How to Make an App Like Instagram and Get Users Talking About It
08 Mar, 2021
14 min read
Inspired by the digital detox challenge, I recently uninstalled my Instagram account for a week. However, every time a post-worthy thing happened, my hand would automatically reach for my phone to ‘Instagram’ the moment. The fact that I just said things can be ‘post worthy’ is an indication of how much Instagram has influenced our lives.
Today all of us like this idea of sharing everything we love, on social media. The reason can be XYZ, but there is something that propels us to document our lives. And that’s why applications like Instagram have become what they are today.
Do you know the words ‘Instagram’ and ‘Instagrammable’ are officially a part of the dictionary? Merriam Webster quotes – ‘it was “unsurprising” that words from digital technology were becoming a bigger part of the dictionary, thanks to the impact tech has on our lives.’
The success of Instagram attracts many entrepreneurs to make an app like Instagram. However the real question is that is it really worth the effort to make another app like Instagram? How can you make a difference in people’s lives? Let’s understand how Instagram got to experience the success, and how to develop an app like instagram for your business.
Here’s an outline of topics that the guide covers:
Instagram – the portmanteau of “Instant camera” and “telegram” disrupted the way we share, and consume content. Started with a small idea of sharing pictures, today 63% of adults visit Instagram daily in the US and 42% of the users open it several times a day to see what’s new on their Insta feed throughout the day.
The initial idea was to make a check-in app but then the founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger found that idea quite similar to what Facebook and Foursquare, were already providing.
To bring the unique factor, they focused on a simple concept of photo-sharing which became the most popular social media app today. We all love visuals, and that’s what Instagram brought on the table for their users. It soon started to gain more popularity than Facebook and Snapchat.
Snapchat was famous for its image sharing and story feature, which was once not offered by any other app. Soon Instagram introduced the story feature, and became a one-stop platform where people could use social media, upload stories, send messages, and earn money too!
The concept of photo-editing or photo-sharing remains the same in any app. For instance, Snapchat, Vine, Snipe, Flickr, etc., these apps take pictures or videos, offer editing capabilities, and allow the user to share. But what varies is the core functionality. You need to find that uniqueness and then work on it. It makes no sense simply copying an idea.
Remember, Instagram is going to be everyone’s first choice. So, you ought to have something that would make a user want to install your app. For instance, something novel like Kicksend. It’s a mobile-first photo printing app. The app allows users to choose photos from their gallery, create an album, give it a title and share it with other friends. If the user wants to share an album with a friend who is not a Kicksend user, they can send a message including previews of the image to the recipient’s email address.
Let’s now see step-by-step how to create an app like Instagram:
It’s a good thing to prioritize the objectives of your Instagram like app development. Why do you want to create an Instagram app? In addition to photo-editing, Instagram allows users to send direct messages and even shop for products within the app.
There are some useful lessons that Instagram teaches startups. It is to do just ONE thing. The co-founder of Instagram, Kevin Systrom, says:
“Focusing on one thing and doing it really, really well can get you very far.”
Most businesses, when they make an app, want to provide users with every feature under the sun. Now, in case some features do not provide any value to the end-user, you will face a major loss of both money and time.
At this stage, you have a clear idea about your business and target user. It’s time to discern what features to include. Tell me, can you describe what you want your app, such as Instagram, to do in a single sentence?
For instance, ‘I want my app to allow users to edit a photo, add music to it, and share it in a group chat.’
Here, we can see three core features – editing capabilities, in-built music library, and messaging feature. The idea is to build a basic model with core functionalities, satisfy early adopters, and update based on the feedback. That’s what an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is.
By the way, the secret behind Instagram’s success is the MVP approach. Instagram, formerly known as Burbn, was a location-based app. It allowed users to check-in. Barring the photo-sharing feature, some of the features were not that popular. Therefore, the company focused entirely on the editing part, added more filters, removed unnecessary clutter, and ta-da!
Today, the app enjoys 500+ million daily active users. Stories, Reels, IGTV are additional features that the company later added.
The key is to start small, make improvements, and then go big. So, how do you do this?
There’s something called a prioritization metric where you break down the features into (a) the essential requirements for the user and (b) potential features you will add later.
We’d like to help you see how a basic model for an app like Instagram looks that is not just another Instagram – but more! Let us help you with Instagram app development step by step.
Like we discussed before, you need to prioritize the features for a core set of users. Later as you get users to download your app, you will know what features work well and what you do not need. As your user base grows, you can add some advanced features to add more value.
This is the first step to make a social media app like Instagram. Security encryptions are some of the most crucial aspects of the success of the app. You would want to protect your user’s privacy and issues related to identity theft. When working on the Sign-up screen, make sure the design is perfect with the right number of elements; nothing less, nothing more.
The user can set up an account using an email address, a password, and a user name. The phone number is not required unless it’s a business profile.
After logging in, the user will create a profile on the app. You do not want to make this screen too complicated for the user to interact with. Therefore, be careful with the information you collect. This is no typical form filling. Collect relevant data that will help you in the future to provide customized experiences.
An app like Instagram needs to access the phone camera and gallery where the user can upload images or videos. You even need to introduce photo editing features. This includes basic features like crop, rotate, brightness, saturation, etc. And advanced filters like AR face detection, personalized text, stickers, etc.
When you build an app like Instagram, AI becomes a necessity. As more users edit, upload pictures and interact with others, you will have an enormous amount of data. To get business insights, you need to analyze this data using AI algorithms. Here are some ways you can use AI:
Instagram Stories are the most used sharing method on Instagram. With this feature, the user can post videos and pictures that vanish after 24 hours. Users can even add text, emojis, stickers, GIFs, music, and more to their stories.
If you want to make an app like Instagram that works as a networking tool, you need to include messaging and group chats. Using instant messaging or direct messages, users can directly share posts, short-form video content like stories, text messages, and more with their friends.
Settings provide your customers with the basic options like profile management, deleting or adding an account, managing activity log, privacy, etc. They can edit their profile, make privacy changes in their account, change the theme of their application, i.e., Dark, Light, and System Default, set their language preferences, etc.
All these features are for your end customers. Similarly, you can provide slightly different features for business pages or content creators, including all these features. Let’s see them:
Some additional features to consider when you create an app like Instagram:
Unique user experience lies at the center of an app like Instagram. Uploading pictures, trying out new filters, checking stories, shopping for products – all these need to have great UX. Here are a few things that will help you understand what it looks like to create an app like Instagram:
We can help you design and develop a feature-rich app like Instagram. If you have some unique features to add, we can customize the product as per your needs for instagram app development. Share your idea with us, and we will guide you in making it a fully-functional product.
Let’s be honest here. ROI will take some time. Instagram too took years to reach $20 billion in ad revenue in 2019. Here’s how the monetization strategy for an app like Instagram looks:
There is no clear monetization model that fits an app like Instagram. How much you earn depends a lot on how you get users to interact with your app. The average session length on social networking/photo-sharing apps is of 177 seconds (a little under 3 minutes). You need to have a clear strategy on how to increase engagement.
Building a simple app with engaging features is not enough. You must make people start talking about your app. Here are some ways
These were a few ways to get people to know and download your app. But that’s not it. You have to get users to interact with your app. Push notifications are a good way to increase user retention. Let’s say a user downloaded the app, but there’s no significant activity they do on the app. You can send them customized notifications about the latest feature in the app.
FOMO is a real phenomenon that is becoming common on the Internet. Making the user think that they are missing out on some exciting updates that others are enjoying is likely to get them to interact.
Once you launch the app, you even need to take care of updating it as per the requirement. This can be a long process, but not when you have a dedicated team working for you. At Biztech, we take complete responsibility for Instagram like app development projects that we begin. Our job is to not only help you develop your product, but we can help in maintaining it post-launch. From time to time, we will keep you updated about new updates, features, or bug fixes. You can rely on us to guide you in promoting your app.
The following elements will help you understand the cost of building an app like Instagram.
For your better understanding, we created this chart and included the necessary information. Native: Android + API takes 1,487 hours while Native: iOS + API takes 1,493 hours approximately. If you want to get it custom-made, we can provide you with a detailed quote based on your requirements.
|Features||API||Native: Android (in Hrs)||Native: iOS (in Hrs)|
|Sign in via, email, phone, Signout||12||8||18||13||12||18||15|
|Sign in and out by Social Media (FB, Twitter)||12||8||16||12||8||16||12|
|Personal Profile with Edit and User Profile view||48||16||48||32||12||48||30|
|Messeging real time with photo and video||60||24||72||48||24||72||48|
|Push Notification and notification hub||16||12||24||18||12||24||18|
|Settings with Push notification and privacy||20||8||16||12||8||20||14|
|Photo and video upload||16||4||12||8||4||12||8|
|Tags and comment||10||4||16||10||4||16||10|
|Feed Details and Post details||32||16||48||32||16||48||32|
|Photo editing capabilities using filter and crop, rotate||48||24||160||92||24||160||92|
|Connect with other social media for direct share||8||8||16||12||8||16||12|
|Sharing on social media for photo and feed||8||4||8||6||4||8||6|
|Geolocation tagging and time and date setup||24||16||48||32||16||48||32|
|Search people, tag, location and other param||24||12||36||24||12||36||24|
|Design and icon setup for app||0||16||48||32||16||48||32|
|Total||Native: Android + API||1487||Native: iOS + API||1493|
The success story of Instagram is inspiring businesses to explore opportunities in the market. However, copying the platform is never going to work. Instagram has a dedicated user base who will not ‘replace’ the app. But since both photo sharing and networking is going to stay here, there is enough room for newcomers. The way the app works remains the same. What differs is what new element you are bringing to the table.
In the process of doing so, everything matters, from visual elements to advanced filters. If you deliver a quality product, users will find you.
We can help you throughout your journey from ideation to developing an app like instagram and getting the first user. Let’s discuss your project idea!
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