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.
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 any option. Most of the time and cost are related on the backend.
Check out the infographic to find out how much does social media app development cost:
When building a social network application some essential features should be taken into account:
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”.
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. 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.
[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 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 like 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, Last.fm 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 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 we have an app idea, we have an understanding of the essentials of the app. What’s next? 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 for iOS and Android. It allows to get higher performance of the application, ensures a better UI/UX and gives full access to 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:
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:
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.
It is one of the most important steps of a design process as it helps development team to visualize the skeletal structure of social media application. It gives a structure view at the app and the experience that will get end user.
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 idea and bring changes into it before the coding process is started.
- Design App Skins
At this stage, we convert wireframes in the design itself. We are carefully studying existing solutions, watching 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.
On every stage of development, we provide manual and automatic testing of every part of the program and their correct interaction in the program.
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 the app to stand out at the Apple Store and Google Play Market.
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 to stick 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.
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 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.
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 are required to plan the further growth and fundraising.
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.