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How Much does it Cost to Build a Pinterest Clone?

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Yuri Musienko
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From this article, you will learn the cost of the development and launch of a Pinterest clone – a social network with identic features and in many respects similar design. We’ll tell you what a similar project’s budget consists of, what each stage (component) of development is like, and how much it costs.

Market research

The first thing to do when launching your project is to undertake thorough market research to understand what competitors you have except for Pinterest and find out what features and in what form should be implemented to attract as many users as possible (you can’t please everyone).

During the market research, you should study Pinterest’s target audience, isolate and analyze direct competitors, define the market specificities and acceptable monetization model. It’s also important to determine a particular niche and target audience, which you’ll be focused on.

Target audience research is the creation of an average profile of potential users by studying their interests, preferences, habits, pain areas, and consumer behavior. For this purpose, you need to analyze the audience of Pinterest and Dribbble, DudePins, FoodGawker, and We Heart It, which are very much like it. You can do it on your own using marketing research or by hiring experts.

From these studies, you should learn the following:

  • if there are alternatives to Pinterest that the users like;
  • what they like exactly — features that they value above all others;
  • if there are problem areas when using similar apps;
  • what reasons drive people to use apps that are similar to Pinterest and pay for premium services embedded in them.
Thereafter you need to analyze competitors and match this information with the results of the target audience research to clarify the following matters:
  • their key features that attract users;
  • what things about their products people don’t like (causes of their failure);
  • if there are ways to solve problem areas in their services;
  • their unique value proposition;
  • monetization models.
Processing of collected data will permit an understanding of what features attract people and what pushes them away. This will help you create your own, improved version of Pinterest that would be optimized for the chosen target audience and/or niche. In order not to make mistakes, we recommend you entrust marketing research to a professional marketing agency or a development company, which provides a full variety of development services.

Choice of a monetization method

According to the financial statement, the main revenue generator of Pinterest is selling places for contextual advertisements. Moreover, the company provides brands with marketing tools to analyze users’ behavior and preferences. Although, all of this has not yet allowed Pinterest to become profitable, but given that the company didn’t start taking over monetization until 2019, this state of affairs becomes not so surprising.

Below we show how the screen of the desktop version of Pinterest and advertising by Home Depot and Walmart integrated into it look. Pay attention to the correspondence between sizes of ordinary images and advertising.

If we open a board (category); for example, art deco, we see an invitation to use the text box «More ideas», where apart from a large number of images there will be a suggestion to buy something corresponding with the request «art deco». Besides, you’ll also see advertisements, which not only are the same size but also the same color scheme of the board.

Selling places for advertisements is a perfect option for such platforms as Pinterest, where the main content is photos and images. But when you’ll be creating a Pinterest clone, you don’t have to use only this way to make money. There are other monetization models aside from it:

  • Subscription model. This is usually providing brands with access to additional capabilities by subscription (business account, access to marketing data, more advertisements) or access to unique content (scientific data, professional photos, erotic photos).
  • Referral programs. You attach referral links to some images on your site. These links bring income every time your users become leaders. Links may take you to products or photographers’ portfolios, auctions, or travel agency websites.
  • Users get access to a free basic version of a social network with insufficient functionality or restrictions to show content. It’s necessary to pay to lift restrictions.

Cost of the development of a Pinterest clone

The main factors influencing the cost of building a clone are the functionality and complexity of the project and the developers’ hourly rates. What features to implement and how to do it is determined in the process of market research. Hourly rate mainly depends on developers’ location.

Here is the developers’ average wage in five of the most popular countries of the offshore development according to the survey of 2000 specialists by CodinGame.

Here are averaged freelancers' hourly rates by regions based on data from such websites as PayScale, SalaryExpert, Indeed, Upwork, and TopTal.

Web development of a Pinterest analog

UI / UX. The design of Pinterest is considered one of the best among platforms with images due to its simplicity and conciseness and well-designed algorithm of building a grid of images by their content and size. Therefore, you shouldn’t reinvent the wheel when developing a design of a Pinterest clone – just adapt it to the chosen niche and target audience.

In so doing, don’t forget about the following key aspects:

  • There shouldn’t be anything unnecessary in the content part because additional panels (even the useful ones) might congest the interface.
  • You should respect the strict color hierarchy (it’s black, red, and white for Pinterest), and priorities in the position of buttons.
  • We also recommend creating a white background so that there will be space among multicolored pictures (due to that, the view won’t be crowded).
Depending on where you are and/or what country you’ll hire web developers from, the cost of the creation of UI/UX design of a Pinterest clone will start at $3300 for Ukraine or $8900 for the USA.

Web development. After you’ve determined the functionality and design, you’ll need to define the stack of technologies, which will be used to generate code. This will also influence the development cost.

Integration with cloud storage is needed because such online service as Pinterest has to bear a heavy server load: simultaneous impressions of various images to hundreds of thousands of users. Of course, you can make your grid of servers, but it will cost you additional several million dollars. It’s unlikely that such a project will pay off.

As for the cost of the code generation of the Pinterest clone, everything depends on your goals here. If you want to primarily launch MVP, it will cost you at least $7 500 for Ukraine or $20 000 for the USA. Whilst the development of the Pinterest clone with full functionality will cost at least $18 000 for Ukraine or $48 000 for the USA.

Creation of clone’s mobile versions

You should consider such particularity of Pinterest-like products as multiplatformity when creating the architecture of your project. This allows launching your service on personal computers, smartphones, and tablets. So we recommend you build a mobile app for the Pinterest clone.

The cost of the creation of a mobile app – a Pinterest clone – also depends on whether you want to develop MVP or an app with full functionality. The price of MVP starts at $9 000 for Ukraine and $24 000 for the USA. The cost of a fully-featured mobile app starts at $21 000 for Ukraine and $56 000 for the USA.

When developing a mobile application, pay attention to several things. Firstly, media content load should be as quick as possible while maintaining a high quality of images displaying. On Android, limited resources of the platform might complicate it, so you’ll need to optimize the work with content by means of such libraries as Glide and Picasso.

Secondly, users’ loading images on the server and file zipping and potential problems with content playback such as buffering and slow loading might require mobile device developers’ additional effort. Therefore, you may need more time and money.

The rest of the creation of a Pinterest-like app is practically in no way different from standard work with logic and data when developing mobile products. Here is a full stack of technologies that you may use to create a mobile version of the Pinterest clone for Android and iOS.

Stack for the development of a mobile app – a Pinterest clone – for Android:

Stack for the development of a mobile app – a Pinterest clone for iOS:

Monitoring and maintenance

After the app deployment, be prepared that the users will complain about bugs, errors, slow work, and other problems. This is normal as not a single software, whoever has created it, is launched in perfect condition. Moreover, even the successful services, which have been working for years, glitch at times because of errors in a code or logic of architecture.

To eliminate post-release problems rapidly, you need a support service, which will get users’ feedback, and a team of programmers, who will eliminate shortcomings. If this is a small project, then the maintenance of these services will cost you at least $2000 per month if specialists from Ukraine will take this over and $5500 per month if American specialists will be dealing with it.

Besides, don’t forget about the cost of hosting and cloud storage. The cheapest hosting for similar projects costs only $20 per month, which is enough for services with less than 1000 simultaneous views. Whilst platforms, which dozens or hundreds of thousands of people are viewing, need hosting for $20 000 or more.

Not to worry about the bandwidth of your hosting, you better connect your Pinterest clone to service providers, who can scale up their services depending on the app load. This allows solving the problem with lags because of a server overload as well as optimizes payment for hosting: a fee is charged for the use – the more capacity people exploited, the more they have paid, and vice versa.

How Much does it Cost to Build a Pinterest Clone? key takeaways:
  1. Market research
  2. Choice of a monetization method
  3. Cost of the development of a Pinterest clone
  4. Web development of a Pinterest analog
  5. Creation of clone’s mobile versions
  6. Monitoring and maintenance
Merehead does professional development of create a site like Pinterest. If you have questions, contact us for a free consultation.

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