How to Make a Social Media App: Crucial Development Steps

How to Make a Social Media App: Crucial Development Steps

In a world where more than one third of the global population are smartphone users, the abundance of mobile apps strikes. It may seem that such social media app giants as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook have taken over the market, leaving almost no room for new start-ups. However, such an assumption is misleading. Today’s rapidly changing digital space highly encourages the desire to conquer a social media market. So, if you still doubt whether “create or not to create”, then let’s take a look at these graphs:

The drop in the number of Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat users
Image 1. The drop in the number of Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat users, Q2 2017-Q2 2018. Source: The Guardian

The declining number of users on the above mentioned platforms suggests the market is wide open for promising newcomers. Thus, the question is: how to create a social media app that will pave your way to the top? To answer it, let’s first consider the current state of a social media landscape to evaluate its potential.

Facts and Statistics

An important thing is that the global expansion of social media networks’ usage has increased by 9% since January 2018. By analyzing its geographic segmentation, we see that North America and Europe have the biggest internet penetration in 2019, while such countries as Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Singapore, and U.A.E. have the highest social media penetration.

Global digital overview of mobile, internet, and social media use
Image 2. Global digital overview, 2019. Source: Hootsuite

Growth Forecast of Social Media Applications

The research shows that currently, social media adoption is in a rather favorable situation over the past 10 years, as it leaped from 0.97 billion users to 3.1 billion. Moreover, according to the TNW review, the number of new social media mobile users has increased by 10% since 2018. Such a huge leap proves, once again, that the market is rapidly expanding.

Annual digital users’ growth
Image 3. Annual digital users’ growth. Source: Hootsuite

These impressive numbers may accordingly evoke the question: what existing market trends to follow in order to increase the number of loyal customers and make a social media app potentially successful?

Social Network Applications Trends

In order to know how to make a social media app thriving, you have to find ways to distinguish from competitors. For that, we highly recommend to keep up with the latest social network applications trends that most likely will boost your mobile app capacity:

  • AI and Machine Learning

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) can take your business to the next level of convenience and profitability by their main optimizing features:

    • AI algorithms that improve recommended content according to user’s preferences;
    • LVP (lifetime value prediction) — an AI technology that can analyze the user’s behavior and predict the amount of money a user may spend on the platform;
    • ML mechanism aiming to improve marketing for targeted users;
    • better data automatization and processing that goes beyond human capabilities.
  • Augmented Reality

    Such AR variations as promoting brands Shoppable AR, entertaining Instagram Stories AR filters, creating gamification effect Snapchat Snappables increase potential advertising revenue of businesses that have integrated these features.

    Forecast of rising number of AR global mobile users, 2015-2023
    Image 4. Forecast of rising number of AR global mobile users, 2015-2023. Source: Business Insider
  • Visual over textual

    Appealing visual content is rapidly substituting a textual component of social media apps. The majority of the users are more eager to devote their spare time enjoying video content rather than consuming a text-heavy one. For instance, views of branded content on Facebook soared on 258% since 2016 proving higher visual adoption by the audience.

  • Ephemeral content

    The phenomenon of not lasting content, i.e., 24 hour short videos, stories, snaps, etc. has been gaining momentum since 2013 when Snapchat added this update to their app. Striking popularity of this trend feature is explained by its easiness, high engagement, and authenticity that helps the audience distract from over-polished ads.

    The scope of stories product daily users’ activity
    Image 5. The scope of stories product daily users’ activity. Source: TechCrunch
  • Segmentation

    The analysis of your users’ behavior, demographic and psychographic data, conversion goals is what influences the choice of segmentation. Inspired by this trend Instagram, for instance, created a Close Friends feature that let numerous companies offer their exclusive content to the selected groups.

  • Buy button invasion

    One of the greatest marketing combos is the creation of in-app purchases that allow users to shop online via one`s favorite social media platform. First launched by Pinterest, buyable pins enabled its users to purchase easily any item without leaving the network. This trend was eagerly accepted and integrated by other social media giants to ensure bigger ROI.

  • Chatbots

    The main purpose of personalized bots is to simulate real-life conversation with a human, hence making the user’s experience more convenient and effective. By implementing chatbots into your app, you may benefit from the data it gathers about the user, such as one`s behavioral features, and improve your business strategy accordingly.

    Conducted poll among chatbot users, 2018
    Image 6. Conducted poll among chatbot users, 2018. Source: Chatbots Magazine

Having learned what direction to choose for your app to get in trend, let’s consider the segmentation of social media networks we selected by their prevalence and most striking features.

Types of Existing Social Media Apps

When selecting the target audience for your future app, comprehension of a growing variety of social networks and their inherent feature set may be a rather helpful tip. Hence, let’s take a look at those widespread types of social media apps and their most prominent representatives, by highlighting characteristics that led to their success:


Type Most popular examples Revenue/Number of users Unique characteristics and features
Social Network Applications Facebook
$55.8 billion revenue in 2018;

1.6 billion mobile daily active users

Detailed analytics of your page;

Creating & editing events;

Embedded content;

Scheduled posts
Networks for Media Sharing Instagram
$9 ad billion revenue by the end of 2018;

more than 500 million of daily users

Live video;

Personalized feed (archived posts, saved posts collections, etc.);

IGTV (Instagram TV)
Networks for Dating Tinder
almost $800 million revenue by the end of 2018;

50 million active mobile app users

Gamification of the user’s experience;

Top Picks (available on Tinder Gold);

Passport feature (location based search);

Set dating preferences
Consumer Reviews Networks TripAdvisor
$1.62 billion revenue
in 2018;
150 million monthly unique users

Special algorithms to eliminate fake reviews;

Smart search system;
Discussion Forums and Community Quora
$20 million revenue in 2018;

38 million daily unique active users
in 2018;

Draft saving;
Question-oriented (main focus is on subject matter);

Not for Reproduction button (allows to protect your intellectual property);
Publishing Platforms and Blogging Medium
$12.2 million revenue in 2018;

86.04 million monthly unique visitors

Thumbnail presentation (short summary that enables a user understand the content of the publication);

Variety of editing tools;

Readability (high-quality UI & UX)
Networks Based on Interests LinkedIn
$5.3 billion revenue in 2018;

303 million active monthly users

Get Introduced button (user gets the chance to be introduced to sb. / introduce people to each other);

User’s portfolio editing;

Hide your connections button
Anonymous Social Networks Whisper
$12.5 million revenue in 2017;

250 million monthly active users

Absence of identity;

Absence of search function;

Voluntary geolocation

Now, when you have a clear vision of the most popular types of social media apps, it is crucial to dispel any possible doubts about what feature set to choose for your future app.

Features Required for Social Network Apps

We highlight rather vital features for any social media mobile application, however, their list is not limited, and additional unique ones will only give you an advantage over your competitors.

  • News feed

    When integrating such feature on your platform, don’t forget to personalize it in accordance with each user’s individual preferences. The more relevant the content is, the less customer churn will be. This can be achieved by using special ML (Machine Learning) recency and relevance algorithms that process users’ engagement data and form news feed respectively.

    Example of facebook news feed
    Image 7. Example of facebook news feed. Source: The Arabian Marketer
  • Messaging

    The fact that more than 20 billion messages are sent via Facebook every month suggests that this type of users interaction is vital during app development. By integrating this feature, we recommend adding some unique features like the ability to sort messages by relevance or a tool that will enable users to create lists of people whose messages will pop-up first.

     build your own social network app
    Image 8. Messenger in iOS app Cola. Source: The Next Web
  • Users Profiles

    It is desirable to make this feature multidimensional enough, to convert users into loyal ones by adding a variety of filters, editing tools, and thoughtful optionality. In this way you let people customize their personal data in any possible way they want. Facebook, for instance, integrated a custom gender option that includes 71 different variants, hence, choosing mindful approach towards its users’ needs.

    “Choose your gender option” on Facebook dating
    Image 9. “Choose your gender option” on Facebook dating. Source: Forbes
  • Post Like/Share

    By integrating such options into your app, you automatically create a motivation for the users to post their content and interact with each other via such seemingly easy but powerful ways.

    Instagram like button
    Image 10. Instagram like button. Source: The Stable
  • Geolocation

    Reasons why users enjoy location-based feature may vary: desire to provide others an update of one’s location, searching for like-minded people, or intention to find other users` recommendations in accordance with one’s interests.

    Likewise, it’s a great chance for businesses to boost revenue by promoting brands or pinning ads. Geolocation is actively exploited by such social media apps as Instagram, Facebook, TripAdvisor, Yelp, and many others.

    build your own social network app
    Image 11. Geolocation feature on Yelp app. Source: Info We Trust
  • Content Publishing

    The feature which explains social media existence is the ability to create, share, and comment on one`s shared content. Users opt for the platform which enables them to create a publication by using a diverse set of tools that are constantly being modified. For instance, Medium integrated such unique feature that enabled users to highlight a favorite chunk of someone`s text, boost, and comment on it.

    social media application development
    Image 12. The overview of highlight feature on Medium. Source: Medium
  • Search

    Any social media app won’t be complete without a proper search feature. Users are always in a state of looking for something; thus, we suggest providing them with special filters in terms of people, locations, news, jobs, etc. Such options enable to narrow down users’ search in accordance with the chosen type of app.

    Pinterest search feature on Android
    Image 13. Pinterest search feature on Android. Source: Android Community
  • Push Notifications

    Undoubtedly, users need to be notified regarding everything that happens in relation to their profile. However, there is a fine line between irritating the user and informing them. It’s necessary to include a push notification settings panel that will allow to mute, disable, decline, and do other crucial actions with notifications.

    Facebook push notifications settings
    Image 14. Facebook push notifications settings. Source: Facebook

How to Create a Social Media App?

Once the feature set is chosen, it’s time to proceed to those crucial steps which enable the actual development of your future social media app.

Idea

To answer the question of how to build a social network app, the first logical thing to do is to build a clear concept for your future network. Normally there are two scenarios to start your product development.

The first one is when you have conducted business analysis including market landscape and target audience research, then come to a software development company with a formed idea and documented use cases. For example, in Aimprosoft, we eagerly examine the already existing draft of your future app, analyze the idea viability, and proceed with a rough and detailed estimation to start the development process.

The second scenario is offered when there is only a mere concept. In this case, your software vendor should be able to offer full cycle development service that starts with thoughtful case analysis, proceeds to the development, complete maintenance and support of the project even after its launch.

Strategy Planning

Strategy planning stage aims to cover such major aspects as marketing and sales (from defining your TA, to the choice of marketing distribution channels) and technical part (defining tech stack and tools for the app implementation).

A software vendor assistance comes into play for the strategy technical part creation and implementation. Based on the received data regarding the client’s vision of the app, the roadmap is developed. It is a well-planned graphic overview of technical components and milestones of a future social media app that may be modified over time.

steps to create a social media app
Image 16. Roadmap example. Source: Roadmunk

The roadmap is that helpful compass which directs your project in the following way:

  • helps to implement the app’s features within the framework of the defined deadlines;
  • display modifications based on the users’ feedback after MVP and beta testing stages;
  • assists in planning further steps on the app development, improvement, and after-launch support.

You should keep in mind that thoroughly planned strategy and roadmap helps to eliminate certain risks at the beginning of app creation before its actual development and launch. Without them, the realization of a high-quality product is simply impossible.

Find the Developers

It is quite challenging to find appropriate software engineers that will meet your requirements in terms of the time, professionalism and cost. Effort and time spent on hiring software developers, testing their professional tech skills, delegating project tasks among them — are the key obstacles that you may face.

In order to eliminate them, we suggest keeping in mind the following things:

  • In case you don’t have time for hiring and organizing processes when dealing with outsourced developers, consider IT-vendor which provides full cycle development and will take on these responsibilities for you.

    Such company offers complete development and enhancement of the product up to its after-launch support. All of these are enabled by direct communication among software development team members who are located in one place.They are constantly coordinated by project managers, which allows faster problem-solution in case of any urgent issues.

  • The chosen IT-vendor should be well-established on the market and hold its positive brand reputation as the most valuable asset. This factor guarantees the company’s credibility and minimizes possible risks for your app development.

Certain challenges are inevitable in social networking app development, but they can always be reduced with the help of smooth running cooperation within the framework of a full cycle development.

Social Media App Development Steps

You transformed your abstract idea into a well-designed strategy and found a qualified software vendor. Now, it’s time to proceed to those determining factors which influence the choice of the development platform for your app.

Choose the Mobile Development Platform

In order to assist you with the choice, we suggest taking a look at the comparative analysis of iOS and Android top-ranked platforms.

  1. Geography of your Target Audience
  2. Keep in mind the target audience of your app, namely, the markets of those countries which you intend to enter. For instance, the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, and Western Europe — are iOS-oriented, while South America, India, China, the Middle East and Eastern Europe — Android-focused. It is better to choose such platform that is most popular in your key market.

  3. ROI
  4. Pay attention that in terms of profitability of your potential social media network, much depends on its users’ behavior. Statistics conducted by AppFlyer shows that iOS users tend to spend 2.5 times more money on apps than Android ones. No doubt, that number of downloaded apps from Google play is considerably greater than from Apple Store, however, the chance to increase your ROI is much higher while choosing the latter.

    how to make money with a social media app
    Image 17. App Store vs. Google Play app purchases by users from 2012-2017. Source: Business Insider
  5. Development speed and complexity
  6. Crucial factor that may influence the mobile app development speed and complexity is fragmentation. iOS compatible devices are limited in their number that makes the development process faster and more simplified as software engineers have to build your app for a narrower range of devices. Crucial factor that may influence the mobile app development speed and complexity is fragmentation. iOS compatible devices are limited in their number that makes the development process faster and more simplified as software engineers have to build your app for a narrower range of devices.

    Android, development process here becomes more complicated, prolonged, and less cost-effective. App developers have to not only adjust the app to various customized interfaces created by different Android manufacturers but also to deal with issues related to the security aspect.

  7. App store submission
  8. It is much easier and faster to submit an Android-based app to Google Play, than iOS one to the Apple store. Automated and manual review of apps submitted to the Apple store usually takes up to 5 days, which takes more time than just automated testing conducted by Google Play.

    Moreover, the chance of app rejection by Apple store is higher than by Google Play because the former aims to reduce the amount of malware, low-quality, and similar apps, etc.

    how to make money with a social media app
    Image 18. Number of apps available on Google Play vs. Apple store, 1H 2017-2018. Source: Techcrunch

If you want to create a social media app, it’s desirable to reach as much audience as possible, therefore be available on iOS as well as Android platforms. However, with a heavily restricted budget, you may start the development on one particular platform, which best meets your requirements.

There is also an option to choose a more cost-efficient way of development by making a hybrid app that is built to be run on two platforms simultaneously. However, keep in mind that hybrid apps are less customized, works slower than ones on iOS and Android, and are limited in their capabilities

How to Make a Social Networking App for Android

  • While opting for Android software development pay attention to the enforcement of users’ data security. Android’s initial security vulnerability and inefficient permission-based mechanism may often pave the way to different hazards. For instance, repackaging with the help of reverse-engineering techniques that camouflages malicious app or permission escalation attacks causing information leakage, etc.

    To avoid these threats, Android software developers implement additional security features:

    • complex data encryption;
    • authorized API;
    • high-level cryptography tools and technologies;
    • Android Keystore system to enable higher security of users’ data, which may be time and cost consuming.
  • When you aim to create a social network Android app also mind the enhancement of the app’s performance. To achieve a performance upgrade, you should:

    • improve slow rendering with Profile GPU Rendering or Visual Output of GPU Profiler, and optimize the hierarchy of UI elements via Hierarchy Viewer
    • provide battery usage reduction with Performing Batch Scheduling, limiting the usage of GPS, and avoiding Android wake lock to a certain degree;
    • distribute the load evenly among UI and background threads.

    Due to Android`s high software and hardware fragmentation, not every mobile phone may run on your app smoothly. In some instances, it slows down the app’s performance, and you should consider this aspect as well.

    Behind the Android software development stands the following technology stack, which not only enables the app’s running but helps to make it efficient and cost-effective.

    Technology Stack

    The performance, security, smooth functioning of your future mobile app are highly dependant on the choice of the technologies. Below we included main components that are peculiar for Android app development:

    Category
    Programming languages Java

    Kotlin
    IDE
    Android Studio
    SDK Android SDK
    Architecture MVVM with Android Architecture Components

    How to Create a Social Network App for iOS/iPhone

    Opposite to Android security vulnerability issues, iOS is all about restricting undesirable intrusion to anything related to its native operating system. That is why app developers have a lower risk of developing a security breach. The customizability provided by iOS is less flexible than one given by Android, however, it ensures a higher level of security due to closed access to the alterations of the initial code.

    Weak cryptography, insecure data storage, or jailbreaking of one’s device — are those possible threats that may cause damage to the app on iOS despite its strong security. In this case, when you create a social network app for iPhone, make sure that developers address the following things:

    • implement long-lasting cryptographic standards and algorithms like ATS;
    • avoid storing cryptographic keys locally or in the code;
    • use authorized API;
    • enhance possible authentication methods.

    Technology Stack

    Category
    Programming languages Swift

    Objective-C
    IDE
    Xcode
    SDK iOS SDK
    Architecture MVC, MVP, MVVM and VIPER

    Having analyzed certain aspects that you may deal with during Android and iOS app development, we suggest taking a look at those essential stages, which are a must if you want to make your app highly functional and user-friendly.

    Prototyping

    The main advantage of including prototyping is that you identify weak points related to the user’s experience, eliminate the time spent by the designer on fixing the issues, and reduce costs accordingly.

    Prototype creation for social media networks mainly assists you in planning an easy and understandable way of reaching certain options in your app. This stage also allows a certain group of users to test the interface of your app, and having received their feedback, you can apply it during the design development.

    Design

    The first aspects which the users of your app see and test are catching interface (UI) and understandable navigation (UX).

    The minimalistic and user-friendly approach based on your prototype is rather vital. Moreover, your app’s UX should also allow single-hand manipulation. It may be achieved by determining a special “safe zone” in which moving the thumb around to reach a certain button is easy.

    Visually appealing design of the app’s interface is what draws users’ attention to your platform. We suggest choosing a homogeneous approach and consistent design language by creating a unified visual concept for all structural blocks, features and buttons within the app.

    Back-End

    Boosted performance of your network, minimized risks of data leakage, and optimization of data storage is not possible without proper back-end development. While proceeding to this stage, keep in mind the following vital aspects:

    • Horizontal scalability

      To maintain the growth of users and the expansion of the exchanged data, it is necessary to support horizontal scalability. The load balancers provide its proper functioning via one of the following solutions:

      • hardware load balancing

        Distribute web traffic across a cluster of application servers. However, such a solution has limited functionally when it comes to the usage of specific balancing rules or traffic control functions. In this case, it’s better to opt for a software option;

      • software load balancing

        An alternative to hardware load balancing, which has more settings options but requires higher maintenance and provides less performance. The most efficient software load balancers are Load Balancers as a Service (LBaaS), such as NGINX and HAProxy;

      • DNS load balancing

        Applied when there is no need to control bandwidth consumption. Such technology is also rarely used on its own and may be implemented together with any type of load balancer;

      • mixed load balancing

        Though you may choose any of the above-mentioned solutions, a mixture of all of them is usually exploited for highload systems, like large-scale social networks. Hence, if you opt for a particular solution, be ready to integrate an additional one in case of your app’s rapid expansion.

    • Device communication protocol

      The choice of technology for its implementation affects the immediate response of mobile app to everything that happens on the server-side: bandwidth consumption, server or mobile app load, etc. You may apply:

      • push notifications, which is a standard technology of informing your users. However, there is no possibility to control them on the server;

      • web-sockets that enable open connections between the client and the web server. They eliminate the need to constantly send the request checking whether the data is available or not;

      • long-polling technology assists in obtaining data processes if the speed of the response to a user’s action is not the priority. This option is a less-effective alternative to the web-sockets and requires more resources to enable its functioning;

      • REST API is mandatory for social media app as it provides the obtaining of all necessary data from the server;

      • When you create a social media app, you may apply both web-sockets and push notifications in case you need to add dynamics to the notifications obtaining.

    • Back-end architecture

      As your social media product and challenges connected with application enhancements directly depend on backend architecture, you should define from the very beginning what model of development to choose:

      • monolith

        manages and unifies all the functions in one place. The weakness here is that whenever developers update, fix or add new service, the whole system is affected and needs an upgrade;

      • microservices

        Their flexibility allows writing the project on different programming languages simultaneously, which provides scalability. Plus, there is no need to access the whole system as with monolith when updating or bug fixing, which speeds up the deployment process in turn. Even though all this makes microservices very useful for building social media architecture, its multidimensionality makes this technology hard to manage.

        In case you opt for cloud computing, ready-made microservices management system, such as AWS-Lambda, will ease the development process.

        If you haven’t chosen a cloud solution, docker technology is an alternative to AWS-Lambda. It is a containerization tool that manages microservices and helps to implement them.

    • Data encryption

      • It is desirable to implement end-to-end encryption because it is one of the most efficient data security measures. Keep in mind its enablement may create back-end development delaying obstacles. It is rather time-consuming and requires high competence from the software developers.

      • In terms of file-storage encryption and SSL encryption the latter is a must for any social media app, especially for cloud computing security;

    • The choice of the programming language

      Social media networks can be developed in any programming language, such as Java, JS, Ruby on Rails, or Node.js. However, Java is a universal one due to its: JVM, high popularity, high scalability, and cross-platform usage.

    • ML technologies

      If you want your future app to screen content based on specific guidelines, then you will need ML technologies. However, ML implementation requires a high level of expertise from the back-end developers and may prolong the development process. In case the size of the project doesn’t require this feature, you may choose such an alternative as manual moderation.

    You may see that the choice of proper back-end technologies mainly depends on whether you opt for cloud computing or not. Also, the optimization of your app’s performance by specific back-end tools requires high expertise from the chosen software partner.

    Quality Assurance

    One of the top reasons why people delete their mobile apps shortly after they installed them is related to possible bugs and crashes. The Quality Assurance stage should be integrated from the project beginning in order to eliminate such possible risks. Initially, the QA department creates a thoroughly drawn up testing plan and well-designed testing cases. Such an approach enables to perform crucial testings for the app correct functioning and create subsequent reports. Their main purpose is to allow you to constantly monitor the current state of affairs of the project development.

    For social media users, it is highly important to not experience pitfalls, such as: failure to log in, improper features functioning, personal data uploading errors, etc. In this case, in order to prevent similar obstacles, QA engineers implement various types of functional (smoke, sanity, regression, etc.) and non-functional (performance, security, UAT, etc.) testing.

    The selected testing set can be performed either in automation and/or manual way, and the choice will depend on the project complexity, its size, and software vendor’s expertise. Based on your requirements, our Aimprosoft Quality Assurance department analyzes the complexity of your social media app and chooses a corresponding testing approach.

    Focus Groups Testing

    It is desirable to conduct A/B and focus groups testing to define possible weaknesses of your app so that you can optimize it based on the obtained feedback. These stages are performed by different groups of people and after particular stages of the app’s development:

    • Alpha testing is performed by the software engineers of the chosen development company and ensures that all your requirements are met properly.

    • Beta testing, in turn, is conducted by the small group of end-users who best suit your potential target audience. It helps to evaluate the app’s performance when it’s “feature complete” and is carried out as soon as the app is fully developed.

    Focus groups testing may be integrated after the earlier stages of your app development, such as MVP or proof of concept. While conducting it, keep in mind your focus group by no means should be guided and coached on how to use your app.

    Analysis

    Analysis is the indispensable stage of application development because, on its basis, a thoroughly designed plan of further app refinements is formed. After that, the necessary changes are applied by your software vendor to ensure the app’s success on the market.

    Final Development

    All the data that was gathered during performed testing stages transforms into the guidelines for the final bugs and errors fixing. Project coordinators monitor the implementation of final refinements and decide upon your social media readiness for the final deployment.

    Deployment

    The major aspects of this phase are related to the backend part and differences in app stores’ approval approaches.

    Once you have chosen either on-premises or cloud computing, we suggest paying attention to certain specifics related to them. On-premise model of software deployment requires constant both hardware and software maintenance. By opting for cloud one, you obtain more flexibility for running your data storage and spend less resources on its support. This process should be conducted by DevOps engineers who ensure proper cloud functioning and data encryption at rest during the deployment stage.

    The deployment to either Google Play or the Apple store has its specifics. Generally, Google Play accepts newcomers faster than the Apple Store due to less strict app submission rules.

    Finally, having deployed your app on the market, it is required to constantly conduct its monitoring and provide corresponding updates.

    Monetization Strategy: How to Make The Decision?

    Social media networks are one of the most fruitful types of apps that enable high ROI in case of an effective monetization strategy. Thus, let’s consider several dominant approaches to effectively generate revenue that have proved to be effective for social media networks:

    • In-app advertising

      This monetization strategy allows you to gain revenue from the brands which will promote their services to a particular target audience, without spreading irrelevant ads within the whole platform.

      However, this type of monetization presupposes certain toolkit in your app for those who will integrate their ads. It should enable the brands to monitor their customers’ behavior and engagement, for instance, with the help of analytics, pageview tracking system, or conversion rate controller.

    • In-app purchases

      Such an approach is relevant when you want to offer your users both free standard and premium feature sets for an extra payment.

      For example, if you opt to create a dating app like Tinder, it will be desirable to integrate such premium features which will enable your users to monitor their page visitors and reduce the number of irrelevant profiles. To attract your audience, even more, you may guide them towards this in-app purchase by offering a short-term free trial and then monitor their engagement.

    • Paid version

      The easiest way to gain revenue from the very beginning of your app’s deployment on the market is to make it paid. To put such a strategy to work, it is desirable to be sure that you have a well-designed marketing plan which will help you to promote your app and attract potential users.

      For example, you can launch a free trial on a certain period of time to gain more users who will be willing to pay for the app’s continuous usage.

    The optimal choice of monetization strategy is directly related to the specifics of your app and the needs of your target audience. We at Aimprosoft can help you analyze your requirements and find the most suitable for the concept of your social network approach.

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

    The cost of the social media development is directly related to the desired functionality that you aim to implement into your app.

    It is highly desirable to build an MVP first. It allows assessing the project for the feasibility and as a result, save a certain amount of resources necessary for the refinements of the future full product.

    We suggest you include this list of basic features into MVP for social media app to calculate your product’s potential:

    • Sign up;

    • Sign in;

    • Search;

    • Subscription;

    • News feed;

    • Likes;

    • Content publishing;

    • Comments.

    In order to implement the chosen for MVP feature set, you will require the following specialists:

    • 1 Project Manager;

    • 1 UI/UX engineer;

    • 1 Backend developers;

    • 1 iOS developer;

    • 1 Android developer;

    • 1 QA engineer.

    Basic functionality included in the development of a full product doesn’t differ much from the one needed for MVP. However, a completed version of your social media app requires additional more complicated features regarding both functionality and security:

    • Admin panel;

    • Messaging;

    • End-to-end encryption;

    • Linking with other social media platforms;

    • Push notification module;

    • Geolocation;

    • Analytics;

    • Customization of user’s profile.

    The list above is just an example of possible options which may occur in top-rated social media apps nowadays, however, it’s not limited to them. The development of such features and its monitoring normally requires at minimum the following team of software engineers:

    • 1 Project Manager;

    • 1 UI/UX engineer;

    • 1 Backend developer;

    • 1 iOS developer;

    • 1 Android developer;

    • 1-2 QA engineer(s).

    In order to have a full picture, we calculated a rough time estimate both for MVP and full product based on one of the most essential social media app development stages.

    Stages MVP hours
    (for 2 platforms)
    ~1760—2060
    Full product hours
    (for 2 platforms)
    ~3280—3800
    Business analysis + UX strategy 50—80 120—140
    Technical specification 20—30 40—60
    UI/UX 70—100 for each platform 110—150 for each platform
    OS/Android development 500—550 for each platform 800—850 for each platform
    Backend 200—250 600—800
    QA 175—200 for each platform 350—400 for each platform

    The above-mentioned data is just an approximate required time for social media network development for 2 platforms in total. If you decide to deploy your app on one particular market at first, Google Play, for instance, the development will take approximately 1,015 hours. QA takes usually 25-30% of the time spent on mobile development and backend. Estimated time normally varies by the complexity of the app’s functionality, project’s requirements, and launch deadline.

    The cost to make a social media app, in turn, depends on the region of the chosen software vendor. In the comparative table below you may see the price difference of software services among the following geographic areas:

    Country Average hourly rate MVP
    (for 2 platforms)
    ~1760—2060
    Full product
    (for 2 platforms)
    ~3280—3800
    USA $80 $140 800—164 800 $262 400—304 000
    Western Europe (Germany) €60 €105 600—123 600 €196 800—228 000
    UK £55 £96 800—113 300 £180 400—209 000
    Eastern Europe (Ukraine) $30 $52 800—61 800 $98 400—114 000

    Market indicators show that an average rate for social media app development in the US exceeds the one in the countries of Eastern Europe (Ukraine, for example) by 2 times. However, the quality of software services and developers’ expertise doesn’t concede to those countries where the offered rate is higher.

    Conclusion

    The market of social media apps never stands still. With its unfulfilled potential, it’s constantly expanding to accept new upcoming networks. Modern tendencies continue forming the model of new types of social media applications that aims to satisfy the growing needs of their potential users. Hence, if you already have a concept which only needs the right software vendor to implement it, then don’t hesitate to contact us, and we will help even the most complex ideas come into reality.