How Much Does It Cost To Develop A Social Networking App?

building a social networking app
February 04, 2020 | 4 min read

Social media has become an integral part of our everyday life. It has become the norm for millions of people to use it for interaction and as a source of entertainment and information. An average person has multiple social media accounts. More than 3.499 billion active users spend an average of 142 minutes per day on social networks. And the number of social media users is likely to increase in the future.

Building a social networking app is a lucrative venture considering the already abundant number of users. However, before you engage in the venture, you need to have a comprehensive study of your market, the right type of social media niche for your audience, and an all-inclusive business strategy. After selecting the social media app niche, factors such as the app complexity, functionalities, platform, delivery time, tech stack, and the cost to develop social networking app will have to be considered, as we shall discuss below.

Features of an effective Social Media App

  • User Profile – This feature is essential because it enables users to create their profiles easily and the ability to edit their profiles.
  • Search Functionality – The ability for users to search for pages, people, businesses, etc., is a must to keep up with the competition of social media apps.
  • Easy Account Authorization Procedures – A social media app must always have an easy account authorization procedure that is short but accountable. The smooth authorization procedure should be helpful for both the social media domain and mobile application.
  • Linkable App – The ability to link different social media apps is essential as it also allows users to share information or content with various social media platforms. A linkable app typically creates a wider information relay and is advantageous for e-commerce businesses.
  • In-App Messaging – Having an in-app messaging functionality in an app is key to the app’s success as it is one of the primary functions of all popular apps.
  • Push Notifications – The push notification feature is highly efficient for passing vital information to users. It is quite a remarkable feature for the entire mobile app industry, regardless of the mobile app genre.
  • Photo and Video Uploading – For an app to be successful, especially for social media apps, the photo and video uploading function must allow users to express themselves through content sharing.

Social media apps and their development cost

The social media app has three trail brazing categories – messaging apps, short video creation and sharing apps, social media apps with expiry message timeframe, and photo-sharing apps. Below, we will discuss the app features, technology stack, the development time frame, and finally, the cost to develop social networking apps.

1. Messaging Apps

If you are looking to build a successful messaging app, you need to make it simple and user-friendly. Let’s look at the features, tech stack, time frame, and cost of creating an engaging chatting app.

Features of an effective messaging app

  • Contact sharing
  • Real-time messaging
  • Registration
  • Notifications
  • Multimedia sharing
  • Location sharing
  • Setting
  • Both Voice and Video calling

Technology Stack for messaging app:

  • Servers-Ejabberd, YAWS (multi-storage)
  • Offline database- SQLite
  • Virtual machine –BEAM
  • OS-FreeBSD
  • Stack-LYME/LYCE
  • Language-Erlang
  • Database-Mnesia

App development time frame of specified features:

  • Notification development time is usually 15 to 20 hours
  • Real-Time Messaging takes 210 to 220 hours
  • Registration takes 50 to 55 hours
  • Multimedia Sharing development time is 40 to 50 hours
  • Settings timeframe is 11 to 120 hours
  • Voice Call takes 200 to 220 hours
  • Video Call time frame is 180 to 220 hours
  • Location Sharing development time is usually 25 to 30 hours
  • Contact Sharing development time is between 70 to 80 hours

Cost to develop messaging apps

When you consider all the factors, the total development cost budget comes to around 40,000 to 50,000 USD.

2. Short video creation and sharing app

If you intend to venture into developing an app that creates and shares short videos, then below are the factors to consider.

Features of short video creation and sharing app:

  • Profile set up screen
  • Create and Edit collage
  • Video feed screen
  • Registration screen
  • Notification screen
  • Search people/ video screen
  • Login screen
  • View people/Video profile screen
  • Share video screen
  • Setting screen
  • Splash screen

Admin panel

  • Notification management
  • User management
  • Admin enabled portal log in
  • Flagged videos
  • Reports management
  • Content management

Technology Stack

  • Video and audio transcoding- FFMPEET, Amazon elastic transcoder
  • Back end python
  • Cloud AWS, Google cloud storage, Azure
  • Media server configuration- HTTPS,RTMP ,HTTP
  • Database- PostgreSQL
  • Front end native

Cost to develop video creation and sharing app

After considering all the above factors, the total development cost for video creation and sharing apps would cost 80,000 to 100,000 USD.

3. Social media app with content expiry time frame

Below are the essential factors such as the app features, technological stack, development time, and the entire project development cost that make up a sound social media app having disappearing content functionality.


  • Disappearing messages
  • Video/ audio calls
  • Story Contact integration
  • Stickers and lenses
  • Discovery and Geofilter
  • Registration
  • Real-time messaging
  • Video/audio note

Technology Stack

  • Cloud hosting- google engine
  • Frameworks (Fullstack)- android SDK, cocoa-touch (ios)
  • Front end frameworks
  • Language- objective – C
  • Platform as a server- google app engine


  • Transactional email- send grid
  • General analytics- google analytics

Development Time frame

  • Real-time messaging development time frame is 10 to 150 hours
  • Story feature development time usually is 100 to 200 hours
  • Registration development time frame is 70 to 80 hours
  • Disappearing Messages takes 120 to150 hours
  • Stickers development takes 10 to 20 hours
  • Lastly, Contacts Integration takes 80 to 100 hours to develop

Cost to develop social media app

The full total cost to develop social networking app with content expiry usually amounts to USD 45,000 on the lower side and USD 60,000 on the higher hand.

4. Photo Sharing App

As an entrepreneur, when you plan to develop a photo-sharing enabled app, the main factors you need to consider are the app features, functionalities, development cost, time, etc.


  • Report abuse
  • Authorization with Facebook
  • Setting
  • Geolocation
  • Tags and mentions
  • Approval with email and phone number
  • Add profile picture
  • Likes and comments
  • Viewing and following
  • Feed
  • Feed display setting
  • Post
  • Profile
  • Messaging (Direct)
  • Search
  • Instagram stories

Technology Stack

  • Application and Data
    • Framework and libraries- Django
    • Language – python, java, objective-c
    • Cross-platform mobile development using react native
  •  DevOps
    • Load balancer- HAproxy
    • Server configuration- fabric
    • Exception monitoring- sent
    • Javascript Testing framework- jest
  • App Development Time frame
    • Profile Creation and Edit – 48 to 50 hours
    • Additional settings – 90 to 120 hours
    • Photo Editing – 60 to 70 hours
    • Geolocation – 24 to 30 hours
    • Search – 60 to 70 hours
    • Messaging – 120 to140 hours
    • Account Authorization – 65 to70 hours
    • Media Upload takes hours70 to 85
    • Linkage with Platforms – 8 – 10 hours
    • Design – 60 – 70 hours

Cost to develop photo-sharing app

The development cost of a photo-sharing app will be around USD 36,000 to USD 40,000 after consideration of all the above factors, such as the technical design and time used in development.

The development of a social networking app is a very profitable venture. Selecting an appropriate app category that suits your business is crucial. Lastly, a successful app consists of a competent development team that can create the right app over a specified time frame within a specified budget. If you are looking to develop a social networking app and would like to discuss it with us, reach out to us.

About the Author

Scalex is a digital engineering company that partners with startups and SMBs to provide end-to-end product development services by leveraging the power of digital technologies such as Mobile, Cloud, and Analytics.