Today’s disruptive era of social media is a breakthrough for the community & creator economy. From meeting new people to collaborating with top brands, a social media platform has become more than a channel to connect & socialize with the community. Almost every popular social networking app including Facebook, Instagram, & Tiktok has launched an open digital marketplace and focused on social media app development for business. An app with unique features to engage influencers who self-monetize their creations via sponsored content while in collaboration with startups & small businesses.
And as a result, the rise of the creator economy has propelled the prominence of subscription-based services, self-monetizing, & brand collaborations across the global social media landscape.
As per a survey on social media statistics, users aged between 18-24 years spend approx 75% of their time viewing Facebook’s video ads, revealing that image ads & short-form videos are more successful than other ad formats. With such an intense fascination, more & more users, creators & influencers, and brands are set to bulk up around social media marketplaces like Fanclub.
If your startup idea belongs to the same league then you must be wondering about the estimated social media app development costs. Just proceed further to this blog to make precise calculations for the cost of full-cycle software product development for startups.
Here we go!
Estimating the cost of building a social media app
The estimated social media cost can range from $30,000 to $2,50,000. The cost also depends on the key features, UI/UX design, & technologies preferred for the product development & design process.
Since building social media apps for creators & influencers demands more complex & technical integrations, its overall cost will vary accordingly. Here is a rough breakdown of the social media app development costs & timeline:
- Basic complexity: $30,000 to $80,000 (12-24 weeks)
- Mid-level complexity: $80,000 to 1,50,000 (24-36 weeks)
- High complexity: $1,50,000 to $2,50,000 (>36 or more weeks)
Want to learn more? Get more insights in our descriptive guide on the product development process from our experts.
Apart from the aforementioned factors, the cost of software development also depends on the type of social media app you need. The most trending categories of social networking platforms besides apps for creators & influencer marketers are:
- Social networking apps
- Media sharing platforms
- Microblogging apps
- Discussion forums
- Open social media marketplaces like Fanclub
- Anonymous social networking apps
These social media app categories may differ in their target users & advanced features but they’re somehow similar in their basic facilities. Let’s throw some light on the major features that may influence the social media app development costs in the US.
What factors can influence the cost of social media app development?
The popularity of social media apps continues to surge with every update & trend coming on its way. Hence, the overall cost of building such apps from scratch will vary due to certain factors. After all, you want an app that stands out with its exceptional features & services.
Mind that the key features of your app are its USPs to engage more users for relevant purposes. So, let’s discuss the key features of a social media platform or app that can increase or cut down the social media app cost.
User registration & verification
Digital identity verification is an important aspect of compliance & security features of any software or product we develop for social media users.
It’s designed to simplify the user authentication process, keeping it as an easier and faster as it can be for users to get started.
Profile creation and update
The next crucial step for new users is profile creation & updating it with all necessary details or interests so that other users can search your profile in no time. This feature is very common yet essential for every social media platform that enables users to edit or update their personal profiles.
While building a social media app, social media app developers must keep this feature in mind to let users connect & interact personally and privately.
Another feature that can add value to your efforts in social media app development is the media upload option. It’s nearly impossible to imagine any social networking platform without a photo & video uploading feature that allows users to upload, edit, & even schedule posts as user-generated content. These days video content has become increasingly popular on social media apps. Users can easily share and view videos, as well as livestream events. The app should also have the ability to download and store videos for offline viewing.
Feeds & Community
Notification Feeds are an essential feature of a social media app. They allow users to stay up to date with the latest posts and updates from people they follow. With every social media update from other creators & brand influencers, users will receive instant push notifications or alerts on their devices so that no story would be left unviewed. Feeds could be in both audio and video format. Whenever users like a particular feed, they can react either by pressing the like, comment and share button.
A social media app should have a strong sense of community. This means that users should have the ability to connect with each other and share content. The app should also have features such as profiles, group video chats, calls, and the ability to follow and comment on other users’ posts.
A feature that allows users to tag their connections or friends who get notified when tagged on a specific post.
A kind of short-form video content, typically used by creators & influencers for quick guides, tutorials, & or any information within a few seconds.
Introduced to engage users via in-app games, where anyone can play games while being active on the social media app. One can also share their gaming activities & invite others to participate.
Another must-have feature you can include while building your app for social media, is that permits users to put a quick status or story that will disappear after 24 hrs.
Live location share
You can integrate this feature that will allow your users to share their live location with their friends & family.
Like most social media apps, you can include a feature that enables your users to mark their names for business accounts.
Social media integration
Incorporating a one-click sharing option for other social media platforms can let users or creators share their creations or posts seamlessly on multiple apps without any hassle.
The current social media trends around creators & influencer marketing shall demand more engaging features to integrate into your project. As per our latest guide on mobile app development for businesses aiming to launch a next-gen social networking platform, we’ve shortlisted these exclusive features that can also influence the overall cost of development:
It helps brand promoters & retailers to analyze the performance of their posts in terms of impressions, engagement, traffic, new followers, & more.
Adding these advanced features will take more time, effort, & resources that can surely increase your overall budget for this project.
Hence, considering these features will help you guide through the right estimation of social media app development costs in the US.
Category-based differences in Social Media App Development Cost
The cost of building social media apps also depends on the category. There are 5 major categories that are trending in the social media industry & they vary in several ways.
We need to take a look at each category to get an exact estimate of the development cost.
Category 1: Cost of WhatsApp-like app
Developing a WhatsApp-like app can be costly, but the exact cost depends on the features and functionality you want to include. The average cost of creating a social messaging app like Whatsapp will vary b/w $40,000 to $200,000.
Category 2: Cost of Instagram-like app
The estimated cost of building a social networking app like Instagram with exclusive media-sharing feature is calculated b/w $36,000 to $200,000. Typically, such an app will require a backend server, databases, user authentication and authorization, and a feed system.
Category 3: Cost of Snapchat-like app
Building a Snapchat-like app can be an expensive endeavor. With advanced features of AR filters, animated stickers, & disappearing stories, the cost to build a social media app inspired by Snapchat is estimated to differ from $40,000 to $2,00,000. Additionally, additional costs may be incurred for the integration of third-party APIs.
Category 4: Cost of TikTok-like app
Developing a TikTok-like app can be a lengthy and expensive process. Capturing the essence of short-form video, TikTok comprises multiple features to compel users across the world. Hence, the social media app development cost for this category will range from $50,000 to $150,000.
How Hie HQ can notch up your social media app idea?
Besides all the variations in social media app development costs, startups do need more clarity on the expertise of developers in the process.
The cost of social media app development in the US also relies on the geographic location of the service providers, their hourly rates,& team of dedicated developers hired.
Fanclub is one such open social media marketplace for creators, designed & developed by our esteemed product team, in collaboration with Calaxy.
At Hie HQ, we’re proud product partners of the global product teams, co-building the latest innovations in the social media & community industry with major expertise in product design & development, product transformation, business transformation, mobile app development, web development, & UI/UX design.
Our service offerings are dedicated to a wide spectrum of industries including Fintech & finance, healthcare & fitness, eCommerce, Gaming, SaaS, AI, Blockchain, AR, NFT, DeFi, Crypto, open banking, & more.
For more inspiration, take a tour of our portfolio of featured projects delivered by us so far.
1. How much does it cost to maintain a social media app?
A social media app owner shall need to invest a minimum of at least $250 in a month to keep the app running without lags. One can mark over 20% of the overall development budget for app maintenance in the future.
2. Is it worth building a social media app today?
Popular social media platforms including Meta, formerly Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, make money through paid advertising, brand partnerships, & funds from creators.
So, launching a creator-centric social media app is absolutely a profitable business.