How to create an app like Snapchat in 2020? (Complete Guide = Features + Alternatives + Monetization Strategies + Cost)
July 16, 2019

How to create an app like Snapchat in 2020? (Complete Guide = Features + Alternatives + Monetization Strategies + Cost)

apps like snapchat

People love to stay connected with their friends and followers on social media. Snapchat has been the talk of the town since the time of its inception. It has stayed among the top social apps and photo editing apps with its unique features and functionalities.

In this blog, we will answer questions like why and how to create an app like Snapchat. You will find why Snapchat is so famous, which are photo apps like Snapchat, which features to include, which technology to use, and how to make money from an app like Snapchat.

Update: We have edited this blog with the latest news and statistics in 2020.

“It didn’t happen if you don’t post it”. 

Millennials love to tell the world what activity they’re up to or what is happening around them. This is why it is a good idea to create an app like Snapchat. 

Here you will find out how Snapchat like apps are a great investment. You will also learn about important aspects and features to keep in mind when you make an app like Snapchat filters.

Wonder why people can’t stop Snapchatting?

Snapchat knows the mindset of people really well. 

Messages that disappear after being read and notifications on the chat being screenshotted make the users (aka Snappers) feel secure.

Snapchat team believes, “What’s news today is history tomorrow”, while Snapchat motto is “Life’s more fun when you live in the moment”.

With stories getting expired after 24 hours, they create a sense of urgency and importance. This limited validity and quick expiration make the app experience exclusive for the Snappers.

Maintaining streaks, on the other hand, feels like an achievement and compels the users to use the app daily.

how did snapchat get popular
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Do you want to create a social media app that drives user engagement like Snapchat or a camera app with filters like Snapchat?

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These smart features and strategies have lead Snapchat to the top of the game. Look at the numbers below to get a hint of its success.

Numbers speak!

  • As you can see in the given graph, the Daily Active Users of Snapchat (Snapchat DAU)have increased tremendously.
  • The number has reached 190 million in the first quarter of 2019 which was around 46 million in 2014.
  • This number reached 218 million users in the fourth quarter of 2019. Snapchat DAU

Source: Market.us

  • You may also see that most of Snapchat users belong to North America.Snapchat DAU North America

Source: Market.us

  • According to Statista, Canada boards over 7.65 million users of Snapchat
  • Also, the global revenue of Snap inc. (Snapchat app parent company) reached the US $320.4 million in the first quarter of 2019. While according to Market.us the total revenue raised in 2019 was the US $1715.53  million. You may see in the given image how Snapchat revenue has grown.

Snapchat Revenue

Source: Statista

When you plan to create an app like Snapchat, you must make sure that you integrate basic as well as unique features that will make your app stand the test of time. Here are 5 unique features that you may consider while making an app like Snapchat.

5 Unique Snapchat features to include in apps like Snapchat

Snapchat features

Here, we are going to  talk about 5 features of Snapchat that you should consider including in your Snapchat clone

1. Chat: Chatting is fun on Snapchat because you can send text, photo, audio and video messages on this photo messaging app. What’s unique? Well, these messages disappear after a while. These self-destructive messages make chatting secure. The opposite person can see if you have saved the message. In fact, if anyone takes a screenshot of a message or story, the sender gets notified.

You could provide security to your users with such a feature.

2. Snapchat Filters: Filters are the most fun feature of this selfie filter app. Snapchat photo filters are dynamic and interactive. These make clicking photos and selfies quite addictive. 

Geofilters are location-based filters created by using geocoding. Advertizing has found a new face with these face filters. Even you could create filters to promote or share an event.

3. Stories: This feature has made Snapchat the most famous selfie app of all time. Snappers use this feature to send a photo or video stories/ live stories. These stories could be sent personally, be customized, semi-public, or public. 

They could only be seen within 24 hours, they expire after that. This creates a sense of urgency. People maintain story streaks which compel them to use the app daily. 

Integrating such features will increase the profitability of your photo message app

4. Adding friends: Like most social media apps, you could add people by their username but Snapchat managed to make this feature also interesting. Snapcodes are personalized QR codes given to every snapper. You could scan this code with the app and add that person directly. You also add nearby users based on your location. The app scans for the users who have this Add Nearby feature on and gives suggestions. 

5. Audio/Video call: This might sound like a common feature but Snapchat took this a notch up with group calls. Group audio calls could be attended by 32 people at once while video calls by 16 people. 

If you want to make Snapchat like photo editor app, it is important that you consider these features. 

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Features and all is good, but you must wonder how to make profits after investing in such apps. Let’s talk about that now.

How does Snapchat make money?

How does Snapchat make money?

The following monetization techniques answer the question of how Snapchat makes money.

Advertising: Most part of Snap’s revenue comes from advertising. How does advertising work for apps like Snapchat? Well, they show 6-10second full-screen video ads created especially for vertical smartphone screens. Snapchat ads are also interactive as snappers have the option to swipe up and access video, blog, or an app download. 

Sponsored lenses: Big brands were quick to realize that Snappers love the lens filters. They went ahead and launched their own sponsored lens filters. Tacobell and KFC are good examples of these. Sponsored lenses help make profits for the Snapchat filters app as they are interactive and dynamic, they also play sound clips when active. Companies can display their messages that they want to promote. Users take selfies with these laid over filters and send them to friends.

Discover section: If you wish to make an app similar to snapchat, you must consider this section. Now, Discover is merged with friends’ stories in one screen. This makes it hard to miss. Snapchat’s algorithm displays curated content according to the user’s location and preferences. This content is advertised by companies like CNN, ESPN, BuzzFeed, People, and Cosmopolitan.

Branded Geofilters: Brands are allowed to create Snapchat filters of their own. These Branded Geofilters are location-based. These have to be created by the company itself. The companies can avail an on-demand Geofilter for a determined cost. Snapchat charges for two things: the size of the area that the filter takes up on the screen and the period of time for which the Geofilter is available.

Sports partnerships: Sports organizations like the NFL and MLB have recently partnered with Snapchat. Youngsters and millennials love to be a part of sports, at the moment and this is exploited by Snapchat and organizations to increase attendance in sports events. Even Adidas and Nike advertise their products to sports fans on face filter apps like Snapchat.

How to code an app like Snapchat?

It is obviously not easy to build an app like Snapchat. You need to know about the important technical aspects that are needed to create an app like Snapchat.

Development languages: A large set of languages are used to code Snapchat like filters app. Objective-C is used immensely to build apps like Snapchat for iPhone. Bootstrap and Javascript are used for front-end development. Other Snapchat programming languages are Python, Cocoa Touch and PHP.

Cloud hosting: The Snapchat app uses Google Computing Engine to improve automatic extensibility based on the number of users to manage overall data temporarily. Mainly Amazon web service is used for hosting.

Database: Snapchat needs to handle large volumes of structured data. To manage this in a flexible way so that the app performance is not compromised, NoSQL (Not Only SQL) is used as the main database. 

Technologies: Technologies like Machine learning, Face detection, Face tracking, Augmented reality,  Geolocation, and Face recognition are used to make a text on photo apps like Snapchat.

How much does Snapchat cost in regards to app development?

This is such a broad and subjective question. It is not practical to give an exact cost for the development of apps like Snapchat. Snapchat is loaded with a number of sophisticated features. You could even begin by asking basic questions like, “How much does it cost to make a Snapchat filter?” when you plan to create an app like Snapchat, you must consider the following factors to get an estimated cost.

  1. Budget and app development company: Your budget plays an important role while planning to create an app like Snapchat. This budget will decide which app development company you would go for. Each app development has different developing cost and hiring models based on the project requirements
  2. Features and Time: Snapchat hoards a myriad of features. It is not necessary to integrate all these features. In fact, you should plan smartly and include the features that are unique and give your app an edge over other similar apps. Each feature takes a different time period to be developed and cost varies accordingly.
  3. Platform and Technologies: The cost of a Snapchat like app for the Android platform would be different than for apps like Snapchat for iPhone. If you wish to include technologies like machine learning, face recognition, and others in Snapchat alternatives, the cost would change drastically.

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Apps like Snapchat: 5 Best Snapchat alternative apps for 2020

There are a lot of similar apps like Snapchat, some of them even better. We are presenting a list of Snapchat like apps that have some similar and some unique features. This will help you decide which type of app would you want to develop and which features would you integrate.

Name Of The AppFeaturesPlay Store LinkApp Store Link
Instagram
  • Share images & videos
  • Send texts, images & videos
  • Go live
  • Share stories
Play storeApp store
SNOW
  • Messages get destroyed in 48 hours
  • Beauty filters
  • Stickers and effects
Play storeApp store
Likee
(formerly Like)
  • Special effects and filters
  • Makeup- micro-surgery features
  • Video dubbing
  • Dynamic stickers
Play storeApp store
Cluster
  • Create private groups
  • Share photos and videos
  • Receive relevant notifications
Play storeApp store
Wickr
messenger
  • Group messaging
  • Expirable messages
  • Share photos and videos
Play storeApp store

1. Instagram

We have all heard about Instagram and most of us use it often. In fact, 60% of the users check their Instagram timeline at least once a day. There are over 121 million Instagrammers according to Statista. Instagram has over 1 billion downloads on Google Play Store.

You cannot deny that Instagram is soon to become the informal king in the world of social media. Just like Snapchat you can share stories and send images and text messages to other users. They can also post images and videos, like and comment on each others’ posts, or go live.

Yet, it doesnt have all the features of Snapchat. The messages cannot be autodeleted in 24 hours, there is no feature of maintaining streaks, the face-filters are not as fun as Snapchat.

instagram

Source: Instagram

ProsCons
  • 24 hours stories
  • Follow celebrities
  • eCommerce platform
  • Issues in Android version
  • Stories get blurred
  • Too many sponsored ads

2. SNOW

SNOW was launched in September 2015 as SNOW Inc. and had gathered more than 100 million subscribers in just one year and a half. It is a photo editor app like Snapchat for texting and photo-sharing.

The company launched unique selfie stickers after they collaborated with different Korean artists such as BTS and Twice. SNOW is known for the most fun and convenient ways of communication.

The app has over 100 million downloads on Google Play Store alone. According to Crunchbase, the company has raised over $95 million in funding rounds. According to Owler, the SNOW app generates annual revenue of $1.1 million.

snow app

Source: SNOW

ProsCons
  • Professional photo edits
  • Seasonal filters
  • AR makeup features
  • App freezes often
  • Battery drainer
  • Filters get removed

3. Likee (formerly Like)

Next on our list of Snapchat alternatives is Likee, formerly known as Like. Likee is a Singapore-based short video creation and sharing platform which was initially released in July 2017 by Bigo. the app is available on both, iOS and Android platforms.

It’s an app like TikTok that has special effects, video shooting and editing tools. The app helps the users to create trend-setting videos by using video dubbing feature. The app also has a collection of dubbing script from the world’s most popular movies.

In 2017, Likee was rated as one of the Google Play Best Entertainment Application. Likee has reached 80.7 million monthly active users in the second quarter of 2019. As per Sensor Tower, January 2020, the app has raised 300K net annual revenue.

likee app

Source: Likee

ProsCons
  • Unique features
  • Shoots blockbuster videos
  • Parental controls feature
  • Users can’t communicate
  • App has glitches
  • Users can’t select location
  • Can’t save shared videos

4. Cluster

Cluster means a group and true to its name, Cluster is a mobile app like Snapchat but it is highly private. This app is used to share photos and videos with family and friends in a private way.

It has over 100k downloads on the Google Play Store. The users can create private groups where they can share moments through photos and videos. No one other than the invited group members can view the posts.

This app is unlike other photo sharing apps as it is not used to share images to the public but only the close ones. The best part is that it has both a mobile app and web versions.

cluster

Source: Cluster

ProsCons
  • Good UI
  • Secure and private
  • Mobile and web versions available
  • Image uploading issues
  • No editing features
  • Can’t share like social media
  • Can’t copy or save images

5. Wickr messenger

Wickr was launched in June 2012 by Robert Statica, Kara Coppa and a group of security experts. This app sends messages, photos and videos with a predefined lifespine. This means the users can define the time period for the message to last.

Wickr allows users to choose how long they want their digital missives to last: as short as one second, and as long as 5 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds. In December 2014, Wickr released a desktop version.

There are over 5 million downloads of the Wickr app on the Google Play Store. The Wickr inc. has raised a funding of about $73 million.

wickr

Source: Wickr

ProsCons
  • Focus on security
  • Improved interface
  • Layers of encryption
  • Can screenshot content
  • No multiple devices syncing
  • Difficult UI

Planning to create a photo app like Snapchat or any of the above apps? Share your idea with the experts!

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Frequently asked questions for apps like Snapchat

What is the best app for sharing photos?

Here are some of the best apps to share photos:

  • 23Snaps
  • Cluster
  • Moments
  • KatchUp
  • Google Spaces

What are some apps similar to Snapchat?

If you are looking for apps that are pretty similar to Snapchat or an app just like Snapchat, here is a list:

  • Clipchat
  • MSQRD
  • Yovo
  • BOO!

Which app is best for filters?

Filters make it really funny to click pictures. Some of the best apps for filters are these:

  • Face Camera
  • YouCam Fun
  • LemoCam
  • B612

How does Snapchat work or how to make a snapchat?

The Snapchat app is pretty easy to use. Here are simple steps you can follow:

Step 1: Download the app
Step 3: Signup with a verified email ID
Step  4: Add your friends and other users
Step 5: Click photos and record videos
Step 6: Share on stories and chats

How does Snapchat make money?

Snapchat earns revenue by the following 5 monetization strategies. You can find the details in the blog above.

  • Advertising
  • Sponsored lenses
  • Discover section
  • Branded Geofilters
  • Sports partnerships

Do you still have doubts about developing an app like Snapchat?

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Start Snapping!

Snapchat has a plethora of features that make it the top app for social media sharing. This also makes it a great advertising tool as we discussed. 

If you have an idea to create an app like snapchat, don’t hang around waiting for the ideal time, find the right app developers and get on with it. You could even read up on Snapchat alternatives and find what you can do differently. 

We are an established mobile app development company in Canada, having experience of developing 40 photo editing apps and social networking apps. We have developed around 3500 apps in various categories for web, Android and iOS platforms.

We know that when you decide to create an app like snapchat, you will have questions. You may consult our technical expert to solve all your queries. You can understand the Snapchat like app development process, cost and timeline in a 30-min free consultation. 

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This page was last edited on March 6th, 2020, at 12:27 PM.

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