How to Build an App Like TikTok | Features and Development Cost

How to Build an App Like Tiktok

Very few apps have enjoyed stellar popularity as TikTok does.

Maybe this high-volume demand rested in the app’s simplicity or the fact that the lockdown gave us enough time to indulge in TikTok shenanigans.

However, the exponential rise of TikTok came to a standstill in India, when the Government banned the app on 29th June 2020 due to national security concerns.

Naturally, businesses keen to replicate TikTok’s success began searching for an app like TikTok and a video-sharing app development company in India.

If creating the next TikTok is on your mind, you have come to the right place! At SKEIN TECHNOLOGIES, we launch new and improved apps every day and have received several inquiries on apps like TikTok. Judging by its popularity, we explore the possibility of how to make this app, along with the app development cost through this post.

In this complete guide, you’ll learn:

Let’s get started.

What is TikTok social media app?

TikTok is a social media app that allows users to create and share short videos with others on the platform. The app has been extremely popular with young people, particularly Gen Z, and has been downloaded over 2 billion times worldwide.

The Idea and Charm Behind TikTok

In 2019, TikTok was one of the most downloaded mobile apps on Google Play and the Apple App Store. With 738M downloads, it stood second to WhatsApp. The video-sharing mobile app spread to over 155 countries and occupied the top positions in them all.

India registered nearly 611 million downloads of the mobile app, accounting for about 30% of its total global downloads! Furthermore, there were almost 119M active users across the country, which is huge!

At SKEIN TECHNOLOGIES, we have analyzed the stellar growth of TikTok to deduce its secret mantra to success. Here is what it is:

1. Target Audience

While other social media platforms target a wide range of users across different demographics, TikTok mainly targeted users aged 16-24. Millennials were unafraid of getting in front of the camera and expressing themselves. Plus, they were most likely to check their phones often to the point of being addicted to the app!

2. Short and Easy to Create Content

The simplicity in the execution of ideas propped TikTok’s success. With powerful video capturing and editing tools directly over your phone, you don’t need fancy equipment to create content. Thus, TikTok empowered content creators and made video creation more accessible.

ByteDance restricted the video creation duration, which turned out to be a smart move. It was just enough to keep the users interested and capture peak engagement.

Naturally, any app like TikTok must continue this legacy.

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3. Potential to Monetize App Usage

TikTok offered a gamut of options to monetize the app usage for celebs and fans alike.

For instance, popular accounts with 1000+ followers could capitalize on live-stream features. Here, users could purchase virtual gifts with real currency and send them as their tokens of appreciation. Users could then redeem these gifts for cash.

Thus, you need a TikTok-like app development company like Skein Technologies to replicate this model and create secure channels for such transactions.

4. Brand Presence and Collaboration

According to a sample study, the average engagement rate of TikTok surpasses that of major platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Thus, several businesses like Myntra and Coca-Cola took to TikTok for branding, marketing, and advertising purposes. We also saw Bollywood stars such as Shilpa Shetty and Ritesh Deshmukh frequently using TikTok.

The presence of these big names added more credibility to the app.

How Does Tik Tok Work?

Before knowing the process of how to create an app like TikTok, we should learn how it actually works. TikTok welcomes its users with an assortment of videos that play automatically. One can scroll through them with a simple swipe.

The content is categorized into two main sections: User accounts that you follow and the “For You” or Explore page, the default window.

The “For You” page analyses user behavior, such as interaction with videos, video details, search history, etc. to gather related content. Further, it collects information from the user’s app preferences that they may have set up while creating their accounts.

Thus, each user receives personalized recommendations. As a result, TikTok offers an immersive and engaging experience to suit everyone’s tastes!

So if you plan on making an app like TikTok, this feature must be a key component of the blueprint.

Key Features of App Like TikTok

There is no use in reinventing the wheel. Hence, before you plan how to remake the app, you need to identify the key features that it should have. Once you have the blueprint in mind, our experts at SKEIN TECHNOLOGIES can have your app up and running in almost no time!

Focus on the following features when discussing your requirements with TikTok-like app developers in India:

1. Login and Sign Up Page

A login or registration page is one of the primary features that your TikTok-like app must contain. Capture maximum user information through a detailed sign-up form but keep it short enough not to scare off users.

If you prefer to skip a dedicated page, you can link to social media accounts, such as Facebook, Instagram, etc. with the mobile app usage. Alternatively, the simplest way to sign up would be through email ID or phone number.

2. User-Friendly Interface

Hire a video-sharing app development company in India that can recreate the simple and pleasing user interface present in TikTok.

Apart from the interface, the fluidity of your app UI must be consistent on Android and iOS devices both.

Typically, after logging in or signing up, users should be redirected to all the top-performing videos to grab their attention.

Since the videos play in full-screen mode, there is no point in diluting the user experience with clunky buttons. Navigating or interacting with the videos must be possible through simple swipe or tap gestures.

3. Negligible Cognitive Load

When it comes to video creation, TikTok follows the route for a negligible cognitive load. Given that your everyday user has a ton of distractions keeping the process easy helps capture and maintain their interest.

To create this app, consider reducing the brainpower required to use the app. Share just enough information to explain the utility and let the user discover the rest.

4. Simple Video Upload

Users understandably don’t want to jump through hoops to post their videos. Making the video uploading process long and elaborate will only discourage them from using the app.

Hence, while developing an app, you need to offer a streamlined and easy way to capture and upload videos.

5. Video Editing

Users must have the convenience of carrying out all the edits within the app itself rather than depending on other applications.

The editing features and functionalities will vary based on the TikTok-like app development cost estimate and your corresponding budget.

Start with something basic like trimming videos, flipping screens, and video playback speeds. Over time, you can build on these features and add more substance to it, such as boomerangs, zoom, reverse, flash, slow-motion, etc.

6. Filters and Effects

Snapchat was probably one of the first social media platforms to illustrate the pull of filters. Thus, when creating an app, you must think about the filters and effects that users can add to their videos.

Depending on the app development cost, you can add an array of top-notch features to your app. SKEIN TECHNOLOGIES developers use and produce such apps extensively, so we always know what is “in.”

Video effects can range from basic monochrome and vignette looks to capturing and manipulating sound. Filters can make use of an AR toolset to apply makeup to the face, change its shape or size, modify hair and eye colours, and more!

7. Comments and Reactions

The “Hearts” feature acts as a powerful metric for gauging the video’s popularity. When considering how to make an app like TikTok, you will have to look at these reactions from the creator’s and user’s perspectives.

The heart reaction from a user indicates that they like such content. Hence, your mobile app’s algorithm must recommend similar content to the user.

At the creator’s end, the hearts received denote the popularity of the video. Hence, it should be recommended to users of similar demographics and must feature on their explore section.

Similarly, comments could also be an indicator of the user’s engagement. Your indigenous mobile app can use these functionalities with an interesting spin.

8. Quick Navigation

Go for the standard tap and swipe gesture control to facilitate app exploration. Keep a clean interface with little to no buttons for accessing settings, sharing, etc.

Keeping a navigation system close to the TikTok model is even better as it makes use of a familiar layout without any learning curve.

Additionally, pair it with the standardized ‘Getting Started’ intro that will share all the necessary usage about app information.

9. Live Streaming

Live streaming allows select TikTok users to stream videos in real-time and unlocks monetization opportunities. By limiting this functionality, TikTok also managed to make this a premium functionality.

TikTok creators make engaging content and collect enough followers to access this feature. Resultantly, high-quality content keeps app users hooked.

Furthermore, live streaming motivates ardent fans to make purchases and reward the content creator, thereby contributing to TikTok’s revenue.

10. Offloaded and Bite-Sized Tasks

Using the TikTok app is fairly straightforward. One cursory glance through the process outlines a clear, logical flow. By breaking down all tasks into micro-activities, you can make your app highly usable.

Offloading repetitive tasks is another smart feature present in TikTok. It saves all the previously entered preferences and data and makes them a default so that users don’t have to enable them repeatedly.

11. Duets or Reactions

TikTok offers duet drolls, which allows users to lip-sync to popular dialogues or other content audio clips. Popular TikTok accounts started #duetwithme and #pov hashtags to encourage the collaboration and co-creation of content.

Similarly, users can also record reaction videos. The reaction screen is completely customizable, and one could modify the size, shape, and position.

12. Built-In Libraries

TikTok’s vast and expansive media library plays a significant role in defining its success.

Whether you are using the app on Android or iOS, you don’t need a third-party library or editor to search for audio clips and integrate them into your video. Apart from music, even the user-generated audio clips are accessible to users.

Thus, if you wish to create an app like TikTok, you would need the requisite server space to host all of this media.

13. Social Sharing

Of course, content gains value only when one can share it. Hence, TikTok offers a wealth of content-sharing options.

You can create a local copy of the downloadable videos and share them on every medium. The app’s social sharing capabilities let you post content on WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Messenger, and even email.

The one-click sharing facility will add to the TikTok-like app development cost estimate, but it is well worth the investment.

14. Push Notifications

Do you want your users to keep coming back for more? Then you must add push notifications as a feature in your app.

Push notifications allow users to stay up to date on trending videos. They notify creators about the increase in the follower count, new comments, shares, likes, or any other updates.

You would need access to Google Cloud Messaging or Apple Push Notification Service for Android and iOS users, respectively.

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How Much does it Cost to Develop an App like TikTok?

Before understanding the cost of developing an app like TikTok, we need to understand the key factors that influence the cost.

Factors Affecting TikTok App Development Cost

By now, you would have a clear idea about the features required to remake this app. After learning how to make the app while accounting for the features, you need to balance it out with your budget.

Certain features may increase the cost of development for TikTok like application, due to which you may have to add them to the pipeline rather than implement them right away.

Here are some factors that may affect TikTok-like app development cost estimate include:

1. Platform

You may choose to release your mobile app on Android or iOS, or both.

To have a successful app like TikTok, you should publish your app on both platforms. However, the app development team, costs, and requirements change according to the platform. Thus, you would need to shell out more money to meet the cost of development.

However, if you would have to choose one due to budgetary restrictions, then you could launch your app on iOS, and then make an appearance on Android.

The only reason for this is the marginally lower cost of app development on iOS and shorter time to market due to OS and screen size consistency. Plus, iOS users are keener to invest in in-app purchases.

However, you will have a smaller user pool and require a highly-skilled development team to realize your vision.

2. UI/UX Design

App design is one of the main factors to affect the cost of developing an app. At present, users are more demanding about wanting a pleasing user experience. As you probably already know, you only get one shot at making a solid first impression.

Thus, if you can offer an intuitive, user-friendly app experience, then you will gain more users along with their trust and loyalty.

The approximate UI/UX design for TikTok-like app development cost in India is as follows:

DesignAndroid AppiOS App
Approximate Time100 to 110 hours100 to 110 hours
Approximate Cost$5,000-$5,500$5,000-$5,500

3. App Development Team

Building an in-house development team gives you real-time updates and responses, making communication a piece of cake. This arrangement also keeps your project confidential.

However, this move will up your TikTok-like app development cost in India. For instance, you will need to invest in the hardware and software infrastructure and pay salaries, office rent, and taxes.

Outsourcing the app development process has become fairly common these days. You only have to pay standard and nominal hourly rates that range from $23 to $250 for Android and iOS developers!

Most importantly, outsourcing grants you access to a team of highly-skilled and trained experts. If you are worried about a conflict of interest, you can always sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (DA) and ensure your project’s security!

4. Features

The number and complexity of these features will affect the cost to make the mobile app similar to Tiktok. The TikTok-like app development cost and time for development will be higher if you want a feature-rich product.

5. CCPA and GDPR Compliance

Despite its popularity, TikTok attracted a ban from India, the US, and the UK for flouting private data regulations.

Hence, to develop a sustainable app, you must ensure compliance with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Estimated Tik Tok-Like App Development Cost

Before you make the app, note that the cost of development is subject to change depending on the technologies, features, resources, functionalities, platform, hourly rates, etc. utilized.

As such, it would be best to outsource it to an experienced TikTok-like app development company.

Further, it is advisable to first create a minimum viable product (MVP) and follow it up with a fully functional mobile app.

Let us first consider the time taken for developing basic MVP features for the app. Do bear in mind that the following values are strictly APPROXIMATES:

FeatureiOS DevelopmentAndroid DevelopmentBack-end Development
Log-in and sign-up function30 hours30 hours24 hours
Edit profile24 hours24 hours14 hours
Upload video20 hours20 hours6 hours
Filters and video effects109 hours109 hours4 hours
Video editing56 hours56 hours4 hours
Hearts and comments39 hours39 hours21 hours
Social sharing3 hours3 hours
Notifications13 hours13 hours14 hours

After the features, here is a low-down of how much time it would take to develop the app:

Admin Panel42 hours
Nature of WorkiOS DevelopmentAndroid DevelopmentBack-end Development
Feature development507 hours507 hours201 hours
Framework and library integrations58 hours58 hours35 hours
UI/UX design100 hours100 hours
Testing and Quality Assurance176 hours176 hours88 hours
DevOps52 hours52 hours26 hours
Project Management132 hours132 hours66 hours

With the basic features for your MVP, the cost to develop this app may require anywhere around 1500+ and 2500+ hours for one or two platforms, respectively.

Considering that the hourly rate for TikTok-like app development cost in India ranges from around $15 to $20, you need $30,000 (iOS or Android) to $50,000 (iOS and Android) for your app. Naturally, the cost will increase when you develop a fully functional app.

Steps for Developing an App Like TikTok

Keep these basic steps in mind when creating the app:

  1. Start with market research to understand your target audiences and their preferences. Capture user data against the demographic profile and behavioral trends to know the intent behind using such apps.
  2. Based on the audience data, businesses must create a mobile app user profile bearing the ideal customer persona.
  3. After understanding your target audience, identify a monetization model that works well with your app. You can generate revenue through fundraising, in-app purchases, and advertising.
  4. Next, it is time to build an app development team or contact agencies to carry out this aspect.
  5. You can launch an MVP first and then build on its foundation to spur the evolution of a fully functional product.
  6. Merely launching the app on the Apple or Google Play Stores is not enough. You must optimize the apps for the store, test it continuously, acquire organic users, and advertise them.
  7. Collect customer feedback, respond to ratings, and constantly update the app to bring it in line with customer expectations. Users need to feel heard, and responding to their inputs is the fastest way to grow!

The Final Takeaway

So, this was our guide on how to make and build an app like TikTok. The overnight success of TikTok is a stellar example of the potential of video-sharing apps. Thus, developing an app like TikTok could be an excellent strategy to ride the tide and generate revenue.

To turn your idea for an app into a successful business model, you need a budget and an experienced app development team like SKEIN TECHNOLOGIES.

Rajamanickam Rajan

Rajamanickam Rajan is the director at Skein Technologies, a leading IT solution company in India. He has 10+ years of experience in developing application using IBM Worklight hybrid, native applications for IOS and Android systems.

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