How to Build a Social Networking App like Instagram: Cost & Terms of Development

App Development
May 1, 2020
Build a Social Networking App like Instagram

Having more than 3.5 billion users, social media is evolving at a very fast pace. Businesses prefer using social media to reach out to their target audience.

And, if we talk about the most trending social app: Yes, you got it right!! It is none other than INSTAGRAM. Do you know why?

  • More than 800 million people use Instagram actively every month.
  • Around 80% of all the users follow at least one business account.
  • Gets over 2 million new advertisers every month.
  • According to a recent study, 'For micro-influencers, Instagram is the platform where they get the best engagement.'
  • More than 60% of users on Instagram visit the platform daily.

Enough of the statistics!!! You got my point. Instagram is a must-have for all of us. So, let's find out together how to create a social media app like Instagram.

building a social media platform

Some MVP features an Instagram-like mobile app should have:

  • Authorization: The very first step is to make an account on your social media app. For that, you should use various registering options (via the phone number, email account, or social media page name) for your users. Make sure to include a resetting option there as well because you know we millennials forget easily.
  • How it works: Your privacy is our responsibility. If a user registers using a mobile no., the application will have access to the user's SMS. If a user login via social media account, protocols like OAuth will help to proceed with the application.

  • Customizing profile: Once users have logged in, they should be able to customize their profile by including credentials like gender, name, bio, profile picture, etc.
  • How it works: Editing your profile is a crucial stage. These changes can be implemented via the client and the server-side interaction.

  • Uploading photos, videos, and reels: Who doesn't like compliments? Everyone does!! So, don't forget to add an option of uploading photos and videos. It'll help the users to garner attention from their family and friends. And, you should also focus on details like uploading existing content, commenting and tagging, etc.
  • How it works: Mobile developers use various tools for uploading videos and photos. Some commonly used tools are as follows: android.hardware.camera2 API, MediaRecorder, SurfaceView and UIImagePickerController.

  • Photo Editing: Location check! Pose Check! Smile check! Click!!! But wait. Users don't put photos on social media after completing this process. They need editing. And, Instagram just provides umpteen filters for the same. Customizing the picture with filters and features like zooming, rotation, and straightening is what your users are looking for.
  • How it works:In your mobile application, you can use some standard filters i.e. it is already inbuilt in your app by coders. For a customized code, it has to be written from scratch.

  • Connecting with other social networks: Interacting with your friends is something we can't miss!! So, the more social media you can integrate, the better the results will be.
  • How it works:To link Instagram like mobile applications with other social media networks, developers establish a strong connection between social media account ID and the app account ID.

  • Geo-location: Amalgamating geo-location in your app makes it an interesting user experience. They love to add location not only on photos but on maps as well.
  • How it works:Developers use Location and Map services to implement geolocation features.

  • Search: This is a must-have feature in your mobile application. The search option allows users to look for what they want to- in just one click!!
  • Messaging and commenting: Real-time conversations are what your users are looking for. They need a heart-to-heart talk with their friends. And, this can further be enhanced by implementing push notification. This will notify the users as soon as someone sends them a message or comment on their posts.
  • Flexible settings: Settings should be adjustable. It should be upon the users to choose the customer language interface, having the account public/private or enable/disable push notifications, etc.
  • Stories: People love sharing photos or videos of their cherishable moments as stories. They disappear within 24 hours if users won't save them. You can add stickers, text, face filters, and geo-stickers in them as well.

    However, from 2017 to 2020, Instagram has evolved manifolds.
    They have started providing:

  • Boomerang: Assembling 1.5 seconds looping videos
  • Superzoom: It records a 3-second clip in zoom mode. i.e. the clip focuses closely on what the camera is pointed at.
  • Rewind videos: Constructs a rewind video out of the original clip.
  • Emoji slider: This sticker allows when added to the story allows users to ask questions from their audience. People react by sliding an emoji.
  • Question stickers: It is an interactive sticker and lets the audience ask questions to the users.
  • Name Tag: It is a customizable identity card that allows users to find you when they search for your name.
  • Stories Highlights: This is a unique section in which users can import their ongoing and past stories and could see them regularly.
  • IGTV: It is a youtube rival with horizontal videos.
  • Shoppable posts: Business accounts can now mark their goods on photos.
  • Hashtags & Profile links in bio: Users can include hashtags(#) and profile links(@) in their bio, which serve as live links that lead to a hashtag page or a profile link.

Instagram has gone through a lot of evolution from the time it was built. So, entrepreneurs should keep this thing in mind that starting is the first step of making a social media app like Instagram and constant development will be taken care of.

Instagram Business Model Canvas

Let's understand the Instagram Business Model:
build a social media app

Instagram Monetization Strategy:

Initially, when Instagram was launched, it didn't make a single penny as its revenue. And, at that time, Facebook was making $100 billion as its revenue.

Now, according to a recent study of Merkle's Digital Marketing Report, advertiser spending reached over 177% in comparison to 40% on Facebook.

Let's have a look at some features that Instagram uses for its pricing model.

  • Sponsored Posts: The number one on the list is Sponsored posts (an ordinary post with a sponsored tag and call-to-action aka CTA) button. And, there is no doubt in the fact that just like Facebook's major revenue comes from sponsored posts, the same is the case with Instagram.
  • Carousel advertisements: These are the advertisements that combine several images into one single image. Advertisers use these kinds of advertisements to tell a story.
  • Stories: This feature is influenced by Snapchat. Advertising videos pop up while users are watching their friend's stories.
  • Facebook Adverts: Even Instagram has a feature of Facebook adverts. An advertiser can place a Facebook advert on Instagram as well. It can be done without an Instagram account as well.

Here are some ideas on how to monetize a mobile application like Instagram:

  • Advertisement: These photo-sharing apps provide users with an incredible opportunity of creating a business, advertising, and establishing themselves as a personal brand. For an application like Instagram, you can sell various filters, special deals, and provide users with special offers.
  • In-app purchase: For an application like Instagram, there are several things you can sell like custom filters and effects.
  • Special deals: You can provide users with special offers.

How much does it cost to build an app like Instagram?

The social media app development cost is a crucial issue to discuss. The easiest way to find out social networking development costs, what you can do is multiply hours of development by the hourly rate. A primary estimate is that an Instagram-like app with basic features will take 1,180 hours of development time. With an approximately $50/hour rate, the whole project will cost you around $59,000.

The development of Instagram clones varies from company to company.

Key Competency Indicators:

The three P's which an app like Instagram needs to analyze are performance, popularity, and progress. Here are important key competency indicators that help you to define your app's success.

  • Active Users: The main goal is to bring as many new users as possible. This can be majorly done in three simple ways:
    • Social Media Marketing: Just as water is important for you to survive, similarly your business needs social media. You need to advertise your app ideally 6 months before the launch on all social media platforms.
    • Referral programs: You have to entice your users to leave feedback and comments on your app by rewarding them with some special filters and effects. This will surely help you to make credibility in the market.
    • Hire influencers for promotion: You can always hire influencers to promote the app as it will help you to attract a lot of new users in the market.
  • User Involvement: It helps us to access how much people have spent time on your app or log in more often. This involvement level can be judged by the activity that takes place in your app. It includes likes, comments, and other activities like sent media (old/ new and overall).

    How can we do it?

    • By adding social features like comments, likes, stories, and reels, etc.
    • By providing high-quality editing tools for professionals so that they can spend more time on your app.
  • Retaining the user: You need to make sure that users should keep coming back.

    How can we do it?

    • By sending them to push notifications.
    • Replying to their feedback.
    • By launching various promotional events.
  • How to create an app like Instagram? Let's give you an outlook on the steps involved in creating your app.
    • Thorough research the market and learn about your competition.
    • Keep your target audience in mind.
    • Consult with a reliable company.
    • Define your budget before the development. And, in case it exceeds, be ready for funding.
    • Hire efficient developers to build an MVR for you.
    • Make sure your app has a USP of your app. After all, users don't need a second Instagram.
    • Testing it to avoid major bugs in the final version before launching.
    • Maintain it and continue evolving.
  • Conclusion: Now, you know the basic steps to create an app like Instagram and how their business model operates. But, just remember that you should not replicate it to a T. Have your unique selling point and amalgamate it with the features of Instagram like the simple interface and photo editing features, etc.

    Enough of these theories !!!

    Without further ado, let's get started with your application making.

    P.S. The sooner, the better!!
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