Snapchat is a trendy application, innovative startup attracting immense investments. It is also growing more social, jet-bursting user activity sky-high. Suffice to say that according to Bloomberg, a 400% growth in Snapchat’s daily video views occurred from May 2015 to May 2016. The market is enormous and a snapchat clone just might be a contender.
If you ever wondered how to make an app like Snapchat and about the cost to build an app like Snapchat this is the right place. First of all, let’s see what we are dealing with, what Snapchat is, what niche it occupies and who are its main audience. That would give us some tips how to design our app and make it highly demanded.
When we start looking for direct competition to Snapchat, only three major rivals emerge. They are Wickr, Clipchat and Slingshot.
Wickr is security-oriented narrow-audience product on the contrary to fun-oriented wide-crowd Snapchat.
Clipchat is a snapchat clone. Though praised for the design of its interface, it failed to propose any winning features. It also lacks Snapchat’s drawing capabilities. Its user base is not big and… well, it doesn’t even have a wikipedia page of its own!
And now the Slingshot. Though we all know that Facebook knows how to make an app, the concept of self-erasing messages doesn’t seem to play for them. Despite messenger app development cost and previous failure, Slingshot is not the first Facebook’s attempt to build an app similar to Snapchat. The previous one was the “Poke” that was discontinued. Slingshot started in 2014, but soon was removed from both Apple App Store and Google Play Market.
Now Snapchat became a big business, the app is available in 20 languages on both Android and iOS and is valued around $20 billion. Not bad for a startup that is around five years old. Things, however, were different in the beginning. It started as a student project by two Stanford classmen Evan Spiegel and Reggie Brown, with Bobby Murphy being invited later for the source code development. It was called “Picaboo” those days, and was first launched as an iOS exclusive in 2011 mid-summer. Even despite Spiegel’s classmates were reluctant to the main ideas of Picaboo’s developers, they didn’t quite embrace the idea to develop an app with the messages being distinctly short-lived images. The three developers had taken the risk, and had the app relaunched as “Snapchat” in September 2011. The Android version followed some 14 months later, breaking iPhone’s monopoly for the new kind of image sharing.
Snapchat main features:
• Snapchat’s prime function is creating and sending multimedia messages called “snaps”, that could be images, taken photos, or short videos. A wide variety of editing filters is available for altering the sent images.
• The very famous main trait of Snapchat is the lifespan of the snaps. User specifies for how long snaps can be viewed before they become inaccessible. That time varies from 1 to 10 seconds.
• Microtransactions are used for extra replays of three snaps after single free daily replay is depleted. The price is $0.99 for three resurrections.
• Snaps could be both sent to chosen contacts, much like usual messages, MMS for instance, or shared to a “Story”, which is kind of public.
• There are several ways to add friends in Snapchat: “Snapcodes”, usernames, phonebook contacts – all rather similar to the usual messenger tools, but there is another one, a much more social “Add Nearby” function. It looks up for other Snapchatters on site who have also enabled the Add Nearby menu.
• One of the newest additions to Snapchat, and quite an unusual one, is a brand new (added on July 2016), optional feature called “Memories”. Memories creates a private storage area, to which some posts from Stories and snaps could be saved. They become available to the device’s gallery app to be viewed, edited or reposted as snaps or story posts just like other locally stored media. Memories also provides some searching capabilities: by place, by date and by keywords. Yes, by keywords, and that utilizes a pretty smart object-recognition technology. There is also an extra safe safeplace, called “My Eyes Only” with a PIN protection. A remarkable addition for a system oriented on short-lived messages.
• Custom filters are extremely popular among the Snapchatters and are used in advertising purposes to promote big events, movies or brands, best illustrated by the May 2016 promotional campaign for X-Men: Apocalypse, when a whole array of lenses was changed to X-Men character-based for an entire day.
Though Snapchat evolved into a mixture of private messenger with a public content platform, full of publications, incorporating brand networks, and providing coverage for lots of live sports and music events, a fresh (March 2016) survey shows that messaging has remained its most demanded function.
Use of Messaging Vs Content features. By Variety.
Messaging friends is the main purpose for 63 per-cent of respondents, but short videos section is not that far behind this year with as much as 59%. Due to the big political events of 2016 a high 30% rating was gained by the news of the on-going US presidential campaign. Particularly Live Stories section met a lot of attention concerning the campaign recently.
Intended use. By Variety.
Big players’ presence
A very serious bunch of big media players have firm presence in Discovery section of Snapchat. That includes older and mighty Food Network, hilarious Comedy Central, ESPN and People and younger and potent Refinery29, Vice and Tastemade, with BuzzFeed having the most popular channel.
Traditionally Snapchat’s main user group is millenials. Women are also wider represented amongst Snapchatters. Here is a simple infographics showing age, gender and income levels of Snapchat users as of March 2016
So now – how much does it cost to build an app like SnapChat?
Keep in mind, that Snapchat have evolved for a considerable amount of time. It started as an MVP application (minimum viable product) and later has acquired its modern condition.
See also: How much does it cost to build an MVP?
Professionally developed MVP Snapchat alike could cost you about $30,000. Adding features adds cost, price can grow up to $150,000 or more. A marketing research must be conducted and a business strategy must be built to take all the tips given above into consideration. The cost of those highly depends on the scale of the project and starts from $5000. Let us not forget, that messenger apps are a very active kind, so post-production costs would also be quite considerable, especially knowing users’ hunger for the new features.
So as we can see, the market isn’t full, it even appears hungry, the rivalry is there, but it isn’t bloody and rough. And the vast user base and big players’ interest makes potential revenues extremely high. Thus with the right strategy, some innovations and a wish to make an app that brings revenue to its owners and fun to its users, making an app like Snapchat is today’s great business opportunity.