Which Online Dating Apps Top the Rankings in 2020?

December 29, 2020
Online Dating apps

While nobody's going to argue this hasn't been a year we'd like to repeat, online dating has done pretty well, with higher numbers of singles joining dating platforms, and looking for digital networking opportunities.

This week, Andreessen Horowitz, a venture capital and private equity firm, has published an interesting report, analysing how social apps have performed, and which are winning the race of user engagement!

As part of a series titled Social Strikes Back, this looks at how the social media market is growing, performing, and developing to deliver new, future applications.

Analysing Dating App Success in 2020

So, what are the criteria for a dating app that's performing well? There are lots of metrics we can consider:

  • How much market share it has gained.
  • How many new users have joined the platform.
  • User retention figures.
  • How long a typical user spends on the app.
  • Rating and reviews on app stores.
  • The number of times a user opens the app.
  • What new features, tools or functions have been released.
  • How widely available the app is to download.

There's a lot to take in there - but it's essential to bear in mind that merely having millions of users doesn't mean that a dating platform is doing a great job! If 80% of those millions of members don't ever use the app, or log in once a twice a month, for example, it's likely to be declining in perceived value and user experience.

One of the most valuable factors this report considers is 'stickiness' - which is a great concept and one that's nicely relatable even to those of us who aren't familiar with app performance metrics!

What is stickiness? It's the ratio of how many users login per day, on average, and how many log in each month. Comparing the daily users to the monthly users measures whether a dating app is growing, contracting, or staying where it is.

For example, if that stickiness ratio is 33%, that means the average user logs on ten days per month.

Which Dating Sites Have Grown in the Last 12 Months?

Let's summarise the report findings, and see who's outperforming the market in this most unusual of years!

Before we run through these categories, let's remember that the average stickiness rating for dating apps is about 81% (compared to 92% on general social media). So we're considering dating platforms that are topping the ratings in this sector.

  1. Highest Daily Active Users: Tinder
  2. Fastest Growing Dating App: Hinge
  3. Best Stickiness Rating: Bumble
  4. Highest User Retention Figures: MeetMe
  5. Longest Time Spent per Daily User: MeetMe.

We've also seen some interesting stats relating to platforms that aren't explicitly dating, but could fall into that category as networking sites - apps ranking as top-performers in the 'friend discovery' category include Yubo, ItsMe and IMVU.

What is it that these dating apps are doing right - and how have they come out on top of their respective categories?

There are all sorts of reasons:

  • Bumble is well known as a dating app that is focused on female users and their user experience. In a sector where online spam, junk and explicit messages aren't uncommon, this fresh approach has encouraged millions of women to join the app, and stay there. 
  • Tinder has a vast user base, and has the highest daily active users - but it's worth considering that this doesn't equate to user engagement but means that millions of people log in per day, but might only stay there for a minute or two.
  • Hinge is another disruptor, describing itself as an app 'designed to be deleted'. The idea is, you use it to find an authentic match or relationship partner; and don't waste hours of your time scrolling and swiping! Clearly, this approach resonates well.
  • MeetMe is also topping out both the user retention figures, and the most time spent per daily user on the site. Why? It's free to message, has a user base of 7 million people plus in the UK, and you can change your settings to display information only to your friends, so it's a hybrid messaging/social networking/dating app with an age requirement of only 13 years old.

How are Dating Apps Set to Change in 2021?

It seems clear that what the dating customer demographic is looking for, is apps that offer a specific spin, a niche, a context that steps outside of the norm, and provides an experience that is a little more exciting than your general matchmaking and swiping.

As new generations of younger networking site users start using smartphones and downloading apps, it's also no surprise that a platform catering to teens is rising swiftly up the ranks.

Older social networking platforms are never popular with younger kids. Hence, as Facebook started as an unconventional and contemporary app, it's now used by an ageing user base with the average user ages being:

  • Age 13-17: 4.6%
  • Age 18-24: 16%
  • Age 25-34: 24.7%
  • Age 35-44: 18.6%
  • Age 45-54: 15.4%
  • Age 55-64: 11.1%
  • Age 65+: 9.5%

You're not going to want to use a social media app where your Nan is posting status updates every day. Developers are always looking for trends and new experiences that capture the imagination of the next generation, and design something tailored to them.

Dating is no different; mobile apps are now a must, with the majority of users wanting the flexibility to chat on their smartphones, and run through their matches on the commute, rather than sitting at a desktop waiting for their next inbox notification.

Apps that are fast, intuitive, offer superb usability, and visual media are also popular. Traditional messaging is being replaced by live calls, video posts and interactive features that make it a lot easier to get a feel for a personality than you'd get from a few paragraphs on a profile page.

Andreessen Horowitz describes it as a vertical community; an app that is explicitly designed around the interests of its intended user base, which encourages sharing, and features that cater to those hobbies.

It seems likely that we're going to see far more added-value benefits; such as events, podcasts, blogs, competitions and networking that expand on the dating experience to make it much more about inclusivity, shared experiences, and finding your tribe.

Read the full report here, and let us know what you think about these ratings, and if you think next year will see some new contenders topping the rankings!

Lauren Edwards-Fowle
Lauren is a freelance writer passionate about how we develop rewarding experiences, and overcoming the barriers we face to living our best lives. Lauren writes regularly about the modern world of dating, relationships, parenthood, and social dynamics.