How to Create an App Like TikTok

App Like TikTok

User-generated content is gaining more popularity nowadays. Thus, to create an app like TikTok with appealing user interface sounds great. Such apps enable users to enact their favorite actors & their famous dialogues. Besides, many people use TikTok to exhibit their various skills & creativity.

In the two years since TikTok entered the space, it has made its presence felt as a formidable competitor to the stalwarts like YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook.

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With over 500 million active users from around the globe with a presence in 155 markets in 75 languages, it is the source of entertainment that keeps its audience glued to consume more.

In the first half of 2019, the global revenue of TikTok reached USD 39, with an estimated company valuation of approximately USD 75 billion. No doubt, there is much to rave about this video app.

Let’s have a look at what are things you have to keep in mind, when it comes to create an app like TikTok and also its development process and overallcost.

Why Did TikTok Succeed?

Primarily, TikTok is an innovative music and video app through which users can live stream broadcasts, record short video clips, add favourite tracks, and post the end results on their social networks.

Plus, the editing effects, filters, etc. that is provided on the application is the differentiator and adds that ‘x’ factor to the content being produced.

TikTok, apart from being just a tool to create and share videos online is quickly becoming a platform to showcase new talent that can be highlighted to a huge audience base.

This unexpected success has led to many entrepreneurs to toy with the idea to create a TikTok app clone.

Not sure where to begin? Read on to get started.

What Is The First Step That Can Help Create Your TikTok Clone App?

Before you start with your TikTok journey, you need to find out more about your target audience. It is best to begin with a profiling of your prospective userbase and classify them into:

  • Demographic Profiles: Here, you can find out more on the average user age, their geographical locations, the devices through which they can access your application, etc.
  • Behavioural Profiles: This is where you need to deep dive and understand buyer behaviour and the factors that can trigger them to download the application. You also need to assess what possible parameters can adversely impact this desire, for example, slow loading times, lack of security, decreasing patience, etc.

Developing a buyer persona is vital as it can help you design and create your version of the TikTok app that can appropriately cater to the needs and expectations of your target audience.

Read Also :  11 Easy steps to create a mobile app in 2020

What Are The Must-Have Features For Your Music & Video App?

It is important that you think about the features that you wish to incorporate in your app. For new entrants, it is recommended that they opt for an MVP app that kickstarts with basic functionalities.

The architecture allows you to keep adding more advanced features even after the app has been deployed. In this way, you can assess user needs and cater to them with more accuracy.

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The basic features that are must-haves for your TikTok clone are:

#1. Log In & Sign Up

Every user needs to register on the app through a sign up process. The standard process is using their mobile number or email id. Alternatively, you can also link the sign via social media handles to make it more convenient.

#2. Edit Profile

The users should be able to edit and customise their profiles as and when they need to. This means allowing them to change their profile pictures, username, information on the bio, etc.

#3. Upload Videos

The function to upload videos on the application should be quick and easy. Having a time limitation on the length of the video can make the process fast. Plus, enable upload of readymade videos with options to rotate or crop them, and even alter the playback speed.

#4. Filters & Effects

The filters and effects that can be added to videos on TikTok are factors that make the platform so unique. Other than standard attractions like features slow-mo, reverse, zoom or flash, TikTok offers effects and face filters such as cat faces, split screen or Valentine’s day filters that adds to the app’s ingenuity.

#5. Soundtracks

To make their videos a standout, users can add trendy sounds and music. They can choose to record their own voice or opt for their favourite song from the in-built TikTok music library.

#6. Duet Option

TikTok app offers its users to sing a duet with another user. All that needs doing is creating the video and then adding the hashtag #duetwithme.

Interested TikTokers will be able to view this and add their own spin through a duet with you. This feature makes the app more enjoyable to users who really like singing.

#7. Video Editing

When it is video app, then having the functionality to edit is an absolute must. Basic features such as speeding and flipping the video is standard.

You can add some advanced modes like ‘beauty’ that helps smoothen the user’s skin, etc. Have options like stickers, and funny animations as part of the editing console.

#8. Hearts & Commenting

Users can showcase their preference for specific videos that they like by using hearts. It also measures how popular the videos are.

Plus, you can also give a heart to a video and find that it has been added to your profile. Additionally, users can also comment in on specific tabs, etc.

#9. QR Code Scanner

Making the subscription process convenient and easy, the QR code scanner enables users to subscribe to user profiles by scanning their unique QR code.

#10. Geolocation

The geolocation features instantly alert users and displays of any active bloggers who are live streaming from a nearby location.

#11. Sharing

Apps like TikTok can only attain this level of success when users can share their videos. By sharing their creations on other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, etc. helps generate more interest in the content being produced.

#12. Alerts and Notifications

Every apps needs to keep their users posted on updates, news, trends, etc. For this, a push notification system is the ideal feature.

The functionality can be implemented through Google Cloud Messaging (Android) or Apple Push Notification Service (iOS).

#13. Settings

The settings section is a dedicated space on the app where the user can edit or change their password, make their account public or private, access the help centre, change language preferences or even block users.

#14. Admin Panel

The Admin Panel is the back-end of the application that offers several features and functions such as user management, analytics, promotions, etc. The dashboard is necessary as it enables the admin to generate data and insights in reference to the app’s performance.

These basic features are all that you need to deploy your TikTok clone app. In due course of time with a growing userbase, you can progress towards introducing more advanced features.

Take a look at the recommended list.

#15. Video Preview Before the Registration

The TikTok app has a unique video preview features which even allows unregistered users to view a collection of popular videos. While browsing is permitted, in order to comment, the user will have to ultimately sign up and register.

#16. Location-Based Content

Users can tag their current location on their videos. The data generated with location tracking ensures that users are able to view content posted by other users within the same geographical location. This is an advanced TikTok feature that makes the app quite unique.

#17. Live video Streaming

Even though TikTok does not offer a live streaming feature, this is something that you can think about when developing your version of the app.

People demand to consume content in real-time and starting a live video stream though a social app provides the prefer solution to that need.

#18. AR Filters

Filters that come enhanced with augmented reality can really take your app up a notch. Be it changing the colour of the hair, or put objects over the head, the potential of using this technology is limitless. You can consider building a dedicated AR library that users can access through the application.

#19. Real-Time Analytics

This can be in the form of a graphical representation where users can view live broadcasters within a specified geolocation. It can integrate the data with the performance of the broadcasts through the comments and hearts being generated in real-time.

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What Are The Requirements To Create An App Like TikTok?

With your feature list sorted out, the next step is to get team in place who will lead the app’s development process.

You can opt for a completely in-house vertical, go for freelancers or even choose a well-known agency, domestically or internationally. The type of team you select will primarily depend on the budgets that you have allocated towards the project.

That said, the constitution of the team should be:

  • Business Analyst
  • Project Manager
  • UI/UX designer
  • Android developer
  • iOS developer
  • Back-end developers
  • Database expert
  • Delivery expert
  • QA engineer

This is the minimum requirement in order to create an app like TikTok.

Now you need to concentrate on the tech stack. The recommended technology stack should comprise of:

  • Kotlin for Android
  • Swift for iOS
  • Back-end development: Node.js
  • Database: Cassandra or MongoDB or SQL or Mailchimp integration

Along with this, the app also need storage on the cloud. For this, you have a couple of options available such as Amazon S3 or Google cloud storage.

In addition to this, the other requirements include:

  • Content delivery networks
  • A universal operating system
  • GWT for better programming productivity
  • Video and audio transcoding
  • Database management with Datastax
  • Easy payment methods like e-wallet or PayPal
  • Notifications: Google Cloud Messaging for Android and Apple Push Notification Service for iOS
  • Real-time analytics: Azure stream analytics

How To Choose The Monetization Model?

Rather than leaving it for later, it is important to focus on how you will make money with your new app. Selecting the right business model is vital to ensure that you can monetize the app to its fullest potential.

Here are your options.

#1. Fundraising

With the project blueprint ready, you can raise capital through fundraising and investments. Fundraising does not just pertain to donations; it can be a premium model of generating capital for the business. For example, a group of high-end investors funded TikTok with USD 3 billion recently.

#2. In-App Purchase

Once the app is deployed, you can enable users to support live broadcasts with the help of virtual currency. This virtual currency has to be purchase with real money beforehand. You can also allow users to buy gifts on the app with their virtual currency too.

#3. Advertising

There are multiple ways of in-app advertising available. These include:

  • Cost per Click: This generates revenue every time a user interacts with the ads being shown on the app
  • Cost per Mile: The app makes money as advertisers are charged for every 1000 impressions of their ad being run on the platform
  • Cost Per Action: The app can be monetized when the user engages in a specific action like an app install or an emailer sign up

With the business model in place, the next stage is to dig what determines the app’s final pricing.

Read Also : How to create a Video chat App in 2020

What Are The Factors That Affect the Final Price?

There are multiple factors that you need to look into when you create an app like TikTok. Elements like platform, design, application features, and a team of mobile developers together determine the app’s budgetary estimates.

#1. Platform

You can choose between the two popular platforms, that is, Android and iOS. Alternatively, you can opt to go both ways as it is key to the success of a video-music app like TikTok.

Having said that, if there are budgetary constraints then you will be left with no option but to choose between the two platforms. The road you opt to travel will basically depend on the audience you wish to target, their needs, preferences and expectations.

For example, iOS was the platform where Instagram was initially launched. Android version only came into existence one and half years later.

There is also a difference in the development time when you compare the two platforms. Experts says that the iOS versions generally tends to require 20% to 30% less time than Android. This is because more devices use Android as their operating system.

#2. Design

Design can be a capital intensive space. It is also a long drawn process as getting the interface bang on can take some time. The key is to ensure that the interface is intuitive and user-friendly. This will drive more users to the app and keep them hooked on for a longer period of time.

#3. Features

The number and type of features, their main components, level of complexity all put together is a key parameter that contributes to the overall development cost of the app. The complex the app, the more time it is going to take to build it.

#4. Development Team

There are three options in terms of development teams at your disposal. An in-house team of experts can the most expensive of the lot since all of them will be direct employees and will be on the company payroll for a long time.

Going with freelancers is possibly the most economical. That said, it can lead to the process becoming more time consuming as they will not be dedicated resources to your project.

Lastly, you can outsource it to a credible agency which is the middle path. While they may not be on the company payroll, the resources assigned to the project will be experienced in the space and will be accountable to the project throughout the development process and even after.

Take a look at mobile developers hourly rate by region:

Region Average iOS Developer Hourly Rate Average Android Developer Hourly Rate
North America $110 – $250 $150 – $170
Western Europe $37 – $175 $70
Eastern Europe $23 – 80 $35 – $50
Australia $35 – 150 $110
India $23 – 80 $35 – $50

What Does The Final Cost to Create an App Like TikTok Look Like?

Combining all of the given factors, the cost to create an app like TikTok can range anywhere between $46,350 and $92,700 for one or two platforms respectively.

Here is the break-up.

Feature Time (back-end included) Cost
Basic features 347 hours $17,350
Advanced features 194 hours $9,700
Frameworks and libraries integration for back-end 30 hours $1,500
Frameworks and libraries integration for Android / iOS 49 hours / 47 hours $2,450 / $2,350
UI/UX design for Android / iOS 102 / 102 hours $5,100 / $5,100
Quality assurance (for one app) 135 hours $6,750
Project management (for one app) 70 hours $3,500

In a nutshell,

  • The total number of hours spent when developing app for a single platform is approximately 927 hours with a cost estimate of $46,350
  • The total number of hours spent when developing the app for two platforms is around 1854 hours with an expense outlay of $92,700

Read Also : How to hire an app developer for your project ?


The masses have taken to social media with a lot of enthusiasm. TikTok app can be the right benchmark for anyone who looks to design and create something similar in the space. Knowing the app inside out, its mechanics can go a long way in making your venture profitable.

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That said, the point of building something new is to ensure that you offer something to users that they have never seen before. That will be the defining point and give your app the edge that it needs.

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