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

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

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Many people cannot make do without having a social media app to rely on for their daily social networking needs and, arguably, entertainment as well. It helps you keep tabs of practically your entire social circle. Of course, this is assuming it is built similar to well-known platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

The same can be said for Twitter, where thousands to hundreds of thousands of people become engaged in numerous topics on a daily basis. Not even forums can achieve the velocity and level of engagement that these social media platforms provide, which only further emphasizes the value of apps centered around them.

social media app development cost

Social media apps are definitely one of the best apps to develop because of this. And, it’s not just the sole compelling reason. There are, after all, already numerous types of social media apps that fulfill various purposes and cater to specific audiences. If you are planning to have one developed as well and want to have a good inkling of the entire app development cost, you have to take this into consideration.

On the other hand, the factors you have to consider include the app development company you will work with, hosting, infrastructure, your specific requirements, and the technologies. In this post, we will only focus mostly on the infrastructure, which includes most of the app (both backend and frontend) development process and basic UI/UX design.

The Costs of Developing a Basic Social Media App

If we are going to look at most social media apps in general, though, there are certain features and aspects that plenty of them share. We are going to use these essential features as a gauge of social media app cost. Any other specific feature you choose to add will definitely bump the costs further, but having a basic infrastructure does well to set you up to do that.

That said, the following are the fundamental social media app features & benefits you should be mindful of:

  1. Account Authorization
  2. Profile Creation
  3. Messaging
  4. Photo and Video Upload
  5. Search Feature
  6. Other Settings
  7. Tagging (Location, Friends, etc.)
  8. Basic UI/UX

Knowing these features should give you a clear picture of what specific factors you are expected to focus your budget on. We mentioned above that most social media apps vary on a lot of factors. Well, this variance readily reflects on the estimates of the total app development cost. Based on updated studies and surveys, you can develop a social app for $12,000 to $60,000. Our prior experience also suggests the same.

You can use this as a gauge of how much you can expect to pay to develop each important aspect of your social media app. For a complete breakdown of prices and the average hours it will normally take to complete each one, feel free to use the list below as a reference.

1. Account Authorization

Account authorization is a very essential foundation of user data and privacy, so consider it as a must-have feature of any social app. Your app should be able to provide numerous options to create accounts within your app by entering their e-mail or phone number. This aspect also includes password reset and recovery, authentication, security interventions, among others.

Estimate: Expect this to take around 65-70 hours, leaving you with an average cost of $3,400.

2. Profile Creation

Another important aspect, your users need to have the freedom to express themselves through their user profile. If we’re going to use Facebook as a gauge, this normally involves letting users enter their:

  • Name
  • Profile picture
  • Mobile Phone
  • Address
  • Email
  • Website
  • Birthdate

Estimate: App developers normally need around 50 hours to do this. So this adds up to a total of $2,500

3. Messaging

Communication should be ensured all the time on any social media platform, as it raises engagement a great deal. That said, some social media apps have certain requirements for direct or private messaging, though. Will you let users upload photos or videos along with the messages? You should keep this in mind when planning this feature.

Estimate: This should take 120-140 hours for most developers, so expect an average cost of $6,500.

4. Photo & Video Upload

People should be able to upload the photos and videos they want and have the freedom to organize their galleries. You may want to include the ability to add filters as well because most users want to be able to do some touch-ups prior to uploading their media.

Estimate: With the inclusion of an “Add Filters” feature, this should take close to 320 hours. This considered, expect to pay around $16,000 for this.


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5. Search Feature

Users want to be able to quickly access their friends or the people they follow. The same goes for trending content, recent posts, groups they’re interested in, or communities they can join.

Estimate: The time it takes to add this feature is 60 hours at most, so expect costs of up to $3,000

6. Other Settings

Being able to set the language they prefer, enable or disable push notifications, or modify privacy settings are practically needed by a lot of social media users.

Estimate: This has a high development time variance of 95-125 hours, which translates to an average cost of $5,500

7. Tagging (Location, Friends, etc.)

Tagging makes it easy to share content with specific family and friends. It also readily reveals information (especially location) to people you want to interact with.

Estimate: This is a fairly easy feature to add and should only take around 24-30 hours for experienced developers. Considering this rate, this should cost you about $1,350.

8. UI/UX

The design of your app is surely one of its most vital aspects because it is what gives your app its own unique look. As much as possible, it should readily stand out with its aesthetics and should be as attractive as possible.

Estimate: This takes at least 50 hours up to a maximum of 60. This leaves you with an average expense of $2,750.

Conclusion

The important thing to remember once you decide to begin a social app development project is that there is a high chance that its cost estimates will not always be met. Again, this hinges a lot on the factors said above. This also applies to the different features that a lot of social media app owners choose to incorporate into their platforms over the course of or after the app development process. This is why you have to at least allot an extra budget for this possibility.

One Last Tip: consider developing a minimum viable product (MVP) first. Essentially, it is just a prototype of your app that has all the basic features you want it to have. Making this available to your target audience will help you gain valuable user feedback that can help you decide whether you should add more features or it is right to continue developing it. Consequently, it will also aid you in saving a lot of time and money.

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