How To Make Social Media App Like TikTok: Cost, Design & Business Model?

Social media app like TikTok has dominated the world with millions and billions of users around the globe. Moreover, TikTok also offers many perks that thousands of businesses are marking their presence.

But, how to transform a business idea into a scalable video sharing social media app like TikTok? Well, in this article, we will help you understand how to develop a TikTok like app – the technical and monetary side. At the end, based on our experience, you will fully prepared for the whole process as well as the cost to build a social media app similar to TikTok.

Let’s get started!

Can I Make An App Like TikTok To Earn Money?

Before we look at the technical aspect and estimated cost of the app, let us first give you what TikTok is used for and why this video-sharing app is so popular across the world.

★ Read also: How much money can you earn with free apps?

Why is TikTok so popular?

Despite the downfall of Vine, Chinese technology named TikTok has grown immensely popular. According to GlobalWebIndex:


TikTok keeps millions of users glued to it. Once using TikTok, you can stream live broadcasts, record short video clips, add favorite tracks, and post the results on social networks. There, users lip-sync and re-enact their favorite scenes from music videos.

Especially, ByteDance’s TikTok uses Artificial Intelligence to take over the world.

  • For users: Tik Tok use AI to calculate what content will best fit for them.
  • For content creators: Tik Tok will help them build the virtual videos, by editing with music, filters and other enhancements.

TikTok Statistics That You Need To Know

Next, here are some statistics that prove how big the TikTok market is and how the app is ruling the world!


It’s impressive, right?

TikTok isn’t the only one that the users are following. There are many social media app like TikTok in the application market.

This app has taken the online world with thousands of users that joining the trend every single day. However, if you want to find an alternative social media app like TikTok, we will get your back!


So, all in all, once creating social media app like TikTok, make sure you have analyzed it properly and reviewed your potential competitors. 

How to build video social media app like TikTok?

Below are 6 steps to develop an app like TikTok:

1. Find target audience

The TikTok team did an excellent job because they located and understood their target audience. In case of TikTok, the video content music falls between the age of 16 to 24. Once you know who is your target audiences, what they want, or where they are, etc, you can start develop a music video app like TikTok.

Make sure that you go through the demographics, and psychographics before coming with a strategy. Moreover, you need to know what is trending in your specific industry.

2. Understand the budget

The following step is determine how much does it cost to build a social app like TikTok. The TikTok like app cost also depends on the number of features and UI/UX design.

3. Decide on a method of development

You should carefully choose to build an in-house team or hire outsourcing for development. An in-house team adds to expenses even further as it requires an investment in hardware, a space for the team, and a separate rate for different roles like Tester, Designer, Developer, and Manager. However, hiring an in-house team can cost more than outsourcing. Therefore, the idea is to hire a company with mobile app development service that has a good reputation.

4. Create Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Building the MVP, you can easily evaluate users\’ perspectives and collect feedback from them. While creating and developing, you will able to implant their opinions into your product. Ideally, you should hire developers charged per hour. At AgileTech, software development cost starts from $10 to $25 per hour.

Top 10 must-have app like TikTok features

In the next step, check out the infographic to find out how to build app like TikTok. Since you are just starting up in the industry, it may be time-consuming and expensive to develop a TikTok clone app.

Therefore, making an MVP first that contains all the must-have features will help you get feedback from your target audience and decide what features to develop further. You also have more chances to get investments when having a MVP version.

1. Login

Login screen is the one that you will have to pay the most attention to. Users can register/login via a social network and phone number.

  • Facebook or Twitter or Google (two or more networks influence the estimate)
  • Transfer of account photo and full name included
  • Creation of Facebook developer accounts (develop, staging, production)

2. Notifications

It’s necessary to add a push social notification function to keep users posted. The dance app like TikTok should send over real-time notifications like:

  • New likes, comments on posts, or new friends
  • Automatically notify when people they follow make a new update on their profile

3. Search

Users can search for one type of entity by one criterion.

4. Video feed

How to make a TikTok-like app successful? It’s necessary to provide users with an easy and fast way to post videos. As a result, each next criterion influences the estimate which based on each user experience.

5. Setting

Under the Settings section, users will be able to:

  • Manage a profile (basic) such as personal information (text fields, birthday, gender), photo
  • Change their password
  • Block users
  • Get feedback for company in case of any dispute

6. Edit video

Users should have capabilities to edit the video on the social media app like TikTok and Likee. Not only creating and sharing their videos, here, you should allow user to save them in the draft to be published on a later time.

7. Filters & effects

There can be some basic options like:

  • Flipping, speeding up the video, and more
  • Moreover, adding an opportunity to turn on ‘beauty’ mode
  • Or the users’ skin more smooth functionality

8. Like & comment

Like many other social media platform Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, TikTok provides an opportunity to like, unlike the video and comment on it.

9. Sharing

It’s necessary to have a sharing option. Users can easily share their videos on other social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Specially, TikTok offers to connect the user’s profile to other social networks.

10. Edit Profile

Offer the users to customize their profiles, e.g. the ability to change the profile pictures or username, add a bio, and more. Customized options are always a good idea.

TikTok-like-app Admin Panel Features

Admin side of the TikTok application offers multiple functions like user management. For example, manage report videos, user management, content management, notification management.

  • Admin authorization: Admins can register, log in, and log out
  • Admin management: Admins can manage other administrators, full name or email
  • User management: Admins can search by name, ID or email

What’s TikTok Technology Stack

After knowing all the must-have features for social media app like TikTok, now we will see the technical aspect. Let us define the whole software development process TikTok tech stack.

Programming Language For App Like TikTok

  • For an Android application like TikTok, you can use the Kotlin and Java programming languages.
  • If you build social media app like TikTok for iOS, you can use Swift or C.
  • Besides, when building a hybrid application, you can use technologies such as Flutter and Xamarin and React Native.

Cloud storage:

  • Google cloud storage or Amazon S3
  • The cost depends on the selected operation, network, and data storage.

Artificial intelligence technology:

  • Used for filtering and personalizing data to thousands of users.
  • TikTok also uses the AI algorithm to understand and automatically add tags with the help of image and object recognition.


  • MongoDB
  • SQL
  • MySQL


  • Google Cloud Messaging for Android
  • Apple Push Notification Service for iOS


  • Google Maps API
  • MapKit/Core Location frameworks (for iOS)

★ Read also: Top 5 Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) Models & Methodologies

How Does TikTok Make Money?

According to analysis, TikTok ByteDance income has reached more than 7 billion dollars in the first half of 2019. Sounds interesting right! Let’s discuss the Tik Tok business model!

In-App purchase

TikTok offers in-app purchases of coins, starting at 100 for $0.99 and leveling up to 10,000 for $99.99.

  • Users can give coins to their favorite creators.
  • Also, these coins can be exchanged into digital gifts.
  • Sensor Tower reported that TikTok users worldwide spent $3.5 million on in-app purchases during the month of October 2018

TikTok ads

Similar to YouTube, TikTok is providing an advertisement to promote brands. Many businesses worldwide start advertising on TikTok going forward given its explosive popularity.

  • Small and large brands are using TikTok to promote their products or services through in-feed video ads.
  • Also, TikTok is offering brand takeover ads for their users.

For example, Pizza Hut’s recent campaign features such on-brand motifs as the iconic red hat, sunglasses and their shopfront as stickers for user to accessorise their clips with. According to Shichangbu, the videos featuring Pizza Hut’s stickers were streamed for over 1 million times.


How Much Does It Cost To Create Social Media App Like TikTok?

You’ve understand how to make social media app like TikTok, top 5 similar apps like TikTok, and the set of features and technology stack that makes TikTok like app.

Lastly, it is the time to get on the the most crucial part – The app development cost of TikTok like app.

Financial side matters, doesn’t it? Well, here’s the answer to it.

The TikTok app cost lies in the valuation of a number of factors – features, allocation of resources, and the technologies to use.


Designing an app application is always a struggle because of a decent amount of money and time. It is something that needs to hook users in the very first instance.

  • Android app ~ 100 hours
  • iOS app ~ 100 hours

★ Read also: Top 8 UI/UX Design Trends For Mobile App Development 


Currently, there are two platforms – Android and iOS in the market. So which platform to choose? If you want to make an app like TikTok, you need develop for both platforms.

However, you have little budget, then the next step is to figure out the right target audience and their preferences. For instance, you first launch social media app like TikTok for iOS version. And the Android version will be released later.

Additionally, in comparison to Android, iOS development tends to require 20% or even 30% less time. Because there are many devices run on Android.


The number of features and their complexity are the main components of the application development cost. To build an advanced feature for a TikTok-like app, the developers require more time.

Development Team

How to build app like TikTok? To do so, there are basically two options. Both the options incur plus and minuses.

  • Hiring in-house iOS and Android app developers

In-house development tends to be more expensive since there are such expenses as hardware and software purchases, taxes, rent, and more. However, you can communicate with development team better.

  • Outsourcing app development company

On the other hand, outsourcing development has become popular these days. Depends on your budget, you can choose software development company fits your need as well as your budget.

Mobile developers hourly rate by region:

  • United States: $50 – $150/hour
  • Western Europe: $40-60/hour
  • Eastern Europe: $25 – $50/hour
  • Vietnam: $10-25$/hour

Please note that social media app like TikTok development cost is rough to calculate. Assuming that you are going with the exact set of features that we mentioned above, the basic app like TikTok will take about 3,000 hours. Therefore, the app like TikTok costs from $30,000 for MVP version.

The app development cost will increase when adding more features like Artificial Intelligence, High-End Animations or Blockchain.


TikTok is famous app development nowadays. That why many businesses are turning towards to build social media app like TikTok. The TikTok-like app cost is aways calculated with a number of features, level of complexity, required platform and more.

Our team has expertise in creating social network apps like AloSong, Stardary, etc. But, for each projects, there were some business model issues that our clients were facing – finding the right demographics, the promotion plan, and the revenue model selection.

If you have any doubts regarding the same, we are just a step closer. Contact us now!

About AgileTech

By providing multiple needs and services, AgileTech is here to ensure your technology project as a successful element of your omnichannel strategy. We have expert Project Managers along with excellent teams who have delivered the best products to customers in more than 10 countries, namely the U.S, U.K, Germany, France, and Singapore.

As a leading mobile development company in Vietnam, we have huge experiences in many fieldsincluding e-commerce, car-sharing platform, health care, Livestream and many more. Our dedicated software development team is ready for your custom requirements. You can contact us at [email protected] or via (+84) 936 281 059 for more information.

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