Ever since its arrival, TikTok has been a huge sensation surpassing the success of its competitive apps like Instagram, Pandora, Snapchat, Pinterest, and others. TikTok has engaged the audience in a way that no other social media platform could through its innovative concept. Here the users are allowed to post a 15-second video that is engaging and entertaining for other users. This app is used to make many fun videos, and it makes every person feel like a Rockstar.

It allows its users to create short reels/videos, speed up the video or slow down, edit the videos, or add music. There is a lot the users can do on this platform, which keeps them both thrilled and engaged with the app. Today, the app has millions of users worldwide, and in August 2020, the app hit 2 billion downloads.

Looking at its success, no wonder many businesses are trying to replicate its success. And here, in this blog, we will be exploring how an app like TikTok, which is known for its global user base and users spending hours interacting with its interface, can be developed. Here we discuss what a great team of developers is needed to build an app like TikTok.

What Is TikTok?

What Is TikTok App

TikTok was first introduced in the app market by Byte Dance and was formerly known as Musical.ly. Essentially a music and video platform app, TikTok allowed users to create and share 15-second videos online as per their liking. The app had features enabling video editing through filters, effects, and more. This allowed talented people to showcase their talent via dancing, singing, comedy, lip-syncing, and more. It was such a success, and it has been downloaded in more than 150 markets in more than 75 languages.

Several factors make the app special among its users. It captures a high-speed image, allows to share recorded videos on social media platforms, offers filters & effects, music videos broadcasting, and availability of a music library.

According to Statista, the primary age group of the app is between 10-19, as it was created keeping the younger audience in mind, offering them a platform to explore their creativity by sharing videos with friends. The app makers realized the gap in the market, seeing the lack of such platforms for the new generation of mobile internet users, and seized the opportunity and savored the victory. In fact, in September 2021, TikTok reached 1 billion monthly users.

How Does TikTok Works?

TikTok is mainly a video-sharing platform where the users create and share videos online. The app enables its users to upload short 15-second videos and film content. These videos can also be edited with the app offering various editing effects, filters, etc.

How Does TikTok Works

Mind-Blowing TikTok Statistics

Presently, TikTok has 500 million active global users with having a base in 155 nations. There is 90 percent of users access the app on a daily basis, and most users spend around 52 minutes per day on the app.

In just the time of 18 months, the US adult users have grown to 5.5 times till now. It has been recorded more than 1.5 billion times both on Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Also, it has been installed in Apple App Store with a record 33 million installs. The app’s 41 percent of users are between the age of 16 to 24.

These numbers signify enough the stir created by the TikTok app across the world, and it has emerged as a star in the world of social networking apps. However, its success has made other social media platforms ‘up’ their game, and today the app has quite a few competitors in the market.

Top Competitors Of TikTok Mobile App

Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels

Comparatively new, Instagram Reels is available inside the Instagram app and has an enormous reach. Though it feels more like an Instagram feature and not as exciting and community-driven as TikTok, it is the best alternative to TikTok, allowing the creators to record and upload short-form videos of up to 15 seconds and offers several in-app editing tools.

YouTube Shorts

YouTube Shorts

Again newly introduced, YouTube Shorts are fast catching up among YouTube users. However, it again misses the community aspect of TikTok that many creators and viewers love about TikTok as an app.



Launched before TikTok, the app lost little of its charm since the arrival of TikTok, then known as Musical.ly. However, the app focused on fun & engaging lip-syncing videos is still enjoying more than 100 million installs. Like TikTok, Dubmash has a massive sound library including TV & movie quotes and allows the users to add stickers and text to their videos, making them even more engaging.



This is a mobile video editing app allowing users to share up to 15-secs long videos. While creating videos, the users must get to the point quickly while sharing their cooking, dancing, singing, beauty, or comedy skills. Vigo offers a lot of filters and beauty filters to hide facial imperfections or smooth out the complexion. Here, users can earn rewards in the form of actual money upon getting likes, comments, and shares.



This is a preferred app for celebrities to record and edit their videos due to its ease of use. Here the users simply record videos, and the app does the rest via its video editing tools. Here the videos can be trimmed or cut, and filters can be added if desired.

Why Invest In Developing Video Social Apps Like TikTok?

Today TikTok as an app is being used widely worldwide by people to create and share videos with trending music, where the users follow categories, such as dancing, singing, lip-syncing, comedy, talent videos, and more. Launched in 2018, the app has gained tremendous fame in just a few years. Today, its popularity has reached such great heights that users are using TikTok massively to create engaging content using filters, music, and animation effects. The app offers high-speed image capturing potential and the freedom to share videos on other social media platforms. The immense popularity of TikTok among the masses signals that this time is best to invest in the video social app market. After all, there are not many competitors, and by offering something valuable and unique, who knows, your app could easily become the next big thing.

Business Model Of Videocentric Social Media App TikTok

The TikTok app is generating revenue via a variety of ways like ad revenue and in-app gift purchases. Here the ads function synonymously as those from the other social networking platforms: the advertisers pick their target demographic, and the app then places the message in front of the desired audience picked by the advertiser. In the case of Gift, purchases are made when the users convert their real money in exchange for TikTokens for 99 cents.

Monetization Opportunities Offered By Video Social App

Monetization Opportunities Offered By Video Social App

There are a number of revenue models used by TikTok, such as

Advertisement Selling

This monetization model is integrated by targeting the user audience on the basis of age group, location, likes, and dislikes. Here, any of the advertising means can be chosen, among Cost Per Click, Cost Per Install, and the others.

Banners Ads (CPC, CPM)

Again, advertising means to make money, here the advertisers are paying each time the user is interacting with the ads in the app, known as Cost-Per-Click (CPC), and in another category of Cost per Mile (CPM), the app owners charge the advertisers for every 1000 impressions of their ad inside the app.

In-feed Video Ads

These are the short-form videos appearing between the users’ feeds while they are scrolling through the “For You” page. Typically, these advertisements are the same as the ones appearing in Instagram stories.

Instant Page

Aiming to differentiate the TikTok platform from the other social networking competitors, the firm introduced this new product called “instant page,” a quick-loading landing page that they claim loads 11 times faster than compared to a typical mobile website. There is a simple idea behind it that when the users click on an ad, they are taken immediately to a page with all information about the brand, their videos, and additional content. All these actions occur within the TikTok app.

Pop-Out Showcase

This product aims at making engagement with advertisements more of an interactive experience. The advertisers get access to a library of new stickers, which on being chosen, are superimposed on the top of their TikTok videos illustrating the products that are being demonstrated. To purchase the advertised goods, simply click on the product and get redirected to the shopping page.

How Do Influencers Make Money Using The TikTok App?

How Do Influencers Make Money Using The TikTok App

Today there are a number of TikTok influencers out there making money using the TikTok platform. These are the content creators who promote brands through this platform, and they get paid through the app and by the brands they are promoting on the platform. Here we explain certain steps to be followed to make the content relevant and earn money via TikTok.

1. Get A Good Understanding Of The Audience

This is a crucial step where it is important to understand what the users (target audience) want so that the content can be created according to their preferences and desires. Also, any offensive content should never be uploaded on the platform, and the values of the community must be respected.

2. Create A Unique TikTok Profile

Have a clear understanding of what is unique is offered to the users. Why should the users follow the influencer, and how is each influencer bringing value? Some can be good at comedy, while others can be good at dancing and singing, ensuring that what is published is truly original and valuable content. This allows one to set oneself apart from others. Simply focus on one type of content and start creating, as it helps to focus on a group of people instead of trying to please all out there with too much diverse content.

3. Interact With Your Target Audience

Engage with the audience to find what kind of content they want. Talk to them, answer their queries, make them feel part of the community as the followers want to know more about their influencers and connect with their personal lives.

4. Increase Your Followers

As it comes to TikTok, the influencers don’t need a massive number of followers to make a lot of money, as the success of micro-influencers goes a long way. After all, their content is way more reliable for the followers and has higher engagement. However, a few campaigns allow only influencers with a certain number of followers to be a part of it. So for that, one needs to get more followers.

5. Make Consistent Content

Uploading regular content is crucial to succeeding on this platform as when the content is uploaded on a specific day of the week, the followers look forward to it and even set alerts to see the content. At the same time, it is crucial that the uploaded content has a similar aesthetic as that defines one’s style.

6. Promote Content On The Social Networks

It helps to have a successful number of followers on other social media platforms as well, such as YouTube or Instagram, or on a website blog. The followers from those platforms would also like to view the created content on TikTok.

What Are The Key Features Of The TikTok Mobile App?

TikTok Mobile App Features

The Main Features Consist Of:

1. Video Uploading

If you desire to replicate TikTok-like success in your Video Social app, ensure that the app offers an easy and fast way to upload videos on the platforms. The user must be able to upload ready-made content directly from their device intuitively using functions they are familiar with.

2. Video Editing

In TikTok-like apps, the key feature is Video Editing. Hence, this experience of editing content must be great for the users, so the more impressive the video editing toolkit is, the better. Tools like rotating, cropping, adding animations, effects, changing playback speed can be added as well.

3. Add Effects

Effects are a great way to transform an ordinary image into extraordinary one. There are a number of special effects like flash, zoom, reverse, slow-motion that can be integrated into the app to enhance its charm. However, one thing to ensure here is that the effects must be unique and something that instantly grabs user attention to make your app cast a spell on the users.

4. Live Streaming

This is not a feature offered by TikTok. However, while creating such an app, you can consider integrating it to make your app unique. It allows the users to stream LIVE video on the platform.

5. QR Code Scanner

With this functionality, the app users can subscribe to other music video app users by simply scanning a QR code.

6. Duet With Me

Using this feature, the app users can create music videos with lip sync. They can add the hashtag #duetwithme and ask other users to duet with them.

Advance Features Of Video Social App Like TikTok

TikTok Mobile App advance Features

Behaviour Tracking & Suggestion Algorithm:

This is an important feature for an app like TikTok, as it allows the business to find out what is clicking with the users and how they are behaving with the app. Accordingly, personalized content can be suggested to them to enhance their engagement with the app.

1. Video Preview Before Publishing

In the case of TikTok, it allows its audience to watch popular videos before sign-up. This way, people can watch the video content available on the app. However, to like or post comments on video posts, sign-up is required.

2. Music Library

Just like TikTok, your app can also offer a music library to make video shooting and posting more fun for the app users.

3. AR Editing Driven Features

There are several augmented reality features available on TikTok that allow you to change hair and eye color, add objects like flowers behind your ears, rabbit’s ears, and do a lot more to make the content exciting. AR technology is getting quite popular nowadays, and thus, integrating this technology into your app is a good idea.

4. Location-Based Content

These advanced features allow locating the device. In the case of TikTok, the app offers posting content by the other users with exact location. At the same time, users can even add their present location to the video.

5. Social Sign-up/Log-In & Social Sharing

This functionality will allow the app users to sign-up and login to the app via their social media profiles, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. This makes the registration process relatively smooth.

6. Real-Time Analytics & Dashboards

With this feature, it is possible to see the activities of viewers & broadcasters with the app in real-time, like how they interact with the app. This allows us to take the right measures to improve the user experience with the app further. Also, this functionality offers the data regarding the number of hearts and comments on the video posts.

7. Efficient CMS Integrations

Content Management System is a crucial aspect of any app, and it tends to hold the highest priority as it comes to the TikTok-like app.

8. Loyalty Program Integrations

This functionality is crucial to ensure user loyalty with your app.

Video Streaming Architecture For TikTok-Like App

Video Streaming Architecture For TikTok-Like App

As video streaming is the main essence of the TikTok-like app, much importance needs to be given to every detail of TikTok system architecture. Streaming must always be done from an external server, and the mobile app must be lightweight. In these apps, the broadcasting stream passes through a server to the user’s device, and it remains there till the user views it. Then after the usage, it gets automatically deleted from the server-side.

On the server-side, the server converts the broadcast and transmits it to the app. Cloud servers are a must for video streaming apps, and pay attention to scaling parts of servers. After all, the more the app is in use, the more requests will handle. Also, allow the option for saving videos in the external storage of the user’s device to watch them later. However, ensure taking care of copyright issues before enabling users to save files in the local device storage.

Required Technology Stack For Creating Apps Like TikTok

technology stack for mobile app

While creating an app like TikTok, it is crucial to choose the right technology, as that will be the game-changer for an app like TikTok. Investing in the wrong one can be lethal for the app here. The technology stack one requires to develop an app like TikTok is:

  • Wowza Streaming Engine Helix Universal Server and Nimble Streamer for Streaming Media System
  • Apache Flink, Spark Streaming, Azure Stream Analytics for Real-time Analytics
  • AWS for Cloud Environment
  • MongoDB, HBase, Cassandra, Postgres, MailChimp Integration for Database
  • Debian for Universal Operating System
  • Mandrill for emails
  • Datastax for Database Management
  • GWT for Powerful Programming
  • Stripe, e-Wallet apps, Braintree, PalPal for Payments
  • Nexmo, Twilio for SMS, Voice, Phone Verification
  • Twilio, Push.ios for Push Notifications
  • Amazon S3, Azure, Google Cloud Storage for Cloud Storage
  • Amazon Cloud front for Content Delivery Networks (CDSs)
  • FFMPEG & Amazon elastic transcoder for Audio/Video Transcoding
  • HTTP, RTMP, HTTPS for Media Server Configuration

Ensure to give significant importance to technology when creating an app like TikTok, as investing in the right technology gives the necessary support to such an app.

How To Develop An App Like TikTok?

The development process to create an app like TikTok can be quite complex compared to other apps, and here we have discussed the process in depth. Let’s begin:

1. Conduct Ample Market Research

The first and foremost step in developing a TikTok-like app is to carry out proper market research to explore more about your target market. This will give a clear understanding of how market dynamics work, how customers interact with the brands, the leading players, and current trends. Accordingly, the initial assumptions can be validated, and app projects can be modified to achieve business goals. To get more insights into the target audience, research for:

  • Demographic Profile

Learn about the average user’s age, location, device types they use, and financial situation. It is helpful to know how reliable their internet connection is.

  • Behavioral Trends

Try to find a few trends that can be applied to your app. It could be declining desire of users to install, high value on app utility, decreasing tolerance for lack of security, decreasing patience for the slow loading times, and much more. To develop a product that responds well to the users’ needs and wants, create a buyer persona portraying your ideal users.

2. Choose A Suitable Monetization Model

Once the study on potential users is complete, it is time to select the future business model. The few monetization strategies that work for apps like TikTok are:

  • Fundraising

At the project’s initial stage, fundraising can be a good monetization option. Fundraising involves the collection of money as donations from individuals & businesses. TikTok also has fundraising as a premium earning mode. Quite recently, the app was funded with $3 billion by high-class investors.

  • In-App Purchases

In the case of the TikTok app, it enables its users to support the live broadcasters with in-app purchases of coins purchased with real money. The followers exchange the coins for gifts, bestowing them on others during the live streams they conduct. Coins are available from 100 to 10,000 in bundles, varying in price from 99 cents to $99.99. As per Sensor Tower data, the bundle of 100-coin is the most popular among the users, and then the 500 coin bundle is popularly priced at $4.99.

  • Advertising

This is yet another monetization option and consists of several types of in-app advertising, like:

Cost-Per-Click: Here, the advertisers pay each time the users interact with ads in the app.
Cost-Per-Mile: In this case, the app owners charge advertisers for every 1000 impressions of their advertisement inside the app.
Cost-Per-Action: Here, the advertisers only pay for clicks leading to a specified action, like app download, newsletter sign-up, website registration, or a form submission.

3. Choose Experienced App Development Team

Once the market research and business model are taken care of, get in touch with the development team and get started with the project’s first phase, i.e., Discovery Phase, start also known as the Inception Phase. This phase consists of business analysis & requirements elicitation, project planning, cost estimation, and choosing a technology stack. During this stage, the following activities are conducted as per the requirements, such:

  • Defining the scope of the project, main functionalities of future software, and the business priorities.
  • Creating app development workflow, considering the monetization strategy
  • Recognize the main app functionalities and the user roles.
  • Craft a future app concept
  • Now the app development team prioritizes the features of the app, creates project milestones, and creates the MVP of the project.

4. Go For The MVP Product Development Strategy

The social Video app is quite a complex affair; hence if you have inhibitions developing a fully-functional app, it is a good idea to come up with a TikTok alternative launching an MVP (minimum viable product) app model. This helps in determining how the app users like this TikTok alternative, and the feedback will help to improve the project.

What Team Structure Is Required To Create A TikTok App?

What Team Structure Is Required To Create A TikTok App

To develop a successful app like TikTok, it is important to be fully equipped with a set of dedicated professionals consisting of:

  • Business Analyst
  • Project Manager
  • iOS Developers
  • Android Developers
  • Back-end developers
  • UX/UI Designers
  • Quality Analysis Testers

How Much Does It Cost To Develop An App Like TikTok?

Cost To Develop an app

To develop an app like TikTok, it is important to consider various factors that can be pivotal in affecting the cost of the app. The most essential factors can be app design, app platform, app features, and a team of app developers. Here we have discussed these aspects in-depth:

1. Platform

There are two main platforms for which an app is developed, i.e., iOS and Android. Now, if you are willing to make an app like TikTok, the piece of advice would be to launch in on both platforms for wide success. However, if the budget restricts you, then a single platform can be chosen as per the target audience and their preferences. Like, in the case of Instagram, it launched first on iOS, and then a year and a half later, it came up with an Android version.

2. Design

The app design can be quite a struggle as it requires a good deal of time & money. These days the users are pretty demanding, and by having intuitive and user-friendly UX/UI design, it is possible to drive new users and gain their loyalty and trust.

3. Features

A list of features needs to be decided that will be integrated into the app. It is the number of features and their complexity that impact the app development cost. And when advanced functionalities are integrated, more time and money needs to be invested that further increasing the development cost.

4. Development Team

To create a TikTok-like app, a development team is required. For this, one can choose to outsource or hire in-house developers. Both the options have their pros and cons. However, in-house development tends to be more expensive as it involves software and hardware purchases, rent, taxes, and more. Outsourcing tends to be more popular. Here the developers as per their location that impacts the hourly rates.

  • Like the developers from UK, USA & Australia charge from $150/hour.
  • Then in Eastern Europe, the developer rate starts from $35/hour
  • Indian developers’ average rate is $15-$20/hour.

All in all, to give a rough estimate, the cost to create a video social app with basic functionalities and for a single platform should cost around $25000-$30000, whereas the cost to create an app with advanced functionalities and for two platforms, iOS and Android will cost around $50000-$60000.


If you want to build a video social media app like TikTok, you should contact the best app development company that has experienced app developers who can start from scratch with your app idea.

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CTO at Emizentech and a member of the Forbes technology council, Amit Samsukha, is acknowledged by the Indian tech world as an innovator and community builder. He has a well-established vocation with 12+ years of progressive experience in the technology industry. He directs all product initiatives, worldwide sales and marketing, and business enablement. He has spearheaded the journey in the e-commerce landscape for various businesses in India and the U.S.