How to Develop an App like Instagram

WebClues Infotech
  • Date Published
  • Categories Blog, Guide
  • Reading Time 7-Minute Read

A detailed guide on How to Develop a Social Networking App like Instagram along with its Development Timeline, Features, and Technology Stack.

Instagram is a photo and video-sharing social networking platform developed by Kevin Systrom and launched in 2010. In one of the interviews, the founder of Instagram Kevin Systrom revealed that it took him 8 weeks to develop the initial prototype of Instagram. Do you think Instagram could be developed in 8 weeks today? Being a developer with 8 years of experience I don’t think so.

With Instagram leading the social network platforms in terms of the average time spent on the platform by a user, there have been many requests regarding the answer for How to develop a social networking app like Instagram.

Instagram has even managed to surpass its parent company in terms of user growth CAGR and engagement. So it’s no surprise entrepreneurs are trying to launch similar platforms by improving on some of the flaws in Instagram.

Instagram has reached where it is today by implementing some popular features of other platforms into Instagram and I must say they have made that feature so popular that every social network platform today has implemented it. The popular feature Instagram replicated from other platforms are

  • Story & AI Filter feature from Snapchat
  • Hashtag (#) feature from Twitter
  • Instagram Reels feature from TikTok
  • IGTV & Live Streaming from YouTube
  • Message feature from Facebook

It is important to notice the user’s behavior and understand which platform or feature is responsible for that behavior. Instagram saw the opportunity and implemented that behavior-generating feature onto its own platform smartly so that users won’t migrate to other platforms.

How Did the Instagram User Base Grow?

As evident from the above graph, Instagram’s users grow by more than twice in just the last 6 years and a similar trend is being said to continue for at least the next five years.

Features of the Instagram App

1. Follow Request Authorization

Instagram allows a user to keep their account private or open as per their choice. The private account user will have to accept each follow request only then the other user would be able to see the content you share.

2. Profile Creation

The user can fill in and edit details like bio, name, email, website, date of birth, etc. In their profile to give another user a sneak peek of the other user.

3. Insta Message

Instagram allows users who follow each other to chat over text and video calls. Also, a user can create groups of friends who can then chat among all the members of the group.

4. Image Optimization

One of the most important features behind the success of Instagram is its image optimization and filter feature where a user can edit images with easy-to-use tools within the app and make the image being uploaded more elegant and beautiful.

5. Geolocation Tagging

Instagram allows users to tag the location in the photo so that the user who is browsing that image can see for itself the location where the image is shot.

6. Personalization

Based on the most engaging content by individual users, the Instagram algorithm shows similar content to individual users in their feed and this lets the user see personalized content in its feed.

7. Search

Instagram allows everyone to search for individual user or brand pages through the search tab at the top or at the bottom (depending on your app version). The search tabs also help in finding hashtags (#) and follow them.

8. Mentions and Tags

Instagram allows all of its users to tag another user in their group photos. The tag features notify the other feature that someone has tagged you in their post. Similarly, a user can mention another user by just adding @name in the caption or story.

9. Analytics for Professional Accounts

Instagram allows professional or business accounts to see analytics of user growth in 7 or 30 days, post reach, post engagement, and many others. Instagram Analytics also helps its professionals account users to know when their followers are most active on Instagram.

10. Settings

The settings feature allow users to set up the account, profile, privacy, and other details within it. The setting features also have a help tab to contact Instagram support in case of any queries by a user.

11. Feedback Mechanism

The user should be able to engage and provide feedback to the content creators with likes, comments, shares, and saves.

12. Live Video Chats

The Instagram app allows creators to stream live videos in conversation with other creators on their platforms.

The above-mentioned features are just the list of some important and basic features that makes Instagram successful but as you might be aware developing the exact same app won’t lead you anywhere as your app should be able to differentiate itself from Instagram.

Instagram as an E-Commerce App

One of the latest features Instagram is building recently is the e-commerce segment development. Instagram is offering businesses to sell products from their images themselves. Setting up an e-commerce store on Instagram is quite complicated as you would first need to set up Facebook Product Catalogue which is a little complex for a newbie.

So leveraging this feature by allowing you to set up the e-commerce store for businesses and professionals easily can be one of the features you can look into to leverage for your Instagram like app.

Depending on the features to implement in deciding How to create an app like Instagram, you would need to then decide on the technology stack that will support the performance requirement for that features.

Backend Technology Stack in Apps like Instagram

The backend technology stack is the backend support an app like Instagram needs in order to perform its front-end functions efficiently and fast.

The above image can be referred to as the best backend technology stack an app like Instagram can possess in order to perform its functions effortlessly.

As you have already gone through some technical requirements behind developing an app like Instagram, there are some competitors that you should analyze and study before starting the development of an app like Instagram.

Competitors in Launching an App like Instagram

Analyzing the competitors requires understanding their target user base, their strengths, their weaknesses, etc. The major competitors for your Instagram like app launch are

  • Flickr

Flickr is an image and photo-sharing platform used to share it with users friends by creating an album with the batch upload or single uploads.

  • Imgur

Imgur is an image-sharing platform that allows memes, GIFs, etc. The main aim behind this platform is to entertain users with its content.

  • Snapchat

The app allows you to chat with your friends in the form of filter images and stickers. Snapchat was the first app to introduce a 24-hour story feature.

  • TikTok

TikTok is a small video sharing platform that allows users to make and upload videos ranging from 15 seconds to 60 seconds.

Timeline to Build an App like Instagram

The above timeline derivation shows the approx development timeline for Instagram like app. So it is important to consider each feature requirement in detail and based on that decision the actual timeline is derived.


Based on the above-detailed understanding I hope you might be clear on the requirements to develop an app like Instagram. There is a huge business opportunity that lies in developing an app like Instagram as the use of social approval among Millennials and Zillennials is only going to increase and such apps provide a platform to get that social currency.

If you are convinced to develop an app like Instagram and want a detailed cost analysis you can feel free to connect with us at Get My Custom Detailed Quote.