Tech & Trends30 Mar 2022
15 min read

Snapchat Alternative or How to Make an App Like Snapchat

The idea to create a new Snapchat sounds pretty promising, especially given the popularity of visual social media, and the logically following popularity of the apps for photo editing, face swapping, and selfie-filtering. In this guide, we will find out how to combine these trendy features into a single app, following the example of Snapchat

What Is Snapchat and How Does It Work

Snapchat is one of the trending social media that has the reputation of the platform suitable for teenagers only. Indeed, it comes with engaging features for photo making, sharing, and editing, mainly with the help of augmented reality features. In a nutshell, Snapchat stands somewhere between Instagram and B612, being a successful mix of a social media and photo editing app.

Snapchat Facts and Stats

Below are some interesting facts about Snapchat you are welcome to take into account and grab some useful insights.
  • Snapchat is the most popular app among US teenagers
  • There are 319 million users active daily on Snapchat
  • The users from the US, India, and France are the most active on Snapchat
  • The major part of global Snapchat users are aged 18-24, followed by the group of 13-17
  • 210 million snaps are created and shared every day on this platform
  • In 2020, Snapchat was downloaded 300 million times
  • The average Snapchat users open the app to create a snap 20 times a day
  • Snapchat earned more than $4 billion in 2021
  • Following the path of most successful startups, Snapchat was created by three fellow students of Stanford University in 2011.
  • According to some sources, Snapchat founders failed 34 times before making their app a success.
  • Google and Facebook wanted to buy Snapchat but their offers were abandoned by the Snapchat developers.

Snapchat Features That Make the App Exclusive

Foreseeing your question about how to duplicate Snapchat, let’s take a look at its essential features that make Snapchat a one-of-its-kind app.
  • Snap. A snap is both a photo the users (snappers) make and the corresponding feature, from the technical point of view. This is the core feature of Snapchat that allows users to share instant photos with their followers. The snap will disappear immediately after being viewed by the recipient.
  • Snapback. As the name suggests, a snapback is a snap sent in response to the photo shared by the user’s friend. So, in addition to chatting with text, the users can interact with each other via snaps, creating visual content.
  • Story. In our recent articles, we have already discussed the life-proven tactics to make an app like Instagram, overviewing the features of this social media as well. The Story feature on Snapchat is similar to the one Instagram has. This is a photo or video that can be published in the user profile. It will disappear in 24 hours as well.
  • Chat. This is a must-have social media feature that allows the users to send text messages to each other.
  • Lenses and filters. AR-powered lenses and filters are what make Snapchat so engaging, especially for the younger audience. Their collection is pretty wide, so Snapchat comes with almost unlimited opportunities to customize a photo, making it more attractive and attention-grabbing.
  • Memories. Memories work like storage for your snaps. Each time you create a snap, you can save it to your memories where you can view, edit and organize your snaps.
  • Discover. This is the feature brands advertised on Snapchat make use of. With its help, the users can discover branded content.

How Does Snapchat Make Money

Snapchat makes money via digital advertising, and the Discover feature we have mentioned above is the one that helps brands reach out to the target audiences. Despite its huge reach and the striking popularity of the app, the opportunities of Snapchat for business are pretty affordable – the brand can get started by running paid ads for $5 a day, so both globally-recognized and local companies are making use of Snapchat marketing.

While Snapchat is often viewed as a “for teens-only” app, the brands that run marketing campaigns on this platform are more than mature – Akura, Wall Street Journal, and Amazon are among them.

As for the latter, Snapchat is a perfect social media for eCommerce, especially when targeting the younger target audience. Its behavior patterns help the companies boost awareness at no additional cost – 35% of users send snaps to their friends when browsing the products and making the purchasing decisions, thereby expanding the ad’s reach organically.

How to Make an App Like Snapchat

Let’s find out how to make a Snapchat-like app, following the life-proven development path step by step.

1. Discover your audience

Snapchat is a specific app that is more suitable for a younger target audience. The older generation is unlikely to spend so much time on creating selfies, adding effects to them and sharing these captures with friends. So, before getting started with creating a Snapchat-like app, take one more look at your audience. Get clear on their demographics, social media habits, and interests to better tailor the unique features of your future app to their expectations.

2. Analyze your competition

At the second step, pay attention to the competitive solutions from the semi-niches to grab some winning ideas. For example, B612 is a beauty filter app. Cupace is famous for its face-swapping feature. MSQRD (the closed project already) gained popularity because of the wide range of masks the users can choose and add to their photos. Mixbooth allows for combining the facial features of different people into a single image. Tik Tok became popular because of the opportunity to make and share selfie videos.

Take one more look at all these apps, analyze their target audiences one more time and look for the ways to combine either the most winning or lacking features into a single solution.

3. Come up with a unique value proposition

While some of the first-time startups initiators ask how to clone Snapchat, the practice shows that duplicating an application makes no sense, especially when you are competing with globally recognized solutions. Instead, you have to create something even more engaging and outstanding being guided by your target audience, target market, and competition analysis.

Pay more attention to the opportunities machine learning and augmented reality open up. Leveraging these technologies will undoubtedly grow the development cost, however, the value-adding potential of ML and AR is likely to pay your investment off.

4. Validate the core ideas

Before investing in the development process, especially if you are going to employ expensive technologies like ML, AI, and AR, it would be wise to validate your ideas in advance. The easiest and the most cost-effective way to do it is to run focus group surveys, with the help of SurveyMonkey, for example.

This tool allows you to create surveys and questionnaires that you can use in a focus group to gather their opinion about your ideas, the planned features of a future app, and the ones the focus group lacks or is disappointed with. Make sure to ask them as many meaningful questions as possible since the insights you can get after analyzing the answers can completely change the development course and prevent you from making expensive mistakes.

5. Proceed with prototyping and designing

In our recent article, we have shared how to make a Tinder-style app, so some of the practices can be reused for Snapchat-like app design as well. For example, you are welcome to follow the design thinking paradigm which stands for the necessity to always keep the needs of your users in mind, suggest the ways to solve these needs as effectively as possible with the help of your app, get the users’ feedback and be always ready for further improvements.

From a practical standpoint, at this stage, you have to create the sketches of the main screens and find ways to embed the core functionality as conveniently for the users as possible. What’s more, the first sketches can be created using a pen and paper.

Then, you can transform your sketches into wireframes and digital prototypes.The latter should be one more time tested and validated with your focus group.

6. Create an MVP

After your design is ready, it’s time to proceed with creating a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) – the first version of your future app that will come with essential features only. So, you have to shortlist them in advance in order not to make your MVP overloaded (and unreasonably expensive) but still keep your future app engaging for the users.
That’s why at this stage, you have to create the core features (like registration and user profile), plus develop up to two features that add uniqueness to your future solution. After your MVP is ready, you have to test it with your users, gathering their feedback.

At this stage, you also have to decide on the platform and  tech set to create your MVP with. When it comes to social media development, the wisest strategy is to create an MVP using cross-platform development tools. Creating a cross-platform solution is much faster, easier, and cheaper compared to developing a native one, which makes this development tactic perfect for getting a quick response from the market at a relatively low cost. But keep in mind that despite all the benefits cross-platform development comes with, this strategy still requires having strong technical expertise and practical experience.

Creating market-disruptive social media and dating solutions is our core focus. Leverage our best practices to create a winning Snapchat-like app!

Hire now

7. Launch, promote and scale

After your MVP is ready, make sure to test it with real users. Listen to their opinion, gather their feedback, obtain valuable insights and suggest ways to improve your solution while being guided by their desires and expectations.
Also, promote your application to expand your reach. You may be surprised but social media platforms are the best tools to promote social media platforms, especially if your solution isn’t a clone but is a stand-alone app. Use Facebook and Instagram to promote your Snapchat-like tool – the flexible ad campaign settings will allow you to target the right audience as accurately as possible.

As one more after-launch tip, make sure to stay tuned into social media trends. They are changing very frequently but keeping pace with them is the only way to stay competitive in the social media space. For example, live streaming and augmented reality are top social media trends for 2022, so keep them in mind when creating your Snapchat-like application.

Ready to develop a Snapchat-like application? Our top-skilled programmers are here to help!

Meet Them Now

What Is The Cost to Build an App Like Snapchat

How much does Snapchat cost? Facebook and Google offered up to $30 million to buy it but the cost to develop a similar solution will be significantly lower. Below is the approximate price breakdown to create an MVP for a Snapchat-like application.
FeatureTime to createCost to Create ($50 per hour)
Sign up/sign in1005000
Personal profile1005000
Camera integration20010000
Photo sharing1005000
AR filters30015000
Live Streaming20010000
To create an app like Snapchat, it would be wise to discover the tech stack used to build it. So, Snapchat comes as a web app, plus it has native apps for Android and iOS.
  • The web version of Snapchat was created with Bootstrap and JavaScript on the frontend and Python for the backend.
  • The iOS-native app was built with Objective-C, and Android application was developed on top of Google App Engine.

Snapchat also leverages the set of machine learning and augmented reality tools to make the user experience more engaging. And as for the tech stack, you have to choose for your future Snapchat-like app, be guided by the specifics of your future solution. The choice Snapchat developers made for their web app is quite smart – Bootstrap allows for creating a great MVP at fast development speed and reasonable cost, JS is pretty powerful and flexible for creating web apps of almost any type, while Python is a top choice to strengthen the future solution with AI. Such a tech stack is also a winning choice for creating a personal website for job search and some other media projects.

But when it comes to creating iOS or Android-native apps, the choice of the possible technologies goes beyond the ones used by Snapchat. In this case, it would be better to follow the advice of the tech-savvy development company experienced with social media solutions creation.

Let Binerals team help you with choosing the tech stack for your future app. Schedule a call with our developers to make the right choice!

Get in touch

Conclusion - Make a Second Snapchat with Binerals Development Team

Developing a Snapchat-inspired application is a promising business idea, especially in the background of modern social media trends and the marketing opportunities social platforms come with. Binerals development team would be happy to share our social media development expertise and help you create a Snapchat-like app with an even more advanced features’ set!


Developing a Snapchat-inspired application is a promising business idea, especially in the background of modern social media trends and the marketing opportunities social platforms come with. Binerals development team would be happy to share our social media development expertise and help you create a Snapchat-like app with an even more advanced features’ set!
How does Snapchat work?Snapchat works as an instant photo and impression-sharing social media. With its help, you can send a quick photo (snap) to your friends and followers, get a snapback in response, send text messages and discover branded content for making better-informed purchasing decisions.
What Snapchat features make the app stand out?Snapchat is famous for its augmented reality filters which allow for making snaps customized, more attractive, engaging, and attention-grabbing. One more specific feature of Snapchat is that the snaps shared with friends and followers disappear right after being viewed.
How does Snapchat messaging work?Snapchat messaging works in the same way as it works in any other social media or instant messenger. Just write your message, add a picture or photo, and send it to the person you want to chat with.
How much did it cost to make Snapchat?The founders of Snapchat created the app by themselves without hiring additional specialists so the initial cost of the app could be measured in their time and effort only. However, after the app got popular, Google and Facebook offered up to $30 million to buy it. In 2020, the market value of Snapchat was $19,4 billion.
How does Snapchat earn money?Snapchat earns money through digital advertising. Both globally-recognized and local companies are welcome to run ad campaigns on Snapchat at a minimal daily spend of $5. What’s more, Snapchat users are very likely to ask for the opinion of each other, resharing branded snaps and expanding their ads reach in an organic way.
What is the Snapchat technology stack?Snapchat uses JS, and Bootstrap on their web app frontend and Python on the backend. The iOS-native app is created with Swift and Objective-C, while the Android application was developed on top of Google App Engine.
How hard is it to create something like Snapchat?Creating a Snapchat-like application isn’t so challenging if you have strong technical support. Binerals development team would be glad to support you along the development path, sharing our best practices for social media development.

Was this article useful? Feel free to rate it!

Share your thoughts! Leave a comment below.

Do any of the tactics above suit your development strategy? Let’s choose the winning tech stack together!

Contact Us!