How much does it Cost to Develop App like Instagram

Prateek Saxena October 30, 2023

With over 2 billion active users, Instagram has emerged as the users’ ideal choice within a short period. The growth tangent this social media app has taken since its inception has set exemplary standards in the industry. As a result of its growth and popularity, Instagram is not only used by people to socialize but also by brands and businesses to promote their products and services.

Coming to creating an app like Instagram, the most common question that would come to your mind is the cost involved in the entire process. Keeping the app up to date, secured and appealing to its users are few instances that add to the overall expense of an app.

On average, the cost to build an app like Instagram ranges from $30,000 to $500,000, depending on various factors. Simply put, the cost can be affected by the number of features integrated into the app, the complexity of the app, its UI/UX design, location, hourly rates of the hired developers, etc.

In this blog, we will walk you through the evolution of Instagram and its business model followed by the cost to develop an app like Instagram. We will also provide you with the answer to the question how to make an app like Instagram, features of the Instagram clone app, and lastly, we will finish with how to make money from an app like Instagram.

Now, without further ado, let’s get into the details of all the above mentioned topics.

Evolution of Instagram and Reasons It is Successful

Instagram started as a photo-sharing app with several features that can be counted on hands, but today it is much more than that. The app has been subjected to multiple upgrades over the years, highlighting that constantly evolving is the key to success.

Since Facebook changed its moniker to Meta and started reflecting on the AR/VR capabilities of modern-day apps, it will not be long before Instagram introduces well-aligned VR features capable of offering a whole new world to its users.

Starting from a simple UI/UX design, Instagram is now the star of aesthetics, capable of offering an outstanding user experience to its user base.

Here are a few new revolutionary features of the modern-day Instagram.

If you want to create an instagram-like app, it is advisable to first understand why Instagram actually became successful.

Reasons why Instagram is a successful social media app

As per Statista, Instagram is the fourth most popular social media platform that has 2 billion active users monthly. By 2025, Instagram is projected to reach 1.44 billion monthly users worldwide, representing 31.2 percent of the total internet users.

Now, let’s have a look at some of the reasons behind the success of Instagram as a social media application:

Unique User Experience

Instagram is a photo-sharing app that allows users to post, edit images, and follow other users’ posts. Unlike other apps such as Facebook and Snapchat, which also allow users to share photos and videos, Instagram has several features that make it unique.

For example, Instagram users can apply filters to their images to change the look and feel of the photo. In addition, the app provides various photo editing tools that can crop, rotate, and adjust the brightness and contrast of an image. The app also offers a comprehensive search function that makes it easy to find photos based on hashtags and location. As a result, Instagram provides users with a unique experience unavailable on other apps.


There is no doubt that Instagram has evolved a lot since it started in 2010 and has become a powerful tool for marketing, branding, and communication. In addition to sharing photos and videos, businesses can use Instagram to promote their products and services and connect with potential customers and followers.

Many businesses use Instagram to run marketing campaigns, such as contests, giveaways, and product promotions. Also, Instagram provides companies with insights and analytics that can be used to measure their posts’ performance and understand their followers’ engagement. As a result, it is clear that Instagram is a valuable tool for businesses of all sizes.

Wide Reach

Instagram has a strong community and is available in almost all parts of the world. As of now, the latest version of Instagram offers translations in 25 languages, making it accessible to users worldwide. In addition, Instagram has a large user base, with over 2 billion active users, giving businesses a broad audience to reach.

Moreover, Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms, with a high engagement rate. Businesses can reach out to many people with their posts and ensure that potential customers see them.


Instagram is a simple and easy-to-use app that anyone can learn to use quickly. The user interface is designed to be easy to navigate and find the needed features. In addition, the app is constantly being updated with new features and improvements, which makes it even more user-friendly.

As a result, Instagram is an ideal platform for businesses of all sizes to connect with their target audience and promote their products and services.

These are some reasons why Instagram is a successful social media app. Now let us move ahead and offer you an overview of the cost of developing an app like Instagram.

Cost of Developing an App Like Instagram: Comprehending the Parameters

Building an app like Instagram can vary between $30,000 to $500,000. In general, the cost is further affected by various factors like the increasing feature list, the app’s complexity, AR/VR capabilities integrated into the app, its overall aesthetic, location, and hourly rate of developers, etc.

Suppose you wish to create an Instagram like app that offers a unique user experience to its users while standing apart from the rest of the apps in the digital ecosystem. In that case, the cost can increase to around $500,000.

Here is the complexity-based estimated cost to create an app like Instagram:

App Complexity Estimated Cost Time Frame
Simple $30,000 – $75,000 3 to 6 Months
Medium Complex $88,000 – $120,000 6 to 9 Months
Highly Complex $150,000 – $500,000 9 Months +

The app’s cost can vary as per the extensive feature list, wireframing, design, and development process.

To make it easy for you to comprehend the costs, let us offer you a sure-shot formula to determine the overall cost of an Instagram-like app:

The development process for an app like Instagram includes everything from requirement analysis, app design, coding to the app launch and maintenance.

In general, this cost will include the following:

  • Functionality count of your social media app
  • Product management
  • Native app development
  • Backend development
  • Quality assurance
  • Mobile app design

Now that you have an infallible formula to determine the cost of a social media app let us move ahead and discuss various factors that affect the cost associated with it.

Factors that affect the cost of an Instagram-like app

There are several essential elements that decide the cost of developing an app. Let’s take a quick look at them:

Factors that affect the cost of an Instagram-like app:

UI/UX Design

The cost to create an app like Instagram can vary depending on the UI/UX design. An aesthetically pleasing design is capable of promoting user engagement while, at the same time, retaining users on the app. Since a seamless UI/UX design needs to go through multiple testing procedures, the overall cost of the app can vary according to the number of testing stages it goes through.

It is advisable to understand that a well-designed app will be intuitive and user-friendly, encouraging people to keep using it. Therefore, it is essential to balance complexity and usability when designing an app.

App Platform

In order to create an Instagram like app, the overall cost may vary depending on the platform on which it is built. For example, building an app for iOS may cost less than building an app for Android due to the different technical specifications and design guidelines.

It is advisable to start with Android app development considering the more extensive user base of the platform. As the app progresses in the market, you can then switch to a cross-platform app.

[Also Read: Android vs iOS: Which Platform is Better for Mobile Startups?]

Location of the app development company

The cost can vary depending on the location of the social media app development company. For instance, if the hired organization is located in regions like Asia or Africa, the overall cost of development is comparatively less as compared to the organizations located in the US or UK.

However, it is essential to remember that the cost is not the only factor to consider when choosing an app development company. The quality of the company’s work and its ability to meet your specific needs should also be considered.

Here are the estimated hourly rate of developers as per multiple geographic areas:

Region Average Hourly Rate of Developers
Eastern Europe $30 – $40
Asia $20 – $40
Latin America $40 – $60
Africa $20 – $40

Tech Stack

The cost of creating an app also depends on the technology stack that powers it. A modern tech stack is capable of putting your app at the forefront of innovation. Thus, the more complex technologies integrated into the app, the more the associated cost.

Here is the tech stack used to make an app like Instagram:

Even though we have managed to list almost every technology associated with a social media app, the tech stack can be further tweaked per your custom requirements.

Now that we have looked at various factors that affect the Instagram app development cost, let us move ahead and discuss the necessary features of a social media app and the development time required to integrate them.

Instagram-like app development: App features and development hours

Adding markers to your app would be critical in deciding Instagram-like app development costs. The development cost would vary depending on the features that you implement in your app. So, to create an Instagram like app, it is best to be prudent and look at the viability of each segment.

User Authorization

Regarding authorization, like every B2C app, Instagram also gives the users two options that need to be present in your photo-sharing application.

  • Create a new account
  • Login with existing Gmail or social media account

Along with these, there is always an option for the users to retrieve the lost password through phone, mail, or social account.

Estimated time of development: 65 – 70 hours

Profile Creation

The option of creating and editing a profile should be the next must-have feature of your social media apps. Users should be given a space in the app where they can edit their profile and change personal data like a profile picture, bio, website name, etc.

At the backend, this requires interaction between the client and the server side of the application.

Estimated time of development: 48 – 50 hours


Your Instagram-like app should have a messaging feature. And to make real-time messaging possible, it should also have a notification option to make the users aware of incoming messages.

Against the backdrop, to prevent the server from getting overloaded with constant to and fro messages, you need to use the RESTful API on HTTP instead of the permanent socket connections.

To enable the notification functionality, you must establish a connection with Apple/Google server by registering the device on their server. It can be done by using APN or GCM.

Estimated time of development: 120 – 140 hours

Image or Video Upload

The essence of a photo-sharing app is characterized by uploading pictures or videos. Here, users can take photos from the app or upload existing ones.

Estimated time of development: 70 – 85 hours

Photo Editing

Photo editing is another essential feature whether you want to create an app like Instagram or any other app. Features like photo-sharing applications, image editing, and modifications are must-haves.

You have three options at the backend:

  1. Use standard files or develop your filters.
  2. If going with the former, copy the ready source code in the project.
  3. If going with the latter, write the complete source code on your own.

Estimated time of development: 60 – 70 hours

Social Media Integration

Like every other social media platform, Instagram doesn’t operate in isolation. Users will interact with each other by sharing images and videos from the Instagram clone app.

So, when you create an app like Instagram, you will have to make a provision of linking it with other social media platforms.

In the backend, you will have to establish a connection between your app account ID and social media account ID by using third-party authentication methods, like OAuth.

Estimated time of development: 8 – 10 hours


Geolocation is one of the features that will affect the answer to how much does Instagram cost? Your app should allow the users to add a location in the image or video. The post then needs to be added to the world map, making it possible for other users to track the location.

While seemingly straightforward, the development of this feature requires using APIs. On iOS and Android, you can achieve that with the help of maps and location services.

Estimated time of development: 24 – 30 hours


This feature allows users to find each other and see what is trending on your photo-sharing apps.

Apart from this, users become acquainted with popular subjects on social media platforms, such as news about a well-known figure, the latest trends, new recipes, and much more.

Users select their preferred option, and the backend server delivers the desired outcomes.

Estimated time of development: 60 – 70 hours

Additional Settings

Apart from the above mentioned features, you can even give your users a chance to set the language, enable or stop notifications, put the private mode on, etc.

For example, if you wish to make an Instagram like app and add push notifications, the app server must register with the Apple or Google servers and provide the proper ID. The server user ID sends the notifications.

Estimated time of development: 90 – 120 hours

If you are considering a cost-effective option, we would advise starting with basic MVP development with features like registration, user profiles, newsfeed, and content upload. After getting an initial user feedback, you can add more extensive features like filters, photo editing, etc. and convert the MVP into a full-fledged social media app.

Now, let’s move ahead and discuss the MVP development for an Instagram-like social media app.

MVP Development for a Social Media App: Understanding Cost Optimization

Here are a few benefits associated with developing an MVP  for an Instagram-like app.

  • You will save a lot on app development costs.
  • You will not end up developing a replica of an existing app.
  • You will get time to gauge which features of Instagram are liked and which are not.

Moreover, if you want to know how to create an app like Instagram, we will not advise you to burn a hole in your pocket by adding all the features to your app at once.

How to make an app like Instagram?

If you have an excellent idea for a social media app, there are just a few steps you need to follow:

Market research and competitive analysis

This is where you examine your competitors and see what they are doing. It would be best if you see who else is out there in this space so that you can learn from them.

You should also take all of your findings and use them to create something better, or at least different than what is already offered in the market. Based on these findings, you can adjust your app and make it better than it is in the current stage.

Defining your target audience

With the app’s expansive feature set, defining your audience is a must. This step will help you know which features to include in your app.

There are several types of Instagram users, like those who use Instagram for paid advertisements, others who like connecting with their fans, and a few more who love sharing their lives with friends and family.

However, these Instagram users can accomplish many things with this one platform. They can edit, share photos and videos, find new people to follow, search for geotagged locations, view trending content from around the world, and even go live.

Defining your budget

Creating an app like Instagram will cost you money, and you need to know how much you are willing to spend on this project before you start. This will help you stay within your budget and not overspend on something that is not necessary.

Hiring a dedicated team

Hire a professional development team to create an MVP (minimum viable product) if you wish to make an Instagram like app. This version of the app has all of the core features and functionalities but is missing some extensive features.

The MVP will help you get feedback from users so that you can make changes and improve the app before you release the full version. The minimal feature list includes user profiles, uploading and deleting photos or videos, geolocation, user comments, tagging, 3rd party integration.


Once you have an MVP, it’s time to start testing. This is a critical step in the process because it will help you find any bugs or issues with the app. Testing will also allow you to get user feedback so that you can make changes.

Submitting the app to app stores

Now that the testing is over, it’s time to submit your app to the Google Play Store or App Store. This means the app is ready for public release. Ensure that you meet the required guidelines for each respective store.


Maintenance is a continuous process that you need to be prepared for. Once you have launched the app, you need to maintain it. This includes fixing bugs, adding new features, and keeping the app up-to-date with the latest operating system.

Now that you have a general idea of the cost and how to develop an app like Instagram, you may also want to know about making money with an Instagram-like app.

Now that you have a clear understanding of how to make an app like Instagram as well as its features, let us move ahead and discuss the monetization strategies associated with the app.

How to make money from an Instagram-like app?

Instagram is one of the most successful apps out there. With such a huge success, who wouldn’t want to make an app like this? But how do you make money from an app like Instagram?

You can use several different monetization methods to earn money from Instagram. Some of them are:


The easiest way to monetize your app is through advertising. Though simple, it is still very effective if done right. You can have banners or videos playing when the user uses your app.

The more users use your app, the more money you’ll make. However, some users might find ads annoying which may lead to less usage of your app. This method of monetization would be suitable for both free and paid apps.

Sponsored posts

Another way you can generate revenue from your Instagram-like app is through sponsored posts. These are posts by companies or brands in which they pay you to show their posts on your site/app.

This strategy works best if you already have lots of users and they are active on your app. Sponsored posts can be in the form of pictures, videos, or even just plain text.

In-app purchases

You can also make money through in-app purchases. This means that you offer certain paid-only features, which will be much more interesting to users as they will get something that regular users can’t have.

Many users are willing to pay for some extra features if it means getting more out of their app experience—for example, customized filters and effects.

As you can see, there are several ways to earn money from an Instagram-like app, depending on what suits you best. If you’re unsure which one to go for, you can always try different methods and see which one works better for you.

Whatever method you choose, ensure that it doesn’t affect the user experience too much, as that would lead to less user retention.

How can Appinventiv help in your app development journey?

At Appinventiv, we have worked on several unique and innovative social media applications to help businesses create apps that customers would love.

For instance, we recently helped our client Innovative Eyecare to build a social media app called Vyrb that enables users to send and receive audio messages optimized for Bluetooth wearables.

It also allows voice posting on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter using Bluetooth glasses. The app has been downloaded over 50K+ times and received funding of $1+ million.

It’s crucial to remember that this is the age of social media apps. Using a social media network like Instagram to promote your business would provide you with an all-around edge.

Don’t forget that people enjoy using new social media platforms; if you provide them with a reason to do so, you may take the lead.

Now that you have a clear idea on the cost to develop an app like instagram, you can first start with a simple and sophisticated strategy for social media app development, and add more features to your app as it progresses in the market.

Get in touch with us if you’re interested in developing a social media app similar to Instagram. We would be happy to provide you with a consultation and estimate for your project.


Q. How difficult is it to develop an app like Instagram?

A. If you want to develop an app like Instagram, it is essential first to understand the features that make the app successful. Once you clearly understand the app’s important features, you can start planning the development process.

However, it is essential to note that developing an app is not an easy task and will require significant time and effort. In addition, the final cost of developing an app like Instagram will depend on several factors, such as the features you want to include, the platform you want to build for, and the size of your team.

Q. How to cut the cost of developing an Instagram-like app?

A. There are several ways to cut the cost of developing an app like Instagram. One way to reduce costs is outsourcing the development to an app development company. This can help you save on development costs, so choosing a reputable and experienced company is essential.

Q. How much will it cost to build an app like Snapchat?

A. The cost of developing an app like Snapchat will depend on several factors, such as the features you want to include, the platform you want to build for, and the size of your team. However, the rough estimate for developing an app like Snapchat is between $40,000 and $200,000.

Prateek Saxena
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