These days Instagram is undoubtedly one of the most popular apps. Over 1 billion people use Instagram every month and more than 500 billion use it daily. So it’s no surprise that in recent years it is considered to be a great marketing tool as well. But have you ever thought about creating an app like Instagram? While Instagram already got its recognition that doesn’t mean that there is no place for another successful photo-sharing app.
A short story of Instagram’s success
Back in 2010 Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom launched a free photo-sharing app in the App Store, later the app became available for Android users as well. The app MVP took only eight weeks for software developers to build and the launching exceeded all their expectations. The company gained instant success within a few months, completely changing our concept of social media and the content we share on it.
After the rise of the app’s popularity, more investors were interested in it. Moreover, many leading companies like Twitter and Facebook started monitoring the success of the application too. In 2012 Facebook bought Instagram and since then the app got a few additional functions like messaging, shopping, live video, etc., and also a web-based Instagram version.
How does Instagram earn money?
At the start of its existing Instagram was a no revenue photo-sharing app. It was only when Facebook bought it for $1 billion, it started making money. Now Instagram earns money mostly from advertising. Many business owners create Instagram accounts too because it’s a good way of promoting themselves and their work.
Now Instagram earns its revenue from:
Allows users to promote their posts and share ads on the platform
- Social e-commerce
Allows users to buy products right in the app, after which Instagram earns commission out of every sale. This option is available only in a few countries yet, but everyone expects the expansion to the rest of the world.
An app like Instagram can become a great source of income, so let’s figure out how to create an app like that.
First steps to create an app like Instagram
Because of Instagram’s market position, a lot of people think that there is no purpose to even think about creating another Instagram-like app. But it’s not true. In our century, social media is an integral part of our life. And many people are going to explore a new application if it is convenient, useful, and has unique features. So there has never been a better time to create an app like Instagram than now.
Before diving into building an app, start with making market research. Since your goal is to create an Instagram clone, you must analyze its users. Even though there are a lot of things that people don’t like about Instagram, something makes them stay there and you need to find out what it is exactly that makes users stick to and like a certain application. Market research is the best way to do that because you learn from others’ mistakes.
Nothing can be completely perfect and it applies to popular social networks too. Even Instagram has its flaws. It has a lot of limited features and is becoming oversaturated. With the help of market research, you can find out what you can do to fill in those gaps and how to solve people’s problems with your app.
But also don’t underestimate other popular applications. Because even while having many disadvantages, Instagram always knows how to connect with its users and what new features to come up with. For example, the Instagram stories feature was completely new, and not many people knew how to use it. And now it is one of the most used and popular Instagram functions.
Always think about what you can add to your app and what to improve. Your new feature can become a groundbreaker.
A major role in creating and building another photo-sharing platform plays the authenticity of your idea and defining your focus. Think about what you can offer to your users and how you can stand out among others. Focus on user needs and functionality.
“If you focus on producing a great experience for anyone, that’s how you get big.” — Kevin Systrom, founder of Instagram
Have specific goals and purpose why you want to do it. Analyze already existing features and think about what is missing and what you could do to improve an experience.
Before building an app, you should start with defining your budget, considering all aspects, and analyzing financial expenses for developing your idea. Think about the appropriate way to fund your project. You can start with bootstrapping – spending your own money on the development, or attract investors.
Consult with a technical specialist or a company you trust. They will help you with all the questions that may arise during planning everything out. It may even help with preventing unnecessary mistakes beforehand, which results in a shorter time to market and lower expenses.
Things that make an app like Instagram so successful
Instagram is constantly developing and adds new features for users. For building such a successful platform you need to pay attention to its utility. It focuses on understanding people’s needs, problems, and ways of solving them. Instagram’s advantage is that people can use it in so many ways (sharing memories, shopping, getting advice, messaging, posting ads, etc.). The application will be relevant as long as it solves user’s problems.
Instagram has many advantages regarding user experience design. It focuses on simplicity, minimalism, and flat design, which makes it really easy for using and navigating through it. Small features and updates can significantly influence what people feel and think about your app.
Impact on businesses
We don’t think there are a lot of things to explain here. It’s easy to notice how Instagram changes and impacts businesses. Now almost every business owner has to have an Instagram account because it affects people’s decisions while purchasing.
Building an app like Instagram
There are a lot of technical aspects to consider before starting to build an app like Instagram and everything needs to be planned well. Here we gathered everything you need for successfully developing your idea.
Design and development
To create an app like Instagram you will need to analyze its best features and find out what you can improve. Think about what immediately catches your eyes when scrolling through its feed, watching stories, or posting a photo. Your app has to differentiate from other similar products, give a pleasant experience for users, and make them fall in love with it.
“I care deeply about craft: the quality of how something is made and the experience it enables.” — Kevin Systrom, founder of Instagram
You will need the services of professionals, who have experience in building successful social media and can help you to create a product that can compete in the market. For this, you can hire freelance developers or a dedicated team, and UI/UX designers. Hiring a good team will let you create the app with the right interface and functions that people will love.
Development team members, you’ll need to hire:
- UI/UX Designers
- Mobile Developers
- Back-end Developers
- QA Engineers
- Project Manager
- Dev Ops
Adding different features to your app can either improve the functionality of your app or, on the contrary, worsen it. That’s why it’s good to know which basic features of Instagram are there, in order to see what makes users stay. This will also help when developing an MVP of an Instagram clone.
Don’t miss these critical features:
- creating an account
- signing in
- login with other social media accounts
- Editing profile
- adding personal data
- editing/removing personal data
- Subscribing to other users
- Liking and commenting on posts
- Post creation
- uploading photos/video
- mentioning other users in posts
- Social features
- inviting friends from Facebook
- push notifications
- direct messages
- Image and video customization
- editing photos and videos
- applying filters
- by name or username
- by tags
- Instagram stories
- creating photos and videos that disappear in 24 hours
- Adjusting settings
- language settings
- notification settings
Instagram tech stack
Instagram uses a lot of technologies, which you can use for your application as well. For front-end development, Instagram’s tech stack includes React Native, which is compatible with iOS and Android operating systems. And for back-end development, Instagram uses Python (Django framework).
List of Instagram’s coding languages and frameworks:
- Python for backend
Instagram’s tech stack is wide and it also uses server management, compilers, and cloud computing services for storing data.
To build an app like Instagram we recommend using Hybrid App Development and particularly React Native because it’s much faster and cheaper in development. It will help you to write your app with a single technology stack and launch it on multiple platforms and make an app like Instagram more efficient.
Financial costs to create an app like Instagram
We’ve come to the main question: How much does it cost to create an app like Instagram? There is actually no fixed price because it depends on your app features, their complexity, and the people you hire.
Generally, it takes four to six months to build a basic MVP of an app like Instagram, but the exact timing and details depend on your project, requirements, and ideas. It’s hard to calculate all financial costs to create a photo-sharing app without all project descriptions and specifications. But at the beginning, you will need to invest approximately $20,000 in a simple web application.
After a while, when your MVP starts to generate income and investments, you’ll be able to develop and launch it as a fully functional application.
The final step to make an app like Instagram
Consider outsourcing the development of your app. Many companies and organizations prefer this method. And there are a lot of reasons why. Both small businesses and huge companies can benefit from it.
The most obvious reason why so many companies use outsourcing is cost savings. You can have your product developed at a lower cost and at better quality. It will also free your time and help you focus on core areas, such as strategy, research, and ways of growing and improving your idea. We created a shortlist of tips for you to help to have an effective outsourcing experience while making an app like Instagram:
- Define your tasks and schedule
Create a list of all the tasks you do and take a look at how you spend your time. Choose core areas for yourself and give other tasks for outsourcing.
- Look for specific experience
Hire the people with the right skill set and experience that are required for your app development. Review their knowledge and portfolio and make sure they are the people you need for your project.
- Have a solid contract
Your contract should specify details regarding payments, creative and other rights, and also work expectations.
- Establish clear communication
Communication is key to successful outsourcing. Share your expectations and thoughts regarding your project clearly. Never assume that other people will know what you expect of them. Efficient outsourcing is impossible without the right communication.
- Let go of control
Let people you hired do their job. There is no point in outsourcing if you are going to micromanage and control everything. The whole reason why people choose outsourcing is to concentrate on their core areas, while the hired team does other tasks.
The most important key for creating an Instagram clone is not to copy it completely. There are already people who love Instagram and they won’t need another complete copy of it. But if you bring something new to the market and stand out with your authenticity, you will definitely find your loyal users.
To create a successful app you need to remember every important detail. Because in this matter everything plays a vital role, whether it’s icon style, interface design, or overall ease of use. Thinking about ways of solving people’s problems and how to bring innovation will help you in setting the right goals. It is important to provide users with everything they need. So it’s better to learn from the already existing mistakes and successes.
And remember that everyone starts small. Your intentions and effort are what really matter. Always stay authentic and improve people’s lives and your work will pay off.