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In 2023 there are nearly 5 billion social media app users worldwide, Facebook is starting to lose its social media impact because of the Daily Active Users drop and the Apple security update, which limits their advertising power, The time of building a social media app differs greatly depending on its scope: for a more complex one like Frindow, it took us 10 months, for a less advanced mobile one - around 4 months.

Table of Contents:

1.  A deep dive into Social Media Applications.

2. How much does it cost to build a social media app?

2.1. The app complexity.

2.2. Do you want to create a separate mobile/web version of your app.

2.3. Who will create your app.

3. How do I create a social media app for free?

4. Is it hard to make a social media app?

5. How long does it take to build a social media app?

6. Conclusion.

A deep dive into Social Media Applications.

Did you know that Facebook popularity in the US & Canada has noticeably decreased during the pandemic? But wait a minute - how is it even possible?! Everyone was saying that as a result of a lockdown, our lives and social connections will move mainly online! And they did. But not necessarily into Facebook. 

At first sight, the Mark Zuckerberg company is doing alright, as the platform added a total of 299 million more active users throughout 2020. But let’s take a look at the Daily Active Users number (DAU in short) during the whole of 2020, focusing on the US & Canada market. 


Facebook Daily Active Users ChartFacebook Daily Active Users Chart


As the pandemic has set off, we see a peak of 198 million active users in Q2 2020. But then it goes down and down, with Facebook finishing the year with the same amount of Daily Active Users in the US & Canada as it started it. Another factor that already shook Facebook's position greatly is their latest fight with Apple on the ground of their users' privacy. Are they able to win with this Silicon Valley giant and one of the strongest Love Brands in the world? I personally doubt it - so we might experience a great change in the social media app market as we speak!



Fastest Growing Social Apps in the US May 2021

App Annie Appstore Fastest Growing Social Media Apps in the US as of the May 18th, 2021


Now let’s take a look at the mobile social media apps market in the US in general. Based on the App Annie reports, Facebook places fifth among the fastest growing social media apps installed on iOS devices. Do you recognize the names of the other apps on the chart? Don’t feel weird to say: no, I’m hearing about them for the first time in my life. And that’s what makes the social app market beautiful right now!

The Social Media App market is one of the most dynamically growing and changing industries in the technology world. We’re moving away from the all-in-one social apps like Facebook to the ones fulfilling our specific, isolated needs. As a result, social apps like Life360, whose goal is simple: to ensure security to your family members, are reaching more than 20 M active app users monthly! And at the same time, the announced as “dead” Snapchat is chosen as the favorite social media platform by Generation Z - because it’s the place where they feel safe from their parents' eyes. 

Sounds a little bit crazy, I know - but where things are changing rapidly, there is usually a chance to make a good business out of them! Let’s dive in together, on how the process of building a social media app looks like, and how as an entrepreneur, you can create a product that not only drives revenue but fulfills some deep human needs.


number of social media app users worldwide 2021

The social media app users number worldwide for 2021


How much does it cost to build a social media app?


Social media apps prices differ greatly, depending on the numerous factors such as:


#1 The app complexity

According to the Goodfirms study, simple, user-friendly mobile social apps like Tinder can cost you around $40,000 to $60,000. But bear in mind that we’re talking about the very simple app MVP here - nothing fancy, just something that you can develop quickly and start testing on your target audience. Which we highly recommend, as there is no better way to verify whether your app idea makes sense at its core!

Yet as you want to develop your app further through time (as we’re doing with CostTracker right now you have to be aware that the cost will be rising. Every new functionality, integration, redesign, etc will cost you another Man Day. But worry not - the right software house will prepare your app estimation so adequately, that you will be fully aware of every cost long before they arise. 

#2 Do you want to create a separate mobile/web version of your app


There are no absolute truths in the app development world. Some people will tell you that every kind of software needs a separate mobile app - two native versions for Android and iOS, or one hybrid one, it doesn’t matter. It’s not true!

The same goes with a reverse situation - you can build a mobile version of your app only, and link to the App Stores on your website. The reality is, that the more platforms you’ll want to cover, the higher the cost will be. So think carefully, how your target audience usually uses the technology and adapt your product to their behaviors!

#3 Who will create your app


The price for “the same” app can vary greatly, depending on the way you will choose to develop it. If you decide on a freelancer - it will probably be the cheapest BUT, you need to be highly technical and skilled in management to make it an option worth considering. In most cases, a freelancer will do exactly what you want - nothing more and nothing less. The software house will do so much more than that.

Let me give you an example from our own playground: for one of the biggest food networks in the GCC region we’ve prepared so extensive Discovery Phase documentation, that it greatly influenced their business general marketing & sales strategy. So we’ve not only become their technology but also a business partner - no freelancer is capable of doing that as good as software house! That’s because we have a various set of skills inside our company, like UX Designers, Developers, Project Managers and more. You can read more about these roles here!


And the list goes on and on - truth be told, it’s best to discuss social media apps prices on a specific example. So let’s use one from your own playground!

At the beginning of 2020, when the lockdown hit us hard, we launched a social networking app named Frindow. Its creator Marcus Hamilton from London wanted to build software that truly serves the goal of connecting people with each other and making them feel less lonely. The launch of the app echoed widely in the English media, as Marcus has been interviewed by the BBC! 


Frindow  Marcus Hamilton BBC interview

Marcus Hamilton BBC Interview Quote


The whole app development process of a social media app as complex as Frindow took us around 10 months (the client wanted this process to take that much, because of his business reasons) and it cost around $120,000 - $150,000. For the exact estimation of your social media app idea -just reach to us here.


How do I create a social media app for free?


You can’t. I mean, if you value your time as “free” - you can learn programming by yourself or use some “free” app generator available on the Internet. But you have to be aware that it will never be as quality as if you pay someone experienced for doing that. The competition on the market is too high right now, for some small, underdeveloped applications taking the world. So if you want to develop a GOOD social media app - don’t go for shortcuts, looking for the cheapest solution because you’ll simply lose your time and energy. 

Prices for MVPs are lower than ever now - you can have a fully tested, properly designed, and business-wise thought through software for only 25k$ within 3 months. And it’s as low as it can get if you cherish your peace of mind, a guarantee of accomplishing the wanted result, and receiving a product, that actually works. 


Social media apps gender data for 2021

The Social Media Apps gender and number of accounts statistics for 2021


Is it hard to make a social media app?


If this is the first time when as a business owner or startupper you want to develop your own application - yes, it will be. Software development is a complex process, where you need to consider numerous factors - exactly as with any project, that aims to influence your business greatly. That’s why it’s so important to do it with a trustworthy partner, who will guide you from step one to successfully launching your software (and even further - only if you want it)


how to build a social media app-1

The visualisation of how your social media app could like if you decide to cooperate with us!


So prepare for it mentally, making sure that you have a dedicated person (it can be you or anyone from your team) who will take the project ownership from your business side. From our side - you can count on your social media app dedicated Project Manager, who will explain to you everything, and a team of development experts, who already built apps reaching over 1 million downloads and raising $3 Million Pre-Series A Funding. Sounds like a perfect match, doesn’t it?


How long does it take to build a social media app?


Once again, based on our own example I can give you some rough estimations. When we were building Frindow, it took us around 10 months to make it live. But bear in mind, that it wasn’t an MVP, but a fully functional, complex platform. For another mobile social app that is waiting for its release, we needed 4 months of work.


social mobile app development steps

Mobile Social App Development Process Steps


The development time can be shorter or longer, depending on how well you will prepare from your side. We have a separate article on that topic, with an entire checklist that you should prepare to launch your app development process smoothly available here!




Building a social media app in 2024 differs greatly from the ways it was done when giants like Facebook were starting. As users, we’re becoming much more technologically aware and starting to refuse to be used as a marketing product. We want to make real, meaningful connections online, with people from all around the world, meeting their perspectives and challenges they are struggling with. 

Social media have to change if they want to stay with us for longer. As the latest Clubhouse success shows (they grew 10 times within just 2 months!), we want more places where people can gather around a certain topic and simply talk with each other. Social media apps aren’t as difficult to build as fintech, contech or foodtech apps to be honest - but the idea behind them must be really strong if they’re meant to succeed. 


Do you want to dive even deeper into the topic of building your own social media app? Here are the places you can find resources you are looking for:

💡 Our Railwaymen Social Media App Expertize Showcase 

🤔 How Much Does it Cost to Build a Social Media App in 2024?

📊  The State of Social Media & Digital Extensive Report 2021