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How to Create an App Like TikTok: Tech Stacks, Costs, Features

After its launch in 2018, no one could predict that TikTok would come such a long way! It has become popular among gen-Z not only to stay up-to-date with the latest TikTok trends. The social platform is more than a source of information for many youngsters. TikTokers are quick is try a new TikTok fad! In addition, it has become an online business platform for companies, bloggers, and entrepreneurs to market their products.


After its launch in 2018, no one could predict that TikTok would come such a long way! It has become popular among Gen-Z not only to stay up-to-date with the latest TikTok trends. The social platform is more than a source of information for many youngsters. TikTokers are quick is try a new TikTok fad! In addition, it has become an online business platform for companies, bloggers, and entrepreneurs to market their products. 

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What is TikTok?

The story of the birth of TikTok is no less than fascinating. A Chinese company was behind the release of TikTok in 2016. Let’s go back to the two names behind the creation of TikTok. In China, Douyin was a popular app for making videos. Another similar kind of app was This version was popular in the west. Both these apps joined hands in 2018. Through a strong marketing campaign, the owners were able to increase the popularity of TikTok. 

The concept behind the TikTok app was the creation of short videos. The most intriguing thing about TikTok was how it redefined the idea of capturing moments. Most videos are music-focused. Also, the TikTok algorithm curate the videos you see on your feed. The best about the filters is that they are more suitable for making videos with mobiles. The user can share their content with their networks and grow their following. 

TikTok mobile apps

Mobile phones have become more than an accessory. They are an everyday necessity for the masses. From messaging to transferring money, mobiles have become a channel for daily activities.

TikTok app for android

Downloading, installing, and setting up a TikTok account is super easy. The Google play store is the primary source for the TikTok app. The user needs to give specific permissions for the app to work.

TikTok app for iOS

TikTok is available on the Apple app store. In the first quarter of 2022, the number of TikTok downloads on iPhones was more than 3.5 billion. ( It managed to beat Instagram.

Facts to know before you create an app like TikTok

The number of TikTok users has grown over the past couple of years. Especially during the COVID pandemic, many people began to explore TikTok and its interactive features. Mentioned below are some intriguing TikTok statistics and facts. 

TikTok now has over 138 million active users in the U.S. (Wall room media)

Users in the US spend an average of 82 minutes in TikTok per day during the second quarter of 2022. (Sensor tower) 

TikTok generated an estimated $4.6 billion in revenue in 2021, a 142% increase year-on-year. (Business of apps) 

TikTok audience analytics show that the United States, Indonesia, and Brazil are on top of the list of the highest number of users as of April 2022. (Statista) 

There are 386.6 million TikTok users aged 18 to 24. (Shopify) 

In September 2021, TikTok became the 7th-ranked social network worldwide. ( 

TikTok currently has 1 billion monthly active users worldwide. ( 

Android users spend around 13 hours on TikTok each month. ( 

TikTok features

One often does wonder how you create an app like TikTok. Its attractive layout and ease of use keep on attracting more individuals. TikTok has one of the highest engagement rates, and this is because of the simplicity of interactions it has to offer. In this section, we shall talk about TikTok features.

Video Uploading

TikTok allows the user to upload ready-made or direct video content. Plus, the option of “trimming” the video or adding multiple videos. 


With this feature, TikTok users can connect with their followers. Many creators, celebrities, and social media personalities host live sessions to interact with their followers.

Video editing tools

Before uploading the final video, the audience can modify the style of the video. TikTokers can add transition effects, background music, or text to the video. These online editing tools give the videos a more “personalized” feel.

Social sharing

Besides sharing the links of other social media handles on your TikTok profile, you can share your video content on social media apps. The list includes Whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook, etc.

Duet option

Duet is another intriguing feature that promotes collaboration between TikTok users. When recording a duet, the original video is on the side of the reaction video.

TikTok ads

TikTok ads help businesses to market their services, products, etc. There are many options to choose from when it comes to advertisement types. You can define your budget and set a duration period. The owner of the app can charge according to these options for app monetization:

Cost per click: Advertiser payment is according to user interaction with the app 2. Cost per mille: Advertiser payment is according to app impressions 3. Cost per action: Advertiser payment is according to specified activities such as app installation

TikTok analytics

This feature is a tool for businesses and influencers looking to grow their audience. All you have to do is convert your profile to a business account. The user can find out what kind of content has the most views. This information helps in better content creation.

TikTok competitors

Nowadays, there is competition between social networking apps to remain relevant. Social media keeps on evolving. That is why businesses should know how to use it to their advantage. For example, to create an app like TikTok, developers must always be up-to-date with the latest tech trends.

Snapchat VS TikTok

Introduced in 2011, Snapchat is an instant messaging app. Two hundred and ten million active individuals use Snapchat daily. ( caters to 800 million every month. The Snapchat user base consists of millennials. Plus, it has a more personalized layout. TikTok is mainly gen-z.

Instagram VS TikTok

The main focus of TikTok is to share videos. Instagram was all about sharing photos. “Instagram reels” were introduced to keep up with user requirements. A survey found that more than half of the influencers considered TikTok more creative.

YouTube VS TikTok

There is no doubt that both TikTok and YouTube are some of the best video-uploading platforms. However, YouTube supports videos with a longer duration. Both have built-in tools to help businesses or creators make money.

Creating an app like TikTok: Step-by-step guide

The million-dollar question here is how do you create an app like TikTok? What are the steps behind the mobile app creation process? How do you begin, and what steps are necessary? This guide contains the answers to all the question marks in your head.

Research the market

Creating an app doesn’t only require money but a dream team of software developers and tech tools that can finish the job on time. Nowadays, it is about reaching a suitable target market. Once you identify that, you know what to do next.


As a startup founder or tech team, if you understand the user requirements, it will be easier for you to visualize a product. Factors such as the audience’s age, location, and the tech devices they use contribute to app development. TikTok, for example, caters to an international audience. Therefore, it is available in over 75 languages.

Behavioral trends

What kind of app properties interest the public and increase user engagement? The answer to this is studying and researching top tech trends. It can help in making mobile app developers and designers understand what features are integral. For instance, there is a lot of discussion on privacy policies and lightweight mobile apps.

Monetization model

There is no doubt that mobile and web applications can be very lucrative. However, the startup founder should follow a well-organized strategy. The monetization model is how your app earns money. One can study the app monetization strategy which TikTok follows. In the section above, we’ve already talked about TikTok ads.

In-app purchases

This option on TikTok and Facebook is a way for people to support their favorite live broadcasters. The users send bundles of “coins” to the influencer during the live stream. TikTok has made $75 million so far from in-app purchases. These bundles are available from 1 dollar to 250 dollar price range.


We are already familiar with how businesses look for investors for fundraising, especially during the initial stages. Fundraising assists in building the brand image. If you look at TikTok videos, some of them have donation stickers. It is a call-to-action feature for organizations to raise funding.

Cost to build an app like TikTok

How much does it cost to make an app? The app development cost factor determines how much expense the business can invest in building an app. Cost depends on several factors.

  • Tech team location (in-house team, freelance team, or remote software developers)
  • Is it complex app development, simple app development, or medium complexity app?
  • The time duration or the number of hours needed.
  • Is it an iOS app, an android app, or a hybrid app?
  • Visual design
  • App maintenance costs
  • Backend infrastructure

Build an app development team

Your development team is one of the main ingredients to success or failure. Now that your business model is in place, it is time to get to the next step. Hiring developers might sound tricky, but it should involve a suitable plan. To create an app like TikTok, you need the following mobile app development experts:

  • UI/UX designer
  • Project manager
  • iOS app developer
  • Android app developer
  • Frontend developer
  • Backend developer
  • QA specialists
  • Database specialist

Hire an in-house team

The advantage of hiring an in-house team is transparency. Building an app like TikTok with an in-house team might become expensive. Also, the cost might be higher than assigning work to a local agency. A study by the SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) states that the average cost to hire an employee is $4,129, with around 42 days to fill a position. Here are some additional expenses.

  • Rent
  • Cost of training junior developers
  • Utility bills such as electricity, maintenance, etc
  • Cost of equipment
  • Software developer salaries and benefits
  • HR expert, administrator, and accountant

Outsource app development

Why would you outsource app development? The answer is fairly simple. Outsourcing developers save costs, time, and precious resources. After all, a startup is all about money management and achieving goals on time. 

The main question is how do you begin looking for freelance or remote software developers? After considering your budget and monetization model, look for virtual hiring platforms that support your requirements. Remember to check developer profiles, resumes as well as reviews. Online job boards such as Gaper have an easy signing-up procedure. The recruiter can specify their job requirements, tech stack, company details, etc. In addition, you can schedule a call with the CTO. All of this will just take a few minutes.

Techstack to build an app like TikTok

How can one miss out on the tech stack to create an app like TikTok? A powerful tech stack is a formula for developing a world-class app. Listed below are some tech stack requirements.

  • Kotlin or Java programming language for android app development
  • C or Swift programming language for iOS app development
  • Flutter or React Native for hybrid applications
  • Google suite tools for project management
  •  A tool such as Balsamiq for building a prototype.
  • MongoDB, SQL, Cassandra, and MySQL for databases
  • Figma tool for streamlining UI/UX designing
  • Google cloud storage or Amazon S3 for cloud storage
  • Confluence and Jira for testing
  • Apple push notification service and Google cloud messaging for notifications
  • ML kit and AR core for AR filters
  • Google Maps API and MapKit/Core Location frameworks for geolocations Create an MVP

Isn’t it better to have feedback before rolling out the final product? That is the role of the MVP. (minimum viable product) MVP is how you test your app monetization model and its credibility. Some basic functionalities are necessary before releasing an MVP.

  • User login and user profile
  • Video editing, filtering, effects
  • Hashtags, likes, comments, notifications, and sharing options
  • Analytics

Grow your app

The grind doesn’t stop here- it has just begun. You can start by promoting your app on social media platforms, the internet, and with the help of paid advertisements. Content market and SEO optimization can contribute to creating brand awareness. Other ways may work as well.

  • Creation of an engaging description
  • Usage of relevant keywords in the content
  • Utilizing app stores such as Google app store and Apple app store
  • Infographics, blog posts, and smart banners
  • Making videos, and Google Adwords


To create an app like TikTok, understanding its algorithm is a necessity. A few years ago, TikTok went viral for its unique way of working. Therefore, building a social media app backed up by a unique idea and proposition is the recipe for business growth. In short, this is how you build the best apps.


What technology stack does TikTok use?

The tech stack of TikTok is one of the primary reasons behind the app’s popularity. Let us find out what elements the TikTok tech stack consists of

  • Kotlin for android app development
  • Swift language for iOS app development
  • Azure for cloud architecture
  • SQL, MongoDB, or Cassandra for database management
  • Node.js for backend development

How much is TikTok worth?

According to, the net worth of TikTok is between 50 to 75 billion dollars.

How much does it cost to build an app like TikTok?

To create an app like TikTok, the cost can vary between $50,000 to $100,000. The time duration for the app development project usually ranges from six to twelve months. These factors influence the cost of developing an app like TikTok.

  • Hiring cost
  • App maintenance and updates
  • Type of app platform: iOS, Android, or hybrid
  • User interface

How does TikTok make money

Coming to the topic of revenue generation, TikTok has come up with several selling strategies. These revenue streams improve TikTok’s monetization strategy.

TikTok In-Feed Ads: These are found on the in-feed page and are short videos on the user’s feed.

TikTok Branded Hashtag Ads: Users utilize a predefined hashtag to create brand awareness.

Fundraising: This involves the usage of donation stickers to raise funds for organizations

TikTok coins: TikTok and TikTokers can make money as the followers send gifts in the form of coins during live streams.

ECommerce Offerings: This includes live-stream shopping events and Shopify integration.

Is it hard to create an app like TikTok?

It is not difficult but requires a step-by-step process since creating an app like TikTok has so many phases. From front-end to app design, and back-end maintenance – there is a lot to address from the founder’s side and the tech team.

Understanding TikTok algorithm: This is the driving force behind TikTok’s popularity, and keeps the users wanting more.

Research: Remember to find information on the target audience, their location, interests as well as behavioral trends. All this research will establish the basis for your monetary model.

Monetization model: This is how your app will bring profits for the company to grow and expand. For example, TikTok largely depends on advertisements, in-app purchasing and fundraising.

Budget: Do not proceed to the next step without defining how you’ll spend your money and on what services.

Build an app development team: Investing in a good team is essential because it is the foundation of your app, its interactivity and ease of use.

Create an MVP: Releasing the prototype will give you an idea of how the people perceive the app.

Grow your app: Never forget to market your app, it is the primary way to grow your audience. Be it advertising, blog posts, graphics, social media sharing – go all out.

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