Millions of people are turning to Match Group (NASDAQ:MTCH) for help finding love. That's driving solid increases in sales and profits for the world's leading provider of dating products, as can be seen in its strong fourth-quarter results.

Match Group results: The raw numbers

Metric

Q4 2017

Q4 2016

Year-Over-Year Change

Revenue

$378.9 million

$294.8 million

28%

Operating Income

$127.6 million

$112.9 million

13%

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization

$153.2 million

$127.5 million

20%

Data source: Match Group Q4 2017 earnings release.

What happened with Match Group this quarter?

Tinder -- Match Group's most popular dating app -- added a record 544,000 paid members in the fourth quarter and a total of 1.5 million in 2017. That brought the popular dating app's average subscriber base to 3.1 million members. Moreover, Match Group's overall total rose to more than 7 million subscribers, representing year-over-year growth of 24%.

Two mobile phones with a heart displayed across both of them

People are flocking to Match Group's apps in search of love. Image source: Getty Images.

Better still, Match Group enjoyed a 4% rise in average revenue per user (ARPU) to $0.55. The increase was primarily driven by the success of Tinder Gold, which helped to boost Tinder's ARPU by 32%.

In all, Match Group's revenue surged 28% year over year to $379 million. The company's international growth was particularly strong; Match Group's international direct revenue soared 51%, to $161 million, fueled by a 36% jump in average subscribers and an 11% increase in ARPU.

Still, operating costs ballooned by 38%, to $251 million. With more of its sales now coming via app stores, which are subject to revenue share agreements, Match Group paid out $27.2 million more in in-app purchase fees. As a result, its cost of revenue increased to $86 million, or 23% of revenue, compared to $54 million, or 18% of revenue, in the fourth quarter of 2016. In turn, operating income rose 13% to $128 million, with operating margin falling to 34% from 38% in the year-ago period.

All told, EBITDA -- adjusted to exclude stock-based compensation expense and acquisition-related items -- increased 20% to $153 million. And adjusted net income, which was negatively impacted by charges related to tax reform, fell 31% to $54 million, or $0.18 per share.

More importantly, Match Group's full-year operating cash flow jumped 24% to $321 million in 2017, while its free cash flow soared 37% to $292 million. 

Looking forward

Match Group expects first-quarter revenue of $380 million to $390 million and adjusted EBITDA of $115 million to $120 million.

For fiscal 2018, the company expects full-year revenue of $1.5 billion to $1.6 billion and adjusted EBITDA of $550 million to $600 million. That compares to revenue of $1.3 billion and adjusted EBITDA of $469 million in 2017.

"While reporting results like these is a great way to kick off 2018, there are still plenty of untapped market opportunities, products, and features that we'll be rolling out," CEO Mandy Ginsberg said in a press release. "I feel great about this team's ability to execute and drive continued growth."

Joe Tenebruso has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Match Group. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.