How to build an app like Tiktok?


Innovative apps are always trending across the world. Such was the case with Tiktok too. The popularity Tiktok earned in India was massive. Tiktok was a completely new subculture for the teens. Mainly because it offered a platform for users to express themselves in a very creative way. The app allows anyone to become a content provider because of its simplicity. Thus Tiktok could impress many content creators around the world and they’re exploring ways to improve their growth. 

Even after its ban in India and some other countries, Tiktok continues its popularity in the rest of the world. The latest statistics from the Data Reportal, 2021 states that as of January 2021, Tiktok has about 689 million monthly active users worldwide. Q1 2019 had found that the app had 33 million downloads in a single quarter beating YouTube, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger. 

As TikTok is banned in India, many startups are planning to make an app like Tiktok to attract those users who are missing Tiktok. To make that possible you must have a vivid idea of all the aspects of Tiktok.

The working pattern of Tiktok

As mentioned above, Tiktok is a video-sharing platform allowing users to create and share videos online. Users can also edit their uploaded videos as the application provides many editing effects, filters, and adds music. Thus the app allows users to share their talents and knowledge with a wide audience. The app is also highly personalized showing what would attract the user the most. The continuous stream of interesting content creates a strong grip on the user of the app increasing the time spent on it and retention. 

Features of TikTok

The basic features of TikTok allowed users to follow one another, and like and share their videos. After signing up, they can edit their profile and set all notifications that they would like to receive. Users can shoot their videos and upload them on the app. They can also use the editing options like crop, flip, or rotate on their uploaded video and even experiment with the playback speed. Tiktok also provides plenty of filters and effects. TikTok users can use social sharing buttons to share videos on other social media platforms and link their TikTok profiles to other social platforms. Like Instagram, Tiktok also offers likes and comments options.

Tiktok has some advanced features too. The duet option enables people to lip-sync or dance to their favorite music with anyone on the app they want. In the same way, there is a reaction feature that allows users to record their reactions to other people’s videos. The hashtags in Tiktok are mainly used for challenges. The trending hashtags feature the trending videos. Live video streaming is yet another notable feature of TikTok and users can earn money from other users’ virtual gifts. The app also has other notable features like Geolocation, Real-time analytics, Video Preview, and QR Code Scanner.

These are the features you must include in your TikTok-like app. You can also include Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to personalize the mobile app for each user.  

Technology Stacks of TikTok-like app

If you are building an app similar to TikTok. To build your android version, you can use the Kotlin and Java programming languages. For iOS, you can go for Swift or Objective C. Cross-platform languages including Flutter, Xamarin, and React Native can be used to build the app faster. The app can use Google cloud storage or Amazon S3 as cloud storage & use a CDN such as CloudFront to provide a smoother streaming experience. Machine Learning can be used for filtering and personalizing data to thousands of users. Tiktok makes use of an ML algorithm to understand and automatically add tags with the help of image and object recognition.  In the server layer, we can use Python -Django to serve the API which is the same used by. Instagram & YouTube. The API services can also use REST API secured with SSL & token-based security authentication.

Images & videos are the most served content types in the application. Hence the format used should be small size and fast loading. We have options to use WEBP for images that ensure the best quality with the lowest size. For video, we can use X.265 encoding for good compression. For streaming, we can use HLS based streaming for a smooth streaming experience.

For databases, We would need to choose a mix of relational & non-relational databases. We can use PostgreSQL, MySQL, and MongoDB if required. For notifications, Android can use Google Cloud Messaging and iOS can make use of Apple Push Notification. Google Maps API can be used for the geolocation functions.

Money-making in TikTok

Mostly Tiktok earns revenue from in-app purchases and Tiktok ads. Tiktok provides in-app purchases of coins. This starts from 100 for $0.99 and leveling up to 10,000 for $99.99. Users can purchase them and give them to their favorite creators. They can also exchange them for digital gifts. Tiktok also provides an advertisement to promote brands, much similar to YouTube. Small and large brands are making use of the in-feed video ads of Tiktok to promote their products or services. There are also brand takeover ads for the users.

5 Simple Steps in building a TikTok-like app

Here are 5 simple steps you must consider while building an app like Tiktok. This will help you to make your own app by planning the app development with a good roadmap.

  • Thorough research on your target audience

While building a product, you must have thorough research on your target audience to have a good understanding of their needs so that your product satisfies their needs. Data like their average age, their location, the devices they use, their internet connection, etc., has to be identified. This will help you to get an idea on how to create your own app and to identify the way the app has to be designed, languages to be supported and the geography to focus on during launch.

  • Find an expert mobile app development team

Finding an expert development team is a major factor in the success of your app. The team you find has to be experienced as well as skilled. Your app developers have to fully understand the scope of work, each feature of the application in depth, and the future roadmap of the product. They should also have a clear idea of your monetization strategy. 

  • Create your design

Your usability research will help you a lot while preparing your app design. Thus you can give your future user an excellent experience and an easy-to-use app. Make sure that your app has a user-friendly and intuitive interface. It should be clutter-free and has to be both visually appealing and functional.

  • Develop an MVP

Before your product launch, develop an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to test your app and collect valuable feedback from users. This plays a vital role in the success of your app. MVP allows you to make necessary adjustments if needed and make sure your app is fully functional when you launch it officially. MVP should be created with just enough enticing features to make the app appealing to early adopters. After making all the improvements, you can add the rest of the features and launch it officially.

  • Onboard content creators 

Since the app requires great content to engage users, it is important to onboard good content creators who can post their content on the platform. Getting creators from multiple industries such as travel, beauty, music will provide rich content on the application. You must put in the effort to promote your app on your website and social media regularly. You can also make use of paid ads, including Google Ads and social media ads. 

Cost of making a Tiktok-like app

Features, allocation of resources, and the technologies used are the factors that determine the cost of the app. The designing of the app is a phase that takes a lot of time and money. As the design is the first thing that can hook up the users, it has to be well-built. Your development team can help you build your app within your budget.

Final Thoughts

A TikTok-like app can be developed without issue if the best architecture and planning are implemented. It is good to add innovative features that can help your app stand out from another tick-tock-like app. It not only allows startups or businesses to expand their footprints through this app but also provides an opportunity to the users to earn from their videos. The only thing you have to be very careful about is the development team you choose.

We have a very experienced development team with an excellent record of many successful apps. Feel free to connect to us if you are in search of a team that can convert your dreams into action.