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How Much Does It Cost to Develop an App Like Instagram?

It goes without saying, to make Instagram it took years and thousands of dollars. Nowadays there are more and more requests to make an app like Instagram which can mean something different for each person because the platform contains wide functionality, as Instagram has expanded from a photo-sharing application to a social and business platform.

Instagram is so successful because of continuous product improvement. Currently, it gives its users the ability not only to share photo and video content with other users but also offers wide business possibilities. Instagram has undoubtedly become a powerful sales channel to attract new prospects and offer different products and services.

At the same time, Instagram always improves the user experience by maintaining simple, intuitive navigation for new users along with monochrome and laconic design. In general, the company follows design tendencies in order to provide the best user experience.

Instagram app design changes

At present, Instagram is a free photo and video content sharing application, which can be downloaded through the App Store (iOS) or Google Play (Android). There is also a web version for sharing and uploading content. It costs money if you would like to use Instagram for advertising purposes.

Below you will read the Instagram functionality to understand how the system is built and what efforts it would take to create a similar product.

The Instagram App Functionality

Firstly, it is important to know that Instagram evolved from a simple photo-sharing app. Do not forget that its primary feature was adhering photos into a square which allowed Instagram to succeed in the app business.

Instagram includes the following key functionality:

- Authorization (via email, phone number, or Facebook)
- Create and edit profile (including Business profile)
- Messages
- Image customization
- Determination of geolocation
- View user profiles and follow other users
- Personalized feed
- Search (by posts, usernames, tags, and places)
- Mentions
- Analytics
- Settings

Photo & Video Instagram App

As mentioned, Instagram’s life began with photos! The whole content includes posts which are shown in the personalized user feed which is based on preferences. Users can follow other users, pages, and hashtags. Besides, Instagram has the functionality to edit these photos, apply a range of filters, and tag locations and friends in the photo.

The year 2017 was full of Instagram stories, which set video content in the center of the service by allowing users to broadcast short videos. Although they self-destruct after 24 hours, starting from December 2018, users have a possibility to store their best broadcasts in the Stories Highlights section for an indefinite time. This feature is complex for Instagram, with a separate feed on top of the main app screen.

Besides, Instagram has also become an innovator in mobile television. In order to compete with YouTube, the platform also launched IGTV for vertical videos adapted for smartphones.

The app has a lot of functionalities and among them is the ability to create and use personalized name tags to find and follow new users more easily, and search and follow hashtags. Instagram’s algorithm offers you the content of interest to you based on liking history and followings. As a result, brands are able to generate more valuable content tailored to their target audience.

Messaging Instagram App

The messenger, Instagram Direct, is one of the first great updates made by Instagram in 2013. It lets private photo-sharing and messaging to people you follow which changed the emphasis from a mostly public social network with a broadcast structure toward some more private and precious moments shared only with a close group.

Nowadays users have the possibility to send personalized messages and videos. Also, you can create group chats with up to 32 members.

Instagram as an E-commerce Platform & Business App

With the help of shopping on Instagram, brands highlight products in Stories and Feed to attract new customers. Businesses can generate sales via Instagram by tagging their products in the pictures with descriptions, prices, and sales links.
If you want to apply product labels, you need to link items to the Facebook Business directory and set a catalog there. After that, you can create publications and stories for sales and check statistics.

How Much Does Instagram Cost to Create?

Of course, it is almost impossible to clone Instagram exactly, if you don’t have the necessary monetary resources, skilled developers, and effective management. You should not forget that the price for a mobile app development depends on these and more factors:

- number of features
- complexity of features
- design specifics
- number of platforms and operating system details
- technology preferences
- development team capabilities & rates
- project management, etc.

As the platform has wide functionality and the elements described above, the phrase “app like Instagram” can mean something different for each individual.

Besides, to store such a massive amount of data (photo & video content) Instagram has huge architecture, not talking about a vast amount of minor elements and functions. Every month Instagram hosts 1 billion users! It is a high level of server infrastructure required for processing a few million posts at once and supporting all these moving pieces.

Because of this, it is a hard task to estimate the actual cost and time to develop an app like Instagram. The price could even vary from $5,000-5,000,000 depending on what the initial intentions are and the other factors mentioned above.

Here you will find out full information on the cost of building a social photo-sharing app like Instagram and elements that make it up.


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It takes around 1,180 hours of development for each platform. In order to transfer man-hours into dollars, you should multiply this figure by an hourly rate of your employees or software development agency rates.

$50 as an hourly rate, which is an average rate of Ukrainian developers, and it by 1,180 hours we’ll get $59,000 in total for each application. Talking about North America, you should multiply this figure by $150-200 and the final cost of one application will range between $177,000-236,000+. This price without design services and admin panel development.

Check out more here about mobile app development costs.


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