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

The tech-savvy is no stranger to social media apps. Today, almost everyone owns an account on all popular social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn to name a few.


Social media apps are of different types: social network apps, media sharing apps, discussion forums, blogging platforms, anonymous social networking and interest-centric apps. With additional features being added and consistent upgrading using the latest technologies, the possibilities that social media app offers have immensely widened. From platforms for purely social networking, they have grown to serve different purposes with communication as the key.

With businesses moving from traditional to social media platforms, start-ups and small businesses no longer have to run around spending hefty amounts on advertisements to reach their target audience. Also, large businesses can continue their stint, but in digital mode. If you have observed, you will realise how social media has blurred the line between personal and professional. Take a brand for an example. A brand’s social media page gives more information about its products and services than any brochure or a salesperson can. With visuals and captions that seem more personal than just having selling intent, it piques the interest of people.


Seeing how businesses are leveraging social media apps, many mobile app development companies have already ventured into business-related social media app development. This includes creating custom apps as well as features supporting existing social media apps, like chatbots, private messaging, etc.


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From a business perspective, what do social media apps offer? Let us see.


Build relationships:– Grow your network and find more opportunities. Connect with mentors who can guide you in your professional journey or customers who are likely to use your products and services.


Share what you know: – Social media is a great place to share what you know and learn something new at the same time. When you share content based on your knowledge, you will be able to connect with like-minded people and also build credibility.


Improve visibility:– Visibility is an essential factor for any business and social media apps offer more chances to make yourself or your brand known. Share good quality content that people would see and share and also engage with other people’s content.


Curate content:– You can see tonnes of info on social media – both relevant and irrelevant. You can use the apps to curate the topics of your interest and use the information to educate yourself.


Know what is trending:– Social media apps are a great place to keep up with the latest trends in real time. Social media is transparent and you can see unfiltered customer-brand interactions, giving you an idea of what they need and what they dislike. Then there are social media activities – popular hashtag trends, for example, that give you an insight into the latest industry trends.


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Most social media apps come with analytics features, where you will be able to see statistics on the performance of posts and user engagement. This gives you an idea of what to change in your strategy and what else you need to do.


Better customer service: – Social media has the benefit of connecting with everyone, especially through comments or messages. So, you get real-time or direct feedback from your customers, helping you address concerns and improve your service at a faster pace.


What is happening in the social media app market?


Statistics of July 2022 say that there more than half (59%) of the world use social media apps today, which amounts to 4.70 billion people. And in the last 12 months, 227 million new users have come online. The growth is indeed exponential when you compare it with the 2.07 billion users in 2015.


Social media usage had slowed down at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown period, owing to the user behaviour changes influenced by the pandemic and its aftereffects. But when comparing the last two years, there has been a tremendous increase in digital and online activities.

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77% of marketers have found marketing their business through social media apps highly effective. However, 37% agree that the adaptive changes in strategy thanks to the pandemic have made the use of social media marketing less effective than intended.


Facebook continues to remain in the top spot as the most preferred social media app with over 2.94 billion active users in 2022. The second most popular platform is YouTube with 2.48 billion active users amounting to 84% of Facebook users. WhatsApp, Instagram and TikTok are the next on the list of popular social media platforms as of 2022.


The social media app industry has been rapidly flourishing over the last few years. As per reports of 2022, the social media app market generates total revenue of $43.39 billion and this is expected to further increase at a CAGR of 23.4% by 2028. The main reason for the increase in revenue is that 40% of internet users across the globe use social media for work purposes.


All the statistics point out one thing – now is the best time to invest in social media app development. If you still have doubts, the following statistics in 2022 might convince you.


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Revenue from in-app purchase-based social media apps is expected to reach $15.54 billion in soon, whereas the paid app revenue in the social media app industry is expected to grow to $0.03billion. Also, the revenue through business advertising on social media is expected to reach $27.82 billion.


In short with the increase in new users, the social media app industry will continue thriving.


Factors influencing the continuous growth of the social media app market



The main factors that are reasons for the consistent growth in the social media app industry are the following:

  • 5G technology
  • Easy to access in-app purchase features in the social media app
  • Increase in investment in providing in-stream ad-free features
  • Increase in demand for social networking apps with free gaming subscriptions
  • The rise in popularity of live streaming and OTT platforms
  • The growing popularity of social commerce


Factors influencing the cost of social media app development


As much as people are aware of the business benefits social media apps offer, they are still lacking in terms of deep knowledge about the apps as well as the costs of developing a social media app.


In terms of app development, social media apps generally have a three-tier architecture comprising backend, database and mobile client. However, the functionalities and elements of the apps can vary based on the purpose.


Similarly, the following factors influence the cost of social media app development:


Target audience and platforms

While planning to develop a social media app, the first thing to consider is your target audience. Think of whom the app intends to serve and what features will grab their attention. For this, you will need to understand the problems of the audience and come up with functionalities that provide effective solutions. You can do this by gathering data and deeply analysing the audience persona.


As you figure out your target audience, you will have an idea of the target platforms as well. You will learn more about the preferred platforms- iOS, Android or Windows. And when you find the answer, you will be able to decide on whether you just have to develop the app for just one platform or go for cross-platform development. All these factors you consider will have a direct influence on the cost of social media app development.


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Complexity of features and functionalities

The app development cost varies based on the complexity of features and functionalities of social media apps. The generally found features of social media apps include the following: user registration, newsfeed, user profile with editing options, in-app messaging, and options to upload and share posts, images, and videos.


Apart from these, there might even be some additional features that are specific to the apps based on their purpose. Some of these features include image filters, live video streaming, chat, multi-language support, in-app purchases, etc. The app development cost will increase with the increase in complexity of these functionalities.


Custom UI and animations

A visually appealing user interface and additional features like animations can have a positive effect on user engagement in any app. Implementing a custom user interface is a complex task and therefore, the cost can go up based on the complexity.


Animations are a part of many popular apps we know and like the user interface, the quality, length and process of the animations can influence the development costs. However, the positive side is that these interfaces and animations are capable of improving traffic.


Traffic estimates

While you build a social media app, you will have traffic estimates in mind. Think of the traffic you would expect as you launch the app and how you want it to grow as your business expands with time. Go for the kind of social media app that would withstand the increase in traffic based on your estimates.


Apart from traffic scalability, the app also needs to have a robust and scalable database for support. All these can have an effect on the app development cost.


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How much does social media app development cost?


The development process of social media apps is pretty much similar to any other app – ideating the app, planning, developing, testing, and deploying. However, there might be some extra steps based on the app requirements and complexity. All these factors dominate the cost of social media app development.


The average cost of social media app development varies between $20,000 and $25,000. The cost can vary based on the factors that were listed above. Now, in terms of the features, hiring a UI/UX designer can cost between $1500 and $2000 and hiring an Android developer will cost around $120 and $170, whereas hiring an iOS developer will cost you around $100 and $150. The cost-effective option is to hire a development company that would help you build a social media app that meets all your requirements.



There are many factors that affect the cost of social media app development. However, if you do not have the right development partner to guide you through the process, you will end up spending more. If you are looking for a team with expertise and skills to develop a social media app that complies with your ideas and requirements, Redbytes Software can help you.


Redbytes Software is mobile solution provider that offers development services across different domains and platforms. Our talented team provides cost-effective social media app development services while leveraging the best development methodologies to provide you with the results you are looking for.