How much does it Cost to develop a Social Media App like instagram?

calender May 22, 2023
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Sunil Kumar

Principle Solution Architect

As Twitter’s chaotic transformation continues post Elon Musk’s takeover, people want an alternative social network as they are uncertain of the platform’s future. Amid the confusion, several Twitter alternatives have seen a surge among users in the past months.

Hive Social is the latest to gain momentum online, as it is an app similar to Twitter. According to app analytics firm Sensor Tower, Hive Social saw approximately 871,000 installs worldwide-more than 1/3 last week alone, gained 1 million followers in November 2022, and has gained the top spot in the social networking category on app stores in the US.

What is Hive Social all About

Hive is a social media platform developed and launched in 2019 with the USP of being a chronologically created user-friendly multimedia-sharing platform and the absence of advertisements. The app grew its subscriber base from 15,000 to over 34,000 active users, predominantly Gen Z, after just one viral TikTok video and tweet in February 2021, touching 1 million users in November 2022.

Hive’s features combine Twitter and Instagram concepts, including photo and video posts, status updates, reposting content, clicking hashtags to discover similar content, restricting people who can comment on your post, and a personalized music section.

There is no character limit on posts and a lack of algorithms surfacing content as the timelines are chronological-which means everything appears in the feed in the order it is posted. There are no verified accounts or promoted posts.

Hive’s viral rise over the past week and hype associated with other Twitter alternatives have been a blessing in disguise for businesses who wish to develop a social media app, who earlier thought that the industry has become too saturated for the new entry.

Now that you know how Hive works, let us see how you can build a social network like Hive and social media app development costs in the next section.

How Much Does it Cost to Develop a Social Media App like Hive?

One of the most lucrative and widely used markets is social media. With the number of people using social media apps skyrocketing, the demand for new apps with unique functionalities is rising. The social media app development cost, like Hive, depends on the required features, platform, UI/UX design, and tech stack, which in turn can be in the range of $30,000 to $250,000.

This range, however, will depend entirely on the location of the social media app development agency. For example, If you choose a social media app development company in Asia, it may be less than the hourly development rates in the US or UK.

RegionRates per hour

Now that we have looked at region-wise development hours, let us segregate the development cost on the basis of two critical factors.

Approximate social media app development cost according to the complexity

According to best practices of a mobile app development process, starting your project with a Minimum viable product (MVP) is a must as it can help you decide if the market will accept your product which is a potential advantage. The approximate price range to build an MVP starts from $10,000 to $30,000 with basic features.

App Complexity LevelApproximate Cost
Basic App$25,000 to $75,000
Simple App$50,000 to $150,000
Complex App$125,000 to $250,000

Let us now see the social media app development costs according to the development team – in-house vs outsourcing

VariableIn-House CostsOutsourcing Costs
Cost per hire$4000$2000
Team Salary$150,000$40,000
IT ExpensesMac: $1800$0
Technology Training$1000$0
Software License$250+$0
Paid Benefits$7000$0

Factors Influencing Development Costs

Based on our experience working with social media clients on a global scale, the following factors have been found to impact social media app development costs. They are pointers you must know before you engage the services of a firm for app development in order to get a better estimate and save money and time in the long run.

Factors Influencing social media app development cost

1. Target Audience and Choice of Platform

Coming up with the exact target audience and features that attract them the most is essential. With the help of data-backed research, prepare a persona list with a proper understanding of the audience.

Also, identify the target platforms. If you choose to develop for both platforms, you can opt for cross-platform app development or if your audience is more inclined towards one platform, you can take the native route. Ultimately, depending on which platform you choose to go with, the social media app development cost will vary accordingly.

2. Complexity of Features and Functionalities

Typically, a social media app like Hive may need user registration, user profile editing, newsfeed, custom music options, in-app messaging, and functionality to upload and share posts, images, and videos. Along with general features, add-ons or complex features such as image filters, live-to-video streams and live chats, multi-language support, geolocation, etc., may increase the social media app development cost.

3. Custom Design and Animations

The look and feel of a social media app matter. This must be addressed as it is the first thing that users engage with. Custom user interfaces may be difficult to implement; hence, costs may be slightly higher than building standard interfaces. Also, custom animations, while expensive to design, will make a difference in attracting users as they find them engaging and interactive, boosting app traffic by many notches.

4. Team Composition

The app development team is the core and heart of your app. The team includes a project manager, Android/iOS developers depending on the experience and size of the project, a backend team for creating APIs, UI/UX designers, and quality assurance engineers. Therefore, the social media app development cost will also depend on the app development team/company you choose, whether it is in-house or outsourced.

5. Data Security

Robust data security of your app plays a vital role and must be handled well. If an app is ready to market, but security concerns are yet to be addressed, pause the launch and work on fixing them. The password and user data linked to the application must be kept safe. Failing necessary security checks can lead to malware attacks, system attacks, and viral infections. It may be expensive initially, but offering a seamless user experience is crucial.

6. Localization

The markets you wish to target or launch the app impact the social media cost as you support various languages. They may drive higher costs, and each region may have different app store requirements that you must adhere to. Proper multi-language customer support is a must.

Social Media App Development Company

Features to Include in a Social Media App like Hive

When you want to build a social media app like Hive, you must include features that define your audience’s needs, and the costs may vary accordingly. In addition, the features must differentiate your app from competitors and provide value to users.

The following are some features of your future social media app.

features of future social media app

Onboarding: You must offer several registration options to make the social media app user-friendly. You can integrate it with email, password, or phone number and password for easy registration.

Profile Creation: The user must be allowed to create various profiles with individual space for media upload and the option to contact other users to view their feeds or posts. It is extremely essential at this point to consider the user experience and page layout of the profile.

Content Creation & Sharing: Users can post content of their choice consisting of photos or videos displayed on their feed chronologically. They can create a short description and post it on the social media app.

Feed: Often treated as the home screen of the social media app, this feature helps users to stay tuned with what their friends and family are updating since their posts get featured here.

Comments & Messaging: Sending comments, messages, photos, and videos is vital to any social network. You can take it to the next step by enabling group chats or communities so users can share and chat with multiple people at the same time.

Search: A smart search bar must be created so that users can find communities, friends, and more. Enable this feature wherein they can search by user names, tags, or locations.

Notifications: Push notifications are typically integrated to enable users to get updated with a new post from a page or community they have subscribed to. It helps to have the reaction, comment, and re-share settings embedded in the notification itself so that the users can interact with the app right through the notification.

Settings: Users must be able to set a preferred language, enable or disable notifications, or change the privacy setting quickly.

Geolocation and Tags: Adding location or tags makes it easy to share content with a specific set of users. It enables the user to receive location-specific content as well.

Offline sync: Users should be able to use a part of your app even offline or when there is a poor network connection.

Tutorial guides: Interactive guides and how to use them can help make your app more enjoyable to users.

Here is a rough estimate of the hours a team needs to implement different features in the app and their corresponding prices.

FeaturesDevelopment TimeAverage Price
Profile Creation60-120$600+
Content Creation & Sharing20-200$2750+
Comments & Messaging50-150$1750+
Geolocation & Tags50-250$1250
Offline sync30-100$1000+
Tutorial guides10-30$1500+

Tech Stack to Develop a Hive-like App

Since the application involves Android and iOS Versions, the following are the various components of the Hive social tech stack.

Tech Stack used to Develop app like Hive

Mobile app tech stack

  • Objective C & Swift (iOS)
  • Java & Kotlin (Android)
  • React Native
  • Flutter
  • Angular

Location-based services

  • Google Maps
  • Apple Maps

Backend and Admin 

  • PHP (Symfony/Laravel/CakePHP/CodeIgniter/ Phalcon)
  • Python (Django/Flask)
  • Ruby (Ruby on Rails)


  • MongoDB
  • PostgreSQL
  • MySQL
  • NoSQL
  • SQLite


  • Amazon Web Services
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Linode
  • DigitalOcean Cloud Services
  • Vultr

Web servers

  • Apache HTTP Server
  • Nginx

Caching tool

  • Redis
  • Memcached

Stages of Social Media App Development

Every social media app might have a different set of goals but usually shares a set of standard features and options. Let us now dive into the critical stages you need to know before you build a social media app like Hive.

Process of Social Media App Development

Step 1 – Audience Research

Now that you have decided to have a social media app like Hive, ensure you understand the market in detail. Social media apps can be tricky, so it is essential to understand the features potential users need and analyze the competition.

Once you have a clear idea of the app you propose to build, combine all your ideas and strategies to help you grow.

Step 2 – Essential Features and Functions

Since you are just beginning to develop an app, implementing only essential features and building an MVP is necessary. Keep in mind budget, limitations, and development skills to decide the necessary features you want in the app, which we will discuss in detail in the next section.

Step 3 – Design and Development

Once you have outlined the core features and functionality of the app, you can begin the design and development of the app. Decide the platforms where you want your app available, like Android, Apple, or both, as they both use different technological stacks.

Begin wireframing your app so you can visualize how your app looks and works and what screen link together. Prototyping is the next step you can do as it involves creating a working model of the app to know how the app looks in the final development process. Once the design is ready, the development stage starts where features are added using the needed technology stack.

Step 4 – Reiterate and Deploy on App Stores

Once you have developed the app, it is time to receive feedback and work on the final model. Release the app on respective app stores and see how to get users on board. Begin building a community and begin working on marketing the app.

Step 5 – Analysis

There is a wide range of analytics tools that you can use to assess the success of the app. You should see how users spend time on your app and how they wish to use it. Keep track of engagement that can help you make actionable changes.

Summing Up

From envisioning the product, ideating the UI/UX and architecture, development, and testing to the final release, this is how a typical development cycle works and influences the social media app development cost. The key to getting a good start is getting users to feel related to your social networking app and leverage them to your benefit.

Here are some takeaways that come from our expertise as a renowned social media app development company.

  • Push notifications must be subtle, interactive, and eye-catchy
  • Provide innovative features on your app that people get habituated to and feel a bond with your social media app

If a niche social media app like Hive is the solution you and your community are looking for, there is no better time to create one than now. And we can help you get there.

How Ailotte can Assist you in Developing a Successful Social Media App like Hive?

We are a top-rated social media app development company with 7+ years of experience in custom social media app development. We can help customize a quick, affordable, easy-to-use app that keeps users hooked.

We thrive by partnering with social media businesses and exploring every facet of mobile app development while prioritizing business growth, and industry requirements. Recently we had a chance to work on a collaboration platform for AthenaOwl for content marketing professionals called Ideaboarding. Professionals can interact, discuss, curate, collaborate on innovative strategies, and share ideas on the forum.  We worked closely, built an iOS and Android app, and designed a unique, responsive website and APIs. The first MVP was delivered in 45 days and within budget. We have worked on similar projects in other verticals too, and have intensive knowledge of working with fast turn-around times.

Sounds good? Let us discuss how we can assist you as an app development service provider. Contact us to get started.


How much would it cost to create a social media app?

The approximate social media app development cost depends on the platform, tech stack, developer location, features, complexities, and the company you choose. It ranges from $30,000 to $250,000.

Is making a social media app profitable?

Yes, making a social media app has the potential to be profitable as you can generate money right from the beginning by using the right monetization models.

Which social media app is most profitable?

Facebook and Instagram are the most profitable social media apps of all.

What is the fastest-growing social media app?

The fastest-growing social media app is TikTok which is currently seeing unbelievable growth as the most used platform and app.

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