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How Much Does it Cost to Create a TikTok Clone?

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Yuri Musienko
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TikTok is a social network that makes it possible to make videos, music videos, go live, and send messages to one another. It really became a breakthrough two years ago for teenagers and young people (on average, the target audience of the app is aged up to 34 years old).

It might seem that it’s quite difficult to develop such an app. Nevertheless, there are several competitors in the consumer market. In this article, we’ll consider analogs of this popular social network, the uniqueness of the product, and tips on how to create an app like TikTok.

A little bit about TikTok

Before talking about how to create the app and how much its development will cost, let’s figure out what this social network is like. TikTok is a product of ByteDance company. It was launched in September 2016 in China under the name Douyin. It took the app a year and a half to defeat all competitors within the country. User count stood at 300 million two years after the launch and 800 million by the end of 2018.

Initially, the platform was conceived as a service for the creation of fun sketches, videos, dances, etc. However, you can text, write comments, and go live on the app. The main advantage of this program is a huge musical database that can be used in videos. Remember that you may have problems with that in other social networks down to account blocking.

Another high-demand «thing» of TikTok is so-called challenges when a person in a video does any act and then offers other users to repeat it. Earlier, his app was popular mostly with teenagers, but now people promote their companies with its help and many show business celebrities are registered here.

TikTok has the following features for users:

  • sign up – you need to sign up to have a possibility to post videos. Without this simple procedure, you can only scroll the feed;
  • notifications – they contain data about coming events, trends, and messages from other users;
  • QR codes – they allow finding a person, event, and other activities quickly (like on Instagram);
  • video clip recording – this is the main feature of the app and it’s also possible to make duet videos when one half is created by one user and the second half is created by another user.
According to data for the late summer of 2020, TikTok remains the most popular app leaving behind such «giants» as Facebook and Instagram.

App peculiarities

Of course, this service is primarily for the youth. Its peculiar aspects include:
  • its own base of tracks – as already said, a vast amount of music, which can be used with no further consequences, is available to users;
  • viral content – almost all activity of this social network is built on this principle and this allows content to grow into flash mobs and provides quick promotion;
  • convenient video editor – work is simplified due to the fact that you can edit clips right in the app (there are filters, masks, tools for video cutting, etc.);
  • freedom of action – the popularity of any account is due solely to its owner’s creativity.
There’s no need to invent new features when developing a clone. It’s enough to use the principal singularities of this app as a basis and update them according to the specificity of the product you want to create (focus, target audience, location).

Market analysis

To get a better understanding of the main «things», which help to get success with users, let’s briefly run through the most popular analogs of the app:
  1. Likee is one of the similar programs. You can make a video, add various special effects or edit the recorded material here. One of the app specificities is the «augmented reality» feature. The users of this network participate in challenges, record videos, which they post on their pages later, just like on TikTok.
  2. Kwai – this app is more widespread in Asia. You can record and post videos here as well. The users give prominence to a big variety of free filters, features, and design variations.
  3. Vigo Vide – this app is similar to TikTok. It makes it possible to record videos, make various slide shows, etc. You can edit some elements out of the clip, add filters or text, speed up or slow down the clip.
  4. Quik – it's a program for those who love making videos. It’s suitable for GoPro fans. It’s possible to import videos, edit them, or add special effects and music. There’s not a lot of additional features, but you can speed up or slow down the video, add time-lapses, and share them on any of social media.
  5. Zynn – it’s an absolute copy of TikTok, only its users get money for video views and for engaging their friends. This app became available for download in May and within just one month, it became one of the most popular apps in the United States of America. There’s every chance the program will best TikTok and become the most popular one in this market segment.
Even quick research demonstrates that some of the above-listed apps are able to compete with TikTok, the last thing on the list especially gives confidence. Zynn attracts people using a famous pyramid scheme. Each new user gets a referral code after signing up, which he can share on social media. When the friends click through the link, they get $1 in their accounts, and the person, who has placed the code, – $20 for each new person he gets to join.

A good idea is to create an app with a specific thematic focus. This can be a network with a certain musical style, a product with a professional focus, or an app for older people. A selection of themes is large.

It’s also possible to bet on a certain country (it would be preferable to exclude the USA because there are plenty of similar products). Filters and special effects can contain specific ethnic motives and focuses.

Marketing strategy development

A formula for success for any business is a good marketing strategy. Whereby the promotion campaign should be started before the app presentation so that there will be enough people to sign up at the time of the launch. For example, as for TikTok, the information about it was disseminated on other social networks and among people.

You need to take several steps for your app to find its users:

  1. Advertising campaign – use the famous people’s services to attract the audience to the program. For example, if you want to create a network with video recipes of various dishes, you may invite popular food bloggers. People, who have warmed-up pages on social media with a big number of followers, will be extremely useful. Offer them advertising in return for promoting your product.
  2. Social media – create pages dedicated to your app on all popular resources. Communicate with your target audience, answer the questions, and tell as much information about the coming product as you can. In such a way, you will be able to establish a base of potential users even before the launch of the program.
  3. Referrals – we’ve talked about this by mentioning Zynn. Instead of money for attracting friends, the users can get exclusive effects or filters. You can make a collection of features, which becomes available only after completing a specific challenge.
Let’s talk about the price and what the cost of app development depends on.

How is the price for app development set?

The cost of the app primarily depends on the number of hours the development takes. The cost is also determined by the most expensive components and adaptability of the future product to various platforms and devices.

The costliest components of an app

These aspects will require more hours to develop, which is why they account for a lion’s share of a budget:
  1. A big number of screens, information, and actions in the program. Information is all graphical, text, or numeric data (tags, videos, photos, comments). To display a large amount of information, the designer needs to think of how it will look like and the developer should code and prepare the layout.
  2. Backend – a server system, which contains the business logic of the project and database.
  3. Admin panel. App management, users’ accounts, and content are in it. Designing, interface coding, backend, etc. are executed here.
  4. Interaction with other services. For instance, payment through the payment system or bank, possibility to share the app on social media.
Speaking of a big number of hours, we don’t mean that the project is long to create. Several specialists can be engaged in the project and they will perform tasks simultaneously. Payment is calculated for hours of a certain employee (designer, programmer, and the like).

Number of supported platforms

If the app should be developed for both Android and iOS – the second platform almost doubles the cost of work. Besides, in the case of iOS, the app should be compatible with the latest version of the iPhone and the most popular previous variations. As for Android, it should be compatible with the version Android 4.4 and above.

The possibility to adapt the app to tablets is plus about 75% of the cost of app development. If you need the program to support older versions of iOS and Android, the price will go up because there are certain nuances. Therefore, we recommend creating the app for the most popular versions of platforms to begin with, so that the development won’t hit your pocket.

The cost and stages of app creation

The process of app creation for iOS and Android consists of several stages. Time frames of these stages may differ. We will specify the approximate time required for each separate stage.
  1. Cost evaluation – 1 to 3 days (it’s most commonly carried out for free).
  2. Detailed examination of objectives, research of a market niche – 1 to 5 days.
  3. Writing terms of reference, creation of the scheme – 5 to 15 days.
  4. Design development – 5 to 15 days.
  5. Programming – 18 days and more depending on the project complexity.
  6. Testing – 5 to 10 days.
1 hour of work costs at least $50-60. Totaled up, if we convert working days to hours, the development of a simple app will take about 300 hours (approximately $18 thous). If you need a more complex program, its creation may need 500 hours and more ($30 thous. and more). That being said, it’s not the final total as we remember about the development of versions for each platform, backup, etc.

Merehead does professional development of how to create an app like TikTok. If you have questions, contact us for a free consultation.

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