How to Make an App Like Snapchat: Expert Guide and Tips [2024]

How to Make an App Like Snapchat

With more than 350 million active users, Snapchat has become one of the most popular and downloaded social media apps. It offers unlimited features and functionalities, which helped it take center stage.

What’s more? This messaging app also brings users closer to augmented reality by providing them with filters and interactive lenses.

As of January 2024, the biggest Snapchat user base in the world is India with 200.97 million users. Followed by the USA, with a user base of 106 million. By 2025, the global user base of Snapchat is likely to reach 531 million.

Snapchat user base in the world

So, if this figure sounds exciting and you want to know how to make an app like Snapchat, you have come to the right place.

In this blog, we will discuss:

  • Understanding the Snapchat clone app development cost
  • Factors influencing the cost to develop an app like Snapchat
  • How to create an app like Snapchat
  • Basic Snapchat features and the time it takes to develop them
  • How to make money with an app like Snapchat

Understanding the Snapchat Clone App Development Cost

One of the most asked questions when developing a social media app is how much it costs to build an app like Snapchat. On average, the cost varies between $40,000 and $300,000. Several factors such as the app’s complexity, UI/UX design, development company’s location time, app’s complexity, team size, and more affect the cost.

Snapchat Clone App Development Cost

It's important to note that what’s given in the above table is a rough cost estimation. Multiple factors can increase or decrease the cost of developing an app like Snapchat. Here’s how you can determine the actual cost of making an app like Snapchat:

cost of making an app like Snapchat

The total time required to develop a social media app is calculated on the basis of time taken to wireframe, create UI/UX design, complete coding, quality assurance, and overall maintenance.

Factors Influencing the Cost to Develop an App Like Snapchat

Factors Influencing the Cost to Develop an App Like Snapchat

Here’s a list of factors that affect the Snapchat clone app development cost. You can analyze these features to understand how the development process can impact your overall app budget.

1. App Platform

While the cost of creating an app like Snapchat for iPhone is more than that for Android, there is not much difference. If you are a startup with a small budget, you should begin with just one platform. As you grow, you can switch to more platforms or can opt for cross-platform development.

2. App Size

The next factor that influences the cost to develop an app like Snapchat is app size. Avoid implementing an extensive feature list at the initial stage as it can decrease the overall budget. It’s best to only focus on the core features to offer a great customer experience at an affordable cost.

3. App Design

Non-complex and simple design is essential for the success of your Snapchat-like app. The cost to develop an app similar to Snapchat will depend on the design requirements.

While aesthetically pleasing designs help retain users, it increases the overall development cost. Depending on your choice of requirements, designing each component such as the UI/UX design and wireframes will take time. So, if you need a more intricate design, be ready to spend your money.

4. Team Size

Your choice of team size also affects the cost. Ideally, your team will consist of a project manager, iOS/Android app developers, QA engineers, copywriters, marketing specialists, and UI/UX designers. You can hire more developers to speed up the process.

Adding complex features like face recognition algorithms or something else requires you to hire a team of specialists.

5. Tech Stack

Your choice of a well-defined tech stack can also affect the overall cost of developing an app like Snapchat. Using advanced and latest technology for your app can give you the highest ROI.

6. Feature List

The main reason that companies continue to develop apps similar to Snapchat is because of its list of features.

Initially, Snapchat launched the concept of disappearing messages, which soon became mainstream. Besides this, the introduction of AR allowed people to customize facial features.

So, if you want to gain a complete understanding of developing an app like Snapchat, you need to know the complete feature list that goes into making it.

How to Create an App Like Snapchat?

steps to build an app like Snapchat

The overall process of developing an app like Snapchat includes 6 steps, i.e., discovery, documentation, design, development, QA, and deployment.

Step 1: Discovery Phase

This phase determines the project's functional and non-functional requirements. You must choose the app's budget and specify your custom projects’ requirements & goals to the app development company.

Step 2: Documentation Phase

In this stage, analysts and project managers compile comprehensive project documentation. The documentation includes projects’ specifications, a work flowchart, and various other documents that outline the app's functionality & performance after its launch.

Step 3: Design Phase

This phase requires creating a visually appealing UI/UX design for the app. Making sure that your app's design is user-friendly and engaging is one of the crucial steps in determining its overall success.

Step 4: Development Phase

During this phase, you need to integrate your app's well-defined features, write the code, and finalize its overall functioning. Depending on the complexity of your project, you can decide on making the MVP version of the app.

Step 5: Quality Assurance Phase

The QA team carries out various test procedures in this stage to ensure that the app stays bug-free and performs smoothly under different circumstances.

Step 6: App Deployment Phase

The process of developing an app like Snapchat ends at this stage with the development team deploying the app.

After you have understood how to create an app like Snapchat, let’s check the basic features and the time it takes to develop them.

Basic Snapchat Features and the Time it Takes to Develop Them

Basic Snapchat Features

Here’s a list of basic Snapchat features and the time it takes to develop them:

1. Registration

Did you know that the Snapchat app does not have a social media login option? This was done so kids don’t have to add their parents to the Snapchat friend list.

If you want to create a social media app using this same approach, your users will have to provide their name, date of birth, phone number, and nickname. After completing these details, they will receive a confirmation code on their connected phone to finish the registration procedure.

Development Time: 70-80 hours (backend or frontend of one platform)

2. Contact Integration

When looking for friends on the Snapchat-clone app, users get one of these four options:

  • Search via username
  • Allow Snapchat to import contacts
  • Share Snapchat code via social media, email, or message
  • Add contact in the same geographical vicinity

Development Time: 80-100 hours

3. Disappearing Messages

The most prominent feature of Snapchat is its disappearing message. Here’s how the disappearing message works:

One user sends a message to another and it is uploaded to Snapchat's server. The user receives the message notification and the content gets downloaded to a temporary area on the device. Within 24 hours of being read, the message is removed from both the conversation and the Snapchat server.

Development Time: 120 – 150 hours

4. Instant Chat

Instant messaging is the next feature that determines how the Snapchat app development costs. Similar to other social media apps, Snapchat also comes with an instant messaging option. To integrate push notifications and messaging into your Snapchat-like app, you can use XMPP and HTTP + Push Notification technologies.

What’s more? Well, you can also ask the hired company that is developing a social media app to use one of these: Erlang language (used by WeChat and Whatsapp), YAWS server, XMPP, and Mnesia DB, for your Snapchat clone app development.

Development Time: 100 – 150 hours

5. Video/Audio Calls

Thanks to the voice and audio call feature, Snapchat is a lot similar to WhatsApp and Facebook. However, one special thing about Snapchat calls is that users can stay on the call and send pictures at the same time.

6. Stickers

Over time, stickers have developed into a crucial part of social media apps. They are quite helpful in keeping users interested and entertained with the app.

Development Time: It takes 10 to 20 hours to integrate sticker extensions into the Snapchat clone app.

7. Lenses

With the ability to paste different faces on yours and change your voice, lenses have become one of the main components of Snapchat. It also keeps the users hooked to the app.

If you want to integrate the same facial recognition feature into your app, you would be required to use Mirror Reality SDK, which is an affordable alternative to AR facilities. Or you can simply use Snapchat’s Lens Studio app to create your own AR animation.

Development Time: 130 hours to integrate the lens feature into the app

8. Story

Stories are one of the elements that create a resemblance between Snapchat and Instagram. This feature allows users to get the option to publicly broadcast the content on the app, which stays live for 24 hours.

Snapchat even made an addition to the story with Live Story. You can use the Wowza Server to add the feature of creating live real-time video and then use a Content Delivery Network.

Development Time: 100-200 hours to develop a story and live story feature for the Snapchat clone app.

How to Make Money With an App Like Snapchat?

How to Make Money With an App Like Snapchat

Below are a few ways how you can monetize a social media app like Snapchat:

1. In-Between Ads:

Viewers can access 10 seconds of promotional/advertising content on Snapchat videos by downloading the Snapchat app. A variety of ad formats, including story, video, and snap advertising, are effective in promoting products and services.

2. Lenses and filters:

Two more ways the Snapchat app makes money are through sponsored lenses and geofilters. Many brands use the sponsored lens function as a means of product marketing. In contrast, geofilters are fixed filters that are only found in particular locations.

For instance, McDonald's became the first user of this feature with their branded geofilters available for all of their US locations. Brands can pay to have customized lenses and filters made.

3. In-app Purchases:

Replaying a feed, video, or previously viewed photo is one of the extra options that customers can buy for the app.

4. Discover:

This is another way how the Snapchat app makes money. Brands pay a lot of money to work with the company to have their content highlighted on Discover.

5. Premium Access:

Users of the app can also purchase premium access to explore new lenses and download the most recent features of Snapchat.

How Can Protonshub Help You Develop an App Like Snapchat?

Protonshub Technologies is a leading mobile app development company that can help you create an impressive app like Snapchat. Our team of professionals has extensive experience in making apps like Snapchat.

Our team of professionals will work closely with you throughout the development process to help you understand how to develop an app like Snapchat. We also offer 24/7 support, which means you can rest assured that we will be always there to help you.

No matter if you are interested in building an app like Snapchat from scratch or want to integrate advanced features, we can help you. Reach out to us today to create an app like Snapchat.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Snapchat app allows users to share photos and videos, for which it uses a number of technologies, including Swift, Node.js, MongoDB, React Native, Java, Objective C, and Amazon Web Services.

Popular features that can be included in the Snapchat clone app are photo & video sharing, location-based filters, lenses & filters, snap maps, stories, group chat, text caption, AR filters and effects, and more.

Snapchat uses various programming languages such as Cocoa Touch, PHP, Python, Android-SDK, JavaScript, and Ruby.


Ekta Singh

"Senior Content Writer"

Ekta Singh is a rookie food experimentalist and k-drama fan with 4+ years of experience in writing. Bridging gaps between companies and customers through conversion-driven content is her forte. She believes in writing stories for a living and living life for exploring places.