By this time everyone have heard about TikTok at least once, since it is one of the most successful apps ever created. It has conquered hundreds of millions of young minds because of its viral popularity and edgy appeal. TikTok made Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat really afraid since its wild expansion and incredibly rapid growth came as a real surprise for us all.
TikTok is a phenomenon. It is a single most successful social media app ever created. What makes it different is the fact that TikTok is not an American invention, though some 50 million of its users are Americans. And they are crazy about TikTok.
Why TikTok is so popular? What it takes to make such and app and what are its secrets? Is it a good business idea to make an app like TikTok? If yes, what it’s going to take?
The concept is easy – short 15 second videos of people all over the world performing what they like. TikTok’s essence feature is gamification that is absent on Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook where you primarily follow people from your inner circle that you already know. Unlike it, browsing TikTok is simply crazy, since it unites people from all over the world and makes you laugh out loud because of some really funny guy in India that dance on the roof of a house or a motorcycle rider chasing a chimpanzee and things like that.
TikTok’s appeal is to a younger audience. Though the majority of its users are from India and China, it has been praised and widely used by more than 40 million Americans, especially teens and the forerunners of Generation Z.
Despite development efforts Facebook throws at Instagram and because of the slower growth rate of Snapchat, TikTok managed to become a unique app with the extreme level of user engagement. The social aspect and the challenges as well as the feeling of something exciting allowed TikTok to become so popular among teens and millennials.
TikTok Legal Issues – Data Gathering and Privacy Concerns of the American Citizens
As the slogan of one famous film goes, you can’t make a million friends without making a few enemies. Because TikTok is technically not a US company, the amount of data it has of the American users is enormous. And amidst a high number of data privacy scandals and a greater competition with China, US law regulators took notice of TikTok. It is, however, true that TikTok stores all the data of American users in America. But it can share it with China if it is ordered to do so.
It is known for a fact, though, that TikTok, like any other company from China, is 100% subjected to Chinese government and its ideological regulations. You may know that since we have recently covered the difference in how internet works in America/Europe and how it operates in China and Russia.
TikTok Popularity and Viral Fame
To be viral is the key when it comes to successful software development. To market your social media gaming app nothing serves the purpose better than a prospect of your product being truly addictive. And users of TikTok are eager to spend more time on the platform. That is because of the energetic cocktail mix of a wild array of things you can see there.
To be viral is like being advertised in a self-replicating way for free virus-like. But TikTok is a quality app, the many functions of which do not compromise its quality and performance despite a lot of users. Compare it to Facebook that went down every month this year.
Lil X Nas Story
Who is Lil X Nas? He is a TikTok legend who produced the most engaging and viral flashmob, composing a catchy song. Lil X Nas went from being unemployed and sleeping on his sister’s couch to being placed on the cover of Time magazine in the matter of less than a year. That’s a kind of thing that happen on TikTok.
Soon after Lil X Nas released his song Country Road that was pleasant to the ears of so many TikTok users, others started a challenge to copycat Lil X Nas. In the end he signed a contract and is now a professional musician. The story of Lil X Nas is a modern fable made real with the help of magnificent possibilities brought by new technologies.
The app that makes such stories a reality works kind of like magic. TikTok’s feed is commented on by everybody from NewYorker to Washington Post because of how great it is. There are groups, challenges, hashtags and the competition for fame. If you want to make an app that’s going to have a similar impact on the audience, it may not even be a video streaming app but it definitely must have a social media gaming approach incorporated in its user story.
Gamification and Other Features
Streaming functionality itself is in the core, yes, but it is a social gamification aspect that allowed TicTok to conquer the young minds. Instagram was marketed as a photo sharing social media feed. Snapchat made that to videos and Instagram quickly adopted its format (made stories) to continue being popular.
There are numerous video streaming apps (Twitch, Meerkat, Periscope, etc) but it is gaming that the astounding variety of choice (thanks to the number of users) that make TikTok stand out.
The app has inside currency and payment gateways. Although, TikTok is already used by marketers for advertisement purposes, it doesn’t contain ads of its own.
The app is monetized because users compete for attention and fame. Using the inside currency (coins), they can upgrade and improve their status and increase their capabilities. TikTok is like a game where performers compete in making the best video that is funny, trendy and full of hype. And TikTok became addictive because it is first and foremost a game that poses challenges and delivers enormous audience for everybody who’d like to be noticed for his creativity, talents, and approach.
Users can comment on the videos of each other, add friends, create challenges and groups, add many different effects and gain level ups. This is a lot of functionality but the variety of features is one of the things that make so many users lose their head in this wild app.
Branding, Marketing, Promotion
TikTok attracted so much attention because of its appeal to Generation Z and Millenials. Short videos with the possibility to add sound and visual effects are used on TikTok to compete in flash mobs and complete challenges that make it the most engaging social media network, since it connects people all around the world based on the premise to allow free expression and emotional sharing without any second thoughts whatsoever.
Why video streaming is so popular? Well, this is a future of communication. It started with phone calls, then there was texting and now it is streaming. Video messaging allows for a greater level of conversation engagement. The satisfaction that comes with seeing yourself on the screen along with better quality cameras and faster internet contributed to the widespread adoption of video streaming as a trending means of communication.
TikTok made a lot of promotion and marketed itself to gain a lot of attention because user engagement was its #1 goal. It became the biggest social media phenomenon since Instagram and Snapchat.
Make an App Like TikTok
We already covered Bigo Live and its popularity. SnapChat and Instagram stories are still very popular. All this implies that to develop a certain kind of social media video streaming app can be a very wise business decision.
TikTok continues to grow and it is among 5 most downloaded apps ever (Facebook, FB Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram) all of which belong to Facebook. In a recently revealed transcript of the internal Facebook meeting, Mark Zuckerbaerg declares that TikTok poses an existential threat to Facebook and that it behaves in an un-American way from many viewpoints.
For example, Hong Kong protests were censored and scrubbed away from TikTok platform as a favor to Chinese government, though Messenger and WhatsApp are actively used by protesters to communicate regarding their opposition of Chinese state.
The MVP for the app like TikTok would cost roughly $50 000 because it has rich functionality and should be able to work correctly when used by a high number of users simultaneously.
|Time (back-end included)
|Frameworks and libraries integration for back-end
|Frameworks and libraries integration for Android/iOS
|UI/UX design for Android/iOS
|QA (for 1 app)
|Scrum Master (for 1 app)
|Total for 1 app
|Total for 2 apps
While everything is clear with the amount of money you need to develop and release TikTok like app, we understand that you might be interested in the development terms. How long will it actually take to deliver an app? And how much time does it take to develop each separate option? These are reasonable questions since you need to plan your time to market and other promotional activities beforehand. So we’ve prepared another one table showing how many hours is needed to build each option of TikTok like solution.
What features to add to your TikTok like app?
When you are building a solution similar to an existing one, it is crucial to pay special attention to its feature set. Since it has to offer if not unique then at least great options able to make it stand out among other competitors in the niche. So we have collected some options that are must-have for TikTok like app so that you can take a look at them and incorporate in your future solution.
Top 5 Alternatives to the TikTok App
To sum it all up we need to claim fair and square that TikTok is a very successful app and to develop a successful app you should follow the example of TikTok. It doesn’t mean copying it, though even Facebook did it. You should use the gamification aspect and a social appeal to a certain target audience. That’s the best advice TikTok can give. And you should make an app that looks fresh if you want it to become viral. Your approach should be similar to that of FaceApp with media outlets being astonished to have the reaction that TikTok got.