A Complete Guide on TikTok App Development Cost?

Prateek Saxena November 22, 2022
tiktok app development cost

With over one billion monthly active users, TiTok is the social media app that has been capable of placing itself in the higher echelon of the social media app ecosystem.   The video-sharing social media app has become inescapable and a major revolution of the entertainment world. The app is now referred to by the users as one of the most authentic and unfiltered social media apps that has redefined the way social media works.

The multi-faceted immersive mobile app that is present on both Android and iOS is not just ruling the world of the millions 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.

This article will help you understand the TikTok app development costs and the various factors that affect the development costs of a platform like TikTok. In addition to this, we will look into the technical and monetary side of the app, and the multiple features that make it stand apart from the rest of the competitors in the market space.

To give you a brief idea, the cost to develop an app like TikTok varies between $35,000 to $300,000. The overall cost can further increase or decrease based on the overall app’s complexity. A mobile app with a complex architecture and an extensive feature list will cost you more compared to the one with a simple architecture and minimal feature-list.

Get exact development cost of your social media app

Before we go on with the article and look at various deciding factors that affect your app budget in detail, let us first give you a brief outlook on how TikTok has made it to the top of charts, procured millions in funding and has managed to become one of the top-grossing application of the world.

Market Statistics of the Overnight Sensation TikTok

The social media app 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 powered by artificial intelligence 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 is available in more than 150 countries
  • The app ranks 6th on the list of most downloaded social media apps in 2022
  • TikTok has been downloaded 210 million times in the US only
  • The app has more than 1 billion monthly users
  • An average user spends 52 minutes on the app daily
  • Out of 4.8 billion global online users, more than 20.8% use TikTok
  • The app witnessed a revenue of $18.3 billion in revenue 2022, resulting in a 54% of YoY increase

Top 10 Most Downloaded Social Media Apps Worldwide

These 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 TikTok-Like Social Media App Segment

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 Social Media App Segment

It is not just the market demand and emerging competitors count that has seen a rise ever since the TikTok app was launched in September 2017, 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 on social media.

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

Bytedance – The 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.

Now that you have a clear insight into how lucrative the social media app development segment has become, let us move ahead and discuss the TikTok app development costs in detail and the multiple factors that influence the budget required to develop a similar social media mobile app.

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

The average cost of developing apps like TikTok is somewhere between $35,000 to $300,000. It can further increase or decrease based on a number of factors as well as the overall app complexity.

For instance, the costs for TikTok-like app development can vary as per the location of the hired app development agency. In addition to this, certain other factors that can influence the app development prices includes the app’s UI/UX design, development process, platform chosen for development, team size, etc.

Additional factors like implementation of artificial intelligence, high-end animations, or blockchain for handling the in-app purchase segment of your application further impacts the overall app development budget. Make sure to consult a reliable social media app development company like Appinventiv to get a rough estimate for developing a top-notch social networking app while entering this domain.

Now, let us try and give you an assured formula to determine the cost required to build a TikTok-like social media app.

Cost to build an app like TikTok

Here the total development hours can be summed up as the time required to complete the app’s wireframing process, its design, coding, deployment, quality assurance as well as maintenance.

Now let us move ahead and discuss in detail the various factors that impact the cost of developing an app like TikTok.

Factors that Affect the TikTok App Development Cost

Factors that Affect the TikTok App Development Cost

App Platform

The underlying app platform can impact your TikTok app development costs. Before starting with the mobile app development process, it’s important to choose the underlying app 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 Design

UI and UX are important for the success of your TikTok-like app development. UI/UX components such as customization 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 to build an app like TikTok.

Team Size

The size of the hired team for app development also directly impacts your overall budget. For instance, hiring freelancers can certainly cost you less as compared to hiring a dedicated team of designers, developers, etc but the latter will be absolutely worth it at the end of day considering their professional expertise and experience in handling such projects.

You can hire freelancers at lower development costs but their lack of expertise can increase the overall chances of app maintenance in the future thereby increasing the total expenses.

If you wish to outsource your app development project, the required team for developing an app will feature:

  • A Project Manager
  • UI/UX Designers
  • Social Media Developers
  • Quality Assurance Analysts
  • Project Coordinators
  • Database Experts

Location of the app development company

The final cost of your TikTok-like mobile app will also depend on the location of the app development company you choose. For instance, if you wish to hire a development organization for your project in Asia, the overall app development charges will be less compared to hiring an organization in the US or UK region.

Here are the various hourly app development costs as per multiple regions:

RegionHourly Rate of Development
Western Europe$80-$90
Eastern Europe$50-$55

App Complexity

Depending on the overall complexity, we can distinguish various mobile apps as simple, moderately complex and highly complex. A simple app with a basic feature list will cost you less as compared to a highly complex app with an extensive feature list.

Here is the estimated cost of TikTok-like social media app and its time frame as per the overall complexity:

App Complexity LevelEstimated CostTime Frame
Simply$35,000 to $80,0003 to 6 months
Moderately Complex$80,000 to $150,0006 to 9 months
Highly Complex$150,000 to $300,0009+ months

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.

[Also Read: How Mobile Application Maintenance a Key to Your App’s Success?

Tech Stack

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. A robust technology stack directly impacts the overall TikTok app development cost.

Here is the technology stack that you can use to back your TikTok–like application.

Tech Stack of tiktok like app


The feature list of your social media app further impacts the app’s overall TikTok-like app development cost. Building an app with an extensive feature list makes way for an increased app engagement as well as user retention.

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 building 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 develop an app like TikTok. All the features mentioned below come together to answer the question- ‘How much does TikTok app cost?

[Also Read: The Digestible Guide to Minimum Viable Products (MVP)]

The Must-Have Features for TikTok-Like App Development

Features for TikTok-Like App Development

For TikTok clone app development, 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


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 TikTok–like 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.


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]


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. Moreover, with the launch of the Effect House, users can now also create their own AR filters.

Duet Options

If you would like to work on a song with someone else, then you can do it with the help of TikTok. 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 features of TikTok-like apps and have determined how much the TikTok app costs, it’s time to take a look at the various steps that go into creating a TikTok-like social media app .

Explore our social media 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.

Steps to Create an App Like TikTok

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.

So, 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.

Now, it is time to understand how a professional social media app development company like Appinventiv can help you put things into perspective and create a custom social media app for you.

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 an innovative  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.


Now that you have a clear idea of the TikTok app development costs and are 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!


Q. How long does it take to build an app like TikTok?

A. The time frame for building an app like TikTok depends on the app’s complexity. A basic social media app with a minimal feature list can take around 3 to 6 months for development, a moderately complex app with an extensive feature list can take 6 to 9 months for completion and a highly complex app with an intricate feature list can take more than 9 months for development.

Q. How much does it cost to develop an app like TikTok?

A. The overall cost of developing an app like TikTok varies between $35,000 to $300,000. There are multiple factors which further impact the app development costs including the hourly rate of developers, app’s UI/UX design, development hours, app’s maintenance, etc.

Q. Why is building an MVP better at an initial stage of social media app development?

A. Developing an MVP simply means creating the most basic version of your app idea. It can help you gain immediate customer feedback which further helps in product improvement. Furthermore, building an MVP for your social media app at an initial stage can help you optimize your overall development budget, save time as well as resources.

Prateek Saxena
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