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How to make a short-form mobile video sharing social networking apps like TikTok, Douyin, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, Triller, SnackVideo, MX TakaTak, Likee, Dubsmash?

Due to access of cheap mobile data offered by telecommunications companies, the availability of budget smartphones, evolution of the new technologies, and over 7 billion population in the world – has created an endless market for the short-form mobile video sharing social networking apps like TikTok, Douyin, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, Triller, SnackVideo, MX TakaTak, Zili, Josh, Moj, Chingari, Mitron, Roposo, Dubsmash, Likee, and more.

But from all these short-form mobile video sharing social networking apps, TikTok is a popular app which is built by Zhang Yiming (Chinese billionaire internet entrepreneur and founder of the Beijing-based firm ByteDance), for creating and sharing short-form videos set to music. The most popular genres on the platform are lip-synching and dancing. Most creators use it as a medium for viral “challenges”, to emote famous monologues from movies and TV, and produce clever illusions through editing.

TikTok has taken the world by storm and the globally popular short-form mobile video sharing social networking app has become one of the entertainment options for all. So now everyone is looking to create a similar short-form video sharing social networking app like TikTok. In this blog, we aim to provide a detailed explanation on how to build a short-form video sharing social networking apps like TikTok, Douyin, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, Triller, SnackVideo, MX TakaTak, Likee, Chingari, Mitron, Roposo, Dubsmash, Zili, Josh, Moj, and more.

Step 1: Select the business model

1. Short-Form Video Sharing Social Media/Social Network

As per, over 3.6 billion people were using social media worldwide in 2020 and this number projected to increase to almost 4.41 billion in 2025. Also, the number of smartphone users worldwide in 2021 projected to 3.8 billion as per TikTok social media app that functions as a multi-sided platform, consisting of short-form video creators, viewers, and brands. The platform offers a space where users can easily become inspired to explore and publish their creative short-form videos. The brands can directly contact creators who match as per their target market. This direct relationship differs from other social media platforms where such influencer marketing plays a key role. Live streaming allows creators to engage with their viewers more directly. Music is a key element that helps these videos go viral. Similar to TikTok, you can choose a short-form video sharing social media/social network platform as a business model that allows users to create & share short-form videos on any topic.

Step 2: Select the revenue model

1. Advertising

The powerful Artificial Intelligence (AI) based algorithm studies the users preferences and behavior to show relevant & exciting ads. TikTok revolutionized the advertising industry instead of boring texts appearing randomly on the users screen, now video advertising is becoming a trend. It’s engaging, catchy, and it’s useful for businesses. Advertising on TikTok is not just a source of revenue. It’s also a magic that attracts the brands and businesses to join the platform. Advertisements on TikTok come in various types with many targeting options.

2. Coins

That’s how the in-app purchases are implemented in the TikTok app. TikTok users can send virtual gifts to each other. To send the gift, a user needs to pay for it with TikTok coins. The price for the coins, as well as the range of virtual gifts, varies. It’s an actionable monetization method and a drop of gamification in a platform. A person that receives the gift can convert it to so-called diamonds and then monetize it while TikTok charges a 50% commission.

Step 3: Latest market trends

1. Short-Form Videos

TikTok is the destination for short-form videos. Whether you are a games admirer or just looking for a laugh – there is something for everyone on TikTok. Similar to TikTok, Instagram introduced Reels and YouTube introduced Shorts. All you have to do is watch short-form videos, engage with what you like, skip what you don’t, and you will find endless short-form videos that feel personalized just for you.

2. Hashtag Challenge

If you have never heard of a hashtag challenge, then pay close attention because this is one of the latest TikTok trends. The hashtag challenge is when consumers are asked to carry out a particular task, record themselves doing it, and posting it on social media with a specified hashtag. Though hashtag challenges are common across different platforms, TikTok is where it got popularized. Because of its potential to go viral and thus boost brand awareness, businesses big and small have been quick to take advantage of it.

3. Memes

Memes are very frequently used on TikTok and they are extremely popular amongst millennials, who make up a large percentage of TikTok’s user base. Memes are oftentimes quite humorous and they also have great viral capabilities. Companies who can use memes effectively can boost their engagement and potentially even achieve viral status on their marketing campaigns.

4. Influencer Marketing

Think “influencers” and your mind may immediately go to TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and more. Influencer marketing has become a huge and essential part of marketing. It’s difficult to find brands that aren’t using it. It’s a powerful marketing trend that allows brands to reach their targeted audience.

Step 4: Select the features

The following are the detailed features of short-form video sharing social media app like TikTok.

Sign-Up & Profile Management: Sign-up is the first interaction between the users and the app. Users need to register and create their profile on the app by entering the needed details. You can add an option for registering via social networks, OTP, and more.

Creating & Editing Videos: It allows users to create and edit videos on an app with Camera tools, Effects, Sounds/Music, Duet, Stitch, Editing, Posting, Deleting, and other options.

Exploring Videos: It allows users to explore videos with For You (personalized feed of videos based on user interests and engagement), Liking (Like, Dislike, Not Interested), Sharing, Discover, and Search options.

Messaging and Notifications: It allows users to messaging and notifications on an app with Comments, Direct Messages, and Notifications options.

Followers and Following: It allows users to manage Following & Unfollowing, Finding friends from contacts, Removing followers, Blocking users, and Finding blocked list.

Live: TikTok LIVE allows users and creators to interact in real-time.

Gifts: Users can purchase, send, or receive virtual Gifts during LIVE videos, to show their support and reward their favorite hosts or be rewarded.

Hashtags: Similar to platforms like Instagram, hashtags also play a significant role in TikTok. They are the primary way how users share and find content. Through hashtags, content creators spot emerging trends and figure out which niches are dominating the platform.

Analytics: It provides an overview and insights on things like views, follower growth, and trending videos to users.

Additional Features: Verified Accounts, Help & Support, Legal Policies, Wallet, Report a Problem, Account & Privacy Settings, Advertise & Monetization, and more.

Step 5: Select technology stack

The tech stack would depend on the short-form video sharing social networking app business model, required features by the app, mobile app development approaches, and more.

Tech Stack:

– Mobile App Screen Design Tool: Photoshop, Illustrator, and more
– Programming Language for Android: Kotlin, Java, and more
– Programming Language for iOS: Swift, Objective-C, and more
– IDE for Android: Android Studio and more
– IDE for iOS: Xcode and more
– Framework: React Native, Flutter, Xamarin, Adobe PhoneGap, Ionic, and more
– Backend Development: PHP, Java, and more
– Database: MySQL, MongoDB, and more
– Storage: Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and more
– Analytics: FireBase, Google Analytics, and more

Time and Cost to develop an app like TikTok

The time and cost of a short-form video sharing apps like TikTok depend on various factors such as the number of platforms, application development approaches, needed user experience, features list, mobile app trends, etc. Additional features can cost more. The application development cost also depends on the app development company and the location where the app is being developed.

Approximate Time: Initial technical documentation and designing process takes 50 hours. Creating a UI/UX design is around 150 hours. Building the backend of the app will be 160 hours. Testing and bug fixing can require almost 70 hours. Deployment and releasing require 70 hours. This means the total hours required is 500 for the app development.

Approximate Cost: App development companies charge on a per hour basis, and the charges may vary based on location. The USA based app developers hourly charges are between $70 to $100. While European app developer’s hourly charges are between $40 to $70. The India based app developers hourly charges are between $15 to $40. To get app development cost, you need to apply this formula (Total Hours Required for the Application Development * Application Developers Hourly Cost = Total Application Development Cost).


We hope that after reading this blog you are clear about how to make a short-form video sharing social networking apps like TikTok, Douyin, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, Triller, SnackVideo, MX TakaTak, Likee, Dubsmash. For successful app development like TikTok, you need a trusted technology partner who has expertise in it.

Do you want to develop a short-form video sharing social media app like TikTok in Native, Cross-Platform, Hybrid, PWA, or with other approaches? Do you want to build a short-form video sharing app like TikTok for Android, iOS, iPhone, iPad? – Talk to a mobile app development company and understand how we will add value to your short-form video sharing app in terms of technical expertise and business knowledge. Choose an experienced technology partner, like us, who can not only help you in understanding the best approach for your short-form video sharing app but also deliver a high-quality short-form video sharing social networking app like TikTok within the budget and time.

Have a short-form video sharing social networking startup in your mind? – Contact Us!