Given the popularity of social media platforms and their diversity, the idea to create a website like Instagram makes a lot of sense. However, there is still no point in copying popular solutions (at least, if you don’t want to sell your app to the initial idea owner). While the latter tactic also does exist, let’s find out how to make an app like Instagram step-by-step to develop an actually winning and competitive solution.
Before dwelling on the strategy to create a website like Instagram, let’s take a deeper look at this social media, finding out what makes it special in the opinion of the users and discovering some facts and stats about it.
So, what’s the secret behind Instagram’s success, despite the fact that this app is still free to use? As you know, it was created by Facebook, and perhaps, this was the fact that made the community pay attention to Instagram. Then, Instagram contributed to the development of some strong trends (for example, those that define the modern standards of beauty), and in response to the growing number of users, Instagram turned into one of the most winning platforms for social media marketing.
Now, influencer marketing is blooming within this social media, and nevertheless, Instagram is still free. It doesn’t charge influencers for creating and sharing their posts, as well as for placing affiliate links. The only way Instagram makes money is through paid advertising in a news feed and Stories.
However, according to the statement made by Business Insider, the users’ preferences are changing. Most of them are already tired from social media advertising which is not always relevant and is impossible to block. Instead, subscription and membership are a way to not only earn but deliver the content of higher quality, free from promo posts and intrusive ads. Indeed, in this case, you should always take the solvency of the audience, and their digital spending habits into account before deciding to create an app like Instagram according to this business model.
How to build apps like Instagram and avoid creating an Instagram clone? Below is the five-step strategy, suggested according to the best practices of Agile and Lean development methodologies.
Developing ideas is almost always more challenging than developing the solutions themselves. In the first step to make an app like Instagram, you have to come up with a specific and unique idea to make an Instagram-inspired solution outstanding.
As an option to come up with a winning idea for your future app, try Design Thinking. The essence of the approach is to develop empathy towards future users, understand their pain points as deeply as possible, find out what is lacking in the apps they use, and suggest several ways to satisfy their needs with your software.
As for the latter, you can try “The Worst Possible” methodology. The essence of the approach is clear from its name – suggest some ways to make things worse, turn on the creative thinking and freedom to get an insight on how to make your app work better.
After you have developed an idea for your future Insta-like, it is necessary to validate it through market research. At this stage, the task is to research the market and business environment as deeply as possible, find the invisible patterns, pay strong attention to the trends and competition. Now, you are welcome to use the life-proven PEST, SWOT, Five Forces, and focus group studies.
The first prototype has to be neither expensive nor complex. However, it still should convey the core idea behind your app – you can do it with the help of Figma or even using a pen and paper. For example, here is what the first prototype of Instagram (Burbn those days) looked like.
To summarize, creating a prototype is never a one-time action. Instead, this is the process of validating the ideas further and creating new ones, when testing the prototype with your future audience.
After the core ideas of your future app along with its prototype are developed and validated, it’s time to build an app like Instagram in the form of its first MVP. At this stage, it is better to think about partnering with a development vendor to access their expertise and reuse the best practices.
For example, we at Binerals, hire top-skilled programmers with the highest-end expertise with dating and social media solutions development. Following the strategy of outsourcing software development in Ukraine, you are welcome to create an Instagram-like solution with our help.
How to make a social media app like Instagram and where to move from the last development stage? Now, you have to launch your app, but most importantly, grow and promote it. Competing with popular social media solutions and attracting the audience will be challenging but here is where the targeted advertising is likely to help.
As you know, Facebook has the smartest in-build ads system at a relatively low cost per lead, so consider using it to attract the first users. The specific campaign settings will allow you to target the users as accurately as possible, taking into account the core idea behind your app and matching it with their interests.
How long does it take to build an app like Instagram, what is its cost, and what features do you have to create for an MVP? Below is the approximate breakdown of the cost to build an app like Instagram.
Time to create
Cost to Create ($50 per hour)
This is the core feature to begin the interaction with the app. Consider adding instant login with Google and Facebook, plus Apple if you are going to create a native app or the major share of the users use iOS devices.
User profile is the most important feature of an Instagram-like app, especially if you would like to build it as visual as Instagram itself. Here you have to combine visual aesthetics with functionality and leave the room for the users to be creative with their profiles.
This is a simpler feature that may work in the same way as it works in Instagram or Facebook. As an option, you can add content filtering features as well.
Subscribe/connect with other users
This feature makes the social media app “social”. When creating it, don’t forget about the users’ privacy and the opportunity to limit their connections/interactions in your app.
With this feature, you will keep the users engaging. Pay special attention to UI writing when creating push notifications – the calls to action should be inspiring and motivating.
Search or matching
In addition to photo sharing, some Instagram users use it for dating with the help of search and geolocation. That’s why some kind of matching algorithm can also make sense for your app. But keep in mind that this is a difficult-to-create and expensive feature since it is powered by AI. Validate the idea twice before embedding it.
Video streaming is another must-develop feature for a social media app. It is not necessary to build the whole app around it but modern users still should have the opportunity to create and share video content.
For an Instagram-like application, photo filters are a must. Get inspired by the ones embedded by Snapchat (but take the audience specific into account – not all of them would be eager to post their photos with “cat” masks). What’s more, there are a lot of photo-filtering APIs to streamline the development process and make the cost a little lower.
In total, the cost to create an app like Instagram is nearly $50,000 for an MVP. However, this is a rough estimate since the final price will depend on the features, their complexity, and the platform you create the application for. As usual, you have three options to choose from, depending on the software your target audience uses.
In this article, we have dwelled on how to develop an app like Instagram. Our top-skilled programmers are right here to help you with this task, supporting you along the development path. Get in touch with us right now to unlock our up-to-date expertise and the best development practices to build an Instagram-like solution and make it market-disruptive!