Blog / Business / App Development

Be Like Bigo Live: Creating Your Own Streaming Social Media App

  • Rating — 4.9 (71 votes)
  • by Igor Zviagin
  • Updated on June 19, 2019
  • Read —
    6-7 minutes

Streaming social media networks are in demand now. Which means that you can create a similar app and include some alternative features in it. Now, this is not an easy venture because Bigo and other live streaming social media networks are complex applications with a variety of different features. It is, therefore, logical to consider making MVP (minimum viable product) first. Read further to find out more about Bigo Live, its monetization strategies, structural components, core entertainment elements, and mechanisms. It is quite possible to upgrade and improve even such viral and addictive application as Bigo if you know where to look.

  1. Bigo Live in a Nutshell
  2. Gamification
  3. Monetization
  4. Socialization
  5. Can Bigo Live be Improved?
  6. Competitors
  7. Why Making MVP is a Good Idea?
  8. Obscenity Allegations
  9. Conclusion

Bigo Live in a Nutshell

Bigo is a multimillion industry which provides people with a streaming social media app that has high functionality and a lot of features. Its success is based on social affection that users obtain in the process of interaction (videochatting). It has no advertising but its monetization strategy is astoundingly effective since once inside the app, users use soft and hard currency.


Bigo Live is a streaming social media app. But, essentially, it is a game. Users increase their rating (3 levels of VIP), earn points, compete in video battles, and, in the long run, they play to get attention of others with their video or seek contact with popular broadcasters.


Monetization strategy is based on the in-app currency: diamonds and beans (coins). Diamonds can be bought and converted in beans. Beans (in certain cases) can be converted back to diamonds. Users use beans and diamonds to buy presents in order to distinguish themselves in the vast ocean of users and to earn friends/followers. With no ads inside the app, Bigo earns on the difference between real money inflow and its much smaller output. For example:

Deposit stages:

  1. $100 = 3402 diamonds
  2. 3402 diamonds turned into 3402 Beans
  3. User then distributes beans. If all this sum is given to one broadcaster, that’s what he gets:

Withdrawal: $16 (210 beans = $1). From $100: the broadcaster made 16%, the platform took 30%, and Bigo earned 54% (!)

Now, add to that 200 million registered users. With even a half of these users giving $1 each would mean a successful venture.

Users need currency to be noticed because that’s what the whole app is about. Beans, diamonds, and presents they can buy or a VIP status all make users in the app better noticed. As users crave more attention, for most of them paying is the best way to stand out. The longer they stay in the app, the more bonuses they receive. And, of course, content itself also matters. Users compete with each other trying to make the most interesting video. However, it is evident that most of Bigo Live users are men who wish to see women performing live.


Bigo smartly plays on users’ need for interaction. To be popular is possible but difficult, seeing as how many people use Bigo Live. Some broadcasters are incredibly popular while most are completely unnoticeable. As everybody craves attention, it is clear that Bigo Live is a social media game.

Can Bigo Live be Improved?

Bigo is focused primarily on the Asian market (India, Saudi Arabia, China). Therefore, Western market doesn’t have the analogue of such scale (200 million users), leaving a sweet niche to occupy. As a social media platform, Bigo depends on the ethnic diversity of its users. Therefore, an Italian or American user has little to none reasons to use Bigo if not only to communicate exclusively with people from India, China or South East Asia.

Therefore, it is a good idea to make you own streaming social media app bearing in mind to have Western hemisphere as your target audience (better to narrow it down, though). And, it doesn’t have to be as complex as Bigo right away. Start small and then add updates and improvements over time. There’s a lot of space for creativity and generation of ideas here to make your streaming app interesting and of value to users.


Bigo’s competitors are Twitch, Meerkat, Periscope, and other smaller scale apps. However, Bigo doesn’t have relevant competitors in Asia, dominating in the niche of social media streaming apps there.

Why Making MVP is a Good Idea?

Bigo has high functionality. There are numerous features which are quite complex to develop and maintain. Bigo has group chat, 1on1 videochat, a lot of different effects like video-enhancement and animations, daily bonuses, 3 levels of VIP status, etc.

Having MVP at your disposal allows you to research your market niche and test your product. Then, developers can change certain product features to meet customer demands. Working on MVP is especially beneficial when dealing with such complex applications as Bigo Live because of the number of features they exhibit. The complexity of work is primarily connected to the app’s ability to provide stable performance and high quality streams which can be quickly uploaded.

Here’s a list of some of the Bigo’s features:

  • Events system
  • Quiz show modelled on HQ Trivia
  • Play Live House  (talent show)
  • Complex social dynamics
  • P2P marketplace (exchange of presents, beans, and diamonds)
  • Levelling system

…and much more! Bigo is really like a pocket universe of its own with complex set of user interactions. Even the app with twice as less features will be difficult to develop because it will take a lot of man hours of many talented specialists. Consider to deal with the following components first:

  • UX/ UI design
  • Registration
  • User profiles
  • Online video streaming
  • Leaving comments while broadcasting
  • Search
  • Server side
Who is the founder of BIGO live?

Jianqiang Hu is the founder of Bigo Live. The app is now owned by which is a major video-based social network in China that has 300 million users.

Obscenity Allegations

Though it doesn’t harm its overall success, Bigo’s image was hurt by numerous allegations in its improper use. General consensus holds it that Bigo is used primarily by men seeking to watch women, preferably in their bedrooms. Though nudity of any kind as well as indecent behavior, immorality or propaganda of violence are all strongly prohibited, the fact that the majority of audience visits Bigo to get erotical arousement is more than just implied. Therefore, you can build the ad campaign of your app, promoting it as a spicy-free 100% decent social media streaming service.  


It seems like a good idea to invest in making not just another streaming app but a social media platform with a gaming aspect that is based on live streaming. Socialization is the key feature of Bigo Live. Its success wouldn’t be possible without complex social dynamics and a variety of gaming features.

Bigo is addictive because users invest in upgrading their status to attract more attention. They try to outplay each other in pursuit of awards, in-app currency, and VIP status. Due to that Bigo Live is a complex app with rich functionality. Thus, making MVP first is a rational move because it allows researching your target audience and adjusting the features of your streaming app accordingly. There is nothing stopping you from creating and owning your own streaming social media app.

I want an app like Bigo Live

Igor Zviagin I'm a tech journalist and market analyst. Software development, apps, tech trends, and digital innovations are all among my interests. Why? Simply, because it's the future. You can have more of that future in my blog entries. I have 5+ years of experience in online journalism and blogging but I've been a tech enthusiasts and even something of a geek my whole life. It is my pleasure to share with you the knowledge I have. Reading my articles, you can be sure to find expert opinions of senior developers, market tendencies, design tips, and info on outsourcing, business industries or specific Web and Mobile projects.

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