3 Lessons Learned from Developing a Dating App

Sourcebits' Piotr Gajos wrote an article for Website magazine regarding the app development of a dating app

When embarking on a completely new enterprise, it can be difficult to know where to go without a roadmap. Creating a dating app like Twine and Twine Canvas was new territory for us at Sourcebits. Our client, Spoonjuice, sought to challenge the status quo of “meat-market” mobile dating, so we got our creative brains together for some epic storming to create two killer products. We learned a lot in the process, and the lessons carry across industries and products.

I recently wrote an article for Website Magazine sharing the details of our journey to disrupt dating. In partnership with Spoonjuice, we took the road less travelled and built a second, completely new app to test two different interaction options. For this blog post, I wanted to focus on the three big lessons we learned from our work on Twine.

1. Leverage Analytics:Don’t make data an afterthought. For Twine and Twine Canvas, Sourcebits built robust analytics and used the data to guide product development. Give yourself an end goal to work towards. If you don’t have a point to reach, you can’t use data to steer product development in the right direction.

2. New Might Be Easier: Don’t hesitate to ignore your original product and build something entirely new instead. It’s sometimes faster, cheaper and a better experience to NOT port over existing users. In the case of Twine vs. Twine Canvas, the new product was so different from the original app that moving people and matches into the new app experience would have been too jarring. It can be painful to let go of hard-won, often-expensive, users in an existing app. But Sourcebits focused on email marketing and in-app messaging to drive downloads from Twine into Twine Canvas.

3. Marketing Matters (A Lot): A full-court launch marketing strategy was implemented with both apps, so public relations, user acquisition, email and social media all served a major role in generating downloads. App Store Optimization is also critical to success, as in-store search is a leading source of users. But success may take time – so give your app some runway. Although Twine Canvas launched in January 2014 and had some light coverage, it wasn’t until late April that it garnered larger media attention with the Daily Mail and Metro in the UK. BuzzFeed and Fox News quickly followed.

The greatest takeaway from the tale of two Twines is that you can’t hold on too tightly to your original ideal. Embrace a level of fearlessness to experiment and pivot. Make informed choices based on facts over emotion, and follow through – whether it’s standing behind the original product, developing an entirely new app or doing both.

Interested in trying out the dating apps? Download the Twine Canvas app here. You can also download the original Twine app here.

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Piotr Gajos, Chief Innovation Officer

Piotr is Sourcebits Chief Innovation Officer. A 2006 Apple Design Award winner, Piotr draws much of his inspiration from film and music, and focuses on leading our Innovation Strategy Workshops, generating new ideas for Sourcebits, and consulting on projects.