How Much Does it Cost to Create a TikTok-Like Mobile App?

Prateek Saxena April 28, 2022
How Much Does it Cost to Create a TikTok-Like Mobile App

TikTok has taken the world by storm, and it doesn’t show signs of slowing down anytime soon. The video-sharing app has become inescapable and a major revolution of the entertainment world.

The multi-faceted immersive mobile app that is present on both Android and iOS is not just ruling the world of the millions and billions of users around the globe but also thousands of businesses that are marking their presence in the platform to enjoy the many perks that the app has to offer.

Well.

The intent of this article is to help you join the short-video creation and distribution revolution that has been initiated by TikTok by helping you understand what it takes to develop a TikTok clone mobile app. We will look into the technical and monetary side of the app, and in the end, the cost to develop an app like TikTok.

Before we go on with the article and look at factors like the top players in the industry, the funding rounds that have been held in the segment, the technical aspects of the app, and the cost to build an app like TikTok, let’s first look at how this video sharing platform managed to become the top-grossing application of the world.

The international version of the Chinese hit platform, Douyin, TikTok took very little time to enter and rule the mobile entertainment industry. The app which allows users to lip-sync dialogues and re-enact their favorite scenes from different movies and music videos has become a go-to entertainment hub for almost every teen and pre-teen in the world.

The app which has artificial intelligence powering its every single move has defeated a number of hot-shot businesses of the world with its engagement and revenue numbers.

Here are some statistics that prove how big the TikTok market is and how the app is ruling the world while setting new standards in the entertainment app sector.

Tiktok Statistics

 

The latest TikTok statistics show a picture that TikTok has placed itself at the top of the market acquisition pyramid. Does it mean that a monopoly picture has been drawn in this specific entertainment sector?

Well, the answer is no.

TikTok, in spite of being the most installed and immersive app, is not the only one that the users are following, there are a number of other similar apps in the domain that have been keeping the category up and running.

Top Players Of Video Creation and Sharing Industry

Also, the demand that the segment is seeing is something that has acted as a catalyst for other businesses, like yours, to enter this market segment. So, all in all, the list of TikTok competitors is not limited to just these names.

Fundings in the Segment

It is not just the market demand and emerging competitors count that has seen a rise ever since the TikTok app was launched, there has been a sharp rise in the number of investors as well, who have shown their interest in putting their money into apps working around video creation and sharing.

Here are a few major funding rounds that hit the category in recent years. 

BytedanceThe parent company of TikTok received funding of $9.4B in over 12 rounds. Their latest funding was raised on Dec 11, 2020, from a Private Equity round. 

Clip – The multilingual app, which allows users to develop and edit videos alongside an active chat functionality, raised $250 million capital investment led by the SoftBank Latin America Fund and Viking Global Investors LP in 2021.

While these are just two high-level funding rounds that the app category has witnessed, there have been a number of other funding sessions in the segment as well.

One thing and probably the sole thing that has been driving the attention of both investors and end-users towards the interactive video creation and sharing platform is the set of features that it comes with.

Let us look into it next.

While the main feature of TikTok is the ability to make videos and allow other users to view and share them, the app also allows lip-syncing movie dialogues, songs, or even voices of other users. 

But when you deep-dive into it from a business front, there are a number of other features that you have to attend to in order to make the whole experience immersive and entertaining for the users.

For the context of this article, since you are just starting up in the industry, what we would recommend is making an MVP first that would contain all the must-have features that have to be present in your app as it hits the app stores and become the answer to how to create an app like TikTok. The features that you read here are what would go into answering ‘How much does it cost to build an app like TikTok’

Let us look at what they are –

The Must-Have TikTok Features

User Interface and Admin Panel

When you develop a TikTok clone, you don’t just invest in one application but two – The user side of the app and admin panel. So, without further ado, let us look at the features that should be present in both versions to make your social media app successful.

User Application Features

Login

When you create an app like TikTok, the login screen is the one that you will have to pay the most attention to. At this stage, you should aim for having an easy sign-up to make users enter the app. They should also be given the facility to log in through their social media account to save those extra, unnecessary steps.

Video Sharing

Since the whole concept of the TikToklike app runs around videos, this has to be the one section that gets the maximum attention from both the development and users front. Here, you will have to give users the option to not just create and share their videos but also save them in the draft to be published at a later time. The users should also be given the facility to share their videos on social media.

Notifications

The app should send over real-time notifications to users with respect to followers’ addition, likes, and share activity that they make on videos, and when people they follow make a new update on their profile. 

[Also Read: How to Build a Push Notification Strategy For Higher Conversions]

Settings

Under the settings section, users will be able to manage their profile, change their password, manage blocked users, work around the app settings, and contact the parent company in case of any dispute.

Video Editing

Users should be able to edit the videos on the application. There can be some basic options like speeding up the video, flipping, and more. Users should also be given the option to add stickers, animations, and filters to their videos. 

Real-Time Analytics

The real-time analytics feature is mostly used during live streams, allowing users to see how many people are watching their videos in real-time. Users can also get notified about likes and comments in real-time. 

Music Library

TikTok offers a large built-in sound and music library. Users can lip-sync and dance to the songs they prefer. Music can be added at the start or end of a recording. TikTok keeps on adding the most recent and popular songs.

Filters and Effects

TikTok offers several filters and effects to enhance your videos and images. Apart from the special features like slow-mo, reverse, zoom or flash, you can also find cat faces, split-screen, or Valentine’s day filters.

Duet Options

If you would like to work on a song with someone else, then you can do it. Once you have created the video, you can add a hashtag #duetwithme. The other users in TikTok will come across this and will come up with their own spin and duet with you.

Admin Panel Features

Admin side of the TikTok application will give the admins the facility of doing the following tasks – user management, content management, notification management, flagged videos management, and report handling.

Now that we have seen the must-have TikTok features, it’s time to look into the technology stack that goes behind the creation of an app like TikTok.

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The Technology Stack We Base Our TikTok Application Development On

TikTok is one of the most innovative apps out there in the entertainment sector of the mobile app development domain. The technology stack, in a scenario like this, has to be prepared to back this level of innovation and scalability. However, choosing the right technology stack will add to the overall development costs of the TikTok-like application

Let us look at the technology stack that you can use to back your TikToklike application.

teck stack of tiktok like app

 

Apart from features and tech stack, there are other additional factors that affect the cost to develop an app like TikTok for different platforms. Some of those factors are given below:

Platform

Before starting with the mobile app development process, it’s important to choose a platform. Depending on your target audience, you can choose to build an iOS, Android, or cross-platform application. If you are a startup with a minimal budget, it’s better to opt for one platform initially, later on, you can shift to multiple platforms.

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

UI and UX

UI and UX are important for the success of your TikTok-like app development. UI/UX components such as customization, push notifications and icons need to be added to your application if you wish to attract more users. A good design will make your users want to use your app more and not drift away from it in the long run. However, this may increase the overall cost of TikTok app development.

App Maintenance

Your work doesn’t end with your app getting launched on app stores. There are additional elements like app maintenance that need to be considered. Once the app is launched in app stores, you need to constantly update and maintain it. You will also require technical assistance from professional developers to ensure the smooth functioning of your app. However, it will contribute to the increment in the cost of developing apps like TikTok

Choice of app development company

The final cost of your mobile app development will also depend on the app development company you choose. A trusted and reliable app development company has expertise in multiple domains and offers expert resources to deliver great services. While it will increase the overall development costs, the quality of service will be superior and it will definitely speed up the app development process.

How to Create an App like TikTok?

To succeed in TikTok-like app development, you need to go through the stages described below.

Research the Target Market

When you decide to create an app like TikTok, you need to conduct research and find out more about your target market. This will help you get a clear picture of the market dynamics, how customers interact with brands, leading players, and more. You should also dive deeper into user reviews for top social media apps like TikTok in the market. This will help you to come up with a better product.

You also need to get a thorough understanding of your target audience. Learn about your users’ average age, their location, and the types of devices they use. It would also be great to find out how often they have access to a reliable internet connection. You can also create a buyer persona that will help respond to your users’ wants and needs.

Choose the Right Platform

Your TikTok-like application can be compatible with both Android and iOS platforms. But, in case you have a confined budget, you can develop just an Android or iOS app. After that, you can boost your service so it can perform on another platform also. Read to know how much Android and iOS app development costs.

Select the Monetization Model

The intent of all the applications, across genres, is to earn money. Usually, when we talk about how to earn money from an app, the social network domain works around three types –

  • Subscription-based model
  • Freemium model with paid access to premium services
  • In-app purchases
  • Advertising

Hire an App Development Company

Hiring a trusted and reliable app development company will ensure that your app includes all the latest features and functionalities at minimal costs. A mobile app development company consists of app developers, UI/UX designers, project managers, and market specialists who offer valuable suggestions and always consider your vision. The company also offers access to the latest technologies and industry expertise.

Build MVP

If you want to validate your app idea without spending a fortune, consider developing a minimum viable product (MVP). For a successful MVP creation, ask your app development company to identify must-have features and key USPs and then develop an app accordingly.

MVP software development also allows users to share their experience with your app, telling what functionality they would like to add to your application. Also, if you show your MVP to investors, they can see the demand for your app in the market and get interested in it.

Test your App

Testing is another crucial step to consider when developing an app like TikTok. Test everything from the app’s performance and user experience to content. Proper testing helps reduce the development time and cost, identify bugs, and greatly improve your reputation as a service provider.

Submit App to Stores

Once you’re satisfied with your app’s testing, you can submit your app on the Play Store or Apple’s App Store. However, when publishing an app on the App Store or Play Store, you need to comply with Apple’s and Google’s developer guidelines. Also, you need to align your monetization model with their requirements.

But even though the application has to meet tons of requirements to end up there, it’s worth it. By submitting your application to the Google Play Store or App Store, you can reach a global audience and millions of potential users.

Launch and Track Performance

Once you launch your app on app stores, make sure to measure its performance using the in-app analytics tools implemented during the development phase, introduce updates to increase user engagement, and address users’ requests and concerns. 

Now that we have understood the steps to build an app like TikTok, it is time to look at the business-cum-revenue side of the app.

It has always been a very commonly searched question on the internet that a number of users around the globe seek an answer to – ‘How do brands like TikTok or Dubsmash earn money?’

So, next, let’s look into the ways TikTok makes money and has managed to become one of the highest revenue-generating brands worldwide.

How Do Apps Like TikTok Make Money?

While there are multiple ways to monetize a video creation app, in this section, we will discuss a few most popular revenue channels for apps like TikTok that you may embrace individually or in combination to enhance customer value and earn more revenue. So, without further ado, let’s look at what they are.

A. In-App Purchase

TikTok gives the users the option to buy stickers and emoticons to react to live videos that get streamed on the platform. 

The in-app purchases themselves have got the brand around 275 percent in users spending and approximately 3.75x year-over-year revenue, bringing the revenue count to over $3.5 million globally.

B. Advertisement

The in-app advertisement also proves to be a great monetization method for the TikTok app and others in the same category.

In order to place their advertisement on the platform, which is visited by millions and millions of users on a daily basis, brands tend to shell out a huge amount of money.

If you too are fretting over your app’s monetization model, what we would recommend is either going for the ones that TikTok follows or starting a subscription-based model, wherein you lock a few features in the app in return for some amount. You can also charge the influencers for getting a placement on the platform.

With this, we have seen all – the state of TikTok like apps, the demand they are able to garner from the world, the other major players in the industry, the set of features and technology stack that makes apps like TikTok what they are, and lastly, the monetization model that they carry.

It is now time to get on to the most crucial part of it – How much does the TikTok app cost? 

Well, here’s the answer to it.

How Much Does it Cost to Develop an App like TikTok?

The average cost of developing apps like TikTok will be somewhere around $80,000 to $100,000. 

While this is the absolute base amount, it will increase as you add more features in the application like artificial intelligence, high-end animations, or blockchain for handling the in-app purchase segment of your application. Make sure to consult a reliable social media app development company like Appinventiv to get a rough estimate of developing a top-notch social networking app while entering this domain.

Get in touch

How can Appinventiv Help in your Mobile App Development Journey?

At Appinventiv, we have worked on several innovative social networking applications to help businesses create apps that customers would love and embrace. For instance, you can take a look at how we helped our client Innovative Eyecare to develop a social media application called, Vyrb, which enables users to send and receive audio messages optimized for Bluetooth wearables.

It also allows voice posting to social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook using Bluetooth glasses. Ever since the app was launched, it has been downloaded over 50k+ times and received funding of $1+ million.

For another client ABP Live News, we developed a mobile application that enhanced user engagement and ensured user retention. We integrated a live video streaming feature to enable a smoother content experience for users.

The app has been downloaded over 200k+ times to date and there has been a 28% increase in session time with enhanced UI/UX. 

So, if you’re also looking to create an app like TikTok or want to know more about mobile app technology, feel free to contact us. We will be delighted to help you!

THE AUTHOR
Prateek Saxena
DIRECTOR & CO-FOUNDER
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