Jul 15, 2019

An App Like Snapchat: How Are You Going To Make One?

Chatting apps have taken online communication to a whole new level.

It’s fast, it’s snappy and it’s fun.

But should you make another chatting app to compete hundreds of other in the market?

Taking advantage of these qualities, many entrepreneurs are looking at opportunities to create an app like Snapchat. But why Snapchat? And how to develop an app like Snapchat that gets user favorite?

Launched during a time when giants like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter were ruling the online space, Snapchat made a statement by making their app a unique mix of photo sharing and chatting app. 

So if you want to utilize this new model of photo sharing/chatting app for your app, and want to know how to make an app like Snapchat, then you have to know all about this app, its features, and how it makes money, and with this article, we are going to tell you all about it. 

How To Make An App Like Snapchat?

Now if you want to develop an app similar to Snapchat, I am going to tell you the exact steps you need!

Let’s delve deep into the steps.

1. What Is Snapchat Anyways?

It is an app that offers users a unique blend of photo sharing and chatting app. Users of this app can take photos and videos, add captions and different effects to them, share them with the world as stories, or send them to individual users. However, Snapchat goes against the phenomenon of “everything is permanent on the internet”. By that, we mean that Snapchat photos and videos send to people self destructs after being seen. 

Snapchat & its History

From the very beginning, Snapchat had something special about it. The owner and CEO, Evan Spiegel knew this. And of course, Mark Zuckerberg, the infamous CEO of Facebook also realized it. Which is why he tried to buy Snapchat for $3 billion

But the founder and owner of Snapchat refused it. And now the app stands at a whopping $33 billion. As of Q1 of 2019, the app stands at 190 million daily users (DAU). According to Snap Inc., the DAU has increased 2% compared to the 186 million DAU in Q4 2018.

However, Snapchat’s attempts at going against the “it’s-going-to-be-on-internet-forever” concept was thwarted by the screenshot takers. That is when Snapchat integrated the notification system that would inform the user that someone has taken a screenshot of their snap.

how to build an app like Snapchat with market stat
Source: https://sproutsocial.com

The demographics of Snapchat mainly include teenagers, but it is hitting new demographics with every update. So if you want to learn about making a Snapchat like an app, you have to hit it up with the new generation and learn their terms or invent some, as Snapchat did. 

Snapchat Terms & Predominant Features

Snapchat hit it big with the youngsters, and that’s not only because of their unique take on chatting but also because of the cool terms they invented to make the app stand out. So take stock of the Snapchat terms and come up with some cool terms for your own app. 

  • Snap: video or picture taken by Snapchat users
  • Story: a snap that doesn’t self destruct, rather sticks around for 24 hours and all your followers can view them. 
  • Snapchatters: people who are using the app
  • Snapback: response of the user on snaps.
  • Score: the number of snaps sent and received over chats. The score is visible next to the first’s name on the contact list. 

2. Plan An App Better Than Snapchat: The Main Features

If you wanna plan free apps like Snapchat, then you have to be familiar with the features first. Why? Cause what makes Snapchat different than the rest is actually the features. 

Related Read: How to Make an App – What No One Told You Before Ever!

Snapchat emerged in a busy market with features that were unique, and somewhat baffling on the first trial. But once the users got used to it, those features became the most sought after features. 

So let’s talk a look at the features of Snapchat features and see why they tick.

A. Snap & Talk

The main feature of Snapchat, that made it popular is the unique blend of chatting and photo sharing. The photo-sharing aspect of Snapchat took the central stage on this platform. Added to that, there is a plethora of special effects, lenses, and stickers. 

So if you are thinking about using this model of photo sharing/chatting then make sure to add fun effects and stickers to it. 

B. Look Through Snapchat Lenses

The Snapchat lenses are this unique feature that lets the users add effects on their photos. 

how to create an app like Snapchat with lenses
Source: https://9to5mac.com

Probably the send most famous feature after the snap sharing one, the lenses let the users add quirky effects to their photos. These goofy animation overlays on the photos make the snap experience so much more fun and entertaining. The lenses feature became so popular among the users, that another photo-sharing giant Instagram too adopted the feature

C. Geofilters

These are special filters and overlays available only when the user is visiting certain places. 

Snapchat with geofilters
Source: https://allthingssnap.com

D. Add Some Friends

Adding friends on Snapchat is a bit different than all the other social media platforms. Rather than just searching for friends, users can add friends on this platform in three ways. You can add friends with the nearby option, which will use your location to show you nearby Snapchatters. Then, of course, there is the basic search option. And then there is the Snapcode, which is the QR code you can easily scan and add someone as a friend. 

how to develop an app like Snapchat and add friends
Source: https://recombu.com

E. Chatting On Snapchat

Snapchat is, of course, first and foremost a chatting app. The app has made chatting much more fun by adding the snap sharing feature, and of course, the stickers. They took the somewhat boring concept of chatting app and turned it into an exciting app. 

Snapchat with chatting option
Source: https://www.imore.com/how-use-feed-snapchat

So if you are thinking about creating an app like Snapchat, re-imagine online chatting. Make sure to add exciting elements on the app so that chatting online becomes more fun. 

F. Video And Audio Calls

The communicational aspect of Snapchat became more prominent when they added the feature of making video and audio calls. Users can be on call and at the same time send photos. 

via GIPHY

G. Stories

A story is an image or video you can broadcast to all your followers. These stories are available for only 24 hours and after that, they disappear. The feature became so popular that now the story feature is almost on every social media platform. So when you are planning to make free apps like Snapchat, you can’t ignore this feature.

how to make an app like Snapchat with stories as feature
Source: Independent.co.uk

H. Discover

With Discover user can find stories from editorial teams of various big companies like People, CNN, Mashable, Cosmo and many more.

how to develop an app like snapchat with discover page as feature
Source: Businessinsider

3. The Tech Stack to Make a Robust App

The tech stack of your app is going to determine whether it is going to be as awesome as Snapchat or not. So before you think about how to develop an app like Snapchat Android or iOS, check out the tech stack of Snapchat to see what you need to make your app as cool as Snapchat. 

You must hire a reputed mobile app development company with developers adept to the following technologies. We take pride in calling ourselves one, thanks to the extensive work portfolio we have on different technologies.

A. Development Language

Snapchat leverages the advantages of many developmental languages to make it the best in the market. For front-end development, they use Bootstrap and Java. other languages used for this app are Python, Objective-C for iOS, and PHP.

B. Cloud Hosting

For hosting, Snapchat makes use of AWS (Amazon Web Service). And to increase scalability and manage overall data storage, they also make use of Google compute engine. 

C. Database Management

To handle such a large amount of data in a flexible way, Snapchat uses NoSQL as a database. This way they are not only handling the data in an efficient way, but they also offer great performance. 

D. Analytics

Analytics are important and Snapchat knows this. Which is why they use Google analytics tool to analyze their website traffic, collect data to improve the overall performance of the app. 

E. Supportive

To provide users with superior support, Snapchat uses Zendesk customer support tool. 

4. What To Avoid When Making An App Like Snapchat? Be Better!

Sure you are here to learn about how to build an app like Snapchat, but we are also going to tell you what are the things you need to avoid in an app model like Snapchat. 

The app may look perfect, but there are many problematic areas. So let’s take a look at those problem areas as well. 

A Better User Interface

The mass adoption of any app heavily depends on how great the UI design is. The user interface needs to be easy to learn and quick to navigate. Anything less and the app will lose users. 

But Snapchat has gone the exact opposite way of this. For the first time user, the UI is quite hard to navigate. The app opens on camera, and one has to swipe around the screen to navigate to other areas of the app. This design may be refreshing, but it is still confusing to a lot of others. 

Read Also: Secrets to Make Your App Habit Forming

Which is why when you are designing apps like Snapchat, you have to make sure to create an app that has a better UI design. Even if you have to adopt the most ordinary feature on the UI, it’ll be worth it, especially when more and more people start using your app. 

Relationship With The Influencers

Every social media platform has influencers on them. These influencers create content on a daily basis and have a big follower base. Platforms like Instagram and Youtube are known for treasuring the influencers on their platform, making sure that they don’t leave the platform. If they leave, millions of their followers will also leave the platform, creating a serious dent on the user base of the platform. 

But Snapchat is not playing the influencer game well. In fact, back in 2017, a famous Snapchatter Michael Platco was reminded by Snapchat to follow the platform rules and had his account deactivated for a short while. This gave rise of unrest among the influencers, who are now migrating to other platforms. 

So if you are planning on building free apps like Snapchat, then make sure that you are aware of the presence of influencers on your platform and support them. These influencers have a passionate fanbase who are ready to leave the platform along with the influencer. So, foster a good relationship with the influencer and your app will see a continuous rise. 

Provide Right Advertisement Metrics

When it comes to putting advertisements on social media platforms, the advertisers need the right metrics to see whether their advertisements are working or not. So just assessing how to build an app like Snapchat is not enough- you need to plan the right strategy to earn from it.

Snapchat however, does not provide much support when it comes to the advertisement metrics. The metrics they will provide the users with are very basic ones, and it does not give much hope to a marketer. All they can track is total views, number of screenshots taken and story completion. 

Whereas on Instagram, you can find better advertisement metrics. Even with their Ad tool, you can’t track much except for reach eCPM and impressions. So when you are making apps like Snapchat, you have to have better advertisement metrics. 

So when you make apps like Instagram and Snapchat, make sure to give the marketers the chance to track click-through rates, conversions, website traffic, etc. the more marketers use your app to market your product, the better the profit you will make. 

Ability To Reuse Content On Your App (unlike Snapchat)

Once again, from a marketer’s point of view, it is much easier to create content for Facebook and Instagram than Snapchat. Along with that, you can even reuse these content and use them on other social media platforms. But when it comes to Snapchat, the format is so unique, that you will have to create separate content for the app.

However, that wouldn’t be a problem if those content could be used in other platforms as well. But you can’t. Snapchat content is unique and very expensive to make, which is why many marketers question their worth. 

So make sure that content sharing on your app is easy and marketers don’t end up questioning the worth of running a marketing campaign on your app. 

Don’t Limit The App Experience (like Snapchat)

When you are using Snapchat, you know what kind of content you are going to see. It’ll be someone’s birthday party or wedding,   random snap, some Saturday night party photos, vacation photos and that’s about it. When it comes to the app experience, Snapchat provides a limited number of experiences for the users, compared to other social media platforms. 

Make sure that even though you are making an app similar to Snapchat, you don’t limit the user experience. Users love different kinds of experience on one app, increasing their level of engagement with it. So have more that one way to engage with your app. 

5. How Can You Make Money With An App Like Snapchat?

How does Snapchat make money? And how you can also make.

It’s an important question for you if you want to know how to build an app like Snapchat. Because you need to know all about the monetization strategy of Snapchat to know how you are going to make money with your app. 

A. Paid Ads

Snapchat utilizes paid advertisement in plenty of ways to generate revenue through its platform. 

Firstly you have the discover section, where big enterprises and publications have a chance to publish their content for over 190 million users worldwide. 

how to make money from your app

There are also snap ads. These ads are integrated between Snapchat stories. When the user is swapping between the stories of their friends, these snap ads will show up for a few seconds. They also show up on the discover page.

B. Lenses And Filters

Sponsored lenses and Geofilters are two other ways Snapchat is bringing in the money. 

The main difference between sponsored lenses and Geofilters are that Lenses are moving animation overlays for photos, while geofilters are fixed frames for photos. 

The sponsored lense feature is used by many brands to market their product. For example, we can talk about the time when Warner Bros. became the first advertiser to use the sponsored lens feature, to market the movie “Everything, Everything.”

via GIPHY

Geofilters, on the other hand, are fixed filters that are only available in specific places. Mcdonalds became the first user of this feature with their branded geofilters available for all of their restaurants in the United States

how to make an app like snapchat with creative features
Source: https://www.dailydot.com/debug/snapchat-mcdonalds-geofilter/

Brands can easily pay to have special lenses and filters designed for them. This is a unique form of marketing and Snapchat is obviously making loads of revenue just with that. 

6. The Cost 

And now we come to the matter of cost. 

Obviously, you have to think about how much it is going to cost to build an app similar to Snapchat. While it is pretty hard to pinpoint the exact cost until you have actively spoken to an app development agency, we can attempt to help you with an estimate. The cost of making an app like Snapchat depends on four things- the team you hire, the kind of MVP you develop, the platform for which you develop your app, and the kind of contract model you have entered with your app development agency. 

But remember that spending a lot is not going to guarantee a successful app. It all depends on how well the features are integrated into your app and how well it has been developed by the team of developers. 

5 Apps Like Snapchat Which are Going Big

After reading through this article you might be thinking, “is Snapchat the only app like itself in the market?”

Well, of course, it has competition. Just like any other big player, Snapchat too is facing lots of competitors in the market who are giving it a run for the money. And when you develop an app similar to Snapchat, these apps are going to become your rivals as well.

So it’ll be better if you learn all about the five following apps who are similar to Snapchat and are giving it a good fight for the market. 

A. Instagram

Instagram needs no introduction. 

Launched in 2010, this giant among photosharing apps was acquired by Facebook. We all know Instagram as a photo and video sharing app, but it has a pretty good messaging feature as well. The service also added the Story feature, just like that of Snapchat. On top of that, users can now choose from numerous Instagram face filters when they are uploading photos on their stories. 

how to build an app like snapchat and instagram
Source: https://apps.apple.com/

Even though Instagram is not exactly like Snapchat, which is more focused on communication through visual elements (i.e photos and videos), it comes to a lot closer to it. In fact, Mark Zuckerberg, the owner of Instagram now seems to be altering the platform to match Snapchat in the market 

B. Kik Messenger

Kik messenger, launched in 2010, became a fast favorite among the teenagers because of its instant messaging feature. Users can easily add their family and friends on this app. The app is anonymous, meaning that you can sign up without having to register a phone number. 

how to develop an app like snapchat and Kik messenger
Source: https://play.google.com

Kik has a great messaging feature, that includes clicking and sending photos, with the added feature of filters on it. This is why it is one of the biggest competitors of Snapchat. 

C. Youcam Perfect

Now we all know Snpachat has an amazing camera feature. And many users use it just because of that. But there is another app that is giving the ghostly app a big competition on the camera front and that is Youcam perfect.

how to create an app like snapchat or You cam perfect
Source: https://apps.apple.com/

When it comes to the photo editing aspect of the app, Snapchat is definitely getting a big competition from this app. The app will offer you two options to beautify your images, one being the auto beautification mode, the other being the manual edit mode. For those who only use Snapchat for its camera, Youcam Perfect is definitely a perfect alternative. 

D. Clipchat

Clipchat is one of the apps like Instagram and Snapchat. Critiques have brushed this app aside by calling it a clone of Snapchat. And some might even think so because it has similar features to Snapchat. However, Clipchat comes with a better interface.

how to build an app like snapchat and Clipchat
Source: https://apps.apple.com/

Finding and adding friends is pretty simple for users. Which is why for those who like pretty interface, Clipchat is a better alternative for Snapchat.

E. Wicker Me

Wickr Me offers the users with an encrypted messaging feature, where they can send text, images, and videos. Just like Snapchat, the app has a shredder function. With this, the app gets rid of all the erased images and videos. 

how to build an app like snapchat or Wicker Me
Source: https://play.google.com/

User’s Wickr ID stays anonymous which means that no one can track them. Wickr Me also has image filters, stickers, and graffiti that can be applied to the images taken by users. 

What’s Your Take?

Making an app is not easy, especially when you are trying to make an app like the super successful Snapchat. 

So if you are thinking about making a similar app, then you should start with using the app and taking stock of all its pros and cons. The app may seem all perfect, but it also has some of its downsides. And you need to avoid those downsides in your own app. 

Snapchat is definitely a big app, but that doesn’t mean your app also has to be this big from the very beginning. Remember that Snapchat began as a small messaging app, and slowly developed into the giant it is today.

how to make an app

It all depends on how much time and care you are taking to develop your app. Take your inspiration from the evolution of Snapchat, and surely your app can generate success like that as well. If you still have questions on making your own Snapchat like an app, contact us with your idea and we’ll help you.

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Pratip Biswas

Founder, Unified Infotech

I am an Entrepreneur and a Tech Geek with more than 1500 successful projects launched. I share my experience through my love for writing and help other entrepreneurs reach their business goals.