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How to Make an App Like TikTok: Guide, Costs, and Tips

Myroslav Hryshenko

Myroslav Hryshenko

Senior Mobile Developer

11 min

TikTok has taken the world by storm. The Chinese video-sharing platform boasts over 1 billion monthly active users globally, with strong growth in markets like India and the United States.

However, TikTok has faced recent bans in major countries due to data privacy concerns. This creates a major opportunity for a competitor to step in.

Want to develop a TikTok clone for the next big viral short-form video app?

Our guide covers business considerations like identifying your target audience, monetization strategies, and marketing ideas. We’ll also discuss the necessary features, technology stack, and development process.

By the end, you’ll understand exactly what goes into launching a successful TikTok clone app. You can take advantage of TikTok’s missteps to attract creators and users seeking an alternative platform for sharing 15-second viral videos.

Let’s look at how you can develop the next hit video-sharing experience!

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Why Launch a TikTok Clone?

Well, to learn how to make app like Tik Tok, you need to have a reason, and right now, there are plenty of them. The development of an app like Tik Tok like is governed by various factors like:

1. TikTok and WeChat Bans Create Opportunities

This is the primary reason for you to learn how to create app like Tik Tok. Since 2018, Tik Tok has been facing temporary as well as a permanent ban in various countries. So far, the application has been banned by India, the USA, Japan, and many other nations.

India has not only banned Tik Tok but has also banned 59 other Chinese applications. Hence, this is a great opportunity to leverage and make a similar application for users.

2. Huge Market Potential

As described above, the popularity of Tik Tok was sky high before the ban. India was the largest market of the application, where it was downloaded over 600 million times. This was around 30% of the total number of downloads of the application.

The US, on the other hand, saw an exponential increase in the monthly active users. The US has 20 million active users at the end of 2018, which rose to 85 million by the beginning of 2020.

Moreover, the global video streaming market is estimated to grow at a rate of 20.4% from 2020 to 2027. Along with this, it is equally crucial to note that the short video sharing platform’s growth is also skyrocketing.

These stats give you a clear reason to learn how to make app like Tik Tok.

3. Rapid Growth of Social and Mobile Commerce

Online shopping is a great market to invest in. Tik Tok tested the feature of social commerce in 2019. It allowed users to add links to the e-commerce website to their profile.

This helped the other users to shop for certain products directly from the app without searching for it. Moreover, this feature also allowed brands to harness the social network for widening their outreach circle.

Hence, this is the best time to learn how to create an app like Tik Tok and capture the market.

How to Build a TikTok Clone

The first part of the process of how to make a video sharing app like Tik Tok is the business part.

The Business Side: Key Considerations

There are various aspects of the business part that need close attention like:

  1. Finalize a Niche: To make a successful application like Tik Tok, you need to finalize a niche that will yield good results. There are many choices for a niche that you can look into like:
  • Comedy
  • Lip syncing
  • Art and craft
  • Education
  • Fitness – The fitness app market is expected to grow up to $15.96 Billion by 2026. So, it is one of the potential niches.

And many more! Choose a niche that can foster more users. The niche also affects the development cost of app like Tik Tok and its own online video editor.

  1. Consider the Audience: This part is pretty essential as you get to know the scope of your niche. In the quarantine, many Tik Tok users have developed hobbies of cooking, art and crafts, and other activities.

You need to do a comprehensive check on whether one has more audience or the development cost of the app like Tik Tok may go to waste.

POC: POC is expanded as proof of concept and is used to determine the feasibility of the product.

It is a simple code less implementation of the product without any special features like security or an attractive UI. POC is used for testing the business idea and can help you:

  • Identify bugs in the initial stage of development.
  • Save a lot of money in developing an unfeasible product. It reduces the overall Tik Tok app development cost.
  • In the process of project development.
  • Help you get investors for the process of how to make an app like Tik Tok.
If founder looks for how to make app like tik tok, he should take a look at these 3 reasons why redefining TikTok would be a great opportunity to build own startup.

Monetization Strategies

The success of a business is measured by its revenue. And to get the maximum ROI from your app, it is important to look into implementing multiple monetization models.

Here are some of the monetization models that you can look into:

Monetization ModelDescription
In-app purchasesTik Tok offers the facility to viewers to donate coins to the influencers during the live show on the app. These coins can be bought within the app by paying actual money.

After the live session, 50% of the collection goes to the influencers and the remainder to the Tik Tok app and Google PlayStore or App Store. This revenue model can be leveraged by you.

AdsRunning ads on your app is also a great way to generate revenue and probably the best way to make the process of how to make app like Tik Tok successful. Advertisers can pay you based on different ad types.

You can generate income based on:

  • Cost per click on the ad.
  • Cost per mille, for every 1000 impressions of the ad.
  • Cost per action, only if the user makes the purchase or installs an app.
Initial fundingThe initial funding that a business receives is the prime source of revenue for them.

For example, Tik Tok raised $3 billion in its initial phase after acquiring Musically.

The Technical Build

So far was the business part and reasons. Further in the process of how to make app like Tik Tok is the technical part. This part will basically include everything that you need to consider while developing the app.

Right from the features of the app to the technologies, tools, and workforce that you need for the process of how to make an awesome app like Tik Tok will be highlighted in the coming sections.

Core Features

First, you need to develop an MVP for testing the basic features of the app. A Minimum Viable Product will help you find out the scope of the app. Moreover, an MVP can also harness investments for you.

After developing an MVP, you can make your app much better with advanced features. Though it will increase the overall development cost of app like Tik Tok. Here are some of the basic features that you need to include in your app:

Sign up and sign inUsers need to sign up for sharing the content on the app. Hence, include a seamless signup system.

Make it more convenient with the social or email sign up option. 77% of users think that social login is a great registration system.

Creation and Editing of profileAssist users in building a good profile by offering them a profile editing option.

Embed the facility of changing bio, contact, password, picture, and other parameters of their account.

Ease of sharing VideosThe key to how to create an app like Tik Tok is videos.

Provide the users an easy way to upload and share videos in the MVP.

Like and commentIntegrate the feature to like and comment on the posts.

It will help the users interact with their audience better and get reviews on your content.

FiltersFilters help in enhancing the pictures and videos on the app.

Around 64% of people have tried face filters on Tik Tok, which clearly depicts the importance and demand of filters.

Include new and attractive filters in the MVP to make your users want more.

Video editingWhile learning how to create app like Tik Tok, make sure you include the feature of video editing.

You can add speed management, trim, flipping, and other editing features in the app.

This will also affect the overall Tik Tok app development cost.

Social sharingHelp your users in marketing their content by adding the feature of social sharing.

This will help your users in getting more audience for their content.

NotificationsTo provide timely updates to your users, you need to include the push notifications feature in your app.

It will help the users in keeping track of their content’s performance. You can add the feature of push notifications by using:

  • Firebase Cloud Messaging solution (Android)
  • Apple Push Notifications service (iOS)

So far are all the basic features that you can include in the MVP to test its scope and demand. Further, the process of how to create an app similar to Tik Tok are the advanced features. These features will add extra development cost to your app like Tik Tok.

Advanced Features

After you have tested the basic version of your app, you can integrate some advanced features in the updated version to attract more users. There will be a surge in the Tik Tok app development cost for adding these features.

Elastic SearchThe best feature that you can add to your app is elastic search.

It helps in getting results based on the user query in seconds. This is way better than the traditional RDMS, as the data will be of high volume in the app.

AnalyticsHow to make an app like Tik Tok more demanding? Well, it is pretty simple! Add the feature of analytics.

This will help the users on the app check parameters like the number of likes, comments, shares, playtime, and many others.

Live Video streamingMake your app a bit unique by adding the live streaming feature to it. This feature is not currently on Tik Tok.
Location-based contentTo create an app like Tik Tok, make sure you learn how to include the feature of location-based content.

It is best to check out the local content and also increase viewers.

AR filtersTechnology has taken over every aspect of our lives, and Tik Tok is one of them. AR filters are a great way to present the content on the app.

Hence, include AR filters to offer a cut-throat competition.

SubscriptionsYou can also add the feature of subscribing to other people on the application.

It will help people to stay updated with the recent content from their favorite artists.

Algorithms to set recommendationsTo make your app suggest personalized content to the users, design an algorithm that analyzes user information like:

  • User interactions
  • Device
  • Account information
  • Categories the user is interested in
Personal collectionsTo enhance the user experience, integrate the feature of making personal collections for the users.

These are all the features that you can include in your application, like Tik Tok. The very next thing that hits the mind is how to include these features to make an app like Tik Tok.

There are various suites, tools, and technologies that you can harness to add these features into the app and make it successful. Other than this, you also need a team of people with diverse expertise.

The list of core feature defines the tiktok app development cost

Assembling Your Team

The Tik Tok app development cost also depends on the team you recruit; here are some of the expertise you will need for the process of how to make app like Tik Tok.

  • Project manager
  • UI/UX Designer
  • Frontend developer
  • Backend developer
  • Quality assurance
  • Business analyst

Recommended Tech Stack

The key to an awesome app like Tik Tok is a powerful tech stack. And with the help of professionals at Spdload, you will get all the help you need for developing a world-class app.

Here are some of the technologies required for an application like Tik Tok:

Project managementThe process of how to create app like Tik Tok requires efficient management of every aspect like record-keeping, coding, designing, workforce management, etc.

For taking care of all of this, you can rely on Google Suite software. It will help you manage every aspect seamlessly.

Google Suite includes various productivity and collaboration tools like Docs, Sheets, Hangouts, and many others.

PrototypingIn order to make a better application, it is best to build a prototype of it in the first place.

A prototype is a wireframe form of a project before any code is written.

For building a prototype in the process of how to make an app like Tik Tok, you need a great tool like Balsamiq.

DesigningHarness the power of the Figma tool. It is a browser-based tool that streamlines the process of UX/UI designing.
Web HostingTo make your application content available to the users simultaneously on multiple devices, it is essential to get cloud web hosting.

Use software like:

  • Google Cloud
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Digital Ocean
Database ManagementFor effective database management, leverage the power of:

  • SQL
  • MongoDB
  • Cassandra
ProgrammingReact Native or Flutter for both iOS and Android versions
Backend Programming languageLaravel can be used for the backend programming of the app like Tik Tok.
  • Azure stream analytics
  • Google Mobile app analytics
  • Google Cloud Messaging
  • Apple Push Notifications
AR filters
  • ML Kit
  • ARCore
StorageAmazon S3
  • Jira
  • Confluence

So, here is the brief review of the tech stack required for the process of how to create an app like Tik Tok. Use these technologies to make the best and competitive application in the market.

This is a tech stack we use in SpdLoad, when customers ask us how to create app like tik tok

How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Tik Tok Clone?

The very first thing about the Tik Tok app development cost is that it can vary based on various factors. How much will it cost to create an app like Tik Tok depends on factors like:

  • The features that you need to include in the final product.
  • The location from where you are getting the application developed.

You can get in touch with Freelancers, an application development agency, or even hire an in-house development team to make an app like Tik Tok. But the results may vary based on the option you choose.

1. Freelancers: The development cost of an app like Tik Tok is low in the case of freelancers. However, there is very less guarantee of the quality of work to be up to expectations.

2. Hiring an in-house team: Hiring an in-house team is a great option for you. In this, you can get all the work done as per your preference with quality and in the designated time. A minor drawback of this option is that the development cost of an app like Tik Tok will be high.

3. An app development agency: Last and the best option for you is hiring a professional app development agency like Spdload. Hiring an application development agency is advantageous in many ways, like:

  • Periodic progress reports.
  • Reasonable pricing (varies based on the location of the agency)
  • Premium quality work.
  • Timely delivery of projects.

If we take a look at the time required to develop a basic version of the product (MVP), the number of hours needed are as follows:

Based on the features described above about the application, the estimated number of hours are close to 1,450.

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The cost of development of app like Tik Tok based on location is as follows:

LocationPros / ConsPrice per hourEstimated Price
Local development agency in the USA+ Good quality

+ Easy to communicate

+ Same time zone


– Extremely cost

– The lack of developers

Outsource agency in Ukraine+ Same quality as in the US

+ Easy to communicate

+ Deep expertise

+ The wide pool of talents

Outsource agency in India+ Very cheap

+ Many developers


– Poor quality

– Lack of expertise

– Hard to communicate

– Specific time zone


How to Find the Right Development Partner

Building a viral video app like TikTok is a major product design and engineering undertaking.

You need a top-notch development team to bring together the visual design, backend architecture, machine learning algorithms, and complex infrastructure required.

Our developers have built dozens of leading mobile apps for US startups. We can assemble an experienced team to handle every aspect of constructing your TikTok competitor, from ideation to launch.

Our process begins with an in-depth consultation where we discuss your vision, target metrics, budget, and more. We then create a custom product proposal outlining timelines, costs, technical specifications, and the all-star team we will assign to your app.

Let’s discuss your idea for the next big short-form video platform. Together, we can build you a beautiful viral video app engineered for rapid user growth.

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