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The mobile app market is way past the infancy period and its market value is growing from year to year. The Gartner research statics shows us this trend. In the year 2009 a worldwide mobile app downloads amount was at the mark of 2.52 billion, and in 2017 it’s 268.69 billion.

Worldwide mobile apps download - app costs

That is why, if you have decided to create an app for your business or even to build a new business around your app, it is a right time. And we are here to help you with all the necessary information.

So, you’ve got a great idea for an app, and you’re ready to move on to the development stage. You’re curious as to how much does it cost to develop an app? This article will give you some insight into what to expect when it’s finally time to develop your app.

If you ask a developer how much does it cost to build an app, you might be disappointed when they say they aren’t able to answer. There’s a good reason for that. The cost of making an app can be very different depending on app complexity and features.

While some simple apps could take $20,000 – $40,000 to develop, others might start at $100,000 or more. On the other hand, mobile app development cost could be about $5,000 or under, but don’t expect the same amount of special treatment in this case.

Where Do I Start?

You want to start by examining every aspect of the app you’re looking to create. If you’re going to reach out to a developer, you should already have a very clear idea of what the app will do, how it will work, how it will look and for whom it’ll be. Is your app going to be available on iOS and Android? Or just iOS? Note, that iPhone app development cost is usually 10 or 15% higher than the one for Android. In its turn, Android app developments takes up to 10% more time.

Will your app feature a shopping cart or a place to login? If you have all of these answers already in place, you can save yourself some time and app development cost when you reach out to the developer.
Again, there are a lot of factors that go into pricing your app’s development. All of the little details are carefully considered because, though they may seem small, they must be carefully and seamlessly implemented into your app. For the most part, it isn’t as simple as clicking here and there and being done with it.

READ ALSO: App crowdfunding

In general, here is the app development cycle is as follows:

App development cycle and cost

There are services online that offer “app development” programs but these mostly just build on top of an existing framework. That means that, though it may be inexpensive, you’re not going to have as many options when it comes to customizing your app.

One of the best reasons to work with a professional developer is that you can take the time to meet with them (virtually or otherwise) and explain what exactly you are looking for.

Since they will be working closely with you throughout the development process, you know your app is much more likely to turn out exactly as you imagined it would. This way, your app will be both high quality and unique, cornerstones for drawing attention to your business.

This Is an Investment, But Is It A Worthwhile One?

Think about the impact that your app could have if it brought in just a few interested leads per week. If you can, try and estimate how many customers it would take for you to make the money back that you spent on your app.
Here are some metrics that will help you to settle KPI’s and make actionable solutions:

  • Cost per Install;
  • Customer Acquisition Cost;
  • Average Revenue per User (ARPU);
  • Retention Rate;
  • Return on Investment (ROI).

If you expect a high ROI (return on investment) meaning you are about to develop apps that make you money, maybe it’s worth spending a little more than you initially thought to make sure your app stands out. Or maybe it’s worth the money and time it takes to make your app compatible with a broad range of platforms. Of course, feel free to ask your developers to chime in on this. Some development firms have marketing departments that can help you out.

But maybe you’re still not sure why the process is so costly. We’ve already gone through the questions and planning phase, so let’s get into the actual development, shall we?

What Follows the Planning Stage?

The first thing the developer wants to create is an app prototype. It’s a basic, functional and unpolished version of what the final app will look like. The idea behind the prototype is to be able to give you an idea of what the app will look like when finished and how it will work. This stage takes some time but is well worth it, and it usually starts with conceptualizing and drawing what the display will look like.

If there’s anything that you want to address now, you can do so before you run through the course of your development budget. This is also an important time to make sure that everything is working correctly so far and that the app will be executable and accessible to those who will be using it.

You can even use this prototype as a test among a sample of your target audience and then get their feedback. By making the most of this prototype stage, you can be sure to get good value for your investment and save some cost of app development.

Revise, Revise, Revise the Prototype

Once the prototype has been thoroughly examined, and feedback has been received, the changes can now be implemented into the design. This process can go through a couple of stages. Every app developer wants to make sure that the result is precisely what their customer is looking for. So, don’t be afraid to communicate with your developer to tweak the app’s design, even if it takes a few rounds to get it right. You’re investing your time and money, so make sure you’re happy with the result.

Development – Keep It Clean and Crash-Free

When you’re happy with it, the developer fills in the rest of the blanks so that your app functions smoothly on the inside. They carefully program the app with coding that is reliable and clean. They integrate the services that you requested, whether you wanted a social media login page or an online shopping cart or user profiles.

Throughout the process, they continually test your app to make sure that there are no bugs that might hinder your app’s performance or cause it to crash. This is another time-consuming process but, just like the others, well worth it. It would be a shame to invest all that time and money into an app that winds up crashing right after your launch.

costs of developing an app prototype

Design Polished to Perfection

The development team works hand-in-hand with the design team to bring your app together. The design team is the one that sets up how the app will appear to its user. They prepare what kind of font you will see, what color scheme, the shape of the buttons in the app, the size of the search bar and so on. A perfect design would be based on trends in application development.

The prototype may have a been a black and white blocky version of your app but, after the design team goes to work on it based on your instructions, they can transform it into a neat, colorful and engaging interface.

During (and following) the development and design phases, there are usually a few revisions to be made to make sure that these two components blend seamlessly. Again, you don’t want any bugs in your completed app, so it’s a good thing that they continuously run tests and correct any inconsistencies.

Between the amount of work put into this project and the number of hours worked, you can begin to see why the cost of mobile app development can be so high. 

App Complete – Now Get It Out There

Now that the app is a finished product, and you’re happy with the result, it sure is a great feeling to see your app fully functional. It’s just wonderful to think that your idea has popped into reality for all the world to see. You’re ready for all the world to see it, aren’t you?

Releasing your app into a sea of other apps is like pouring a glass of water into a lake. You want to make sure your app gets noticed, and so, you’re going to want to market it any way you know how. Some developers might help you with this phase (usually, these are firms with marketing departments).

By reaching out to all of your network and your target audience, you can raise app awareness so that everybody knows about it. And then you hold your special release.

Naturally, you’ll want to stay on top of your app to make sure it continues to run properly by paying attention to crash reports and any feedback you hear from your customers. Congrats on the new app!

So, how much does it cost to make an app?

As it was mentioned above, a lot of factors affect the mobile app development price. The app cost is formed by the hours that your mobile app development team needs to spend on your project. For instance, here are the average rates of our professionals:

SpecialistHourly Rate (USD)
UI/UX Designer$25/hour
Frontend Developer$35/hour
Backend (PHP) Developer$30/hour
Android Developer$35/hour
iOS Developer$37/hour
QA Engineer$20/hour
Project Manager / Business Analyst$25/hour
DevOps Engineer$30/hour

If you have already started to look for you outsourcing vendor, you probably noticed, that the price for app developers from the US starts from $50 and can reach the mark of $250 per hour. So, the price we offer is quite reasonable.

Also, for your convenience, we have created an app cost calculator that helps you to estimate the approximate price according to features you need. Spend 5 minutes to get your project estimation.

Want to create the best app of all time?

Calculate its cost right now



From a business perspective, the niche of social media is one of the most promising markets. Of course, this segment is densely occupied with dominant players, but the rapid development of technology is constantly opening up new opportunities for the realization of new ideas.

When creating social media, it is necessary to understand that having a mobile application is a prerequisite for the successful project. Also, when we talk about the costs, you should keep in mind that most of the time and cost are related to the backend (what happens in the shadows and makes the app/web project work).

Social networks app development can be provided from scratch or as an add-in to the existing web version. At the APP Solutions, we can work with either option, since we have experience with coming into the development process at any project lifecycle stage. 

Check out the infographic to find out how much does social media app development cost:

social media app development cost

How to create a social media app

1. Connection with existing social media

The fewer steps separate the user from the full-fledged interaction with an application, the better. They have already left their details in a ton of other social media apps; there is no need to force them to do it again. It is better to cut down the way to the new experience to one button “Connect with” or “Login using” one of the existing apps.

2. Opportunities for self-expression

Every user wants to feel unique and to show the world how creative, extraordinary and outside-the-box he is. Social media app should include some features that can help with this like customizing of profile pictures, backgrounds, nicknames, etc.

3. Creating a network

Any social media makes sense for the user only if there are his friends or interesting people. Therefore, social media app developers should work through the perfect algorithm of friends graph and the system that lets to invite friends with one click.

4. Arranging the newsfeed

Nearly every social network requires news feeds. Content is the king, and rightly so. Users generate an enormous amount of content themselves: check-ins, statuses, video, audio and photo uploads. Even more, they share someone else’s content. It makes possible to assert themselves and express their opinion (which is one of the benefits of social media – you can make yourself be heard).

When we start to develop a social media app for Android and iOS we take this into account and offer the arranging the news feed that best fits the specificity of social media app.

Try to create interesting social network app

[Newsfeed of All Square project by The App Solutions]

5. Interaction with other services

To get a more vivid user experience of interaction with the platform, it is necessary to elaborate a system of integration of existing services. Thus, users do not have to choose between the many services they are already connected to and the new one. Speaking of third-party services we are referring to:

  • Relationship networks

    Networks that are used to build communication between people. They can be divided into following categories:  for personal networking (Facebook), for professional networking (Linkedin) and dating services (Badoo).

  • Media sharing networks

    This type of social media gives users the opportunity to exchange video and photo content. These include Flickr, Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, Snapchat. A distinctive feature is the scaling of content. For instance, some offer to publish short videos; others allow creating own video channel.

  • Online reviews

    These social media are a huge base of data that helps users to gather all the necessary information to make purchasing decisions. For example, Yelp and Urbanspoon are based on geolocation and the ability to leave comments and recommendations on local business.

  • Discussion forums

    Communities, forums, Q&A-services are one of the first forms of social media. Modern representatives of this type include Quora, Reddit, and Digg. At the core mechanics of the interaction between users is the need for knowledge sharing.

  • Social publishing platforms

    For this type of social media services related blogging and micro-blogging platforms where users create and publish text and media content. These include such popular platforms as Twitter, Medium, and Tumblr.

  • Bookmarking sites

    StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Flipboard are services where the user collects the content in the personal library, which can be followed by other members of the community. Typically, these social media study interests to offer more relevant content.

  • Interest-based networks

    The most attractive opportunity that provides social networks is to find like-minded people with similar interests. For example, is a network for music lovers, Goodreads is for lovers of literature.

    It should also be considered the option of integrating your service in all existing networks so that publications of users in your social media app could be cross-posted to other social networks. It will bring a user`s friends to your social network.

6. Private communication

No matter how thrilling is the experience of public user interaction, there are always things that need to be discussed privately. Social networking apps should contain built-in services for secure private communication. This way, your users will not go to third-party resources and will spend more time in your application.

So you have an app idea, you have an understanding of the essentials of the app. What’s next? How to make a social media app? We proceed to the direct creation of applications. 

Firstly, the APP Solutions as a social media app development company sticks to the native app development. It allows to get a higher performance of the new social app on Android and iOS, ensures a better UI/UX and gives full access to the built-in services of the mobile device.

Secondly, when working on such a large-scale project, our social media app developers offer to start with the MVP or minimum viable product. In fact, MVP is a product with a minimum core set of functionality that quickly lets to send the product to the market to test the idea. This approach helps to announce the product rapidly, while dramatically saving time and money. Once validation is finished, we start to finalize product: add features, and design, improve UI/UX. After this, the application is available in the market for another cycle of validation and testing.

In general, MVP scheme is as follows:

Social media app creating process

Five steps of social media application development:

At the APP Solutions, our professional team follows this critical phases in creating successful social media app:


At this stage, we thoroughly study the idea and the competitive field, analyze the requirements, draw up a portrait of the target audience and establish the key performance indicators that are to be achieved. All this helps to find a unique niche while developing a social media app for mobile.


The design itself consists of several steps:

  • Sketching

    Very quick basic outlines of future application. They help assess the future logic of the project, the number of screens and the interaction between them.

  • Wireframing

    It is one of the most important steps of a design process as it helps the development team to visualize the skeletal structure of social media application. It gives a structure view of the app and the experience that will get end user.

  • Prototyping

    A created prototype is a working model of the future application. It provides both for the customer and for developers the better understanding of the product. It is much easier to edit an idea and bring changes to it before the coding process is started.

  • Design App Skins

    At this stage, we convert wireframes in the social app design. We are carefully studying existing solutions, watching the latest trends and elaborating UI/UX to provide the best of possible solutions.

Development & Quality Assurance

Development and design process usually run together in the life cycle of a social media mobile app. When the prototyping of the app is done, we build its back-end by setting up servers, databases, APIs and working out perfect storage solutions. We deliver the product that meets all technical requirements, user guidelines, and platform standards. Our iOS and Android engineers recommend our clients the native social media app development to get better performance of the application.

At every stage of development, we provide manual and automatic testing of every part of the program and their correct interaction in the program. (By the way, testing is not simply done to make sure the developers didn’t write any errors into the code, but to test the UX of the project.)

Publishing & Marketing

Our professional team also ensures the process of publishing, creates all promotional materials including screens, video guides and the effective description of the application. All this helps social apps for business to stand out at the Apple Store and Google Play Market.

Also, about marketing. When you come up with an idea for a mobile app or a web project, remember that the development costs are only a part of the project cost. You should also take into account basic marketing needs and costs. What way to choose in promoting your app is up to you, but don’t just start thinking about it AFTER your app is in the app store. 


After the project is released to the application markets, we ensure our clients with all types of support and updates implementation. Also, we provide three months of free bug fixing after the application is published.

Quantitative metrics for social media application

For business analysis of social media mobile app, we highly recommend sticking to the metrics that grant tracking engagement and help to make actionable solutions.

We can divide them into five groups: financial, user, acquisition, sales and marketing. Depending on the type and purpose of the application, there are always a unique number of instruments. But here are some essential ones:

Acquisition: CPI & CAC

Cost Per Install (CPI) is calculated by tracking installs of users that came from advertising. It is counted by dividing advertising costs by the number of application`s installs.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is a sum of the total amount of all marketing efforts that are needed to attract a client. It is one of determining factors that show if the company has a viable business model. This indicator of business scaling possibilities.

User activation

A number of activated users in comparison to a number of downloads. Activation actions/parameters are customized for each app.

User Retention and Churn rate

User retention is measured as a proportion of users who returned to the app based on the date of their first visit. If the new update is released, it is crucial to check if retention has changed, because it helps to find out what is working and what is not in the new version.

Churn rate shows the number of customers who have stopped using the social media mobile app. The less it shows, the better.

User engagement

User engagement is a number of target actions that are taken in the app. Among them are Session Length and Interval.

The first one shows the time between the user entered the application and left it, the second demonstrates the time between two sessions.


It is a quantitative evidence of the market demand for the product. In other words, it shows patterns of the month to month growth of users.

Burn rate

The amount of money the mobile app is consuming (burning) each month like server costs, marketing, staff, etc. It shows a number of the necessary resources at the disposal that is required to plan the further growth and fundraising.

How to make a social media app

Social media app development is no easy task. But we do believe that good ideas, our experience, and the strong professional team are enough to create a successful project that would reach your business goals and bring truly loyal users.

Calculate your social media app cost

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