Blog / Business / App Development

How Much Does it Cost to Develop a Social Media App?

  • Rating — 5 (3 votes)
  • by Ksenija Kolomiiets
  • Updated on November 02, 2020
  • Read —
    10-11 minutes

Most people in the modern world cannot imagine life without social networks. After spending time on social media platforms, people satisfy their needs for communication and entertainment. Social networks also help keep in touch with their general circle and stay updated on the latest events.

The world’s current situation can be called suitable for creating social media app because the majority remains in specific isolation due to the pandemic, and traditional personal communication is limited or simply impossible. Some sociologists argue that “the coronavirus has ruined personal communication forever.” Man is a social being and is drawn to communication. Thanks to social networks, we can feel involved in society. The amount of time spent on social networks has increased significantly, as has the number of messages exchanged by users.

Like Facebook or Instagram, social media is a new opportunity for entrepreneurs wondering how to build a social media app and how much it costs. Even without pandemics, social apps are a great business opportunity. You can’t do it without a phone these days. People are using tablets and smartphones more and more, and the volume of mobile traffic is increasing. The most used mobile devices are digital audio, social media, mobile video, games, and messaging.

What do people expect from social media apps?

As with building any application, we want to get the most out of building a social application. Before starting the development of such a digital solution, it is worth conducting research and determining what value it will bring to users in the first place.

Highlight the list of user tasks that the application can solve. Set goals as if you were a user and asked yourself why people would want to use my application. After all, people download apps because of their content, functionality, and ease of use.

Let’s take a look at what people want from a social network. First of all, people are looking for communication, want to share news. They are also interested in statism. There is also a category of users who use social applications as a tool to attract customers.

Social networks provide unlimited opportunities for creating an image that a person has chosen for himself. This is especially true for public figures and business owners. In short, the main functions of a social media application are as follows:

  • Communication.
  • Self-expression and self-realization.
  • The convenience of use.

The cost of developing a simple social media app

All social apps are different and have different goals, but they all share certain features and options. Let’s look at the cost using essential features that no social media app can do without. The price that we end up with is not an exact figure to focus on. Instead, it is the average value of the cost.

Any other specific feature you decide to add will lead to a further increase in the final cost. Still, most social media apps’ necessary infrastructure is similar and will, therefore, be appreciated.

Next, we’ll talk about the following main features and benefits of social media apps:

  • Account authorization
  • Create a profile
  • Message exchange
  • Upload photos and videos
  • Search function
  • Other settings
  • Adding tags (location, friends, etc.)
  • Basic UI / UX

By understanding the essential functions and their cost, you can build your budget.

Remember that for a social network to become a successful project. You must provide your audience with something unusually unique, which will awaken in them the desire to actively use your digital solution and share positive impressions from using it with friends and family.

Recent market research has shown that today a social application can be developed from 23 to 90 thousand dollars. Based on the cost of the projects we have created in this industry, this information is quite relevant.

To make it more transparent for you what the cost consists of and how long it takes to develop each application component, we have created the following list as a guide.

#1 User authorization

Account authorization is an essential foundation for user data and privacy, so consider it a must-have feature of any social application. You should not provide an opportunity to pass authorization in one way. This approach is not convenient and will only alienate the user. Do several ways to log in, for example, using mail, phone number, etc. It is also worth considering how the password reset and recovery, authentication, security measures, among other things, will be carried out.

Estimate: This piece will take about 115 hours to complete, resulting in an average cost of $ 2,900.

#2 Create a profile

The creation and design of a profile are the means through which the user expresses himself. For example, Bestyn apps, which we recently completed. The in-app profile assumes users will be able to enter their own:

  • Name
  • Profile picture
  • Mobile phone
  • The address
  • Email the address
  • Web site
  • Date of Birth
  • Interests, and so on.

Estimate: It usually takes app developers around 250 hours to do this. This adds up to $ 6,300.

#3 Messaging

Communication needs to be ensured on any social media platform, as this dramatically increases engagement. However, some social media apps have specific requirements for direct or personal messaging. Will you allow users to upload photos or videos along with posts? It would be best if you kept this in mind when planning this feature.

Messaging

Estimate: For most developers, this will take 50-75 hours, so expect an average cost of $ 2,000.

#4 Uploading photos and videos, creating posts

Users should add the photos and videos they want to their page or interest groups and be free to organize their galleries. Also, to increase time in the application and increase engagement, it is worth adding the ability to edit photos and add filters to images and video content before uploading them to the network.

Estimate: With Add, Filters enabled, this should take about 440 hours. Taking into account additional features, the cost can be about $ 12,000.

#5 Search function

When registering, the user will not immediately have contacts and, of course, he would like to find his friends or just people with similar interests there. The user will need to search by friends or, say, by current content in the future. It is desirable that the search can be carried out according to different criteria.

Estimate: The time it takes to add this feature is around 60-80 hours, so the expected costs are up to $ 2,500.

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#5 Other settings

The ability to set your preferred language, enable or disable push notifications, or change your privacy settings is almost essential for many social media users.

Estimate: This has a wide range of development times – 95-150 hours, which equates to an average cost of $ 4,900.

#6 Adding tags (location, friends, etc.)

Adding tags makes it easy to share content with a specific set of users. It also quickly reveals information (primarily location) to people you want to interact with.

Estimate: it is difficult to talk about the cost since the introduction of tags is a relatively simple thing, but if you need to implement geolocation, then it is already more difficult here and will depend on the API that you plan to connect and the functions that lie on it.

#7 UI / UX

Design is one of the essential parts of an application. Without an attractive appearance, you will not win users over. But besides beauty, the user interface should be intuitive and user-friendly. You can profit in more detail in the article Emotional Design for Social Networks.

Estimate: This will take 120 to 150 hours. That leaves you with an average cost of $ 3,550.

As a reminder, these are just basic features that are found in most social networks. To learn more about what features should be included in your future social media application, we invite you to chat with a Business Analyst.

Social media application technology stack

The larger the project, the larger the technology stack to use. Today, there are many different programming languages, frameworks, and technologies for creating websites and applications. This is due to the development of speeches ​​over the past decade. Each technology is slightly different. Therefore, when choosing the one suitable for a specific project, the main idea is to be guided by objective criteria, taking into account the project’s goals.

WEB iOS Android
GIT Swift Java
Apache 2 Realm Realm
PHP 7.1 AlamofireSDK OKHTTP
Yii2 AlamofireObjectMapping Android Support Design
MySQL 5.7
AWS
Swagger
Angular

The technology stack we usually use for web and mobile development

What exactly should be in a social media app?

An excellent social media app should have the following:

  • Ability to publish and share photos and/or videos.
  • Ease of Use – If you find something simple, make it even more comfortable, or people won’t use your app.
  • Customize your profile to have personality
  • Find friends and follow them or make new ones using names, keywords, or hashtags.
  • Integration with other social platforms. Your application is unlikely to survive on its own. Link it with other social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Users more trust integrated apps.
  • Privacy and security of user data.
  • Notifications and feeds with news from other users. Some people start social media accounts not to share content, but only to find out what’s new in other people’s lives.
  • Ability to leave comments and send private messages.

Social media app trends

Social media trends are constantly changing, and it is difficult to predict what will happen next. We’ll try to guess what could change the rules of the game in 2021:


Interactive content
91% of users gravitate towards more interactive content. AR / VR, 360-degree video, funs, and more. A fundamental factor in the further development of social media marketing is the introduction of new technologies.
Video content
Video is one of the most engaging forms of content, and it is gaining popularity. Whether it’s short videos like TikTok or Instagram Stories or long videos like YouTube, social media video apps are our present and future.
Social commerce
This is becoming the mainstream of retailing alongside other media such as websites and offline stores. This trend will intensify with the emergence of more and more social media platforms offering new sales features.
Using social media for customer service
This transition was gradual as brands noticed that many customers were trying to reach them through social media. A possible reason is the lack of response on other channels. Or, for some, it’s just the easiest way to get in touch.

To conclude

When deciding on developing a social application, it is essential to choose the right software development company. It is imperative to conduct a discovery phase in order to draw up the correct product concept initially, and then a detailed development plan. You must also understand that the initial estimate of development costs may differ from the final cost, especially if you make any adjustments to the project right at the development stage. Sometimes we are faced with such situations when customers want to add specific functions to their platforms that were not previously agreed upon. That’s why you need to set aside at least an additional budget for this opportunity.

One final tip: Think about the minimum viable product (MVP) development first. This is just a prototype for your application that has all the basic functionality you need. Making it available to your target audience can help you gain valuable user feedback to help you decide if you should add more features or keep developing. Hence, it will also save you a lot of time and money.

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Many factors affect the cost. Therefore, the initial estimate is not entirely accurate. It is necessary to draw up a detailed action plan and describe all the future application functions. Also, the cost will be influenced by the team’s experience and skills, the technologies with which the development will be carried out, etc. To get a high-quality rating, talk to the development team. The more detailed the assessment is, the more professional the company’s approach is, and the less likely it is to invest in the budget.
The average development time for a social media app is 4 to 6 months. The development period may be more extended since everything will depend on the digital solution’s functionality, the teams’ professionalism, etc.

 

Ksenija Kolomiiets Expert & Evangelist in business optimization tools like fintech, logistics, on-demand services apps who will help you to understand the core ideas of the outlined themes by my articles. I also have great expertise in social media and education platforms so let me know "in comments" if you want me to describe a theme you're interested in.

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