Roadmap & Cost to Build an App like Instagram: Social Media App Development

30 June 2021

It literally took years and thousands of dollars to create an app like Instagram. Over time, Instagram has seen massive growth from a simple photo-sharing platform to a social and business application. Many businesses are inspired by the idea of Instagram. The vast majority of these apps rely on images and videos; however, they vary in their primary usage and function.

Once the uniqueness is present, then it is easy to build an application around it. Just make a clone of Instagram doesn’t always cut. However, the creation of the same platform takes several years and millions of dollars.

To create a photo-sharing app like Instagram, it is useful to figure out what it requires.

The complexity of Instagram

One of the biggest reasons for the success of Instagram is its continuous product development. The service not only allows users to share photos and videos but also opens up enormous business possibilities. Instagram has likely become one of the powerful sales channels to attract new ideas and prospects.

There are various offerings of products and services. Additionally, Instagram keeps improving the user experience by maintaining simple and intuitive navigation for users. For what it is worth, we can start by paying attention to the fact that Instagram started as a simple photo-sharing application.

What does it take to build an app like Instagram effectively?

Creating any mobile application necessitates an enormous amount of preparation and groundwork beforehand. Many steps, including some overlap, take place during the development of a social media photo-sharing app.

  • Define your target audience and preferences by considering market research.
  • Assess various competitive photo-sharing apps like Instagram.
  • Pick your unique selling proposition and outstanding application concepts.
  • Use the project, budget, timeframe, and technologies to define your goals.
  • Promote your app from the early stage by choosing the right marketing strategies and PR tactics.
  • Create good communication channels with users to build quick and up-to-date feedback from clients.
  • Decide on a skilled and capable mobile app development company that specializes in the design, development, testing, and creation of your Instagram-like app.
  • Hold on to the competitors and evolve the application further.
  • Additional features and design components are used to reach out to a new audience.
  • When you are considering how to create an app like Instagram, you need to focus on revenue aspects as well. The revenue model consists of in-app advertising, sponsorship, as well as an online shopping platform.

The first version of the project

Start building the first version of the product once the preparatory materials are ready. The first version is a basic photo-sharing app with core functionality. Just add the unique feature, application concept, design, and app branding to change this point. This is important to create a strong brand mindset as well as to reach out to the right target audience. It is vital to remember the following:

  • Intuitive and easy user-navigation
  • Simple and clear (UI/UX) designs
  • Personalized feed
  • Functioning application
  • Eye-catching visuals and graphic elements

Here is a list of recommendations for social media app development. You can consider the following things to succeed in creating an app like Instagram:

  • Create a new photo-editing tool inside the app. Build new filters, objects, textures, effects, and editing features.
  • Generate a photo-sharing feature for a specific user group or themed app. If you uniquely design this feature, then you can great community. Adding value to the user group always pays off in the end.
  • Provide functionality to create themed photo albums.
  • Add a feature to share photos between phones and other devices easily without signing up requirements.
  • Assist users with editing lessons or tutorials. Offer them tips to create top-notch content and user profiles.

How to build an Instagram-like project?

Do you wonder how much it costs to build an app like Instagram? Let us estimate the potential expenses for social media app development.  Also, let us explain how to create a photo-sharing app like Instagram.

Firstly, analyze the key features to decide in which direction you want to take it forward. The best example of a photo and video-sharing application with a simple, user-friendly, stylish design is Instagram. The application is very easy to use and intuitive that new users do not face difficulties to use it. Hence, it is very important to understand how it works as well as how it appears.

The technology stack of Instagram

It is vital to know the basics of the technologies used to start your own project. Instagram uses a lot of technologies some of which can be very useful for your application as well. The front-end (user interface) of Instagram is written using React Native. It is a cross-functional language compatible with both iOS and Android operating systems. It uses Python (Django framework) and HTML 5 for the back-end (server-side).

Coding languages and frameworks of Instagram include:

  • JavaScript
  • Python
  • React
  • React Native
  • Java

Additionally, Instagram uses other tools as well for compilers and server management, and monitoring services to make a great solid infrastructure. The company uses cloud computing services like Amazon S3, Amazon, EBS, and Amazon EC2 to maintain such a loaded service. Also, PostgreSQL is a wonderful solution for storing such large amounts of data.

You can also develop a photo-sharing application natively in a better way. To provide the best app performance and user experience Native App Development uses Swift for iOS and Kotlin for Android.

Features of an Instagram-like app

1. Authorization

  • Creating an account for new user
  • Logging in or signing in to an existing account

2. Profile Editing

  • Personal data addition
  • Personal data editing
  • Personal data removal

3. Post generation

  • Uploading pictures from the gallery or taken from the app
  • Tagging a person, place, references

4. The live feed

  • Following
  • Liking
  • Commenting
  • Sharing

5. Image customization standard options

  • Cropping
  • Rotation
  • Image adjustments
  • Applying filters

6. Location features

  • Determining the geolocation of images
  • Adding current geolocation while making a post

7. Messaging

  • Text messaging
  • Photo messaging
  • Video messaging

8. Push notifications

9. Search

  • Using tags
  • Search by username
  • Using full name
  • Search by post description

How much does it cost to create an app like Instagram?

After understanding the work that goes behind creating an app, the next question comes into the picture. How much does it cost to create an app like Instagram?

The table below shows an approximate time estimate for the app development services. It shows the cost to build a basic photo-sharing app like Instagram.

Cost to build an app like Instagram

Cost to build an app like Instagram

Next, we should consider the design part of the social photo-sharing application.

  • 64-96 hours – Time to build the UX approximately
  • 48-64 hours – Time to build UI approximately

If we consider additional features, it may take up another 16-20 hours. It depends totally on the difficulty of the tasks. The best approach is to keep things simple and unintrusive. All the images and icons should be eye-pleasing and inviting. It is vital to create a unique logo to help you stand out in the market and to pass on your message. The logo should distinguish you from your competitors and most importantly attract users.

With all this data in hand, let us check the approximate cost to build an app like Instagram. Let us use a rate of $40 per hour, for calculation purposes.

Total App Development Cost = (Development Time iOS/Android + Development Time Back End + Design (UX/UI) + Business Analysis + Project Management + Quality Assurance) x Hourly Rate

According to this data, a basic, custom social media app development will cost close to $60,000 for one single platform. The price may rise to $300,000 per platform for complex applications.

However, it is very hard to estimate the actual cost to build an app like Instagram without project specifications. It is difficult especially because we need to highlight the uniqueness of your project. The information calculated is an example of a simple social networking app. It is important to consider that the development costs greatly depend on factors like:

  • Project priorities and constraints
  • Business goals and contexts
  • Timelines
  • Budget limitations
  • Technology preference
  • Developing vendor
  • The complexity of the project functionality
  • Design

Final thoughts

It is all about moving, processing, sharing, and storing pictures with a photo-sharing app like Instagram. It is vital to set standards for the images by users to ensure good looks in the feed and profile gallery. Pay attention to that part. Instagram’s solution was to square the images. You can come up with something similar to orient the images to make them more presentable. The challenge is to optimize and align images in your feed.

With this post, hope you understood how to create an app like Instagram. Also, we outlined what is important for your outcome. Ensure to deliver the highest quality product to the market. Give your best to help your users to fulfill their needs in a simple, easy, and convenient manner. Just stay in touch with the trends and you can succeed.

Further, if you wish to discuss in detail with our app development experts, drop us a query.