How to Develop an App Like Snapchat: Everything You Need to Know

Difficulty: Intermediate

Estimated Completion Time: 12 minutes

When was the last time you launched Instagram or TikTok? Probably, a few minutes ago. People worldwide spend on average 147 minutes a day on social media, and the number constantly grows. The reasons are simple: engaging, fun, and interesting content.

Snapchat is not different from the others. With 322 million active daily users, this app has become a decent example to follow. We’ll discuss how to make an app like Snapchat, and the required features, technologies, and expertise. Read on to learn more!

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What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is both a messenger and social media platform. The app is available on mobile and desktop platforms, covering numerous users. It is trendy due to its multiple lenses and filters, which are the app’s specialty.

Statistics show that about 10% of Internet users have Snapchat, with various forecasts predicting that the app will reach an audience of 531 million by 2025. The app’s annual revenue reached $4.31 billion in 2021. This demonstrates that the concept is profitable and engaging — just what you need!

Snapchat’s Key Features Your App Needs

If you want to develop a Snapchat-like mobile application, then you should get acquainted with the software’s main features. This will help you understand the reasons behind the app’s popularity and get a basic idea for your own solution.

Messaging

Snapchat’s messaging system is quite unique. All messages are deleted either instantly after viewing or after 24 hours. There are also dozens of integrated mini-games that let users spend time with each other in a fun and engaging way. Users have access to multiple unique stickers and GIFs. All of these features make this messaging system distinctive and powerful.

Audio and Video Calls

Just like any other social media application, Snapchat features audio and video calls. However, the feature seems to lack end-to-end encryption, as stated in Amnesty International’s report. Protecting user privacy is very important, so in this regard, you must do better than Snapchat.

Unique Stickers

Snapchat currently uses a unique set of stickers for all kinds of occasions. They feature the user’s avatar and even let you create a cameo where you put your face in various stickers, GIFs, and other content. This is one of the elements that make such software go viral.

Stories

The stories feature lets users publish a photo or video that self-deletes in 24 hours. You can either upload ready-made media or create something within the app. The editing interface lets you add tags, stickers, music, and anything else. After publishing, you can monitor who watches your story and see some general statistics.

Powerful Camera Interface

The camera interface comes with multiple features like lenses, stickers, audio options, exposure settings, and others that help the user get more control of their device. Most of the tools in Snapchat are very intuitive, providing a good UX.

Lenses and Filters

If you want to make your own Snapchat-like app, it’s essential that you understand lenses and filters, as they are Snapchat’s specialty. There are thousands of options of all kinds, letting users experience interactive effects to any photo or video. Most prominently, the app utilizes AR and AI to create a powerful and realistic effect.

Friends List

As Snapchat is a social media, having a friends list is a must-have feature. Users must be able to find friends via tags, names, and other information to stay connected. The more interactions a person has, the more engaged they are with your app. That’s why this social component is crucial.

Contact Integration

The contact integration feature is needed to scan the user’s phone and see whether anyone is registered on Snapchat. This makes it easier for people to add their friends to the program. However, remember that the feature must request permission from the user first.

Content Customization

If you want to build a Snapchat-like mobile application, then keep all the features that let users customize their content, including lenses, filters, stickers, and all other features mentioned previously. AI and AR are great helpers when it comes to developing engaging filters.

What Tech Stack is Needed to Develop an App Like Snapchat?

Choosing the right technologies is crucial when planning to create a mobile application like Snapchat. You should reach a combination of maximum speed, performance, and reliability. At Weelorum, we usually use the following options to build market-winning apps.

Web
React.js
Back-End
Node.js
Android
Kotlin
iOS
Swift
Design
Figma
Project Management
Slack, Jira, Confluence, Harvest

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Which Expertise Do You Need to Create an App Like Snapchat?

You will need an expert team to develop your own Snapchat-like app. Most projects have a similar team setup. However, the composition may change depending on your individual requirements. Check out the most popular roles below.

1.Mobile Developers

These are the people who know how to develop an app like Snapchat from A to Z. Mobile developers write all the code to ensure your software works flawlessly on Android and iOS. They also integrate new features, fix bugs, and optimize the app’s performance.

2.Web Developers

Web developers know how to create an app like Snapchat that is available on all browsers. Just like mobile developers, they write all the code and do their best to provide maximum performance. With their help, you can reach a large audience without forcing people to download any software.

3.UI/UX Designer

A UI/UX designer draws all the visuals and creates the perfect user experience for your application. This expert’s work also involves deep research to find the perfect match that makes users love and remember the product. Sometimes, the designer might also combine the role of a UX writer by setting all the texts in the interface.

4.QA Engineer

A quality assurance engineer supports the whole Snapchat-like mobile app creation process from the very beginning. This expert conducts all kinds of automated and manual tests to hunt down each bug, monitor the solution’s performance, and ensure it works as intended. If any errors are found, a report is sent to the developers to fix them.

5.Product Manager

A product manager is the person who guides your project on each step, chooses the development methodology, and ensures all deadlines are met. The key role of a PM is to act as a mediator between you and the development team, transferring all requirements and expectations.

As our goal is to develop a successful application, we always start by assembling a team with relevant experience, including both technical knowledge and previous projects. This approach helps us guide our clients throughout the process, avoiding common pitfalls and applying best practices.

Ilya Budko, CEO at Weelorum

6 Steps to Develop a Snapchat-Like Mobile Application

Now we’ll check out how to develop an application like Snapchat in six general steps. They are usually the same for each project, having slight deviations based on the chosen methodologies.

1.Conduct Research

When you want to create a Snapchat-like mobile app, the first step is detailed market research. This sets the foundation for your future application and helps you get valuable insights.

You should consider analyzing two factors at this point:

1. Your target audience.
2. Your potential competitors.

The target audience sheet shouldn’t just include basic information like geographic location and demographic data. You must add behavioral data to understand what drives each user’s decision. Acquire data about their needs, interests, expectations, and anything else.

Your potential competitors are technically all other social media applications. TikTok, Pinterest, and Instagram will be among the competition. That’s why you must analyze the pros and cons of each option to build a solution that does everything better. 

2.Plan the Process

Now that you’ve obtained all the needed information, you can set the requirements for your software. Add to the list the desired features, design, positioning, and anything else that comes to your mind. Share the ideas with your team, and they will calculate an estimate.

Remember that while most developers can provide estimates in terms of time and costs, there always remains room for deviations. Some unexpected challenges may occur or an update in requirements from your side. Each such change requires more time.

You will have a project manager who supervises the software creation process at each stage, ensuring everything is done on time and according to plan.

3.Design

First, the designer creates a wireframe of your application (basic visuals, buttons, and screens) to see how it works. It also gives the developers a better understanding of what should be created.

Once the wireframe is approved, the designer proceeds to develop the UI/UX design. This process is far more complex because it requires research and experimenting to find the best combination. After all, it’s one of the crucial elements that leave the first impression of your app.

The designer works at all development stages, constantly improving the app’s visuals and UX. Continuous improvement is a must if you want to compete with media giants like Snapchat.

4.MVP Development

This stage is where you finally get to create an app like Snapchat. An MVP involves all the basic features required for a beta release. It is usually developed as fast as possible to test an idea or concept with minimum costs. 

After release, the MVP is tested by users from all around the world. Their feedback serves as your navigator for future planning. If everything is good, you may keep on developing the software as planned. However, if the concept doesn’t work, you might have to rebuild the app from scratch while taking into account all user feedback.

Once you determine that the concept works, you can proceed to develop the full version of the app and add all nice-to-have features to your product.

5.Testing

While testing is conducted during each development stage, it is essential before releasing a full version of the app. QA engineers do both manual and automated tests to find errors, bugs, typos, and anything that might affect the user experience. 

6.Release and Maintenance

Now is the time to publish your software on Play Market, App Store, and any other marketplace where you can feature your product. You’ll have to do a lot of marketing to get a growing audience to your application, ensuring that competitors aren’t in your way.

The development process doesn’t end here. Your team must constantly keep on improving the software by adding new features, adapting existing ones, and optimizing the code for maximum performance. It is a crucial part of software development.

How Much Does It Cost to Create an App Like Snapchat?

The costs to develop a Snapchat-like mobile app vary depending on the required features, general complexity, team location, and many other factors. Below is a rough estimate of the total sum you should expect to pay for creating software of this kind.

Types of WorkAndroidiOSPrice
Development Features800 hours800 hours$64,000
UI/UX Design300 hours300 hours$14,000
Testing and QA170 hours170 hours$13,600
Project Management130 hours130 hours$4,000
Total1,400 hours1,400 hours$95,600

The price is calculated considering the average cost of hiring a development team in Ukraine, which is approximately $40 per hour. It is necessary to note that the number may differ depending on the project’s complexity and other features.

Consider Weelorum Your Trusted Partner in Developing Your Mobile App

Weelorum is a reliable tech partner when it comes to developing complex social media software for mobile and web. The team has a rich background working on multiplatform software, creating unique and engaging market-winning solutions for global audiences. 

Our core principles are:

  • Developing for success. We’ll help you find the most beneficial solution for your project, ensuring it gets the attention of your target audience and provides a perfect UX.
  • Quality, not quantity. Our team follows modern standards in terms of development processes and security measures, providing you with a top-notch product.
  • Boosting your idea. We’ll help you bring your idea to life using the best practices from our many years of experience. This will turn your concept into a profitable business.

Weelorum has already successfully developed an app similar to Snapchat in our Photo Copy project. Check out our case studies to learn more.

Want to develop an app like Snapchat?

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Final Thoughts

Now you know how to make an application like Snapchat. This process requires excellent technical expertise, deep research, and a lot of experimenting. You will definitely need a fully-fledged development team with experience in the industry to beat the competition. Weelorum has got everything to build a market-winning product.

FAQ

How can I create a mobile application like Snapchat?

Developing a Snapchat-like application requires the following six basic steps:

  1. Research to discover trends, peculiarities, and cool ideas.
  2. Planning to set the deadline and budgets.
  3. Design to create unique and stunning visuals.
  4. MVP development to test your application on real users.
  5. Quality assurance to ensure you get a bug-free solution.
  6. Maintenance to upload new features and fix bugs.

Contacting an experienced team of developers will help you make the process seamless, leaving the job to the professionals.

How much does it cost to develop a Snapchat-like mobile application?

It takes about 2,200 hours to create a primary mobile version of the app for Android and iOS. Considering that the average hourly rate for a Ukrainian developer is $40, the expected costs should be no less than $88,000. Note that the sum may increase depending on the project’s complexity and requirements.

Can I build a Snapchat-like mobile application myself?

Developing a successful Snapchat clone requires immense technical expertise in various areas, from mobile development to AI. You could try using no-code platforms to create your own Snapchat-like app, but this isn’t a good choice in terms of flexibility and performance. It is best if you hire a professional team for the job.

Table of content
What is Snapchat?Snapchat’s Key Features Your App NeedsWhat Tech Stack is Needed to Develop an App Like Snapchat?Which Expertise Do You Need to Create an App Like Snapchat?6 Steps to Develop a Snapchat-Like Mobile ApplicationHow Much Does It Cost to Create an App Like Snapchat?Consider Weelorum Your Trusted Partner in Developing Your Mobile AppFinal Thoughts
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