• # Gohar Aslam
  • # Social Network
  • # 16 February, 2024

How To Create an App Like Instagram?

The social media industry is growing exponentially. Out of the 4.95 billion social media users, Instagram is a market leader, with over 2.4 billion active users. With such a massive user base, this industry holds great potential. Instagram has a huge user base because it maximizes engagement through visual appeal and an easy-to-use interface. Instagram has also become a popular influencer marketing hub. Influencer marketing creates a mutually beneficial opportunity and has empowered millions. Users can express themselves creatively and foster communities around shared interests while adding to Instagram revenue.

Creating an app like Instagram promises incredible user exposure and excellent profit potential. The drive to replicate its success is not uncommon among entrepreneurs. However, there are many challenges in transforming this vision into an actual application. For starters, you must clearly understand the app development process. Building an app like Instagram isn’t just about replicating its features; it’s about crafting a unique experience that resonates with your target audience and leaves a lasting impact.

This blog will explain how you create a popular app like Instagram. From defining your app’s concept to navigating the complexities of development, devising a monetization strategy, and selecting the right tech stack, we’ll discuss everything in this comprehensive guide. Let’s explore!

Features of an app like Instagram

Features of an app like Instagram

Instagram was initially introduced as a photo-sharing application. However, after effectively catering to all target audience needs, more features were added to the application to ensure it was adaptable to changing market dynamics.

Here, we will discuss all the features you should add to create an app like Instagram:


The signup or registration process is the first step when building an app similar to Instagram. The registration process is the user’s first impression of the app. Hence, it should be short and sweet and only ask the user to add their basic information.

The more the user waits to register, the greater the chances they’ll opt out and choose your competitor. Once the user has signed up, you can ask them to complete their information later.

Registration icon
Uploading Media

Uploading Media

Uploading pictures and videos is the most fundamental aspect of an app like Instagram. You should add features like previewing, editing, tagging, and filters. You can also add features to your app that make it better than Instagram. For example, you can automatically enhance pictures or remove blurriness, etc.

Reels is a new feature added to Instagram to capture the growing short-form media industry. Consider adding a similar feature to engage users looking for short-form video content.

Search is the most powerful feature on Instagram. Including it in your application will contribute to making your application more user-friendly. Users can search for audio, hashtags, pages, and people on Instagram. Hence, ensure that it is a part of your core feature list.

Customizing Profile

Customizing Profile

A user should be able to customize their profile to their liking. They should be able to add and remove their profile picture, change their username and bio, and other essential information. They should also be able to merge their profiles with other popular applications.

Integration With Other Platforms

Instagram has a feature that helps users share the same photos, videos, and stories on their Facebook. While you might not be linked to all these big platforms yet, you can still explore avenues for integration with other apps. However, if you want your app to stand the test of time, you must pursue avenues that help integrate these platforms.

Integrating with other popular platforms, just like Instagram does with Facebook, opens up a world of possibilities for user engagement, content distribution, and global visibility. While you may not be initially linked to major platforms, considering integration features early in your app’s development can be a strategic move.

Integration With Other Platforms


Notifications are a way to keep the user engaged. Instagram has intuitive push notifications to urge users to return to the app frequently. You can add notifications like “someone shared your video,” “someone commented on your picture,” or “someone liked your photo” to your app. Notifications also add convenience for the audience and help them know about social updates without having to open the app.


Stories are an age-old feature and can be seen in every social media app. Like those on Facebook and WhatsApp, Instagram Stories bring a familiar concept to the industry. However, what sets Instagram apart is its unique notification feature for each story addition. Users receive real-time notifications, ensuring they stay updated on the latest content.

Introducing the “Close Friends” option further differentiates Instagram and positions it as an app that values user choice. If you want to create an app like Instagram, add this exclusive feature to allow users to share their stories with a select group of close friends.

Sending Messages

Sending Messages

Messaging is one of the most essential features of a social media application. Direct messages, popularly known as DMs, are a staple of Instagram. Ensure you add messaging to your app to enhance engagement and user interaction. You can improve the current Instagram messaging feature by adding smart AI-powered replies.

Instagram Shopping Access

Instagram has introduced the “checkout on Instagram” feature to add a marketplace experience to the app. You can also add this feature to facilitate businesses and simplify live shopping.

Instagram Shopping Access
Registration icon

Convenient Payments

You can add a feature that makes it easier for users to pay for their purchases via your application. Partnering with a wallet or even introducing your service can set you apart. Facebook Pay is integrated with Instagram to facilitate the buying experience for users, and you can pursue a startup to do the same for your app.

News Feed

A dynamic news feed is the heart of any social media platform. Users want to know what their followers and friends are doing. A news feed helps them stay at the top of their social circle’s posts and helps them know about their preferences. This feature satisfies users’ curiosity, improves connectivity, and enhances user engagement.


Steps To Develop An App Like Instagram

Steps To create An App Like Instagram

Now that you know all the features you need to incorporate into a social media app like Instagram, let’s discuss how to build an app like Instagram.

Step 1 – Conduct Thorough Market Research

Start your app development process by performing comprehensive market research. Creating the Instagram app wasn’t a stroke of luck. Instead, it required thorough market research and careful planning.

Research will help you understand market needs and identify opportunity gaps when developing your app. Study about user likes and dislikes, their interests, and their geographic, demographic, behavioral, and psychographic make-up. There can be various other factors that you can incorporate into your research. You should also consult social media moguls to get a good feeler about the market.

Step 2 – Competitor Analysis

In the next phase, perform a cohesive competitor analysis. Find apps similar to Instagram that are quickly adding to their user base. Understand their strategies and capitalize on their strengths. Research your competitor’s unique selling points (USPs), their most valued features, and how they generate revenue from the app.

Your competitors hold great importance for your growth because they have a practical idea of market demands and have shaped their strategies accordingly. You can replicate or revamp them for your social media application. It also helps you decide the target audience you want to cater to. If your app doesn’t have a dedicated target audience, you might not be able to survive in the long run.

Step 3 – Validation of App Idea

Understanding how your target audience will perceive your app can be challenging. The best way to know what they want is by seeking validation from prospective users. Ask them about the features they love while using Instagram and the features they wish Instagram had. You can create polls, ask questions, and even directly engage the audience by connecting with them through live streams.

Gathering their input will help you craft an achievable and practical USP and business model. Ensure that your business model covers the target audience, user challenges, USPs, problem solutions, your competitive advantage, development and running cost, performance indicators (KPIs), and revenue streams.

Step 4 – Making App Design

App design involves user experience (UX) and interface (UI). UX defines your user’s journey with your application and how they navigate through it. UI is another critical factor to consider when developing your social media app. It enhances the app’s functionality and lays the foundation for user satisfaction. Moreover, staying updated with recent advancements in the industry is essential.

See our latest relevant exploration How To Create A Social Media App Design

Step 5 – Choose App Features 

This step is the most crucial in creating an app like Instagram. It is essential to consider all the features you want to add to your application. The features you add have the power to make or break your app. Hence, choose them wisely.

Another lucrative strategy when choosing features is catering entirely to the target audience’s preferences. You can take inspiration from Instagram, but adaptive innovation is critical to long-term survival.

Step 6 – Finalize App Development

Now that you’re done with the planning and creating stage, diving into the development process is the next step. Identify whether you’re creating an app for iOS, Android, or both. Your market research will contribute valuable insights to your app development process.

We recommend onboarding a social media app development company to help you navigate this technical stage. Typically, the development stage consists of coding, QA testing, and deployment. In the coding stage, developers create code bases and integrate SDKs, APIs, and third-party solutions. QA and testing involve debugging your app and identifying any glitches. This helps improve user experience. After approval from the QA team, your app is deployed for use.

Step 7 – Prepare For Deployment, Launch and Maintenance

Once your app is deployed, you must identify an innovative and effective launch strategy to attract your target audience. A good launch strategy comprises careful planning, brand building, and optimizing app store presence.

You can take your launch strategy further by offering exclusive previews or early access, webinars, and beta testing. However, you will need to invest in post-launch and maintenance services to stay updated.

Step 8 – Marketing and Promotion

Marketing lays the foundation for your app’s long-term success. Defining how you’ll market your app in the development phase is always better. Use paid ads, SEO and content marketing, social media, email, and influencer marketing to create hype for your app.

How To Monetize Your App Like Instagram

How To Monetize Your App Like Instagram

The reason behind the success of Instagram cannot solely be attributed to its features and design. Its monetization model is also a captivating factor that has led many entrepreneurs to create an app like Instagram.

A social media app’s monetization strategy shapes its short and long-term growth and success. You can add the following revenue streams to sustain your app’s monetization strategy.


Instagram’s advertising platform offers a profitable avenue for users to monetize their presence. Through Story Ads, Video Ads, Feed Ads, and Carousel Ads, creators can showcase products and services to a vast audience. When creating an app like Instagram, add a dynamic mix of ads to engage the users. Ensuring that your app is scalable also contributes significantly to bringing in revenues via advertising.


Freemium Model

The freemium model provides users complimentary access to essential services while reserving a premium tier for advanced features at a cost; for entrepreneurs looking to create an app like Instagram, a freemium approach can aid in user acquisition. After a user has been acquired, a social media app can use subliminal marketing strategies and reinforced posts and messages to convince a user to convert to a paid user. However, it is essential to add free features for users in a way that doesn’t cannibalize your premium features.

Freemium Model

In-app Purchases

In-app Purchases offer virtual goods and services to users with a certain fee. It helps elevate user engagement and adds elements like filters, themes, stickers, physical goods, and other digital enhancements to enhance the overall purchasing experience for the user.

In-app Purchases - How to create an app like instagram

Subscription Models

You can also introduce sophisticated subscription models. They can provide users with an add-free environment with advanced features. Tiered subscription models offer users different access levels to certain features and premium services. It helps boost user satisfaction and establishes a good revenue stream for your app.

To create an app like Instagram, you should give this monetization strategy serious importance. This is because Instagram has recently incorporated the subscription model into its monetization streams. 

Subscription Models

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is another popular stream of revenue generation for and from social media apps. It is a way for your app to form partnerships with e-commerce platforms and businesses. Your app becomes a sales facilitator, and you can earn a specific commission from each sale.

Instagram has incorporated affiliate marketing into its revenue model. It is closely integrated with influencer marketing to promote products and services to active users. Incorporating it into your app offers a profitable revenue model that can align strategically with big and small businesses, increase user engagement, and foster a mutually beneficial ecosystem.

Affiliate Marketing

Merchandise Sales

Although more technical, merchandising sales is a great way to generate revenue. You can directly retail branded merchandise through your app without involving any third party. However, this stream is only feasible if you have an engaged and loyal user base. Hence, introduce this revenue stream once you have many users.

While these monetization strategies offer generous revenue streams, balancing user experience with them is still essential. Ensure you update your app consistently and cultivate their willingness to invest in premium features and services.

Merchandise Sales

How Do You Choose the Right Tec-Stack For Your Instagram-Like App?

Creating an app like Instagram isn’t possible without knowing the right tools that keep an app like it running. Developing an app like Instagram typically needs the following tech stack:


  • Java or Kotlin is used for development
  • XML/Compose UI is used for UI design
  • SQL Lite for database optimization
  • ExoPlayer is used as a video player


  • Swift or Swift UI is used for development
  • Storyboard, XIB, or SnapKit is used for UI design
  • Coredata is used for database optimization
  • AVPlayer is used as a video player

With over 2.4 billion active users, Instagram has been designed and developed to handle thousands of terabytes of data. When you’re developing an app like Instagram, it is advised to incorporate a similar tech stack into your app. However, getting an expert developer on board is the best way to understand which tech stack best suits your application.

Final Thoughts

The social media industry offers a worthwhile opportunity for entrepreneurs to create an application similar to Instagram. However, navigating the increasingly competitive social media market can become a challenge. If you replicate Instagram, creating a unique user experience is essential to stand out and stick in the long run.

We have also outlined essential features from registration to a dynamic news feed and emphasized the need for customization, strategic notifications, and integration with other platforms in great detail. Moreover, we have also created a step-by-step guide to help you navigate this journey to ensure that you have covered all market research and done a proper competitor analysis for developing an innovative app idea. After you’ve validated your app idea, you need to dive into the technical phase and identify features, the development process, and a careful launch strategy.

You can also incorporate monetization strategies into your app, like subscription models, in-app purchases, affiliate marketing, and advertising models. Lastly, choosing the right tech stack is crucial for seamless app functionality, and getting the right app development company to partner with you during this process could make a world of difference.

We can help you build a scalable and functional social media app like Instagram. See our Social Network Development Services


What is the cost of creating an app like Instagram?

The cost of creating an app like Instagram ultimately depends on the type and complexity of features you incorporate into it. Typically, it can range from $55,000 to $200,000 or even more. For a brief cost estimation please see our exploration on Social Media App Development Cost.

How can you build an app like Instagram for Android?

You must consider several steps when developing an app like Instagram for Android. Start planning and designing the app, then choose the technology stack and focus on multimedia content sharing. Add newsfeed and push notifications while ensuring user security and privacy. Lastly, ensure that you incorporate UI design, monetization strategies, and marketing to make your app successful on the Android platform.

How can users make money on Instagram?

There are various opportunities for users to make money on Instagram. Influencer marketing is growing exponentially, and influencers and content creators collaborate with brands for sponsored posts and promotions. Moreover, Instagram offers Instagram Shopping so businesses can sell products to users and make money.

How difficult is it to create an app similar to Instagram?

Creating an app like Instagram can be challenging due to its complex features and reliable infrastructure. Developing an app of this magnitude requires a skilled design, development, and marketing team. Monetization is another factor that needs to be considered to enhance user experience. However, creating an app like Instagram is achievable with the right resources onboard.

Estimated reading time: 18 minutes

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.