• # Gohar Aslam
  • # App Development
  • # 26 October, 2020

The Path to Success: Essential Factors in Building Apps like TikTok

TikTok is a booming success! It has become trendy in recent years, mainly with the younger Millennials and Generation Z. It is available in over 150 countries and has over 1 billion users. In the United States, the app was downloaded over 210 million times! Besides, apps like TikTok are also making great strides. But what exactly is TikTok? It is an application for promoting social entertainment. TikTok was founded by Zhang Yiming, an entrepreneur who led the completion of the app in 200 days. It was launched in 2017 on Android and iOS stores and became available worldwide in 2018.

It allows the users to make videos of 3-15 seconds on any topic, and the video can be as long as 1 minute, albeit cut into loops. TikTok’s success rests on its strength to cater to the audience of any age, interest, or group and its emphasis on the content in short-form videos. Numbers have a way of speaking louder than words. Research indicates that TikTok earned over $18.04 million in ad revenues, expected to grow to $18.04 billion in 2023 and $23.58 billion in 2024. Its massive growth and popularity offer entrepreneurs and businesses an opportunity to build and invest in apps like TikTok.

This article assesses essential factors involved in making apps like Tik Tok. Read the article to know more.

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Benchmark Features of TikTok

The following is an explanation of the vital features of TikTok. You will want to integrate some features in new apps like TikTok.

1. Video editing tools:

TikTok provides various video editing tools that allow users to create and edit their videos in multiple ways. Users can trim, cut, duplicate, and merge different video clips and add music, filters, and effects to their videos. TikTok also has a “speed ” feature that allows users to adjust the speed of their videos.

2. Duet feature

The duet feature allows users to create and share videos, with one video playing alongside another. This feature is essential for creating lip-sync and dance videos.

3.Live streaming

The live streaming feature allows users to go live and interact with their followers in real-time. This feature includes live commenting and the ability for users to send virtual gifts to the person streaming.

4. AR filters

TikTok has many augmented reality (AR) filters that users can add to their videos. These filters can be used to change the appearance of the user’s face, add animations and special effects, and even change the background of the video.

5. New Content

TikTok’s algorithm-driven feed allows users to discover new content and users. Users can find new videos and accounts based on the content they engage with, their search history, and the accounts they follow.

TikTok users can use hashtags to make their videos more discoverable and join in on trending challenges. TikTok’s algorithm uses hashtags to curate a selection of videos for users to discover under the “For You” page.

7. Direct Messaging

TikTok has a direct messaging feature that allows users to message other users directly on the app. Users can send text messages, videos, and photos to other users and create groups to message multiple users simultaneously.

8. Multi-Language Support

The developers of apps like TikTok should also offer multi-language support. Because TikTok is available in over 150 markets and 75 languages, making it accessible to a wide range of users worldwide, regardless of their language.

9. Sign Up

The first screen interacting with any user is the sign-up/ login screen. The best thing about this screen on this app is that it provides the option to log in from other social media apps like Facebook, Google, and Twitter. The user can also log in using email, phone number, and user name.

10. User-Friendly Interface

The developers and UX designers tend to overlook that various users use the interfaces, and not all have vast experience interacting with the complex featured apps. So, if you want a bigger audience, as TikTok has done, keep the interface too friendly and placid.

11. Engagement activities

Apps like TikTok should contain the feature to share, comment, and like videos from friends, family, acquaintances, or even top trending videos from strangers.

12. Video Editing

The users must be able to edit or record their videos using the filters and effects from the library of filters.

13. Music Library

TikTok enables users to choose their favorite track for the library of music and record their songs if they want to use them as background music.

14. Real-Time Analytics and Geolocation

Bloggers can access their users’ demographic by using the real-time analytics feature. It displays and locates users of the bloggers doing any online activity nearby.

15. Live Streaming

The users can go live with the app and send each other gifts in the form of virtual objects with the help of TikTok coins.

16. QR Code Scanner

Users can follow each other with the help of the UR code scanner, which is generated uniquely for each user.

17. Settings Options

The basic settings section allows the users to customize their security, blocking, and sharing settings.

18. Two Feeds

TikTok maintains two feeds for videos. One is named “for you,” with videos based on your preferences and likes, and the other is the “next” feed displaying videos from friends, family, and strangers.

Standard Features of Apps like TikTok

The following are the standard features of TikTok-like apps that you can integrate into your app.

  • Video Creation: Users can record and upload short videos, usually with a time limit of around 15 seconds.
  • Video Editing: Users can edit their videos with features like filters, music, and text overlays.
  • Video Sharing: Users can share their videos on the app and other social media platforms.
  • Video Discovery: Users can discover new videos through various mechanisms, such as a “For You” page, hashtags, and the ability to follow other users.
  • Live Streaming: Users can live stream their videos to their followers and interact with them in real-time.
  • Messaging: Users can send direct messages to other users and engage with them through the app.
  • Virtual Gifts: Users can send and receive virtual gifts and stickers to show appreciation for their favorite content.
  • User Profiles: Users can create a personal profile, follow other users, and view their videos and information.
  • Push Notifications: Users can receive notifications when someone interacts with their account or when new content is available to watch.
  • E-Commerce Integration: Users can purchase through the app, and creators can make money by selling products.
  • Duet Feature: Users can create videos with other users together by splitting the screen.
  • AR Features: Users can use augmented reality features like lenses, filters, stickers, and effects to make their videos more engaging.
  • Multi-Language Support: The app can support multiple languages to reach more users globally.

Platforms for Apps like TikTok:

It’s essential to consider the target audience, budget, and resources while choosing the right platform for a TikTok-like app. Generally, a mobile app is the best choice for a TikTok-like app because it provides the best performance, user experience, and reach. Despite that, new apps like TikTok app can be developed for various platforms, including:

1. Mobile

The TikTok-like app can be developed as a native app for iOS and Android using Swift or Kotlin for iOS and Java or Kotlin for Android. This approach would allow for the best performance and user experience.

2. Web

new app like TikTok can also be developed as a web app, accessed through a browser on any device. This approach would allow for a wider reach, but the user experience may not be as good as a native app.

3. Progressive Web App

The TikTok-like app can also be developed as a progressive web app (PWA), accessed through a browser but allows users to add it to their home screen and receive push notifications. This approach would allow for a wider reach and a good user experience.

4. Cross-Platform

The app can be developed using cross-platform development frameworks such as React Native or Flutter, allowing the app to be developed for multiple mobile platforms simultaneously. This approach would save time and resources, but the performance might not be as good as a native app.

Design for Apps like TikTok

  • A design team for a TikTok-like app would typically include the following positions:
  • A product designer is responsible for the overall look and feel of the app, as well as the user interface and experience.
  • A motion designer creates animations and transitions within the app to enhance the user experience.
  • A graphic designer creates visual assets such as icons, illustrations, and marketing materials.
  • A UI/UX designer is responsible for designing the app’s interface and how users interact, including layout, navigation, and user flow.
  • A brand designer creates a visual style that aligns with the app’s brand and messaging.
  • It’s also essential to have a project manager who can coordinate the work of the designers and ensure that the project stays on track and that everyone is working towards the same goals.

See our latest relevant exploration Unlocking Live Streaming App Development

Development of Apps like TikTok

A development team to create apps like TikTok would typically include the position of backend developers, who will be responsible for developing the app’s server side, including the database and APIs. At the same time, the front-end developers are responsible for developing the client side of the app, including the user interface and user experience.

On the other hand, mobile developers are responsible for developing the apps for different mobile platforms like iOS and Android. DevOps engineer will be responsible for maintaining the app’s infrastructure and ensuring it is scalable and reliable. The QA engineer will test the app to ensure it is free of bugs and errors.

It’s also crucial to have a project manager who can coordinate the work of the developers and ensure that the project stays on track and that everyone is working towards the same goals. It’s also essential to have a security expert to ensure the app is secured and the user’s data is protected.

Technology Stack for Apps like TikTok

Choosing a technology stack for an app would include assessing the stability, functionality, security, and cost. The technology stack for apps like TikTok would typically include the following:

1. Backend

The app’s backend would likely be built using a programming language like Node.js or Python. The app would need a database to store user information and video data, and a popular choice for this would be MongoDB or MySQL. The app also requires an API to communicate between the back and front ends.

2. Front-End

The app’s front end would likely be built using a framework such as React Native or Flutter. It allows the app to be developed for multiple mobile platforms like iOS and Android.

3. Video Processing

The app would require a video processing library to handle the video creation, editing, and sharing features. Ffmpeg is a popular open-source library that can be used for this.

4. Cloud Hosting

An app like TikTok will require a cloud hosting platform to host the backend and make it scalable. AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud are popular choices for this.

5. Media Server

The app would require a media server to handle the storage and delivery of videos. Amazon S3, Google Cloud Storage, and Cloudinary are popular choices for this.

6. Push Notifications

The app would require push notification functionality to send notifications to users. Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM) or OneSignal are popular choices for this.

7. Machine Learning

The app would require machine learning technology to provide facial recognition, object detection, and natural language processing features. Tensorflow, OpenCV, and Caffe are popular choices for this.

8. Live Streaming

The app would require a live streaming technology to provide a live streaming feature, and WebRTC is a popular choice.

9. Payment Gateway

The app would require a payment gateway to handle in-app purchases. Stripe, PayPal, and Square are popular choices for this.

The Actual Cost of Apps like TikTok

The development of apps like TikTok can be a complex and costly endeavor. The cost to build such an app can be broken down into several major components:

1. Design and Development

It includes the cost of creating the app’s user interface and user experience, as well as the cost of developing the underlying code and functionality of the app. It can range from $30,000 to $200,000 depending on the app’s complexity and whether you use a pre-built solution or build a custom one.

2. Server and Infrastructure

It includes the cost of hosting the app’s backend services and data and any necessary third-party services, such as payment processing or push notifications. It can range from $5,000 to $50,000 per year.

3. Testing

It includes the cost of testing the app to ensure it works correctly on different devices and platforms and fixing any bugs. It can range from $10,000 to $20,000.

4. Ongoing Maintenance

It includes the cost of maintaining and updating the app over time and providing customer support. It can range from $5,000 to $20,000 per year.

5. Marketing and Promotion

It includes the cost of promoting the app to potential users and building a user base, ranging from $5,000 to $50,000.

Generally, the cost of building a TikTok-like app can range from $50,000 to $500,000 or more, depending on the complexity of the app and the specific features and functionalities included.

See our latest relevant exploration Social Media App Development Cost


What is the exact cost of building an app like TikTok?

The cost of building a TikTok-like app can vary depending on the features and other factors. On average, building a TikTok-like app can range from $50,000 to $300,000.

What technology is used to build TikTok?

TikTok uses various technologies, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, to power features such as facial recognition, object recognition, cloud services, and video editing. The front of the app is developed with React Native, and the backend is built on a combination of technologies such as Java, C++, and Go.

How to add a music library to a short video app like TikTok?

You can add a music library to a TikTok by obtaining necessary licenses, creating a database library of music, integrating a music library in your app, and allowing users to search and browse easily.

Senior Content Writer
Gohar Aslam
Coding Pixel

Gohar is a seasoned IT writer specializing in leading technologies. He holds a Diploma and Bachelor's degree from the University of London, with professional experience spanning over five years in the IT sector. His expertise involves a keen focus on mobile applications, web apps, blockchain, content management systems, e-commerce, and fintech. Beyond the professional field, Gohar is an avid reader and reads extensively about emerging and innovative technologies.