How to Estimate the Social Media App Development Cost Budget?

Prateek Saxena February 22, 2024
social media app development cost

Social media is one of the most promising and targeted markets today. From Twitter to Snapchat, Yalla, and Facebook to Instagram, all the trending social media apps have brought a huge storm on the internet.

You will be surprised to know that there were approximately 4.74 billion social media users across the globe in October, 2022, as per a report by Datareportal. Also, the daily time users spend on social media is an average of 142 minutes a day.

These statistics clearly indicate how developing social media applications has become the one-stop solution for businesses planning to expand their market reach. But how much does social media app development cost? And, how to create a social media app that is capable of engaging a wide user-base?

This blog aims to answer these and many more questions surrounding the key aspects of building a social media platform that is robust as well as engaging.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Social Media App?

To give you a brief idea, the cost to build a social media app can vary from $30,000 to $250,000, depending on various elements such as the feature-list, UI/UX design, and tech-stack. The costs can further increase or decrease based on the overall app complexity. Simply put, the more complex your social media app is, the more is its associated cost.

Let us try to offer you a rough estimate of the cost and time frame required to develop a social media app based on the complexity.

App Complexity LevelEstimated CostTime Frame
Basic$30,000 to $80,0003 to 6 months
Medium$80,000 to $150,0006 to 9 months
High$150,000 to $250,0009+ months

Get cost estimate of your custom social media app development

Now, when we talk about the social media app economy, the industry’s picture of categories that count as social media/networking apps is vast. Generally, here are the different types of social media app operational in the market today –

  • Social network apps
  • Media sharing applications
  • Discussion forum apps
  • Blogging platforms
  • Anonymous social networking
  • Interest-centric apps like Goodreads or Last

Now, even when the categories of apps that fall under social media applications are varied, some features are common in all of them. Features that set the basics of social networking app development and answer how much a social media app costs.

You may like reading: How much does it cost to build an eSIM app like Airalo and Holafly

Features to Include in Your Social Media App

The social media users today are increasing at a skyrocketed pace and they want advanced features to stay connected with the app they install. Having core features in your app is not enough, you need advanced and customized features that make your application trending in the app store.

The more features you add to the application, the more user engagement will increase. But it might also lead to increased development costs. Here is a list of features that helps you engage and entice your app users.

Features of Social Media App

Account Authorization

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

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

Profile creation and edit

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

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 also 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.

Advanced Features to Create a Social Media App

Advanced Features to Create a Social Media App

Tagging: This advanced feature permits users to tag their friends and family members and notify them about the posts or information they have shared about them.

Add Live Location: This feature helps users share their live location with their friends and family or even send a location request to others.

Add games: Onboarding this feature will help you increase customer engagement by offering users to play games in the app. You can also ask them to invite other users to participate in the game.

Add User Story: When creating a social network app like Facebook or Instagram, you can add this feature to let your users upload their stories that will disappear after 24 hours.

Report Abuse: Make sure you maintain the user’s privacy in the app and consider this feature to add the ability to report to users.

Business Account: You can add this feature to your app and let your users create a business account on a social media app where they can get real insights such as impressions on each post, weekly user traffic, followers, and many more.

Incorporating these advanced social media app features into your app will help you move one step ahead in this fierce competition. However, adding these advanced features into your app may increase your social media app development cost.

Get help for your social media app development

Other Factors that Affect the Cost to Build a Social Media App

While features are one of the major factors that affect the social media app costs, there are other factors too which can increase or decrease the overall cost of your application.


UI/UX design of the app is another factor that affects the overall social media app development cost. Simply put, a social media app with a basic design will cost you less as compared to the app with a highly-functional design. An aesthetic app that is capable of engaging the user base while at the same time retaining them should be one of your utmost priorities. Ensuring smoother navigation and engagement for your users can help you gain a trajectory in the entire social media app ecosystem.

App Platform

The underlying platform of the app further affects its overall cost. Even though there is a negligible cost difference between developing iOS and Android applications, starting with a single platform is further recommended in order to keep the budget in check. After your app gains the initial traction, you can then switch to a cross-platform app.

Hourly rates of developers

The cost of app development varies as per the hourly rates of developers. The hourly rates of development further vary as per various regions. For instance, if you wish to choose a social media app development company in regions like Asia or Africa, the hourly development rates of social media developers will be comparatively less compared to the hourly-rates of development in the US or UK.

RegionEstimated Hourly Rate of Development
Eastern Europe$30 – $40
Asia$20 – $30
Latin America$40 – $60
Africa$20 – $40

Category-Wise Social Media App Development Cost Differentiation

When we talk about social media app categories, four or five applications have set the standards in the domain. They usually also set the basis of the cost to build a social media app.

Let us look at them individually to give you a clearer idea of the features, tech stack, and costs required to build a social media app specific to these categories.

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 to get 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, here are the details you and your partnered social media app development company will have to work around.

A. The must-have features of a WhatsApp-like app

Creating a social network app like Whatsapp required implementing various features that are further mentioned below. All these features come together to create an app that has redefined the power of social media in every part of the world.

Features of WhatsApp:

  • Registration
  • Voice Calling
  • Video Calling
  • Multimedia Sharing
  • Real Time Messaging
  • Settings
  • Contact Sharing
  • Location Sharing
  • Notifications

Without getting into the details of everything the respective feature set entails, let us look at the development time tagged with each of the respective features.

FeaturesAvg. development time (Hrs)
Registration50 to 55 hours
Real-Time Messaging210-220 hours
Voice Call200 – 220 hours
Video Call180 – 220 hours
Multimedia Sharing40 – 50 hours
Settings11 – 120 hours
Contact Sharing70 – 80 hours
Location Sharing25 – 30 hours
Notifications15 – 20 hours

B. The technology stack

WhatsApp technology stack

C. Cost of WhatsApp-like app

Following the features set and technology stack you read, the cost of creating a social network app like Whatsapp will come down to  $40,000 to  $200,000.

Category 2: Instagram-like app

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

The state of Instagram adoption in the world is so much so that the number of Instagram users in the US alone is expected to reach 127 million users by 2023.

Instagram-like app

If 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 to help define the Instagram-like social media app development cost.

A. The must-have features of an Instagram-like app

Features of Instagram:

  • Authorization with email and phone number
  • Authorization with Facebook
  • Add Profile Picture
  • Settings
  • Viewing and Following
  • Feed Display Settings
  • Tags and Mentions
  • Feed
  • Post
  • Search
  • Likes and Comments
  • Profile
  • Instagram stories
  • Geolocation
  • Messaging
  • Report Abuse

Again, without detailing everything that the respective feature set entails, let us look at the development time required for creating a social network app like Instagram.

[Also Read: How to Build an App Like Threads? Process, Features, Cost ]

FeaturesAvg. development time
Account Authorization65 – 70 hours
Profile Creation and Edit48 – 50 hours
Messaging120 – 140 hours
Additional settings90 – 120 hours
Media Upload70 – 85 hours
Photo Editing60 – 70 hours
Link WIth Other Social Platforms8 – 10 hours
Geolocation24 – 30 hours
Search60 – 70 hours
Design60 – 70 hours

B. Technology stack

Instagram Technology stack

C. Cost of an Instagram-like app

Following the features set and technology stack that you read, the answer specific to your version of how much does it cost to develop Instagram will come down to $36,000 to $200,000.

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.

Snapchat-like app

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 element of disappearing messages in the social media industry. Soon, the concept went mainstream and started getting counted as an important feature to build a social media app.

Besides the disappearing content, the introduction of AR to help customize the facial features was also popularized right after Snapchat.

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

A. The must-have features of a Snapchat-like app

Features of Snapchat

  • Registration
  • Contact Integration
  • Real Time Messaging
  • Disappearing Messages
  • Video/Audio Notes
  • Video/Audio Calls
  • Stickers
  • Lenses
  • Story
  • Discover
  • Geofilter

Following the trend 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.

FeaturesAvg. development time (Hrs)
Registration70 – 80 hours
Contacts Integration80 – 100 hours
Real-Time Messaging100 – 150 hours
Disappearing Messages120 – 150 hours
Stickers10 – 20 hours
Story100 – 200 hours

B. Technology stack

Snapchat Technology 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 a Snapchat-like app will come down to  $45,000 to  $200,000.

Category 4: TikTok-like app

The multi-faceted immersive mobile app is present on Android and iOS and has drawn its dominance in the world of millions and billions of users and among thousands of businesses that are marking their presence in the platform to enjoy the many perks that the app has to offer.

TikTok-like app

The latest TikTok statistics confirm that if your business idea is also based on the concept of the short-video creation and distribution app, here are the elements that would make up for the cost of TikTok-like app development.

A. The must-have features of a TikTok-like app

Creating a social network app like TikTok includes implementing various features on the user interface side as well as the admin side. Let us give you a brief overview of the same.

Features Of TikTok

User Interface

  • Splash Screen
  • Login Screen
  • Registration Screen
  • Profile Setup Screen
  • Search People/Video Screen
  • View People
  • Create Collage
  • Edit Collage
  • Share Videos Screen
  • Video Feed Screen
  • Notification Screen
  • Settings Screen

B. Technology Stack

Tik-Tok Technology Stack

C. Cost of Tik-Tok Like App Development

Following the features set and technology stack that you read, the TikTok-like social media app development cost will come down to $50,000 to $150,000.

Category 5: Anonymous messaging apps like Whisper

Anonymous apps like Whisper take massive steps to ensure that the user’s identity is safe and that the identification is never revealed without users’ consent, even when 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 discussions, messages, etc.

A. The must-have features of a Whisper-like app

Features of a Whisper-like app

B. Cost of Whisper-like app

The feature set majorly decides upon the cost of the application that it carries. In the case of a Whisper-like app, the features which social media developers commonly incorporate 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. In general, the cost of an app-like Whisper can vary between $45,000 to $200,000, depending on the features-list and complexity.

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, you will get less features in Clubhouse social media apps.

There are several ways Clubhouse is redefining social media presence and engagement for businesses and marketers:

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

A. The must-have features of a Clubhouse-like app

features of a Clubhouse-like app

B. Cost of Clubhouse-like app

The development 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

Hence, the average cost of designing and developing a social media app like Clubhouse can be around $40,000 to $250,000.

Category 7: Quora-like app

Quora is one of the most sought-after question and answer type social media apps that has been capable of gaining instant acknowledgement from a wide range of users. Being regarded as the top-most social media app that acts as a question-answer portal and a discussion forum, the app is capable of driving high traffic in terms of users looking for knowledgeable answers to a variety of questions.

The app was capable of receiving $286 million in fundings and the number is increasing every day. Being able to hold a superior position on Moz’s top 500 websites list, Quora-like apps can help you gain a stronger business perspective and a guaranteed ROI.

Must Have-Features of Quora-like App

Features of Quora

  • Search
  • Follow Topics/Users
  • Ask a Question
  • Add Answers
  • Edit Questions, Answers and Topics
  • Hide Identification
  • Stats and Analysis
  • Dashboard
  • Home Feed
  • Push Notifications
  • Upvote, Comment and Share

Technology Stack

Quora Technology Stack

Cost of Quora-like social media app

The cost of a Quora-like social media app is based on multiple factors like the hired development organization, their development process, hourly rates of developers, the app’s UI/UX design, features, etc.

To give you a brief idea, the cost of a Quora-like social media app can vary between $40,000 to $80,000. The overall price can further increase up to $200,000 as per the increased complexity as well as features.

To give you a quick recap, here’s the table summarizing the social media app development costs as per different categories:

Social Media App CategoriesAverage Cost of Development
WhatsApp-Like App$40,000 to $200,000
Instagram-Like App$36,000 to $200,000
Snapchat-Like App$45,000 to $200,000
TikTok-Like App$50,000 to $150,000
Whisper-Like App$45,000 to $200,000
Clubhouse-Like App$40,000 to $250,000
Quora-Like App$40,000 to $200,000

Now that we have looked at the cost of developing a social media app based on the domain’s most popular applications, it is time to look into what goes into the creation of a social media application.

How to Create a Social Media Platform?

Social media platforms are capable of bringing people closer together while allowing them to communicate from every part of the world. Building a social media app can help put your business at the forefront of technology while guaranteeing a maximum ROI. Here are a few steps you need to follow to build a social media platform:

  • Identify your target audience
  • Define features and functions of the social media app
  • Choose the right tech stack
  • Finalize on the development structure
  • Create an activity stream
  • Implement various features
  • Deploy your app and maintain

In order to get a detailed idea on how to create a social media app from scratch, you can check our comprehensive guide to social media app development. Apart from offering detailed insights into the development stages, the guide will also offer you a complete overview of the social media ecosystem and the various monetization strategies you need to know to earn through the app.

Appinventiv built feature-rich social media app like Vyrb

Now that we have looked at the cost of developing a social media app, let’s look into the one section that goes beyond your social media app designing and development stages.

Also Read: What is the cost of maintaining an app in 2023?

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 is 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 those applications multiple times a day is the secret that would help you start off on the right foot.

Having developed 200+ 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 from our extensive experience as a social media app development agency in the US.

  • Your push-notification game will have to be such that the app becomes habit-forming.
  • Users prefer engaging more with content as compared to creating them.
  • Users want to feel an authentic bond with your social media app – not a feature they have experienced elsewhere.
  • Users want personalized, on-demand content.
  • 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 costs? Let us help you contact our social media app developers who will help you create your social media budget.

How can Appinventiv Help You Build a Successful Social Media Application?

At Appinventiv, the team is dedicated to diving into every aspect of social media app development while accelerating business growth and industry needs as a priority.

With years of experience and great tech expertise in custom mobile app development, we take pride in partnering with companies to create success stories throughout the journey.

For instance, Appinventiv has successfully built a social media app, Vyrb, which facilitates users to send and receive audio messages optimized for Bluetooth wearables.

And guess what, the results they derived are fantastic.

The app has been downloaded over 50k times to date and received $1+ million funding.


You can also leverage our experience and expertise to convert your idea into a successful business with our social media app development and IT consulting services.

Discuss your custom project requirements with us


Q. How to make a social media app?

A. Creating a social media app requires great professional expertise from a dedicated organization like Appinventiv. Here are the various steps involved in social media app development:

Step 1: Identify your social media app type and define your target audience

Step 2: Thoroughly analyze the market to gain a competitive edge

Step 3: Identify the most profitable business model

Step 4: Start with an aesthetically pleasing UI/UX design

Step 5: Build an MVP to quickly test the product idea

Step 6: Gather the necessary feedback for further improvement

Step 7: Keep upgrading your app to scale your business further

Q. What is the required team size for social media app development?

A. The team hired for the social media app development has a direct effect on your app’s overall cost. For instance, if you hire freelancers for your project, the overall cost of development will be less as compared to hiring a dedicated IT consulting service provider or app development company Los Angeles. The latter can initially increase your overall app development cost but considering their technical prowess and the quality of services offered, they will be worth it and would guarantee a maximum ROI.

The required team for social media app development can include:

  • 1 Project Manager
  • 2-3 Backend Developers
  • 2-3 iOS/Android Developers
  • 1-2 Designer
  • 1-2 Quality Analysts

Q. What are the various types of social media apps available in the market?

A. The various types of social media apps you can get for your business includes:

  • Social Networking Apps- Used to connect with people
  • Photo/Media Sharing Apps – Used to share photos, videos and more
  • Blogging & Publishing Social Media Apps – Used to share long form content
  • Discussion Forums – Used to share knowledge and discuss ideas
  • Review Network – Used for viewing and publishing reviews
  • Social Shopping Networks – Allows users to shop online and communicate
  • Interest Based Social Media Networks – Allows users with similar interests and hobbies to interact
  • Sharing Economy Social Media App- allows users to trade goods and services
  • Audio Only Social Media Apps – Created for users for discussions, sharing ideas over audio
  • Anonymous Social Networks – Used to post anonymous business remarks
Prateek Saxena
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