showing users that your dating app is different and that your app is dedicated to helping them find a genuine, serious relationship and lifelong partner.

1. Cater Your Dating App to Niche Interests & Lifestyles 

Build a dating app geared toward one specific niche or lifestyle, so users feel more confident that they can find their partner on your app. You'll attract users who are specifically interested in what you're offering, people who know exactly what they want in a partner and believe they can find them on your app.

For some people, it's really important to connect with someone who shares their interests and lifestyle preferences. But a lot of the widely used apps and dating sites like OkCupid, Match.com, and Bumble don't cater to a specific niche, making it harder for people to make a meaningful connection with someone who wants the same things they do.

While it may be hard to cater your app to a completely new niche, you can identify ones that are less represented on current apps, like gearing your app toward people who travel a lot or are foodies. If you can think of a niche or other idea that's not on the market already—even better!

An app that caters to specific lifestyles can eliminate disappointment when people find out they don't have the same likes and dislikes as the people they've connected with. It can also help to reduce any time spent on people who aren't a good match. For example, if you gear your app toward people who love to travel, there are no surprises when a match says they travel a lot and are away from home throughout the year. It won't throw a wrench in their potential partner's plans because they like to travel, too. 

2. Use AI to Help Users Present Themselves

You can use AI in your app's functionality to help users generate bios, fun facts, icebreakers, and more to present themselves to their matches more comfortably and confidently.

Most apps require their users to come up with these talking points themselves, which can be intimidating. Many users don't know what to say or what stuff to include, and most apps don't give users any indication of how long their answers should be or what they should say. Without any prompts or indicators of things to say, it can be harder for people to show their true personalities through their bios and icebreakers, making it difficult for users to find meaningful matches.

One way you can implement AI is by generating responses that people can add to their user profile and use in conversations. Once users sign up, send them a quick questionnaire about their personality and things they like. Ask questions like, "What do your friends say is their favorite thing about you?" or "Which one of your character traits stands out the most to you?" You can even populate potential answers for them to choose from or let them fill in their own answers.

Depending on their answers and what they need to write—whether a bio or a fun fact—your app can generate responses for them, which they can then refine.

3. Gamify Your Dating App for a Better User Experience

Online dating can be overwhelming, stressful, and challenging for some people. Ease their nerves by adding entertaining games to your dating app. You can even make a game out of the entire experience.

While people wait for messages from potential matches, it can be fun to give them something else to do rather than just stare at their screens. Whether it's playing against other users in a game of chess or checkers or just giving them something to pass the time, like word searches or tic-tac-toe, your app will keep people coming back to it over and over again.

One way to make a game out of the entire experience and encourage repeat use of your app is to offer rewards, badges, or points when users complete certain tasks. These could include things like completing daily matches, sending first messages, or following through on meeting in person after chatting online.

You can also use gamification to find ways to get people to interact more with each other. Playing games together can break the ice between two users and help them form a connection.

You could make a game out of matching people. For example, a "fishing" game where users reel in fish (other users), and once they reel one in, they have to choose whether to keep them (add them as a potential match) or throw them back (no match). Or make it a "Dating Game"-style app, where people ask questions of three potential suitors and choose which answer or person they prefer. Encourage users to have fun and experiment with their interactions. 

4. Generate First Date Ideas for New Matches

When your app notifies two people that they're a match, why not include a couple of first date ideas based on their interests, things they talk about, and what they like to do?

Sometimes, there's pressure to plan the perfect date or figure out who is going to take the reins on planning. When you generate ideas for your users, it takes that planning out of the equation—neither user has to wonder if the other person will like what they've planned or what the other person wants to do.

Create an algorithm that looks at the profiles of two people who have matched and generates ideas for first dates based on their profiles and what they've said are their preferences, interests, and likes.

The algorithm can then pull from their profile. When a new user signs up, prompt them with questions that will appear on their profile—questions like "What's your ideal first date?" "What's your favorite thing to do?" and "What's your favorite hobby?" can inform the algorithm on what types of first dates to choose.

Build the algorithm to generate at least two ideas that couples can choose from. 

5. Add an Option for Users to Send Gifts to Their Matches

Give your users the option to securely send gifts to their matches, such as a delivery meal, flowers, candy, or a coffee gift card.

One thing missing from current online dating apps on the market is the opportunity to "woo" your matches. When you date in real life, you can show up for a date with candy or flowers, but when you start dating through an app, it can feel less like a true human connection. While your users get to know each other, you can offer them the option to send their matches a gift to help them build genuine connections with each other.

If you add this option to your app, make it secure so the person sending the gift can't see the recipient's address or other personal information. Users will have to approve this for security purposes. During signup, you can populate a form that asks, "Would you like the option to send and receive a small gift from your matches? If so, enter your mailing and email address." Ensure users that their matches won't be able to see this information.

You can also try to set up a partnership with a meal delivery service like DoorDash or Grubhub to make it easier for users to send a delivery meal to their match. Or partner with a flower delivery company, so users can send their matches flowers. 

6. Use Astrological Signs & Other Personality Indicators in Your Matching Algorithm

Create an app that matches users based on their astrological sign, Enneagram, Myers-Briggs assessment, and other personality indicators that are important to them. There are a lot of people who use these indicators—to some degree—when they assess how compatible they are with someone.

When it comes to a relationship, compatibility is important. But what makes a couple compatible? Some people might say it's the ability to make each other laugh or travel together. Others might say it's the ability to compromise or to be on the same page financially. Whatever their answer is, there are plenty of ways they can screen their potential suitors for compatibility.

For example, someone who uses astrological signs as indicators may already know which signs they do and don't want to date. Even if they don't use it to filter through matches, they can still use it to set expectations or prepare for potential aggravators that could come up in the relationship.

If you build an app around this, you're tapping into something that already exists in people's minds. You can either create an app that is based on this idea of connecting people through their personality indicators or ask users whether they want their astrological sign, Enneagram, or other personality indicators to be included when the app matches them with other users. If they answer yes, they can enter the types or signs that they want to be used. 

Make Sure Your Dating App Chat Function Enhances Your Users' Experience 

When people connect with other people on your app, they need an effective chat messaging function to communicate with their matches.

Functions like typing indicators, whether a message has been read or not, and the ability to react to messages with icons or emojis rather than text can all make for a better user experience. Users also want to know they're chatting securely with their matches and that their private information won't be compromised.

The right chat tool makes it easy and convenient for your users to send messages to their potential partners.