How to Estimate the Social Media App Development Cost Budget ?

Prateek Saxena July 13, 2022
social media app development cost

As per reports, there are approximately 3.499 billion active social media users and on average, a person has 7.6 social media accounts. The daily time spent by users on social media is an average of 142 minutes a day. And, 80% of the time spent on social media sites occurs through mobile.

Knowing everything about social media app development, from features to cost is central to every mobile application development project. Especially when your idea is centered on an industry that is one of the most in-demand ones among the millennial group of app users – Social Media.

Let us walk you through the different elements affecting the social media based mobile app development cost range. 

When we talk about the social media app economy, the picture that the industry presents in terms of categories that count as social media/networking apps is very vast. There are a number of different applications, differentiated by features, that can help you categorize them as social media applications and thus can be taken as the foundation of how to create a social media app. You can also read about what is clubhouse and how to monetize it

Generally, here are the different types of social media app ideas operational in the market today – 

  1. Social network apps 
  2. Media sharing applications 
  3. Discussion forum apps 
  4. Blogging platforms 
  5. Anonymous social networking
  6. Interest-centric apps like Goodreads or, etc.

Now, even when the categories of apps that fall under social media applications are varied, there are some features that are common in all of them. Features that set the basics of social networking app development and answer how much does a social media app cost. Whether it belongs to one end of the spectrum like quora app development cost or the other end like Tinder app development cost.

Common Features of Social Media Apps

Common Features of Social Media Apps

Account authorization

Setting up authorization for users to have a convenient, hassle-free onboarding is a prime feature of every mobile application and the same stands true when you create a social media app as well. 

The rule of thumb which applies at the account authorization stage is that the steps that you make your users take to enter the application should be kept to a minimum

Profile creation and edit

The next feature that developers consider when they build social networking app – that is common among almost all social media apps – profiles creation and its editing. At this stage, users are given the feasibility to create their profile for other users in the app to find them on. 

In-App messaging

Adding messaging functionality in social media apps is not just a common step that every social app development process follows, it is a mandatory stage that should be there to stand up to the users’ demands

Photo and video uploading

The next feature that has become the essence of social media platform development is video and photo upload. Irrespective of what social media platform you come across, you will find the option of photo uploading and editing present in there.

Link with other social media apps

Giving users the ease of sharing content between multiple social media platforms is also something that works well for entrepreneurs when they add it to the social media app features. 

Search functionality

Enabling users to search for other people, businesses, pages, communities, etc. is the next commonality that can be seen in the social media app domain. 

Push notifications

Sending out push notifications is the one element that is not just common to all social media apps but the complete mobile app industry as a whole, no matter what genre they belong to. 

These features are the one that is common in all social media software development companies’ offerings but for an entrepreneur who is interested in developing social media apps, they will have to look beyond these while making an appearance in the mobility world at the back of their social media app. 

And that beyond is what defines the app categories – ones that contain these features and a well-strategized technology stack

Something that we are going to cover next in addition to finding an answer to trying to find an estimate of the cost to develop a social media app?

Category-Wise Social Media App Development Cost Differentiation

When we talk about social media app categories there are three or four applications that have set the standards in the social media domain. Ones that usually set the basis of the cost of social media app development. 

Let us look at them individually one by one to give you a clearer idea of features that go into devising them, the technology stack that follows their development, how long does it take to make a social media app, and lastly what is the cost to start a social media app specific to these categories – a range that social media app development company generally charges.

Category 1: WhatsApp like app

The popular chat app is one of those social media applications that set the standards for messaging apps around the globe. Ideated in 2009, WhatsApp took minimal time in getting established as the most used messaging platform in the mobility space, even though it was based on a very simple idea. 

So in case, your idea is inspired by WhatsApp’s simplicity as well, here are the details you and your partnered social media app development company will have to work around.

A. The must-have features of WhatsApp like app

The Must-Have Features of WhatsApp Like App

Without getting into the details of everything that the respective feature set entails, let us look at the development time that comes tagged with each of the respective features. Ones that go on to deciding the WhatsApp like app development cost

  • Registration – 50 to 55 hours
  • Real-Time Messaging – 210-220 hours
  • Voice Call – 200 – 220 hours
  • Video Call – 180 – 220 hours
  • Multimedia Sharing – 40 – 50 hours
  • Settings – 11- – 120 hours
  • Contact Sharing – 70 – 80 hours
  • Location Sharing – 25 – 30 hours
  • Notifications – 15 – 20 hours

B. The technology stack

The Technology Stack

C. Cost of WhatsApp like app

Following the features set and technology stack that you read, the social network app development budget that you will have to set to develop your version of WhatsApp like app will come down to USD 40,000 to USD 50,000

Category 2: Instagram like app

When Kevin Systrom, the CEO of Instagram, decided to devise an app which would focus on the business potential of photo-sharing industry, lesser did he know that it would go on to become one of the world’s leading application. 

The state of Instagram adoption in the world is so much so that the number of Instagram users in the USA alone is expected to 125 million users by 2021. 

In case your social media app idea is also to take the Instagram route, here are the details that your partnered social media app developers will be working around in order to help define the Instagram-like social media app development cost

A. The must-have features of Instagram like app

The Must-Have Features of Instagram Like App

Again, without getting into the detailings of everything that the respective feature set entails, let us look at the development time that comes tagged with each of the individual features. 

  • Account Authorization – 65 – 70 hour
  • Profile Creation and Edit – 48 – 50 hours
  • Messaging – 120 – 140 hours
  • Additional settings – 90 – 120 hours
  • Media Upload – 70 – 85 hours
  • Photo Editing – 60 – 70 hours
  • Link WIth Other Social Platforms – 8 – 10 hours
  • Geolocation – 24 – 30 hours
  • Search – 60 – 70 hours
  • Design – 60 – 70 hours

B. Technology stack

Instagram Tech Stack

C. Cost of Instagram like app

Following the features set and technology stack that you read, the answer specific to your version of how much did it cost to develop Instagram will come down to USD 36,000 to USD 40,000.

Category 3: Snapchat like app 

After understanding the secret behind the apps that go viral, the app which Facebook proposed to buy for $4 Billion, Snapchat went on to become one of the world’s leading social media apps. 

The biggest reason why brands continue to get inspired by 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 and started getting counted as an important feature of the cost to build a social media app. 

Other than the disappearing content, the introduction of AR to help customize the facial features is also something that was popularized right after Snapchat. 

If your business plan is to follow Snapchat’s model and you are looking for the answer of how much does Snapchat like social media app development costs, here is the detailing. 

A. The must-have features of Snapchat like app

The Must-Have Features of Snapchat Like App

Following the trend that we maintained in the last two cases, let us again look into the timeline of developing the individual features that make up for the must-have elements of Snapchat. 

  • Registration – 70 – 80 hours
  • Contacts Integration – 80 – 100 hours
  • Real-Time Messaging – 100 – 150 hours
  • Disappearing Messages – 120 – 150 hours
  • Stickers – 10 – 20 hours
  • Story – 100 – 200 hours

B. Technology stack

Snapchat App Tech Stack

C. Cost of Snapchat like app development

Following the features set and technology stack that you read, the social media app development cost of your version of Snapchat-like app will come down to USD 45,000 to USD 60,000.

Category 4: TikTok like app

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

TikTok statistics 2020-21 confirm that if your business idea is also based on the concept of the short-video creation and distribution app, here are the different elements that would make up for the cost of TikTok like app development. The rise that TikTok has found itself amidst has led to a number of entrepreneurs reaching out to every social media software development company excelling in its creation.

A. Must-Have features of TikTok like app

Must-Have Features of TikTok Like App

B. Technology Stack

Technology Stack for apps like Tik Tok

C. Cost of Tik-Tok Like App Development

Following the features set and technology stack that you read, the social media app development cost of your version of TikTok-like app will come down to USD 80,000 to USD 100,000.

Category 5: Anonymous messaging app like Whisper

Anonymous apps like Whisper take massive steps to ensure that the users’ identity is safe and that the identification is never revealed without users’ consent even when they are chatting to someone or posting content on the application. 

These anonymous apps generally fall under two categories – chat and social media. And the information that they protect belongs to data like email, contacts, user location, online chats, and messages, etc. 

A. Must-have features of Whisper like app


B. Cost of Whisper like app

The cost of the application is majorly decided upon by the feature set that it carries. In the case of Whisper-like app, the features which are commonly incorporated by social media app developers are:

  • Anonymity
  • CMS integration
  • Chat logs
  • Real-time reporting
  • Cloud storage 
  • Login session management.

The more features you add to the list the higher would be the cost of an anonymous app like Whisper.

Category 6: Clubhouse like app

Clubhouse social media app has been making a big name across multiple platforms. By enabling people to chat in real-time, interact, share stories, or just bounce ideas off of each other through voice, Clubhouse is leaving the feel of “media” out of social media, leaving behind only the social features.

There are a number of ways Clubhouse is redefining social media presence and engagement for businesses and marketers:

  • It provides the ability for engaging and connecting with professionals from your industry 
  • It comes with rooms that are filled with real-time chats on a number of topics
  • The focus area of Clubhouse is not on produced content but on high-value conversations
  • It is bringing the one factor that most social media apps to the forefront – audio. 

A. Must-have features of Clubhouse like app 


B. Cost of Clubhouse like app 

The cost of the social audio app Clubhouse is dependent on a number of factors. But there are four elements that carry the maximum percent of the share. 

  • Application and website design 
  • Features-set 
  • Location of the agency
  • Team size 

Now that we have looked at the cost to develop a social networking app on the basis of the domain’s most popular applications, it is time to look into the one section that goes beyond your social media app designing and development stages.

[Also Read: 10 Social Media Startups that Failed and What to Learn from Their Failures ]

How to Succeed in the Crowded Social Media App Space?

The one works-for-all formula of succeeding in the social media app business is the same as what followed by all the app categories – understanding what makes the top apps in the category (in our case social media) the industry leaders. 

Knowing what makes people check in those applications multiple times a day is the secret that would help you start off on the right foot. 

Now having developed over 50+ social media applications, we have gathered an understanding of what makes people feel connected with those famous applications and how you can use them in your favor. 

Here are the insights that we have gathered in our extensive experience as a social media app development agency in USA

A. Your push-notification game will have to be such that the app becomes habit-forming.

B. Users prefer engaging more with content as compared to creating them.

C. Users want to feel an authentic bond with your social media app – not a feature that they have experienced elsewhere.

D. Users want personalized, on-demand content.

E. Users want to consume news off of your social media app.

Seems a lot to digest? Too many technicalities and nitty-gritty to keep track of social media app development cost? Let us help you contact our team of business developers who would help you create your social media budget. 


Prateek Saxena
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