Ever thought about how Tik Tok became so popular with millions and billions of users around the globe? It’s stunning how many hours people, especially the youth, spend watching videos on this social media platform. The outcome? The Chinese owner released an internal memo saying its total revenue jumped by 111% to $34.3bn (£24.7bn) for 2020.
Now the big question! How to make an app like TikTok? Is that possible? In this article, we will discuss many aspects that answer the question ‘’how to make an app like TikTok’. We will talk about the algorithms behind this social media app, technical stack, cost, and much more.
You may want to consider this article on how to make an app like Instagram. However, in this article, we will talk only about TikTok.
Let’s get started!
What is the Point of TikTok?
After all, what is the point of TikTok? Why did it go viral? Parents are in a panic. Teens are glued to their smartphones watching videos. So, what’s the deal? What’s so unique about TikTok?
Do you want an honest and sincere answer to this question? Well, the younger generation is bored. TikTok keeps them busy while allowing a unique way to express themselves.
And you know what? They are also lazy dudes and TikTok is very convenient to use. Once you are there, you are hooked right away!
There is always something new on TikTok. A new dance, a new joke.
This app is a place where teens are left alone and their parents don’t know what they are up to. It is a place for self-expression. You don’t need to be a professional in order to make TikTok videos. TikTok is rich in features that make creating, editing, and posting videos extremely easy.
It’s easy, fun and it’s extremely entertaining!
The success of TikTok is partly due to its algorithms. It is a system that determines which videos will appear on your For You page. This might change over time depending on your viewing preferences and will reflect your current state of mind. It is a powerful tool that matches users’ moods and likes.
These algorithms are based on three basic functions:
1. User interaction
2. Video information
3. Device and account setting
This algorithm considers which accounts you follow, comments you make, videos you liked or shared on the app. So, anything you do on your account is recorded in the system for interaction with you. You mark a video as “not interested”? You will never get a similar video. But if you watched a video all the way to the end, the system marks similar content as your preference.
Videos gather information based on the content you normally seek out on the Discover tab. This can include captions, sounds, hashtags, and more.
Device and accounting setting
Among these preferences are language preference, country setting (you may be more likely to see content from people in your own country), type of mobile device, categories of interest you selected as a new user.
How to Make an App Like TikTok?
These are 4 steps to make an app like TikTok.
Research the idea
No matter how great your idea is, it needs thorough research. For example, you may need to know your target audience — their age, place of living, devices used, preferences. This takes time and can be done both through the internet and social polls. Once you are clear about what you really want, you can turn to find a development team.
Find a development team
You need an experienced team that can help you build the app. Your team is the key to success or failure.
Outsourcing is a better idea than doing it in-house as it is more cost-effective. You can find a lot of outsourcing companies in Eastern Europe that pride themselves both on high quality and reasonable prices.
You can discuss the concept of your app, features, and user roles, decide on the technology stack and finally have the initial estimate at this stage.
Any app needs to be tested in the market. Minimum Viable Product is the process of developing the prototype and releasing it in the market to collect feedback from early adopters. These are the basic functionalities that you may use while developing MVP.
Now that you are equipped with basic steps to build an MVP for your TikTok-like app, it’s time to develop a prototype and release it in the market.
Once you do that, collect feedback and build your final product on these suggestions. This is an important step for the success or failure of your app since you will get hands-on advice on what works well and what doesn’t.
Build the final product and release it in the market
Once you build your final product based on the feedback of early adopters, you can release it in the marketplace. At this point, it is important that your users know about your app. You can promote it on social platforms or your website. Alternatively, you can use paid ads. Make sure to clearly explain what the app is about and how people can use it.
Tech Stack to Make an App Like TikTok
Now let’s talk about the technology stack. Let’s touch on the issue of the programming language.
It depends on whether you want to build a hybrid application or an application for iOS and Android only. For hybrid applications, the best choice is Flutter. Consider Xamarin, and React Native as well. For Android, consider Kotlin and Java. If you build an app for iOS, you can use Swift or C.
Use Google cloud storage or Amazon S3.
Consider MongoDB, SQL, and MySQL for databases.
For notifications, the best choices are Google Cloud Messaging for Android and Apple Push Notification Service for iOS.
Use Google Maps API and MapKit/Core Location frameworks (for iOS) for the geolocation.
Cost to Make an App Like TikTok
There is no straightforward answer to this question. The cost depends on several factors like the complexity of the app, the platform used, the location of developers, the number of hours needed, etc. The easiest way to come up with the approximate cost is to know the number of hours needed and the rate per hour. You can multiply the number of hours needed by the rate per hour.
Let’s have a look at the rate per hour in different regions to have a rough understanding of how much an app may cost.
As you can see, India and Eastern Europe offer the lowest rate. Don’t be misled by these rates. There are many qualified development companies in Eastern Europe like Armenia or India. You just need to check their portfolio and see the type of success cases they have.
Now let’s have a look at the personnel needed.
You will need:
- Project manager
- UI/UX designer
- Android developer
- iOS developer
- Backend developer
- Database specialists
- QA specialists.
And here is the number of hours needed to develop an MVP for an app like TikTok.
Basic Features Estimate in hours (min-max)
Personal profile — 24–40
Likes/Comments — 16 -32
Video recording/uploading — 40–80
Video editing — 80–120
Social sharing — 8–20
Push notifications — 16–24
Music Library — 16–24
Live streaming — 24–42
Real-Time Analytics — 16–32
Geolocation — 16–32
Hashtags — 30–60
Settings — 28–40
To give you a rough idea, consider this. An application that may cost you $40,000 to build in the US, will cost around $9000 if developed in Ukraine or Armenia.
Yes, it’s easy to get inspired by TikTok as it went viral so easily. However, if you try to clone it, most probably it won’t raise interest anymore. Therefore, try to give some unique proposition to your own app.
Ideas rule. Ideas that touch the heart of the audience rule the market. Try to bring your own say when you build an app. And don’t forget that your development team is your right hand. Your app’s design and interface are what the target audience looks at first.
Good luck with your effort to build a TikTok-like app!