An average user spends around 147 minutes daily on social media, which greatly encourages the growth of the social networking app development industry worldwide.
Updated 3 November 2023
Director at Appventurez
Accessing social networking platforms has been one of the most popular online activities among users worldwide. It is often reported that the number of global social media users is projected to increase from 4.26 billion to over 6 billion in the next four years. This exceptional growth is one of the reasons why businesses of every size and scale want to enhance their social media presence.
However, developing a social media application is a complex process and requires a lot of things to consider beforehand. One such crucial aspect to take care of is choosing a suitable tech stack for social networking app development.
Having valuable insights regarding the right social media app architecture and technologies to be integrated makes your app immersive, further improving the user experience extensively.
Social media applications offer businesses a wider scope of communication by building large communities and promoting one-to-many conversations. Generally speaking, a social media platform helps people with similar backgrounds or interests connect digitally.
Initially, the objective of social networking platforms was to build connections; however, with time, their roles and functions go beyond this. Today, a social networking application can be used for:
Besides this, it has become one of the most powerful marketing and advertising tools for companies, irrespective of the industry they operate in. This can be understood by the fact that marketers spent over $65.3 billion just on social media advertising in 2022. Apart from this, consumers are also willing, almost six times more, to purchase product pages that contain graphics from social media.
Not all the applications in the social media domain are the same. Different types of social networking apps have different functions to perform. Similarly, you will need a specific set of features to be integrated depending on the category to which a particular social media app belongs.
Social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook belong to this category as they enable users to connect and interact with each other. However, these platforms have now evolved, offering the features of media-sharing apps, as well.
As the name suggests, this category of social media applications allows users to share different kinds of media, such as images and videos. The most notable apps in this segment are Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.
Blogging platforms provide users with an opportunity to create and publish content in the form of blogs and articles. From the perspective of business, blogging is one of the crucial aspects of content marketing that helps enhance the brand image. Medium and Tumblr are the two most popular blogging platforms out there. Twitter can also be included in this list for being one of the best-known microblogging services out there.
On discussion forums, like Quora and Reddit, a user can raise their queries, and other users from the specific space will answer them. Besides this, participants can also share their valuable experiences and insights and discuss critical topics over these platforms.
These are content-specific mediums where users can discover, share, and save various forms of content. Pinterest, Flipboard, and Wattpad are the two most popular applications in this domain.
Users access these networks to look through brands and their services based on consumer reviews and ratings. They can also leave their feedback on these companies by sharing the experiences they had with them. Platforms like TripAdvisor, Yelp, Glassdoor, etc. fall under this category.
Chatting applications allow users to interact with each other in web chat rooms by exchanging messages. These messages can be in the form of text, graphics, or audio. WhatsApp, WeChat, Signal, Messenger, and Telegram are some most popular examples of chatting apps.
These platforms attract users having similar areas of interest. These applications are primarily developed around a specific topic and focus on shared interests. Goodreads is one such example.
Now that you have got an idea about social networking apps and their types, let’s proceed further and understand some crucial points before initiating the development process. Here are the primary directions for creating a social media app:
Before starting the development of your social networking application, make sure you have a definite set of goals and objectives to accomplish. You need to have a trending app idea in mind and start planning the strategies with domain experts accordingly.
A profound understanding of market competition and consumer demand is crucial to set the purpose of your application. Once you have a clear picture of what the app will be about, you can formulate strategies to put together all the ideas.
Building an application that focuses on your consumers’ demands and issues is the first and foremost step in the development process. Ensure your app adds value, particularly for a specific group of users who are still looking for a robust solution. For instance, consider LinkedIn. It primarily focuses on providing users with a medium to interact and form official relationships, helping professionals all around the world extensively.
One of the most important things to keep in mind about your social networking app is that it must unite people with similar interests. For that, the primary focus will be on content. For instance, if you are developing an app for food enthusiasts, your app must contain topics related to trending food, recipes, columns about different cuisines, healthy lifestyles, etc.
Implementing this practice will provide your social networking solution with more value and enhance user engagement, as well.
Choosing a suitable tech stack for social networking app development depends largely on what functionalities you want to integrate into your application. Since competition in the social networking industry is fierce, offering your users the best features becomes a key to making a difference. Here is a list of some must-have features you can consider for your social media app:
The most basic feature of any social media application is allowing users to make unique profiles where they can add information about themselves. This information can include the name of the user, their age, gender, and even a small ‘about’ section, depending on the category of the app.
In times when people prefer quick solutions, keeping the registration and sign-in process fairly simple and fast can improve user experience. However, ensure that the security aspect is not compromised and proper authentication measures are implemented to keep the sensitive user data safe.
Although this does not go with all social networking apps, it has become one of the most popular features that almost all the platforms are offering currently. This feature allows users to share updates regarding their whereabouts or discuss any important topics with the community. This information appears on the web feeds of other users, which are also known as newsfeeds.
Lately, push notifications have been one of the most lucrative ways to keep users engaged with your social networking app. Businesses can use this feature to notify their targeted users and potential customers regarding new content, app updates, and personalized offers. A survey analyzed that 57% of respondents find push notifications useful. Besides this, sharing push notifications on Target can also enhance the customer retention rate by 39%.
Your social networking app must provide your users with an option to search for anything within it using tags, locations, or usernames. It helps them to easily navigate the in-app features and find people or groups they are connected with. In fact, for 61% of users, mobile applications that are easily navigable and accessible are preferred over the ones that are not.
With chat and messaging options, users can interact with each other in private chat rooms. They can also form a group chat where many users can communicate simultaneously.
This feature allows users to upload media, such as videos or images from their account or attach files in the chat.
Data analytics reports are essential features, specifically from a business perspective. Having access to data and analytics can help you get valuable insights into several aspects. For instance, you can learn about the demographics of your users, what content they are engaging more, and what time or day you are getting the highest engagement. This information can be used by businesses to improve the user experience.
Integrating moderation tools such as comments editor and shadow banning can help users in keeping them away from harmful content and activities.
Several social networking platforms are now offering an option for users where they can monetize their network by integrating payment functionalities. With this, content creators can raise funds through their content. YouTube, Facebook, etc. are some examples of social networking platforms that have monetization functionality.
An immersive user interface makes it easier for users to navigate through an app. Therefore, it becomes crucial to have a smooth and visually appealing app design. Using the right UX tools and technologies for a social media app can help make it seamless and engaging.
Apart from common features, incorporating some advanced functionalities can lead your social networking app to the next level. Here are some unique features that make your app highly functional and improve its performance to a large extent.
The evolution of funny filters, personalized stickers, and AR-based avatars is moving the social media industry by storm. Initially, the major trendsetters were Snapchat and Instagram; however, now even Facebook and WhatsApp have introduced these features.
Automated chatbots leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms help users with their basic queries to enhance their experience. Telegram and Messenger are a few social networking platforms that already have this feature.
Stories, statuses, or messages that disappear after a fixed time (generally 24 hours) fall into the category of ephemeral content. Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, and many other social media platforms offer this feature to users.
Developing a social networking app is a complex process, and you require a complete team of professionals having expertise in different domains. It includes:
You can also outsource your app development project if hiring a professional team doesn’t suit your budget. Once you are ready with your development team, it’s time to pick the right technologies for a social media app that aligns with your business needs. Some of the recommended and best tech stacks for social media apps are:
The front end primarily deals with developing the user interface for your social media app. Since users interact directly with an app through the UI, picking up the right front-end frameworks becomes crucial. A few most popular front-end frameworks include:
Developed by Google, AngularJS is one of the most popular, open-source front-end frameworks based on TypeScript. Besides Google, this frontend framework is also driven by a massive community of developers. The vastness of AngularJS makes it a perfect front-end tool for social media development.
Although it is a back-end web-based NodeJS framework, it is a flexible web app technology that provides developers with a powerful set of features. ExpressJS can be used to create intuitive web applications and APIs.
ReactJS is another popular front-end library created by Facebook developers. Its intuitive features make UI development for social networking apps painless.
Ionic is an open-source front-end framework that empowers developers to create immersive cross-platform social media mobile applications. It uses technologies like HTML and CSS to build beautiful UI designs.
The backend frameworks are used to create the server side of an app using codes, programming languages, databases, etc. The more efficient a backend framework is, the greater its functionality will be. Some popular backend frameworks are:
Django is a Python-based framework that follows the model-view-template (MVT) architectural design pattern. It is an open-source platform that encourages quick development and realistic-looking app designs.
NodeJS is one of the most popular tools used for backend development. With its excellent data-processing capabilities, it can be used to develop social media applications completed with chat, like, and comment features. Moreover, by integrating it with web technologies like Ember.JS, you can also make your app scalable.
Laravel is an open-source PHP-based framework that follows a model-view-controller (MVC) design pattern. Working with Laravel is easy and with a little expertise, you can create robust and hi-tech social networking applications.
PHP is a general-purpose, scripting programming language that falls under the category of reliable back-end development technologies. Its primary focus is on developing robust and interactive web applications. Tech giants like Facebook are developed over PHP, making it one of the best tech stacks for social media apps.
Python is another popular back-end language integrated into the systems of several major corporations like YouTube, Pinterest, and Reddit. It is known for its fast processing speed, data analytics capabilities, and automation features.
When you are done with choosing a suitable front-end and back-end framework, the next step is to analyze the top programming languages and pick one that suits your business objectives.
Both Kotlin and Java are object-oriented languages used for developing social networking apps for the Android platform. Java, a veteran programming language, has a vast library of free tools that have been present for over two decades.
Kotlin, on the other hand, is comparatively new with advanced features and libraries suitable to create immersive apps. Both languages have their own merits and demerits. Therefore, before choosing between Java and Kotlin, it is better to analyze your business needs first.
Objective C and Swift are the two most popular languages used for developing intuitive iOS applications. While Objective C has been there for a long time, Swift is relatively new in this domain.
Social networking applications must have an efficient database solution to store immense amounts of data. There is a specific list of databases for mobile apps from which you can choose one depending on your tech requirements.
As the number of users on social networking platforms is growing at an unprecedented rate, the role of database management systems in storing their private information becomes more crucial. Some of the most popular database solutions include Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, and MongoDB.
MySQL is one of the widely used relational database management systems (RDBMS). Many tech giants, such as Google, Adobe, and Facebook use this DBMS to manage their user data. Moreover, WordPress also leverages the features of MySQL to store blogs. The best thing about this database is that it is small, fast, and quite easy to install.
Oracle is a multi-model database management system with its primary model being the RDBMS and the secondary ones include spatial DBMS, graph DBMS, RDF store, etc. One of the top reasons for its popularity is that it uses automation, which can reduce operational costs by up to 90%. Moreover, it uses a single database for all kinds of data.
Being a robust, open-source, object-oriented RDBMS, PostgreSQL uses and extends the capabilities of SQL language that helps in scaling more complex data. It is well-known for its unique feature set consisting of reliability, data integrity, extensibility, and a proven architecture.
MongoDB is a document-oriented, cross-platform DBMS available for both deployment on self-managed infrastructure and as a fully managed cloud service. It can be used to create highly transactional and analytical applications.
Besides this, businesses can also integrate local databases with robust web technologies like React Native to enhance the performance of applications. Also, for cloud migration and administration, you can choose any cloud computing service among Google Cloud, AWS, or Microsoft Azure. Cloud server technologies can prove to be helpful, especially in times when companies want to upscale their business.
Almost all popular social networking applications have APIs. These APIs are developed and integrated within a social media platform to enhance the user experience. Some most popular API platforms are:
Postman is one of the most popular API platforms that helps developers build, design, test, document, and iterate APIs. This tool allows developers to make and save complex HTTP requests and helps them to read their responses, as well. Twitter and LinkedIn leverage the services of Postman API.
Swagger is an API tool that is used to design, edit, and document RESTful APIs. Companies like Google and Microsoft use Swagger for API integration.
Social networking platforms have completely changed the way people connect and this landscape is constantly evolving at an unprecedented rate. In fact, over 93% of the internet-using community are social media users.
Considering this, developing a social networking platform is worth a shot, especially when you want to increase brand awareness and build a loyal customer base. All you need is a professional social media app development company having expertise in both iOS and Android app development.
At Appventurez, you get eminent social networking app development services that help you build a lucrative app suiting your business goals. We have highly experienced Android and iOS app development teams having excellent knowledge regarding the best tools and technologies for a social media app. Besides development, we also offer consultation regarding strategy formation that enhances your online presence considerably.
Q. How long will it take to develop a social networking app?
The time taken to develop a social networking mobile app depends on several factors, such as the complexity of the app, UI/UX design, the tech stack used, and the features to be implemented in it. Moreover, different stages to make a social media app take a specific amount of time and they can also impact its completion timeline.
Q. How much does it cost to build a social media app?
The cost incurred in social media app development greatly depends on the time taken and resources used to develop it. However, an estimated cost can be calculated by multiplying the total backend development time with the hourly charges of the development team. The average cost to build an intuitive and engaging social media app can fall anywhere between $100000 and $250000.
Q. What tech stack is used by YouTube?
Director at Appventurez
Director and one of the Co-founders at Appventurez, Chandrapal Singh has 10+ years of experience in iOS app development. He captains client coordination and product delivery management. He also prepares preemptive requisites and guides the team for any possible issues on a given project.
Posted : 6 November 2020
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