How to build a social media platform like Yalla app?

Prateek Saxena September 2, 2022
How to build a social media app like Yalla

What started in 2020 has today become a global sensation. There was a time when the social media app category had fallen into a rut. Every new application was having the same feature set – image sharing, messaging, voice/video call, etc., then came 2020 and an app became the new sensation. The app was Clubhouse

Started as an invitation-only app, it brought something new to the social media table – voice-based functionality. Following its trend, several other social audio apps also started getting the limelight. One of which was the Yalla app. Around the time when Clubhouse was gaining popularity as an audio social media app, Yalla was getting the eyeballs in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. 

Based out of Dubai, the Yalla app was established in 2016 and went on to become public in 2020. As per the Q4 2021 report, the Yalla chat app’s revenue was US$67.6 million, representing a rise of 39.7% compared to the fourth quarter of 2020, where US$49.0 million shares came from the voice chat feature. Its user base also increased to over 8,429,000 in the same quarter. While we don’t have the latest reports, it is safe to assume that the voice social media platform will have a similar story to share. 

Amidst the popularity of the Yalla audio social network and the ever-increasing growth of Clubhouse, there is one thing that is clear. The voice chat room apps market has scope for innovation and growth. An example of this can be seen in how 48% of companies are planning to leverage live audio chat rooms in their 2022 social media campaigns. 

Yalla audio social network

Keeping this high growth projection as the base, we have come up with a micro guide on how to build a voice social media app like the Yalla app. 

How to build social audio platforms like Yalla app?

When we talk about voice chat app development, there are 4 aspects that come up. Features, technology stack, security options, and the cost involved. We will answer all of these by keeping the Yalla app as the base. 

Top features of Yalla chat app

The features you want to keep in your application will depend entirely on how complex or unique you want to make it. However, at Appinventiv whenever we offer social media app development services, we always pitch building an MVP first. This approach gives you insights into how well people are accepting your product, what changes they need, and ultimately if they will continue using your application. 

Now, in the MVP model, the aim is to keep the feature set as close to the primary features as possible. Here’s what we mean by that in your version of the Yalla app. 

Top features of Yalla chat app

1. Sign up

This is probably one of the most basic but necessary stages of an application, across genres. Ideally, you should be as less intrusive as possible by asking for information that truly impacts the functioning of the application – email, social login, and a password.

2. Feed

This is the home screen of the social audio app. Here, the users will be able to see announcements, room updates, recent posts, etc. This will also be the space where you show personalized content to the users depending on their interests.

3. Online voice chat rooms 

These are the places where all the audio chatting actually happens. Generally, in voice-based chat apps, there are two room types –

  • Public – These online voice chat rooms are open for anyone to access. All they have to do is browse and join the room that interests them. 
  • Private – These social media chat rooms are generally invitation only where users have to use a code, link, or password to join in. 

Usually, within these rooms three roles are given – speakers, listeners, and moderators – the management of these roles and permissions are handled on the admin end. 

4. One-on-one text and voice chat 

Yalla audio social media app comes with the facility where users are able to have one-on-one text and voice chat with their friends within the app. This way, the application merges in the features of a messaging app well within a social media application. 

5. Games 

What is unique in the Yalla chat rooms app is that it gives users the ease of playing games with other users – all inside the voice chat room. The facility perfectly answers how to make an app engaging. 

6. Virtual gift

Yalla app also gives users the ease to give – virtual currencies and gifts – to people they follow in the app or to their friends. This plays a motivational role for the speakers’, giving them reasons to continue talking around engaging content. 

7. File uploading 

Even though the use case of a voice social media platform is unique, the genre is the same. It is ultimately a social media platform where people share life updates and posts. In order to maintain the ease, you should add an easy file uploading feature in the application. 

8. Basic engagement facility 

Like any other social media application, your version of the Yalla app should have basic engagement features such as – share, follow, comment, and like.

9. Screen sharing

Although not an MVP feature, this is something you can plan on adding in the live audio social network app. Adding a screen sharing option would make it easy for the live speaker to explain a point further.

10. Push notification

This is another key feature that works towards app engagement. You should employ a well-thought-of notification strategy where you are giving users an update on upcoming events, activity on their profile, start of an event, etc. This would help you with user retention to a great extent. 

11. Admin panel

Everything that we have covered until now is a part of the customer-facing application. On the admin side, you will have to work on the management side of the app. The features you can include are as follows- 

  • Change a user’s status – restrict, block, reactivate, etc. 
  • Calendar and events management 
  • Close or open rooms, monitor them against profanity
  • Access to every room.

Get service assistance

Now that we have looked into one aspect of voice-based chat app development, let us get to part two.

Technology stack behind social audio platforms like Yalla app

The decision of which technology stack to choose would depend entirely on the features you are planning to add and the budget. Usually, when our team of social media app developers builds an app, we use these technologies. 

1. Application and data

JavaScript

React Native

Redux

Node JS

GraphQL

2. DevOps

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Webpack

Babel

3. Audio and video calls

WebRTC

Twilio

MediaSoup

Media Streams

PeerConnection

DataChannel

4. Communication protocols

WebSockets

Extensible Messaging Presence Protocol (XMPP)

Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT)

Besides the choice of technology and the feature sets, if there is one thing that defines the success of Yalla like apps it is the security system they are based on. Let us look into what those are in the third part of the consideration. 

How to secure voice-based social media apps?

secure voice-based social media apps

When using a social media application, the biggest worry that the users have is in terms of security. It can be anything from hacking and fake profile creation to phishing. In a situation like this when some application is able to give them the confidence that their data won’t be used in any way they don’t agree upon, it automatically becomes their favorite. 

End-to-end encryption: You should add end-to-end encryption in the app where no one other than the sender and the recipient can access the data. The files and messages should be encrypted before leaving the computer or smartphone. 

AES encryption: It is the first US National Security Agency-approved cipher that is accessible publicly. The encryption offers symmetrical key encryption which only a user having the key can decrypt. 

SSL encryption: It is a cryptographic protocol used for authentication and encryption of communications over the network. Developers tend to use this encryption because it offers a safe transport-layer connection between the client and the server endpoint. 

Consult our experts

Now that we have looked at the technical aspects of the voice-based social media app development, let us get to the part that directly impacts the entrepreneurs – costing of a Yalla-like social media application.

How much does it cost to build a Yalla-like social media application?

Every version of the Yalla-like application is different and so would be the cost of their development. However, going by the features that we have mentioned in the article, the cost would look something like this –

Project estimation – $6400

App development – $14,000

Testing – $4800

Support – $12,800

Total cost of MVP development: $38,000. 

Now, another factor that we have not considered here is the other cost factors that go beyond technicalities. The cost of mobile app development also depends heavily on where the agency is based out of – the developers in India will charge somewhere around $40-80 per hour, a number which will become $120-160 per hour when you move to the USA or Australia. Next, the timeline of when you need the app will also bring an impact. 

Other things would be the number of platforms you want the app to run on, the number of resources working on it, and the technology’s extensiveness. 

So the more you delve into these factors, the more you will find the base range changing. 

Now that we have looked into the spending side of the Yalla-like chat app development, let us throw some light on how they can earn returns on their investment? 

Monetization model for Yalla like application 

There are quite a few ways to earn money at the back of a social media application. But when you are in the growth stage, there are only a few that would work best. Here’s what those are – 

Subscription – The first and most common mode of earning revenue can be through adding in a subscription model. By adding a monthly/ quarterly price for accessing all the app features, you will be able to get a returning customer base that is open to paying for the app experience. 

Virtual gifts – while this model is fairly specific to Yalla, you can also introduce it in your offering by giving the facility to the users to buy something from your in-app marketplace and give them to the people they draw inspiration from on the application. 

Brand events –  you can also partner with brands who would like to host an event on your application and charge them for the same. A decision which you can take on the basis of the number of attendees, the brand size, etc. 

There can be a number of ways to generate revenue through the Yalla chat app but what is important is to know the user journey and understand at what point are they most likely to make a payment and become a paying customer. 

With this, we have looked into everything you need to know about starting a social media audio app like Yalla. Our team also recently worked on a similar voice-based social media app business model where we helped our client, Innovative Eyewear, with an app that enables users to send and receive audio messages optimized for Bluetooth wearables. We added in the feature to allow voice posting to social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook using Bluetooth glasses.

Expanding on the capabilities of voice, we integrated audio command features in the app using which the users could share audio messages and create posts for social media on the go. Moreover, in an effort to make this platform more engaging, we incorporated a unique autoplay functionality that compiled all your feeds and made them audible through one easy stream. The app then went on to get $1+ Million in funding, which was a validation in itself that we carry the skills needed to build innovative social media apps that are loved by the end users and investors alike. 

Looking for something similar? There’s only one thing left to do then – get in touch with a team of skilled social media app developers to set your idea off the ground with its own unique essence. We can help. 

THE AUTHOR
Prateek Saxena
DIRECTOR & CO-FOUNDER
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