Seeing is Believing: The Evolution of Virtual Dates on Dating Apps

This article is brought to you by Stream’s Content Partnership with Global Dating Insights. Stream helps developers build engaging apps that scale to millions with performant and flexible Chat, Video, Voice, Feeds, and Moderation APIs and SDKs powered by a global edge network and enterprise-grade infrastructure.

Dating app Bumble made headlines in 2009 when it introduced video and voice calls to its app. This innovation was celebrated as it eliminated the need for singles to exchange contact information before a date.

But since then, the features and benefits of video calling have come leaps and bounds, with no signs of stopping. Here’s why:

The new precursor to offline meetups

The COVID-19 pandemic saw millions of people worldwide adopt video calling and other forms of digital communication for their daily activities. 

As the pandemic ended, two phenomena became clear: 1) individuals wanted more than ever to connect IRL, and 2) online dating remained risky, with the ever-present threats of romance scams, violence, and more.

This global context created a newfound appreciation for video calling on dating apps. When singles are able to have a face-to-face conversation with a match, it eliminates catfishing and allows them to truly see the ‘vibe’ of their counterpart, creating safer IRL dates.

Since then, the post-pandemic period saw video calls seamlessly integrate into the dating process. Singles can now go on their preferred offline dates once they have already been on a virtual date and feel confident of a genuine match.

Recognizing the need for authenticity

It is no coincidence that the rising popularity of video calls on dating apps has come at a time when authenticity is becoming the most desirable trait among singles. Tinder’s 2023 Future of Dating Report, titled ‘Welcome to a Renaissance in Dating, Driven by Authenticity’, highlighted that “authenticity is now front and center in dating,” especially among Gen Z. 

“The value of real connection and presenting their ‘true selves’ is high on Gen Z’s agendas when it comes to dating,” the report shared. The virality of apps such as BeReal, which promise an unfiltered look at someone’s life, also demonstrates this desire for authenticity online.

If you want to deliver a better user experience, there is no tool better than video calling. While photos can be edited and audio notes recorded and re-recorded endlessly, speaking with a new love interest live on a video call gives users an unmatched ability to connect transparently and authentically.

What does the future of virtual dates look like?

Since Bumble’s headline news in 2009, video calling in online dating has come leaps and bounds in its value, quality, and customizability. 

Stream’s Video Calling API runs through its global edge network, where there is a physical proximity between nodes. For the user, this means that their video calls are more reliable and experience less latency to avoid killing the mood with any network interruptions during a romantic conversation.

Its video calling solutions also come with customizable permissions, allowing for flexibility regarding group video calls or discussions, a perfect solution for virtual group meet-ups.

The development of virtual dates has also seen the strengthening of its safeguards. Stream’s Video API comes with moderation tools so dating app developers can stop bad actors and toxic users from ruining the safety of an online dating experience for others.


Video calling on dating apps has found a new purpose and posed new benefits since its first introduction. As an increasingly commonplace feature of the dating journey, developers must consider not if but when they should adopt the tool.

With Stream’s support, platforms can easily and quickly integrate these video and audio solutions with in-built moderation and customization options. 

Stream’s 99.999% SLA uptime guarantees enable developers to serve their consumers with minimal disruption, while its API & SDK options allow for a painless integration of these experience-enhancing features.

Try the Stream Video Demo or contact the Stream sales team to schedule a meeting.

If you want to find out more about how Stream can enhance the user experience on dating apps, connect with them at the upcoming Global Dating Insights conference in New York City on 20th March 2024.

Global Dating Insights is part of the Industry Insights Group. Registered in the UK. Company No: 14395769