How to Make an App Like Instagram: Tech Stack, Features, Costs

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Here you will find out what it takes to create a photo-sharing app like Instagram.

The next level in social mobile networks is a photo and video-sharing app like Instagram. In the beginning, this app cost $500K, but after two more funding rounds, the project collected $57.5M in total and ten investors.

Nowadays Instagram is worth more than $100 billion US. This success led to the appearance of other well-known photo-sharing apps: Swipe, Snapchat, Vine, Camera, Flickr. There is potential in a photo-sharing app business when uniqueness is found.

Evolution of Instagram Mobile App

Currently, Instagram is the leading social photo-sharing app in the world where 95 million pictures are posted daily. The number of monthly active Instagram users was 1 billion in 2018.

At first, Instagram started with a simple but unique feature – adhering a photo in a square with a few filters which allowed the company to receive greater investments and develop a solid project for major mobile platforms.

By the way, when Instagram was released, photo-sharing and editing tools existed separately on the market. As a result, the combination of both elements became the Unique Selling Proposition.

Today Instagram is a free photo-sharing app for Android and iOS smartphones, and there is also a web-based Instagram version for uploading and sharing photos. It is not a simple photo app, but a social platform offering wide functionality for business owners and marketing specialists.

Instagram as a Photo-Editing App

It has lots of colorful filters and elements for adjusting photos. It allows users to change a photo’s size, adjust its brightness, contrast, structure, warmth, and use markers, texts, and other elements.

Instagram as an E-commerce Platform

Photo-sharing apps are the most engaging platforms which allow brands and companies to benefit by showcasing their products. Each transaction made via this platform lets Instagram earn a commission.

Instagram as a Messenger

“Direct” is an integral part of the platform allowing users to share highlights, exchange ideas, and connect more deeply with other users.

Instagram is constantly updated with some new features, namely: 

  • IGTV – Instagram TV for vertical video sharing up to one-hour in length; it is now possible to create a personal channel.
  • Stories – a section to share your highlights as a photo or short 15-second video.
  • Shoppable posts – shopping tags connected to the posts allows users to make purchases directly from the app. This makes Instagram a significant sales channel.
  • Nametags – a tool utilizing QR code principle. Allows for the creation of personalized “nametags” to be scanned by other individuals, who are then given the option to follow you. This makes it easier for users to connect and is a great asset for brands.
  • New quick replies in direct – the feature which will be used to save and customize generic responses, especially useful for business profiles.
  • Explore page – redesigned app screen.

After learning the core information about Instagram and its evolution, it is important to understand how to actually start your own Instagram-like app.

How to Create an App Like Instagram Successfully

For starters, the development of any mobile app demands a lot of planning and preparatory work. The process of building a social photo-sharing app includes: 

  • Conduct market research to define your target audience and its preferences.
  • Evaluate competitive photo-sharing apps.
  • Finalize your unique and outstanding app concept.
  • Define your further strategy in terms of your goals with the project, budget, timeline, and technologies.
  • Prepare your marketing and PR strategy and start promoting the app from the early stages.
  • Build communication channels with your users to gain quick and up-to-date client feedback.
  • Select a capable development agency to design, develop, test, and launch your social photo-sharing app.
  • Keep up with the competitors and evolve the project further with additional functionality, design elements, and reach out to new user groups.

Of course, photo-sharing application development requires significant investments. While creating an app you would like not only to implement your idea but also to make money. Instagram’s profit model includes in-app advertising, sponsorship, and an online shopping platform.

These are the most widely used ways to get profit from your app:

  • Sponsorship and advertisements (businesses can create their own profiles, advertise themselves by posting images, and gain followers).
  • In-app purchases (you can sell many things from custom filters and effects to enabling users to offer their photos for money so that you receive a commission).
  • Offering special deals to active users.

As soon as all the project’s preparatory materials are ready, you can begin to build your own social media app like Instagram starting from the MVP.

This MVP is a basic photo-sharing app with the core functionality. Only the unique feature, app concept, design, and app branding makes a major difference at this point. The MVP helps to reach out to the target audience and create a strong brand mindset.

If you want to succeed in creating an app similar to Instagram, consider the following things:

  • Create a new and unique photo-editing tool inside the app. Develop new filters, objects, textures, effects, and editing possibilities.
  • Build the photo-sharing for a specific user group or themed app (e.g. designers, food or animal lovers, event-app etc).
  • Make it possible to create themed photo albums and set the photo or post privacy to send invitations only to selected users.
  • Add functionality to share photos between phones and other devices easily without signing up.
  • Help your users with some photo-editing lessons, or provide them with tips to create top-notch user profiles.

How to Build Your Instagram Project

First of all, you should analyze the key features to decide in which direction you to start moving.

The Instagram interface is the best example of photo and short video sharing application with a simple, user-friendly, and stylish design. The app is so easy to use that you should not have any difficulties understanding how it works.

To conclude, it is important not only to plan how the app will work but also its appearance.

Here you will be provided with a detailed explanation of everything that needs to be considered while building an app similar to Instagram.