How Much Does It Cost To Develop A Messaging App Like Snapchat?

Prateek Saxena April 30, 2024
cost to make app like snapchat

With over 350 million daily active users worldwide, Snapchat is one of the most downloaded social media apps worldwide. With ultimate features and functionalities, Snapchat has garnered tremendous success and has quickly taken the center stage. Part of this success can be linked to Snapchat offering something new to its users. This popular messaging app has been a real pioneer in bringing Augmented Reality to its users through filters and interactive lenses. The app also allows you to share multimedia messages that “self-destruct” in a few days.

According to a recent report by Statista, Snapchat had a total 361 million daily active users worldwide, as of the third quarter of 2022.  Additionally, Snapchatters create over 5 billion snapchats per day. The success story of Snapchat has inspired hundreds of entrepreneurs to search for how to build an app like Snapchat and invest in a social media mobile app development agency that understands all its nuances.

However, one of the most asked questions when developing a social media application remains among the industry professionals – How much does it cost to make an app like Snapchat?

On average, the cost to create an app like snapchat varies around $40,000 to $300,000. The several factors that impact the overall cost includes the app’s complexity, feature-list, UI/UX design, location of the development company etc.

Now, let’s move ahead and discuss the cost of snapchat app development extensively and understand how the listed factors affect the overall prices.

Understanding the snapchat app development cost

The total cost to make an app like snapchat depends on the overall complexity of the app. In addition to this, the more extensive the feature-list, the more is the associated cost. Thus, we will now offer you an estimated cost and time frame of the snapchat-like social media app based on its complexity.

App TypeEstimated CostTime Frame
Simple App + Basic Feature List$40,000- $60,0003 to 6 months
Medium Complex App + Advanced Feature List$60,000-$100,0006 to 9 months
Highly Complex App + Highly Extensive Feature List$100,000-$300,0009+ months

It may be noted that what’s given in the table above is a very rough cost estimate. There are a number of factors that can increase or lower the numeric answer to how much does it cost to make an app like Snapchat.

Here is the formula to determine the exact cost to make an app like snapchat:

Snapchat-like app development cost

The total development hours to create the social media app includes the time taken to wireframe, complete the UI/UX design, completing the coding and the overall maintenance and quality assurance.

cost for your Snapchat-like app development

Factors that Determine the Cost of Snapchat Like App Development

Some of the factors that affect the snapchat app development cost are given below. These factors will help you understand how various aspects of the development process can impact your overall app budget.

App Platform

When developing an app like Snapchat, you should keep in mind that the cost for developing an app for iPhone differs from the Android platform. However, there is not much difference. If you are a startup with a minimal budget, better opt for one platform in the initial stages, later on, you can shift to multiple platforms. Or, you can also opt for cross-platform development.

App Size

Another important factor that will answer your question ‘how much does it cost to create a Snapchat-like app’ is the app size. Trying to implement an extensive feature-list at the initial stage of development increases the overall budget. Thus, it is advisable to concentrate only on the core features in the initial version of the app. It will help you offer a great customer experience at affordable costs.

App Design

Non-complex and attractive designs play an important role in the success of your Snapchat-like app. The cost of Snapchat-like app development will vary as per the design requirements. An aesthetically pleasing design that retains users while at the same time increases the overall engagement goes a long way in increasing the overall app revenue. Every part of your app like UI/UX design, wireframes, etc., will take time to design depending on your choice of requirements. If you need a more complex design, you need to invest more money.

[Also Read: How much does it cost to build an app like WeChat]

Team Size

The snapchat app cost will also depend on the team you choose. To build an app, you require the standard team of a project manager, Android and iOS native apps developers, a UX/UI designer, a QA engineer, a copywriter, and a marketing specialist. To speed up the development process you could hire more developers. If you want to add some complex features like face recognition algorithms, you need to hire specialists in your team.

A standard team for snapchat-like app development includes the following:

  • 1 Project Manager
  • 2 Backend Developers
  • 2 iOS/Android Developers
  • 1 Designer
  • 1-2 Quality Analysts

Tech Stack

Choosing a well-defined tech stack usually affects the overall cost of the snapchat-like social media app development. Stronger and latest the technology associated with your app, more is its capability to give you the highest ROI.

Tech-Stack for Creating an App Like Snapchat

Tech-Stack for Creating an App Like Snapchat

Feature List

The biggest reason why brands continue to build apps similar to Snapchat is the app’s list of features. It was Snapchat that first introduced the feature of disappearing messages in the social media industry and soon the concept went mainstream. Other than the disappearing content, the introduction of AR to help customize facial features is also something that was popularized right after Snapchat introduced it.

In order to determine the Snapchat app cost precisely, it is of prime importance that you understand the complete list of features that go into the making of the popular social media app and understand the time it takes to develop them.

Also read: How Much Does It Cost To Build A Messenger App Like Botim?

Basic Snapchat Features and the Time it Takes to Develop Them

Snapchat Features

1. Registration

Snapchat app download doesn’t have a social media login option. Their original reasoning behind this was simple – to avoid adding parents to the snap friend list.

In case you wish to follow the same approach in your social media app development, users will have to enter their name, birth date, contact number, and lastly choose a nickname. Once these pieces of information are filled in, they get a confirmation code on their linked phone to finish the registration process.

Development Time: 70 – 80 hours (Backend and Frontend of one platform)

2. Contacts Integration

When it comes to finding friends on the Snapchat-clone app, a user usually gets either of these four options –

  • Search with the help of username
  • Allow Snapchat app to import contacts from the phone book
  • Add contacts in the same geographical vicinity
  • Share the Snapcode through email, message, or social media platform

Development Time: 80 – 100 hours

3. Real Time Messaging

The next feature that specifies how much does the Snapchat app cost is instant messaging. Like all the other social media platforms used actively, it also comes with the option of real-time chat. To enable the messaging and push notification system in your Snapchat clone app, you can make use of the

XMPP and HTTP + Push Notification technologies.

Besides these, you can even ask your social media app development company to add these to your Snapchat technology stack list for development – Erlang language (used by WeChat and Whatsapp), YAWS server, XMPP, and Mnesia DB.

Development Time: 100 – 150 hours

4. Disappearing Messages

One of the biggest contributing factors of the answer to how much does the Snapchat app cost are the vanishing messages. This is how the Disappearing messages work –

The user sends a message to another user, which is uploaded on Snapchat servers. The user receives the message notification and the content gets downloaded to a temporary location on the device.

Once the message is viewed, the message gets deleted from the Snapchat server and the chat within 24 hours.

Development Time: 120 – 150 hours

5. Video/Audio Notes

Your Snapchat-like app should allow users to record and then send 10 seconds of video to other users. It is ideal for the creation and sending of reaction GIFs. Using this feature, you can even send audio-based messages to another user.

6. Video/Audio Calls

Video/Audio Calls like Snapchat app

What makes Snapchat a lot similar to Whatsapp and Facebook is the voice and audio call option. However, the special thing about Snapchat calls is the ability to be on a call and send pictures at the same time.

Development Time: The time it takes to develop both the call and sending notes option, takes somewhere around a month.

7. Stickers

Stickers have grown to become a very important element of a social media app. They are immensely helpful when it comes to keeping users engaged and entertained within the app.

There are several sticker extensions available to download for both Android and Apple and it takes approximately 10 to 20 hours to integrate one in your Snapchat clone app.

8. Lenses


Lenses are what make Snapchat what it is today. The ability to paste different faces on yours and change what your voice sounds like is what keeps Snapchat app download users hooked to the social media app.

The element is so synced with the app’s identity, that it is impossible to find the answer to ‘How much does Snapchat download cost’ without the mention of lenses.

For integrating the same facial recognition feature in your app, you can make use of the Mirror Reality SDK, which is a cost-effective alternative to the development of a proper AR facility. You can even use Snapchat’s own Lens studio app for the creation of your own AR animation.

Development time: It generally takes 130 hours to integrate lens features in the app.

9. Story

Story Snapchat

The one element that creates a striking resemblance between Instagram and Snapchat is Stories. Through the stories feature, users get the option to publicly broadcast the content on the app, for viewers, which then remains live for 24 hours.

The brand made an addition in its story feature a while back – Live Story. You can also add the feature of creation of live real time video with the help of Wowza Media Server (the one that Periscope uses) and then use a content delivery network.

Development Time: It takes around 100 – 200 hours to develop a story and live story feature for the Snapchat clone app.

10. Discover

In this section, the Snapchat download users generally find content shared by Snapchat sponsors. Like the main story section, the stories in Discover are also only live for 24 hours.

11. Geofilter

Using this feature, users can paste custom geographical templates on their image. To enable this feature in your Snapchat clone app, you will have to hire a mobile app development agency that is acquainted with the development process of Geocoding.

12. Location Sharing

Location Sharing

Using this feature, Snapchat app download users can share their location with friends or other users. Their site will appear on Snap Map. Snapchat users can also choose who can see their place or update it only when they have Snapchat open.

13. Admin Panel

To keep your Snapchat like app in order, provide technical support to customers, and get customer insights, you need an admin panel. It should be safe and secure and used by your team only.

Development time: It takes around 120 hours to create an admin panel for your Snapchat like application.

So, to summarize, the approximate development time to create all the features is given below:

Snapchat-like App FeaturesApproximate Development Time
Registration70-80 hours
Contacts Integration80-100 hours
Real-Time Messaging100-150 hours
Disappearing Messages120-150 hours
Video/Audio Notes80-90 hours
Video/Audio Calls80-90 hours
Stickers10-20 hours
Lenses130 hours
Story100-200 hours
Discover100 hours
Geofilter50 hours
Location Sharing40-60 hours
Admin Panel120 hours
Total1,400 hours (approx)


Develop social media app with Appinventiv

Now that we have looked into both – the technical stack of the Snapchat clone app and the features + development hours the app would take, let us check out the various steps involved in the Snapchat-like app development process.

How to build an app like Snapchat?

The extensive development process to create an app like Snapchat includes phases such as the discovery, documentation, design, development, QA, and deployment. Let’s talk about each of these phases in detail below.

Step 1: Discovery Phase

This phase includes determining the functional and nonfunctional requirements of the project. In addition to these, you have to decide on the app budget and specify your custom project requirements and goals to the hired social media app development company.

Step 2: Documentation Phase

This phase involves various project managers and analysts creating a thorough documentation of the project. The documentation majorly includes the project’s specifications, a work flowchart as well as various other documents that define the app’s functionality and its performance after it’s launched.

Step 3: Design Phase

This phase involves creating an aesthetically pleasing UI/UX design for your app. Creating a design that is easy to navigate while ensuring user engagement is one of the most important phases that determine the overall success of your app.

Step 4: Development Phase

This phase involves integrating all the well-defined features of your app, writing the code and finalizing the app’s overall functionality. Depending on your project’s intricacy, you can first also decide on building the MVP version of the app.

Step 5: Quality Assurance Phase

This phase involves various testing procedures carried out by the quality assurance team to ensure that the app is bug free and performs smoothly under various circumstances.

Step 6: App Deployment Phase

This phase is the final step of the Snapchat-like app development process. It involves the development team deploying the app into the workspace.

Now that we have a certain idea on the app development process, let us come to the last and probably the most awaited/crucial part of the article – How to monetize an app like Snapchat?

How Can You Make Money with an App Like Snapchat?

Listed below are the various ways to monetize the social media app like Snapchat. These are the multiple ways via which you can increase the overall revenue of your app.

1. In-between ads:

The Snapchat download offers 10 seconds of promotional/advertising on Snapchat videos to viewers. There are several types of ads such as snap ads, story ads, and video ads that make good sales of their products/services.

 2. Lenses and filters:

Lenses and filters

Sponsored lenses and Geofilters are two other ways Snapchat app earns money. The sponsored lens feature is used by many brands to market their products. Geofilters, on the other hand, are fixed filters that are only available in specific places. McDonald became the first user of this feature with their branded geofilters available for all of their restaurants in the United States. Brands can easily pay to have special lenses and filters designed for them.

3. In-app purchases:

The app allows users to purchase additional features like Re-play to a feed, a video, or a photo that the user has already seen.

4. Discover:


This is another revenue-generation source for the Snapchat app. Brands partner with the company to get their content featured on Discover and pay a lot of money.

5. Premium access:

App users can also purchase premium access to the latest mobile features of Snapchat download and experience new lenses.

If you’re planning to develop a Snapchat like app, you can contact our team of mobile app development experts. Our team has extensive expertise in developing messaging apps and social networks. They will help you in creating an app like Snapchat that will appeal to users and help you run a successful business.


Q. How much does it cost to create an app like Snapchat?

A. The overall cost of creating an app-like Snapchat varies between $40,000 to $300,000. The prices further vary as per the app’s complexity as well as the feature-list. One of the major deciding factors that impacts the app’s cost is also the location and the hourly rate of the hired app development organization.

Q. How to create an app like Snapchat?

A. Here are the quick steps to building a robust and feature-rich Snapchat-like social media app:

  • Research and specify your custom project requirements
  • Identify your target audience and understand their requirements
  • Specify a custom feature-list for your app
  • Define your app’s budget
  • Identify the app development platform you want to create your app for (iOS, Android or both)
  • Hire a dedicated social media app development organization
  • Create a marketing strategy for your app
  • Deploy and release your app but don’t miss out on regular app upgrades

Q. What is the monetization model of Snapchat?

A. The major monetization strategy for Snapchat is advertisements. In addition to this, the app also allows users to purchase sponsored geofilters.

Prateek Saxena
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