How To Make Social Media App Like TikTok: Cost, Design & Business Model?

AgileTech Vietnam
7 min readAug 6, 2020


Social media app like TikTok has dominated the world with millions and billions of users around the globe. Moreover, TikTok also offers many perks that thousands of businesses are marking their presence.

But, how to transform a business idea into a scalable video sharing social media app like TikTok? Well, in this article, we will help you understand how to develop a TikTok like app — the technical and monetary side.

At the end, based on our experience, you will fully prepared for the whole process as well as the cost to build social media app similar to TikTok.

Let’s get started!

Can I Make An App Like TikTok To Earn Money?

Before we look at the technical aspect and estimated cost of the app, let us first give you what TikTok is used for and why this video-sharing app is so popular across the world.

Read also: How much money can you earn with free apps?

Why is TikTok so popular?

Despite the downfall of of Vine, Chinese technology named TikTok have grown immensely popular. According to GlobalWebIndex:

ikTok keeps millions of users glued to it. Once using TikTok, you can stream live broadcasts, record short video clips, add favorite tracks, and post the results on social networks. There, users lip-sync and re-enact their favorite scenes from music videos.

Especially, ByteDance’s TikTok uses Artificial Intelligence to take over the world.

  • For users: Tik Tok use AI to calculate what content will be the best fit for them.
  • For content creators: Tik Tok will help them build the virtual videos, by editing with music, filters and other enhancement.

TikTok Statistics That You Need To Know

Next, here are some statistics that prove how big the TikTok market is and how the app is ruling the world!

tiktok revenue statistics 2020 why tiktok is so popular

It’s impressive, right?

TikTok isn’t the only one that the users are following. There are many social media app like TikTok in the application market.

This app has taken the online world with thousands os users that joining the trend every single day. However, if you want to find an alternative social media app like TikTok, we got your back!

social media app like tiktok and top 2 tiktok alternatives

So, all in all, once creating social media app like TikTok, make sure you have analyzed it properly and reviewed your potential competitors.

How To Create Social Media App Like Tinder?

In the next step, check out the infographic to find out how to build app like TikTok. Since you are just starting up in the industry, it may be time-consuming and expensive to develop a TikTok clone app.

Therefore, making an MVP first that contains all the must-have features will help you get feedback from your target audience and deciding what features to develop further. You also have more chances to get investments when having a MVP version.

The must-have app like TikTok features

top 10 must have features for app like tiktok

1. Login

Login screen is the one that you will have to pay the most attention to. Users can register/login via a social network and phone number.

  • Facebook or Twitter or Google (two or more networks influence the estimate)
  • Transfer of account photo and full name included
  • Creation of Facebook developer accounts (develop, staging, production)

2. Notifications

It’s necessary to add a push social notification function to keep users posted. The dance app like TikTok should send over real-time notifications like:

  • New likes, comments on posts, or new friends
  • Automatically notify when people they follow make a new update on their profile

3. Search

Users can search for one type of entity by one criterion.

4. Video feed

How to make a TikTok-like app successful? It’s necessary to provide users with an easy and fast way to post videos. As a result, each next criterion influences the estimate which based on each user experience.

5. Setting

Under the Settings section, users will be able to:

  • Manage a profile (basic) such as personal information (text fields, birthday, gender), photo
  • Change their password
  • Block users
  • Get feedback for company in case of any dispute

6. Edit video

Users should have capabilities to edit the video on the social media app like TikTok and Likee. Not only creating and sharing their videos, here, you should allow user to save them in the draft to be published on a later time.

7. Filters & effects

There can be some basic options like:

  • Flipping, speeding up the video, and more
  • Moreover, adding an opportunity to turn on ‘beauty’ mode
  • Or the users’ skin more smooth functionality

8. Like & comment

Like many other social media platform Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, TikTok provides an opportunity to like, unlike the video and comment on it.

9. Sharing

It’s necessary to have a sharing option. Users can easily share their videos on other social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Specially, TikTok offers to connect the user’s profile to other social networks.

10. Edit Profile

Offer the users to customize their profiles, e.g. the ability to change the profile pictures or username, add a bio, and more. Customized options are always a good idea.

TikTok-like-app Admin Panel Features

Admin side of the TikTok application offers multiple functions like user management. For example, manage report videos, user management, content management, notification management.

  • Admin authorization: Admins can register, log in, and log out
  • Admin management: Admins can manage other administrators, full name or email
  • User management: Admins can search by name, ID or email

What’s TikTok Technology Stack

After knowing all the must-have features for social media app like TikTok, now we will see the technical aspect. Let us define the whole software development process TikTok tech stack.

Programming Language For App Like TikTok

  • For an Android application like TikTok, you can use the Kotlin and Java programming languages.
  • If you build social media app like TikTok for iOS, you can use Swift or C.
  • Besides, when building a hybrid application, you can use technologies such as Flutter and Xamarin and React Native.

Cloud storage:

  • Google cloud storage or Amazon S3
  • The cost depends on the selected operation, network, and data storage.

Artificial intelligence technology:

  • Used for filtering and personalizing data to thousands of users.
  • TikTok also uses the AI algorithm to understand and automatically add tags with the help of image and object recognition.

For example, in the virtual rain feature, users can hold up their hands and control or even pause the virtual raindrops. Because This type of technology requires the AI to detect and effectively respond to human body parts.


  • MongoDB
  • SQL
  • MySQL


  • Google Cloud Messaging for Android
  • Apple Push Notification Service for iOS


  • Google Maps API
  • MapKit/Core Location frameworks (for iOS)

Read also: Top 5 Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) Models & Methodologies

How Does TikTok Make Money?

According to analysis, TikTok ByteDance income has reached more than 7 billion dollars in the first half of 2019. Sounds interesting right! Let’s discuss the Tik Tok business model!

In-App purchase

TikTok offers in-app purchases of coins, starting at 100 for $0.99 and leveling up to 10,000 for $99.99.

  • Users can give coins to their favorite creators.
  • Also, these coins can be exchanged into digital gifts.
  • Sensor Tower reported that TikTok users worldwide spent $3.5 million on in-app purchases during the month of October 2018

TikTok ads

Similar to YouTube, TikTok is providing an advertisement to promote brands. Many businesses worldwide start advertising on TikTok going forward given its explosive popularity.

  • Small and large brands are using TikTok to promote their products or services through in-feed video ads.
  • Also, TikTok is offering brand takeover ads for their users.

For example, Pizza Hut’s recent campaign features such on-brand motifs as the iconic red hat, sunglasses and their shopfront as stickers for user to accessorise their clips with. According to Shichangbu, the videos featuring Pizza Hut’s stickers were streamed for over 1 million times.

How Much Does It Cost To Create Social Media App Like TikTok?

You’ve understand how to make social media app like TikTok, top 5 similar apps like TikTok, and the set of features and technology stack that makes TikTok like app.

Lastly, it is the time to get on the the most crucial part — The app development cost of TikTok like app.

Financial side matters, doesn’t it? Well, here’s the answer to it.

The TikTok app cost lies in the valuation of a number of factors — features, allocation of resources, and the technologies to use.


Designing an app application is always a struggle because of a decent amount of money and time. It is something that needs to hook users in the very first instance.

  • Android app ~ 100 hours
  • iOS app ~ 100 hours

Read also: Top 8 UI/UX Design Trends For Mobile App Development

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