How Much Will It Cost to Build Your Own Social Media App?

The concept of social networking has revolutionized the world. And as technology keeps on updating itself every day, it has become tougher to sustain in the competition. App development has been on the rise like never before. More and more entrepreneurs have sprung up ever ready to launch their social web or mobile applications in the market. Among these talents those that could penetrate deeper have even become overnight billionaires.

Now the question is, what does it take to make your social networking application a hit? And how much needs to be invested to come up with products like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc.? However, before you start approaching the best mobile app development company for custom price quotes, you need to be clear on a few mandatory factors. For example, key features, customization, platform on which the app is to be built etc. Here’s how you need to go about:

Identify your target audience – Who do you wish to cater to? Identify your end users and try to understand their needs. Discover the common audience’s frustrations and build something that will appeal on a huge scale. For example, when teens got tired of their parents hanging out and eve’s dropping on their account on Facebook, Snapchat came along that offered the much required anonymity and less public shaming with disappearing messages. Extensive market research and a few direct surveys will do the trick. However, remember it can get a bit overwhelming at times. But don’t worry. You’ll get through.

Consider the right platform – Do you wish to create a web app, mobile app or both? The next question will be is it for iOS or Android users? Your decision will depend on your target market preferences. However, web app requires a bit longer to get developed compared to mobile apps. Also if you are considering two app versions via. cross-platform development, it will still take more time and of course bigger budget. Android apps in a native platform contain 40% more code and take 30% more time to develop compared to iOS. Hire best app developers and other parts of North America work at about $150 per hour and those from India and Eastern Europe charge about $30-50 an hour.

User Experience is important – Your app can only be appealing if it is easy to use and pleasing to the eye. The design and usability should be self-explanatory. With innumerable apps storming the app store, people will stop using your app if it has poor UX. Ask your developer to take care of the structure – wireframing -prototype – and finally add design and usability principles. Start with a well-supported MySQL or PostgresSQL database for structured data. Facebook, Twitter etc. uses it too.

Features of your app – Basic features of the app like easy registration, users being able to add, edit and remove personal data, manage personal information and preferences, one-click invite, contact import, search bar and algorithm around hashtags and random words, selections of new users to connect with, private messaging, newsfeed, multi-language support, posting media content, tools for self-expression, geo tagging and the likes are mandatory.

Time-to-market and cost – The cost of development will definitely vary according to the complexity, platform and features of your app. However, there are two major factors that needs to be determined: hours required and hourly cost. Following are a few cost estimates listed by The Next Web:

  1. Twitter-like app: $50,000 to $250,000
  2. Instagram clone: $100,000 to $300,000
  3. WhatsApp messenger: $125,000 to $150,000
  4. Pinterest: around $120,000
  5. Snapchat: $75,000 – $150,000
  6. Vine: $125,000 and $175,000

When it comes to time, it may take around 2-4 months to build the MVP for your social media app. Most development companies normally charge around $15,000 – $20,000. That being said, here is another estimate of the time required for building a social network app:

  1. Android: 500 hours approx.
  2. iOS: 400 hours approx.
  3. Back end: 500 hours approx.
  4. UX/UI: 200 hours approx.
  5. QA: 230 hours approx.
  6. PM: 150 hours approx.
  7. Total time: 1400 hours approx. for one platform

For native application it normally requires 10 weeks for back-end and 8 weeks for the front-end development. However, not all apps require backend and use it only to cut down on the development time and related complexities.

As an aspiring entrepreneur, you would want to create a demand in the market and build something totally out-of-the-box to fulfill that demand. This is probably what the next Mark Zuckerberg would do. But, plan your decisions only after active market research of your idea, its requirements and budget.