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The cost of developing a social media app (with actual numbers)

October 7, 2021 / by Lucia Y.

Many businesses, communities, and individuals have great ideas for social networking apps. But the biggest problems they face are the organization and development processes. The cost of developing a social media app, the right development team, app quality, and time to market are all factors that will make or break these app ideas.

Good development will determine which apps actually do. And which are not. So what is the cost of developing a social media app?

The typical cost to build a social media app can range from $35,000 to $1,000,000 or more, depending on factors such as features, software complexity, design, and whether or not you need it. a team and/or if you are developing from scratch.

Also, the price will depend on whether you want an iOS app, Android app, or web app, or all of these platforms at once. Each additional platform will have its additional costs, challenges and specifications for each market.

What kind of social media app do you want to create?

To calculate the cost of developing a social media app, you must first decide what type of app you want.

To be successful with your type of application, we always suggest:

– Bring a unique and innovative idea with amazing features or

– Create an application for a very specific audience or group (for example, for your company or a community)

Here are some types of social apps to choose from:

network app

Create your own LinkedIn social network, a Facebook-like app for networking. An ideal platform for users to find investors, partners, potential clients, colleagues and experts in their same field. You can tap into users around the world or make the app very community-specific. Apps can work to build personal networks, expand your professional network, find investors, potential clients, and also help people find suitable matches.

Messaging and calling app

Create your own WhatsApp-like messaging and calling app, Zangi, with military-grade encryption, high scalability, and unique technologies. Include features like messaging, voice/video calls, file sharing, group chat, etc. Publish on Google Play or App Store.

social  dating app

Create your own dating app similar to Tinder with excellent messaging and calling technologies. Ask users to create profiles with details like profile picture, relationship status, short description, include filter-based search engine features like gender, location, hobbies , etc. Have ultra-secure conversations via chat calls and video calls. and add your own niche touch or quality.

team communication app

Create your own Slack-like app for team communication. Gain complete application ownership and completely protect your team’s data and communications with self-hosting. Add your logo, branding and make the app visible only to a specific business or community, or make it public. Add additional security algorithms and special communication and collaboration features to appeal to the modern consumer.

Photo editing and sharing network

Create an Instagram-like app, PicsArt to share, edit and create video and photo content. Ask users to use various cool photo filters and features to get the most out of these social media apps.

Broadcast app

Create your own Telegram channel type networking app with channels to broadcast your public messages to a large audience. Send notifications directly to a large number of subscribers. Ask users to create private or public channels. Charge for subscription or create free channels. Have millions of subscribers.

Blogs and discussion forums

Make Twitter, blogs or Tumblr-like micro-blogging social content publishing apps to generate traffic and users by giving them a platform to post their thoughts and content. Also include discussion forums or question-and-answer services to exchange knowledge and advice.

The main features and functionality you need 

After choosing the type of app, the features of the app will really determine the total cost of developing a social media app. The costs of your app and the success of your app are highly dependent on the features, functionality, UI/UX, and design you choose to incorporate into the app.

Voici des estimations approximatives des coûts de chaque fonctionnalité :

Inscrivez-vous 750 $ +

Édition de profil $600+

Rechercher 900 $+

Messagerie$1750+

Messagerie cryptée $2000+

Transfert de fichiers crypté $3000+

Chat de groupe $2000+

Partage de contacts $2750+

Partage de position $1250+

Partage multimédia $2250+

Notifications 650 $+

Appel audio $3750+

Appels vocaux cryptés 3000 $ +

Appel vidéo $5500+

Appels vidéo cryptés 3000 $ +

Réglage$4000+

Magasin d’autocollants $2000+

Different social media apps are constructed with varying sets of features. To get all the basic features in one go, the easiest and fastest way is with white label social media app providers, who will already give you the base of what you need. Just add your branding and name on top of it.

Advanced features for developing a social media app

With emerging technologies and already big name social media apps in the market, it wouldn’t make sense and would be a waste of money to create a basic social media app. You would need to include advanced features to stand out in competition,  and to have a unique selling point for potential users.

Here are the few advanced features and its development cost/time that you should consider:

Additional Languages Support $1000+

End-To-End Encryption/E2EE $4000+

Special Registration and Verification $5000+

Balance Transfer $3000+

Audio conferencing $30000+

Channels $12000+

Large Groups $8000+

Supergroups $8000+

Stripe, PayPal, Braintree Payment Gateways integration $1000+

Animated GIFs $3000+

AR Filters $5000+

Photo Editing $16500+

Chatbots $15000+

Video Conferencing $40000+

Development team and tech stack required

Developing a social media app is truly very complex; not every entrepreneur has the required skills, expertise or professional employees to build apps. They would have to either create their own development & design team, hire developers or choose a white label app provider to create an app for you on top of a ready base.

A team you would need would consist of:

  • 2 iOS Developers
  • 2 Android Developers
  • Backend Developer
  • Front-end developer
  • QA Engineer
  • UX/UI Designer
  • Project / Product Manager
  • Backend Setup and Integration
  • Office rental and utilities (if you work in an office)

The cost of developing a social media app with a development tea (US vs India in-house outsourcing) can be seen in the graph below.

Screenshot-2021-10-08-at-5Source: Classic Computing

And depending on the country you are in, the cost of developing a social media app really varies for both mobile and web developers.

stat1Source: Classic Informatics web-deloperSource: Classic Informatics The overall cost of developing a social media application

By the end of this article, you are hopefully able to estimate your costs. Depending on factors like the number of platforms (iOS, android, web), features, software complexity, design, and whether or not you’ll be needing a team and will be developing from scratch, a simple app starts from $25,000 to $60,000, medium complex can cost you in between $61,000 to $70,000 and the complex app can go above $1,000,000+.

Should you choose the cheapest development option, that claim they develop social media apps under $25,000? Most are just marketing scams.

Should you choose high cost freelance developers to ensure high quality? It may not always be the case. Or should you hire your own team to get you through development? This will give you the opportunity to hire the greatest expertise, but is often the most costly option.

For the best cost of developing a social media app + the best quality, it’s recommended to look for a reputable app development company that will already know how to effectively help you. Or a ready white label app platform (PAAS), ensuring a risk-free process with ready app, for a quarter of the price.

For example Zangi White Label is a mature company that has built and achieved premium quality, excellent features:  technology that doesn’t drain your battery, fast messaging, a highly secure system, modern UX/UI, and messages that always deliver.

They have been delivering messenger apps to communities and companies for years. The cost starts from $13,000 for a risk-free WhatsApp-like messaging app ready to be posted in the marketplace.

For more advanced features, customizations, and social media features, the price goes up respectfully. But still, development time and price is about 5X lower than developing from scratch. 

How is Zangi able to save you so much more time and resources?

With Zangi, you won’t need to develop your app from scratch. You’ll have the competitive advantage of having your product ready in a short TTM, with changes made directly to Zangi’s fully functional, enterprise-ready client applications and backend.

Zero risk, zero hassle. Contact Zangi!

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Key words  

social media app

How to Build a Social Media Website From Scratch

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Did you know that almost every person on our planet uses at least five types of social networking sites? Facebook alone, the most popular social networking website, has 2.375 billion users.

This is why developing a social networking website often comes to mind for entrepreneurs when looking at these staggering numbers.

Why invest in social media development

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Main reasons to create a social network

Le nombre d’utilisateurs actifs des sites Web de réseaux sociaux a déjà dépassé 3,499 milliards. En comparaison, l’ensemble d’Internet compte 4,4 milliards d’utilisateurs, et la grande majorité d’entre eux sont actifs sur les réseaux sociaux. La personne moyenne possède 8,5 comptes de médias sociaux et passe 142 minutes par jour à interagir avec eux.

Si vous hésitez encore à créer un réseau social à partir de zéro, voici quelques avantages à le faire. Voici ce que vous pourrez faire en conséquence :

  • atteindre un plus grand nombre d’utilisateurs
  • permettre aux utilisateurs d’accéder à une plate-forme réseau à partir de leur ordinateur portable ou de leur PC
  • faire évoluer facilement le site Web de réseautage à mesure que le nombre d’utilisateurs augmente
  • provide an exceptional user experience and allow them to use it from the device of their choice

How to create a social network from scratch: choose the type

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How to Create a Social Media Website: Choosing the Type

Social media networks are created with different purposes in mind. While some of them are designed for user interaction, others provide useful information and unite users based on their interests. Choosing the type of content that will meet the needs of your target users helps decide which website to create.

Generally, social networking services are classified according to the main types presented below:

  1. Media sharing websites (for example, YouTube and Flickr)

2. Business and Professional Sites (e.g. LinkedIn and Glassdoor)

3. Information sites (e.g. Reddit or Quora)

4. Educational websites (e.g. Student Room and Math forum)

5. Leisure networks (many) 6. Academic websites (e.g. ResearchGate and Academia.edu

7. Social networks (eg Facebook and Twitter)

8. Dating platforms (e.g. Match.com)

The table gives an overview of the characteristics specific to each of them.

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How to create a social media website step by step

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How to Create a Social Media Website: Step-by-Step Flow

We have put together a detailed step-by-step guide to building a social media website from scratch.

1. Select your design

The following questions can help you in this difficult task to stand out from the crowd:

  • What unique features will set your network apart from your competition?
  • What is the main idea behind the website?
  • What value can you offer the user?

2.Choose your target audience

3. Establish your strategy

4. Select and Hire a Web Development Provider

5. Start your website project with the discovery stage (Product backlog & UX/UI design)

6. Grow your social media website

7. Think about marketing and promotion

8. Consider ongoing maintenance and support

Technical background to create a social network website

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How to Build a Social Networking Website From Scratch: Technical Aspects

Front-end development – ​​This part includes all the elements that are visible to the end user. It uses technologies such as:

  • Programming languages: JavaScript, ES6+, Typescript
  • Markup languages: HTML5, CSS3, Sass, Stylus
  • JavaScript framework: Angular, React, Vue, etc.

Back-end development – ​​The server side, where all the main features of a website work. The technology stack includes:

  • Programming languages: Ruby, Elixir
  • Frameworks: Ruby on Rails, Phoenix
  • Database servers: PostgreSQL, MySQL
  • Web servers: Nginx, Apache
  • Cloud server platforms: Amazon Web Services (AWS, EC2, S3, etc.)

Below you can see the main features that should be included in social media web development.

  • User Authorization – It should be easy to use and provide multiple options i.e. authorization with social media, email, phone number, etc.
  • Profile : must contain personal data, can have a set of settings, sections and tabs
  • Feeds – Users can view posts and other content on their timeline
  • Posts – Gives users the ability to share content with others in the form of posts.
  • Search – A full-text search option that lets you search for information, other users, and more.
  • Activity feed : users take all activity on the social network
  • Status Update Features – The ability to set and change personal statuses
  • Chat – A place where users can participate in discussions or exchange personal messages.
  • File sharing : function that allows sharing of multimedia content such as photos, videos, etc.
  • Friends/Connections – The most important feature that lays the foundation for all social networking websites. It allows users to find friends and make connections.
  • Notifications – Real-time notifications on top activities
  • Analytics – Can be implemented both for users so they can track their own activity, and for website owners to track user activity.
  • Admin Panel – Allows you to moderate the community, prevent spam, bullying, etc.

Other important technology aspects to consider when considering building a social networking website include:

  • Mobile : A must for all social networks. It is important that your website is mobile-friendly so that users can use it on the device of their choice.
  • Hosting – Choose a carrier that provides dedicated channels that can handle heavy loads.
  • Security aspects : As social networks store users’ personal information, messages, photos and videos, it is essential to ensure a high level of security.
  • Scalability – The project architecture should be configured from the earliest stages. It is important to make it scalable so that you do not face any problems in the future with the growth of the social network website.

Expert tips for creating a social media website

The following checklist will help you develop a social networking website and bring it to life in the shortest possible time:

  • Research what is important to your target audience
  • Develop interaction features.
  • Provide features and tools that will help you create great content.
  • Include push notifications
  • Choose mobile responsive or even build a social media app


Video Build a social network website

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