How To Make An App Like TikTok: Features, Costs and Development Process

How To Make An App Like TikTok: Features, Costs and Development Process

30 March 2022 • 26 min read

TikTok became the most downloaded application in 2021, reaching 656 million downloads per year. This place is occupied by the application for the third year in a row.

At the same time, in July 2021, the total number of TikTok downloads in the world was three billion. This figure is even more striking when you realize that this transition from two to three billion took less than a year.

The magic of TikTok is impressive: the application's user base covers half the world's population, and each of them interacts with content for hours.

If you want to develop a similar application, you need a team of impeccable developers. They need to know how to create a TikTok-like application and how to keep users' attention.

Do you want to find out how to build an app like TikTok?

Keep on reading this article — we offer you a comprehensive guide with all the information you need. This text covers everything: what features must be, the required set of technologies, and how much it may cost to develop a TikTok like app.

Executive Summary

TikTok was created for a new generation of users. According to the United States alone, almost half of TikTok's audience, 47.5%, is between 10 and 29. This focus on the younger audience has partly brought the new app wildly successful in just six years of existence. So successful, it achieved annual revenue of $ 4.6 billion in 2021, almost 2.5 times more than the company earned in the previous year, 2020.

how to build an app like tiktok

The application managed to become world-famous and become one of such Instagram or Snapchat platforms and be significantly ahead of them in some regions. This allowed the owner company ByteDance to show a sharp increase in its profits. For example, in the fiscal year 2020, the company's annual profit grew by 93%.

One by one, the world's leaders in this segment are trying to replicate the success of the Chinese miracle by developing their TikTok-like products.

For example, YouTube Shorts allows users to upload up to 60 seconds of video with tools very similar to TikTok: cruise control, timer, and the like. Also, given YouTube's music library, the new platform becomes even more similar to the original.

Instagram also couldn't resist and decided to bite off the TikTok’s market by launching its own feature — Reels. Users can create 30-second videos with a set of editing tools, including AR, countdown timer, music, and more. Instagram has especially entered into agreements with major record labels to do this.

Key Features of Tik Tok Like App

From the user's point of view, TikTok is a social network with all the usual features, including likes, subscriptions, and content sharing. But that's not enough if you want to create an app like TikTok. It's also important to have administrative features, editable content, and a host of other tools that users don't even know exist.

So we want to start our guide with a list and description of some TikTok features that are key to the success of such applications:

Feed

News learning algorithms using machine learning are a key feature of TikTok's success. They will allow you to quickly adapt to each user and show him the most personalized content. This significantly increases the engagement and time that users spend in the application.

TikTok algorithms use information about all user interactions with the content, the content itself, device and account settings, and more to personalize the feed. New users just need to watch the tape at random for a while to do this.

Therefore, the key to success in building an app like TikTok is good news feed algorithms.

Recommendations Algorithm

TikTok algorithms are complex systems designed solely to show users content based on their personal interests. The system recommends videos to users, ranking them based on a set of factors — information about what the user likes and dislikes.

And to be more precise, the following factors are taken into account:

  • Likes, comments, and reviews: the TikTok algorithm always strives to show each user videos that are likely to interest him; all previous steps are used for this.
  • Subject: the algorithm can perfectly classify videos based on user interests, so the subject is an important factor that will help unleash the full potential of TikTok algorithms.
  • The algorithm can recognize the user's device settings, including the main language and geolocation.
  • Audio: the more popular a song or melody is in the video, the more audiences may like it.
  • Hashtags and keywords: the algorithm recognizes keywords and hashtags added to the video description, which helps to distribute content to the target audience effectively.

Live Sessions

Live session feature in TikTok-like app

TikTok users with 1,000 or more subscribers are getting a new tool for interacting with their audiences — live streams. This nice feature helps collect donations from subscribers in the form of domestic currency TikTok Coins or goods purchased for the same currency. This feature motivates popular users to create even more interesting content.

Login and Sign-up

Login and sign up feature in TikTok-like app

The first thing users need to do to access your application is sign-up and log in. The ability to create and edit your profile is a basic feature for all social platforms. In this case, the main advice is to add as many ways to quickly register to make life much easier for users and increase their satisfaction with the service.

Video Uploads

Video uploads feature in TikTok-like app

Another basic and crucial feature of apps like TikTok is downloading videos. Given that video is the basis of such applications in general, the feature should work flawlessly and allow users to download content conveniently, quickly, intuitively and provide additional tools such as scheduling publications.

Video Editing

Video editing feature in TikTok-like app

Video editing is also a must-have for such applications. Like Snapchat, TikTok allows users to edit their videos in an impressive number of ways. In addition to basic video editing tools, users can add text, music, and an incredible number of effects, from changing eye color to lip-sync.

Be sure to think about giving your app's users as many instruments as possible. This will have a very positive effect on the engagement of both content creators and their viewers.

Filters

Filters feature in TikTok-like app

As mentioned above, video editing also includes a set of filters and effects. They are mostly entertaining and can help content creators deliver their messages and encourage audiences to be more responsive and share videos. The interweaving of many filters and social networking features in one app also increases the chances of success.

Sharing

Sharing feature in TikTok-like app

Another important feature that determines the success of such applications and must be present is sharing. It is important to allow users to share videos inside and outside the application. This directly leads to the expansion of the user base and the application's success.

Give users the ability to connect their profile to pages on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and more. The most profitable in this sense is Instagram — also a visual social network.

Notifications

Notifications feature in TikTok-like app

Notifications are a great tool to help keep users informed about new content, new likes of comments and distributions of their content or app updates, and more. In addition to the usual external push notifications, internal icons also notify you of changes when the user is in the application.

Also, don't forget to give users the ability to customize both types of notifications, which will greatly improve their experience with your app.

Following

Following feature in TikTok-like app

Following your friends and favorite content creators makes finding interesting content much easier. This increases the power and increases the time users spend on the application. Any app like TikTok should have this feature.

Liking and Commenting

Liking and commenting feature in TikTok-like app

Likes and comments on a par with sharing are the basis of any social network. These Tiktok features allow you to quickly share content and communicate with each other, creating a constant engagement and increasing the time spent in the application.

When creating an app like TikTok, make sure that all these features are on one page and convenient and easy to use. You can also think of various unusual forms to wrap comments or likes.

Music Library

As mentioned above, the ability to add music to video content is one of the keys to the success of TikTok and all such applications. Sometimes it is thanks to well-chosen music that videos go viral and attract millions of views, greatly expanding the application's audience.

Advertising

Advertising feature in TikTok-like app

Advertising in TikTok is just one of the ways to monetize, which did not appear immediately but became very important. There are several types of advertising in such applications:

  • Cost per click. Advertisers pay for each user's click on in-app advertising.
  • Cost per mille. The owner of the application charges advertisers for every 1000 ad impressions.
  • Price per action. Advertisers pay only for clicks that lead to a specific action that they determine when creating an advertising campaign.

TikTok has a separate service, "TikTok for Business", to set up advertising campaigns. When creating a similar application, be sure to include in the structure the possibility of monetization in the future.

Further Updates

TikTok is also constantly improving, introducing new exciting features and monetizing ways. Updates and unique tools help you stand out from the competition, so be sure to think about it in advance. Here are some features of TikTok in addition to the basic ones that have already appeared or are still appearing

Stitch

One of TikTok's most popular new features is Stitch. With this new video content format, you can take short snippets of other people's videos, cut them out, and post them from your account. This is an opportunity for users who do not create content themselves to rethink other people's videos and get some attention.

Stitch feature in TikTok-like app

Users can control the function, including turning it off and switching in different ways. The authorship of the original video is indicated and helps novice users get new views, according to TikTok.

Duets

Duets feature in tiktok like app

Another original and relatively new TikTok feature. It is similar to Stitch in that it also allows you to use other people's content for your publications. The difference is that another user's video is displayed next to your video — both clips are played simultaneously.

This split-screen format allows you to have a certain dialogue with other users through the content. This increases the involvement of content creators and allows you to share audiences.

Instant Page

Instant page feature in tiktok like app

Instant Page is essentially a personal landing page for brands within the application. It is positioned as Instant because it loads you 11 times faster than the usual web pages say the developers. This is a new and unique way of monetizing, which helps TikTok to stand out among other social networks.

The idea is simple: by clicking on the ad, users get to the Instant page with additional content, information about the brand, and what it offers. And all this inside the application.

Pop-Out Showcase

Another new advertising product, the "Pop-out showcase", is designed to improve user interaction with advertising and make it more interesting and engaging. The tool is a library of new stickers superimposed on video advertisers and illustrates their products or other key things. Users can click on the sticker and immediately get to the product page.

NFT

After reaching the first billion active users, TikTok has prepared an integration with NFT. The first wave included content from the leading creators of the Lil Nas X platform, Gary Weinerchuk, Grimes, and others.

Challenges of TikTok Like App Development

Creating an application like TikTok requires significant resources. The process is quite large and complex and can cause many problems.

It is important to understand from the beginning that the application's simplicity, minimalism, and intuitiveness are only visible. Behind the balanced set of functions hides a complex structure with modern algorithms based on machine learning.

To give insight to those who plan to make an app like TikTok, we have prepared a list of the most important things to consider before starting.

Technology Stack Behind TikTok

First of all, let's discuss what technologies are needed for TikTok like app development. To give you a better idea of ​​this below, we will discuss an example of a TikTok tech stack. But be prepared that you will need a large team of developers who speak several coding languages and have rich skills.

Web Hosting

Google Cloud

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Digital Ocean

Database Management

MongoDB, SQL, MySQL

Coding languages

Kotlin, Java (Android)
Swift, Objective-C (iOS)
JavaScript, HTML, and CSS (Web)

Backend

Node.js

Analytics

Azure Stream Analytics
MixPanel
Google mobile app analytics

Notifications

Google Cloud Messaging

Apple Push Notifications

AR filters face detection & recognition

ML Kit

ARCore

Storage

Amazon S3, Azure Server

Geolocation

Google Map API (Android)
MapKit/Core location frameworks (iOS)

Chat

Socket.io, Twilio

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We recommend REST (Representational State Transfer) for API development, which is de facto the standard today. We recommend using the ones listed in the table above if you need databases.

Team Behind the TikTok Clone App Development

When creating a TikTok clone, companies can go two ways. Create your own team from scratch or outsource development. Each of these paths has its advantages and disadvantages.

For example, communication gets much faster when hiring a personal team because you are all in the same room. But this way is very expensive because it involves the payment of wages and the payment of rent, purchase of equipment, software, and more.

In contrast, working with a remote development agency is a much more affordable option and eliminates many administrative problems. Agencies often already have well-established teams specializing in application development with a wealth of experience and relevant tools.

  • iOS & Android Team. For the project, you will need several developers with different specializations. Don't even expect to hire one developer to make the app for you. Android should not be written off because most TikTok downloads are on Android devices.
  • Front-end. It would be best if you had developers specializing in Android and Apple applications. Or focus on the target market. But often, front-end developers specialize in both iOS and Android.
  • Backend. TikTok backend architecture is very important because social networks and applications such as TikTok require significant capacity and must be connected to servers and databases.

Cost to Develop an App Like TikTok

The biggest question you are probably asking is the budget. The cost of developing an application like TikTok will depend on the feature you choose to add and the team you hire. Below we will consider the approximate prices.

Essential Features

App Feature

Description

Average Hours

Average Cost

Recommendations

AI-based algorithms that help create personalized user feeds and increase engagement.

120

$15,000

Liking and Sharing

Sharing and liking tools.

20

$1,000

Live Sessions

Live streaming tools to communicate with the online audience.

40

$3,000

Ads

Ability to connect different ways to demonstrate advertising. There can be only one in the MVP.

60

$5,000

Total

240

$24,000

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Core Features

App Feature

Description

Average Hours

Average Cost

Login

The login function must be included in the MVP. The simplest implementation of this feature provides only one option for registration via e-mail.

80

$4,000

Notifications

The ability of the application to send push messages to users

20

$3,000

Following

Ability to follow favorite pages, a basic social tool.

20

$5,000

Personal Profiles

In the MVP version, users have access to a simple profile with a name, photo, and short bio.

40

$2,000

Total

160

$14,000

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Further Updates

App Feature

Description

Average Hours

Average Cost

Stitch & Duets

Ability to use someone else's content in the publication. One of two types can be implemented.

80

$6,000

Instant Pages

Built-in landing pages of brands as a way of additional monetization.

30

$5,000

Pop-out Showcase

An additional way to monetize with the ability to add stickers-banners of goods directly in the video.

40

$5,000

NFT

Can be a temporary tool for additional monetization.

25

$2,000

Total

165

$18,000

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This is only an estimate of the TikTok app development cost, including extremely vital features. In addition, you will have to pay for the development of complex TikTok system design, UI/UX design, integration, as well as quality control, and project management.

You will typically need the following employees in a team:

  • 1 Project Manager
  • 1~2 UI/UX Designer(s)
  • 1~2 Android/iOS Developer(s)
  • 1 Frontend Developer
  • 1 Back-end Developer
  • 1 Analyst

Assuming that your app is not overly complex and overflowing with features, it is expected that a TikTok like app will cost from $40,000 to $85,000.

What about the details of the complete application development? You can find information about the time and price for each stage of app development below. And you can understand the required budget and timing of your project.

1. Estimation, Research & UI/UX design

Time: 280 hours

Cost: $11 200

The development process always starts with the discovery phase. That is when a general overview of the product, its steps, and features will be discussed. We study your requirements, needs, and wishes for your project. Then our company creates a list of items for analysis.

We collect all the necessary data and process it to find patterns that are relevant to your expectations. And our company approves with you all details of your future voice chat app.

After business analysis, there will be wireframing and prototyping. This stage is devoted to UX design, understanding the target audience, and creating user journeys and flows. The UX deliverables will be hi-fi wireframes and low-fi prototypes. Once the client has agreed to the prototype, that's when UI design starts.

2. Development

Time: 640 hours

Cost: $25 600

Depending on its main purpose, you'll decide what technologies to use to implement your features. We together figure out what database to use and also what program languages and CRM. It's also critical to find out the best solution for your app realization to meet your timeline and budget, like using APIs integrations, SDKs, or building features from scratch as well.

3. Testing & Launch

Time: 240 hours

Cost: $9 600

The development stage happens along with continuous testing run by QA engineers – we do many different tests to check if everything works correctly in your application. Our team corrects errors if they occur. How much time IT specialists need to complete your app will depend on its complexity.

Hence, now you should get a clear understanding of TikTok clone app development. Then we agree with you on the final version of your audio-based social media, and our team launches your project.

4. Creating technical documentation

Time: 40 hours

Cost: $1 600

The company's IT specialists create a document that contains all the necessary information about your application.

So, we figured out the approximate prices and time for each stage of development. And now, for convenience, we will present all this below in one table.

#

Stages

Time

Cost

1

Estimation, Research & UI/UX design

280 hours

$11 200

2

Development

640 hours

$25 600

3

Testing

240 hours

$9 600

4

Creating technical documentation

40 hours

$1 600

Total

1 200 hours (5 month)

$48 000

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Do you want to know precisely how much it costs to develop a voice chat app like TikTok?

If you still have some questions about your idea or project, drop us a line, and we will get back to you with a free quote. Our software developers team has experience in creating social media apps of various complexity, so together, we will deliver a truly cutting-edge solution on the market.

Contact our Softermii team to get to know the precise cost to develop an app like TikTok, and we will help you.

How TikTok Like Features Will Help Your Business

The video marketing trend is very popular and is unlikely to decline in the coming years. According to the research, 86% of people want to see even more different video content from brands. And while 85% of companies already use video as a marketing tool, TikTok or similar applications are one of the best ways for them to expand their reach.

The main demographic group of the application is teenagers and young adults. The stats show it: 47.5% of users in the United States are people between 10 and 29. In other words, the use of video content for marketing purposes is natural for the audience that makes the most purchases.

TikTok clone app development

TikTok format can also be used for livestream commerce, which significantly increases the audience's engagement and creates additional opportunities for creative advertising. This is an emerging trend that has shown particular growth in China during the pandemic.

One of the main reasons is that short videos and related platforms like TikTok thrive because their content is accessible and authentic. It evokes a significant emotional response in the audience, allowing brands to show their hearts through video.

Softermii Experience

The above demonstrates that developing an application like TikTok is currently a great investment. After thinking about features, one of the most important steps is finding the right developers. This should be a team of professionals who already have enough relevant experience.

Softermii has relevant experience in developing video applications. In particular, we have developed a successful application Scoby is, a social network with video chat.

If you have a promising and exciting project with video content, we are ready to work with you to realize your vision. Contact us for professional advice.

Scoby

Scoby – developing an app like  TikTok

In addition, our team built Scoby, the video conferencing app. It is an innovative audio and video conferencing application. It unites all the best conversational apps’ benchmarks and brings them to the new level.

The team behind the project faced numerous challenges. We had to conduct market and business analysis in order to find out how the final product should fit the market. Creating a social network app has to require modern standards in order to be competitive, viral, and meaningful.

Working on these projects and others have helped our dedicated team hone their skills in video app development and mean we could confidently deliver a TikTok-like app that would be a hit with your users.

How to Make an App like TikTok: Conclusion

Following the above guide makes creating a TikTok app easier than you might think. Taking the time to think about the features your audience needs and understanding the challenges and skills that go into development will allow you to set realistic expectations about budgets and timeframes needed to create the features you are looking for.

Finding the right video chat app developers will help you have peace of mind, knowing they can tackle any of the technical issues. With your vision and the technical skills behind you, you can create an app like TikTok, that your audience will fall in love with.

Softermii has a wealth of experience in creating video apps. We have developed a social networking app with video chat – Scoby. If you have an exciting new project in mind, we can work with you to build your vision. Contact us for a free consultation.

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