We can find hundreds of social apps in the Google Play Store or Apple's App Store. Social networking has been key for the success of mobile app development companies and the spread of smartphones worldwide. So we’ve wanted to investigate more about social mobile apps: how are they made? what are their main features? who uses them?
We’ve interviewed some of our mobile app development companies in our mobile app development directory to know more about the mobile app and the development process behind a social mobile app. Sibers, Hidden Brains, Tango Agency and 648 group have given us their vision as developers about social apps. You can also hire the top mobile app development companies in social apps listed in our directory.
There are some social mobile apps that everyone knows: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Skype, Telegram… We see they are focused on images and social life. But technology evolves and mobile app development companies get hired constantly to develop new social apps. Companies and clients have seen a great opportunity in developing a social app to prepare a space where their users can share thoughts, opinions, pictures, videos… Some of these new social mobile apps that can become a success this 2016 are: Peach, Wanelo, Yik Yak or Hyper.
Yik Yak is a location-based social network that helps people discover local community, lets them share news, share jokes, volunteer to various causes, ask important questions, and interact freely. Without giving your names or profiles, this social networking app provides an opportunity to experiment with ideas minimizing the changes of getting implicated directly. This is very important for people who are still developing their identity. This app is casual and heartfelt that lets connecting with people with their community.Social media is all about evoking emotions and celebrating best moments with your family and loved ones.
Time Hop lets you do just that by showing photos and updates from any given day in history. Timehop shows old photos, updates and posts from different social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram, Flickr as well as your camera roll photos.
With more than 100 million daily active users primarily the millennial generation comprising mainly 18 to 24-year- olds, Snapchat is fast becoming a cult. This app takes the idea of ephemeral messaging to the next level as the message once viewed, disappears. It is fast becoming a preferred promotional medium for businesses worldwide. Several leading brands like BuzzFeed, ESPN, NGC and People magazine have adopted Snapchat by providing fans an inside look at what's going on behind the scenes.
The number of worldwide users of social networking sites is expected to touch 2.5 billion by 2018, that’s about a third of the population on Earth. This brings us to think of which social apps are the most used? Mobile app development companies know a lot about this because they are the ones developing social apps for their clients. Also, everyone we know is using a social app daily (if not constantly to keep in touch with the family, friends, meet people or simply looking for ideas.
The desire to keep in touch with old friends is best-served by messengers, i.e. WhatsApp, which is the best in its class. The second desire: making new friends, is driven by two things: finding similar interests, and seeing a self-presentation of the other person/community/institution through visual content — images and videos. Instagram, with its tags, is great for interest matching, and its filter collection is great for increasing interaction and attraction amongst users. And of course Facebook is another top social app.
The #2 reason why people use social apps is the wish to not just communicate virtually, but to turn virtual-world communication into reality. So we’re talking about platforms where people can search for others who share the same desire, and make plans with them — go on a date, play tennis, or have lunch. For this particular market, the most interesting apps in our opinion are two that have only recently appeared but are already gaining significant popularity: Hinge (for dating), and Down to Launch (for hanging out with friends who are free at the same time you are).
As it has been for several years now, Twitter and Facebook continue to stand apart from other social apps in that they serve as a kind of “user-generated mass media”, which naturally is born of our information-oriented society.
We must also mention the growing popularity of live video-streaming in social media. Only a year ago this was the domain of a small minority who shared similar interests — for example, Twitch for e-sports streams. Today we see platforms like Periscope and Facebook Live bringing live video- streaming to a wide audience, and getting an overwhelmingly positive response. There’s little doubt that this platform will continue flourishing.
One more important criteria for a successful social app is its availability on several platforms and its ability to achieve complete user-experience synchronization over multiple devices. We hope this approach continues improving.
We did a quick survey within our group and the top 5 prefered social apps are Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, Reddit, Quora. We see growth with all of them, probably with an edge for Whatsapp. Also, we are working for an exciting startup from Switzerland that we believe brings some unique approaches to the B2B social media space.
I’m really excited about Pocket’s new social features. I think content curation (along with calendars and time management) are untapped markets with still a lot of potential –the first wave of content aggregation came with services like Digg or StumbleUpon a decade ago. Now people are looking for a more personalized, mobile experience – Pocket does an excellent job at that.Also, think about calendars and time planning – those are interaction-heavy areas where still no efficient solution emerged. Sunrise was a good attempt, but after the Microsoft acquisition its growth stagnated and users are beginning to look elsewhere.
As for the big players. it’s very interesting to see platforms relatively unknown in Europe like musical.ly accumulate a hundred millions of users in young demographics in the US. The growth of Snapchat was really inspiring too, showing there’s still a lot of space on the market - even though there were already perfectly capable messaging apps around, Snapchat is really good at quickly attracting younger demographics.
I don’t think they will survive in their current state, though – the Snapchat user experience is still far from perfect, and the way these platforms are right now – it feels more like an ongoing experiment with 200 million users on board rather than a finished product. I believe those apps will have to pivot in order to keep the growth rate and cater to wider demographics.
Used by 1 billion people across the globe, Facebook continues to the leader among social networking sites. Facebook needs no introduction. Video in Facebook app also taken off and this leading social networking app now sees the News Feed consisting mostly of video content.We believe Facebook will continue to evolve in future. With strategic acquisitions like Instagram and Whatsapp, Facebook is strengthening its position in the social networking category. Facebook is taking a giant leap towards the future of social networking, virtual reality.
Consistent with its ambitions, Facebook acquired Oculus VR for USD $2 billion. Facebook views the VR technology much more than just a peripheral for video games. The networking giant sees virtual and augmented reality becoming an important aspect of people’s everyday life.
the needs of the user, the industry or the demographics. So, what makes social mobile apps different from any other mobile app? Our mobile app development companies point out differences like affordability, UX design and speed. Think about all the applications you use during a day, how are they different?
From elementary school students to their grandmothers — that’s the age range of social mobile app users. Equally diverse is the user’s social background, especially since today’s smart devices are so affordable. And unlike domain-specific apps, i.e. health or finance, ? user exploits social apps several times a day, every day. Actually, it’s more like a dozen times.
For all of these reasons, social apps must be extremely obvious and fast. “Obvious” meaning that “new event” notifications are delivered in a friendly, convenient manner, and a straightforward UI that leaves no room for doubt as to how the user should complete a task. “Fast” as in easily accessible, time-saving interactions resulting from a well thought-out architecture and highly optimized code.
As for the social apps development process itself, the most important thing is to design the architecture so that it can withstand high loads (thousands or even millions of simultaneous queries from hundreds of thousands of users) and store/process large data amounts (not only text data, but also photo and video content). A social app’s user experience design also requires a huge amount of work. Since these apps are used for fun and not for completion of a particular task (i.e. a banking app), only a very engaging social app has a chance to become popular with users.
When it comes to social media apps designing there is a lot of variety and different approaches. Networking sites like LinkedIn adopt a conservative and professional look. On the other hand, sites like Facebook combine elements of professionalism and personalization for a better user experience.
But what’s the best approach when it comes to social media app design? What are the essential elements that make social networking app more users friendly? Social media app is all about designing for smaller screens for quick attention spans. You need a UI that works at the speed of thought. Whether it is novice or experienced users, your app needs to support both in an efficient manner.
This audience of digital-omnivores have stronger UX expectations, they are sensitive to Premium design and expect all features to be coherent and holistic.
Social apps users really are the early adopters, and drive the market forward: by rallying behind the apps that improve their online experience and that have freshness and are also robust. Therefore, the key differentiator in the process of the development of social mobile apps is to constantly to be aware of the consumer audience, constantly iterate to identify key features and, most importantly, have a solid QA team to test properly before each release.
Instead of stand-alone “social apps”, I would prefer to talk about a thing I like to call the “social layer”. A lot of apps which are not social by nature have realized by now, that integrating social features such as messaging, recommendations or content curation increase user attention and adoption, and that’s what fuels growth. A big challenge here is to pick the right tools for the job – with dozens of communities already out there, sometimes it doesn’t make sense to build the technology from scratch.
Think Facebook Comments, or Gravatar. The WordPress team did an excellent job when they jumped very early on board and built Gravatar – there will be more coming where that came from.As for social apps as such, focus on UX is one distinctive aspect. Health, sports or finance apps are usually targeted at very specific user groups and that lets you make some assumptions about the end user. With social, however, you have to be very aware of how diverse your user base is and how differently they can use your apps.
Also, most social app users are heavily engaged – they use them on a daily basis, which makes every annoying detail count. Speed and intuitive interaction design are among the key elements.
We agree design is very important when developing a social mobile app. Developers and mobile app development companies have shared with us also what users expect from these applications.
And what about the expectations of the users? Mobile app development companies must have in mind what users are looking for when they purchase or download a social mobile app. It is very important that clients and companies realiza which are the needs of the future users of that mobile app in order to clarify the features of the app.
They expect a seamless experience. For a first time user of a social app, you have about 1-2 minutes to first catch their attention. You can win them through a simple and fun registration process or an innovative way to quickly find their friends. Another important aspect for user retention is the notification algorithm the app has in place.
Nowadays every user is a social user – with Facebook penetration of the US market at over 80%, people expect social interactions in most apps. Speed and intuitive interactions are key for keeping users engaged.
It’s absolutely vital that every social app has a clean, crisp user interface; that it’s secure and ensures encryption of private information; that it offers new-event visibility and the ability to customize new-event notifications; and that it provides full accessibility to data, even in offline mode. This data could be anything — an important address, a phone number, meeting coordinates sent to the user, or a tennis lesson he wants to watch while traveling somewhere that lacks WiFi.
Focused Content: Many people use smartphones while on the go, often in a rushed state. Also, social networking is about capturing moments of life impromptu. While designing for social media app, think about easy navigation and minimalism. It is important to rise above the clutter and have a focal point for your app that keeps users engaged.
Make it Easy: Tell users how to maneuver around the features with a hovering message. Do whatever it takes to make it easy for users to find what they’re looking for. Mobile users always appreciate small things that makes experience smoother. And of course, it works better for you too.
Keep It Simple: Social media app is all about effortless navigation. Many designers fall over the trap and cut corners when designing for mobile devices. They simply scale down desktop website to come up with app design. Instead of just scaling down, it is important focus on the key message you want the user to take away.
There are some subcategories when we talk about social apps: meetings, sharing knowledge, social networks... Which are they? Our mobile app development companies have summarized the different categories. Let’s check them:
The main subcategories where 648 has more experience are: messaging apps, video/screensharing apps, general (content sharing with friends), microblogging, media sharing (video, photo, etc.), social bookmarking, recommendations.We would categorize them as following:
Meeting Apps: Skype
Messaging: Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger
Microblogging: Twitter, Tumblr
Media Sharing: Instagram, Vine
Social Bookmarking: Reddit
Recommendations: Pinterest, Behance
Based on our experience, sports, dating, and knowledge-sharing are the three main trends for social apps.Sports apps like Cody are popular for a few reasons: they provide access to world-class coaches, they offer enriching video lessons, and they create a community which supports the user and encourages him to succeed.
Dating apps reflect the societal tendency to meet new people virtually first and then bring the friendship into the real world.
User-generated content and knowledge-sharing are so reflexive and natural now that we don’t even question its value and advantages.
Cody is a truly inspiring, richly-featured social sports and fitness application. Tinder is believed to be the best social dating app, and both Swarm and Foursquare bring unique, helpful content about the user’s location direct to his phone.
We see a lot of requests related to the “sharing economy”. The #1 inquiry from all customers is still “Uber for X”. Very often they also feature social elements, allowing their users to interact with each other.Knowledge sharing and educational apps are also big, with fitness, wellness and personal development sectors growing very quickly. In 2016 and 2017 we will see a lot of progress and launches in dietary, training and fitness applications.
Messaging apps are thriving and big social networks are gobbling up these apps to increase their demographics (for example, Facebook buying WhatsApp). At this point, our mobile app developers consider that messaging apps are part of social apps.
What are messaging apps if not social apps? After all, the ability to “message” is what makes an app social — providing the opportunity to reach out and communicate with other people, publicly or privately. Every popular social app has messaging functionality in some form — though of course, messaging-specific applications have very defined characteristics architecture and UI.
The merging of social networks and messaging apps is a natural evolution. We spend so much time online using all kinds of social networks that switching between them gets annoying. It’s way too time-consuming to find and follow a new friend on Facebook, and then find/follow him on Instagram, and then text him on WhatsApp, and so on. We want everything in one place and to do anything with one click.
This path was successfully pursued by WeChat, an extremely popular social app in China. Due to Facebook and other popular networks being blocked there, WeChat rapidly monopolized the Asian market. Users can message each other, share photos, play co-op games together, challenge each other to exercise more, and look for a date via location-based search – and that’s just a partial list of features.
WeChat is a dozen top-rated mobile apps squeezed into one, and their success makes us wonder if this is what western market social media giants like Facebook aspire to be. Looking specifically at the instant messaging space, this market is occupied by giants. Any new player will not only meet obstacles related to positioning and earning new users, but to pass this market’s entry threshold you need to meet challenging (to say the least) requirements regarding development of a high-loaded backend in order to provide seamless interaction between millions of users. Trying to achieve the required performance level demands a significant amount of time and some seriously advanced technical expertise.
It goes beyond that. Messaging apps are must-have utilities for pretty much all mobile users. We’re close to reaching the tipping point for the amount of messaging apps that you can use concurrently (if you use an iPhone, you probably use iMessage for private communication with Apple users, WhatsApp for Android users, SMS for family with older phones, Facebook Messanger and Snapchat for… well, all friends, Slack for work… that’s already 6 channels).
I don’t expect another 6 apps to emerge as messaging tools with 100M+ communities, but we’ll be seeing a lot of development on the meta level – APIs, aggregation and cross-channel communication. Over the next 24 months one of the big players will announce that. I believe the recent “bots” hype is the first step in this direction.
Also, Facebook didn’t buy WhatsApp to increase their demographics. Money is where user attention is – and messaging apps are far more engaging than Facebook content, no matter how hard Facebook tried. Even though they have largely the same customer base, users operate on Facebook in a different context than WhatsApp. I would consider it multiple channels used by largely the same user group (which is, well, the majority of people with internet access living in well developed countries). That’s also why Facebook isn’t even trying to connect or brand WhatsApp – considering this approach, it’s fine the way it is now.
The message is clear that when it comes to social networking, instant messaging apps have the largest user base. Instant messaging offers the option of online chat with real-time text transmission over the internet. Since the mobile app revolution, low-cost or free instant messaging apps come across as an alternative to operator based text messaging system.
Messenger apps provide features such as group chats, video and audio files sharing, as well as stickers and emoticons.Facebook’s 19-billion dollar acquisition of Whatsapp proves that instant messaging apps have a phenomenal growth trajectory. Meanwhile, other messaging apps like Line and WeChat use intuitive stickers, user-to- user payments, ecommerce, and other revenue streams. When you have as many users as WhatsApp (more than 900 million users) generating even a few miniscule dollars per year/user creates a mind boggling business opportunity.
Undoubtedly, instant messaging apps continue to challenge other social networking sites.
Definitely, messaging is just reaching its potentials in the B2B space. We see more and more potential applications (from general social networking to business & enterprise applications), and feel that it will become the standard in business communication with their customers in the coming years.
With all the information that our mobile app development companies have shared with us, we can say that the market is full of social mobile apps because that's what users want. We want to stay connected every day, any time. We want to communicate with everyone we know and we even want to meet new people via a social app. What was once called Virtual Life seems to exist now as a regular life. It also helps to keep in touch with people all around the world. Social apps helps us to know people and places that without the mobile app development we would have never known.
Let’s know more about our developers latest mobile apps:
Tango's best social app development experience was delivering a set of mobile and web apps to one of the biggest polish training communities, Fabryka Sily. In under a year this project grew from scratch to 3M+ users monthly. It’s incredible to launch an app and see your app being downloaded thousands of times in its first week.
Hidden Brains is an award-winning mobile app development company specializing in creating secure, intuitive and engaging social media apps for diverse platforms such as Android, iOS, and Windows.
Wed Me: Matrimony/dating app that allows registered users to search their prospective life partner through friends and friends of friends only. Users can login with Facebook account to identify mutual friends with several features including chat functionality, save chats option, and Push Notification.
Midjoint: Midjoint is a Social network application that connects users who share common interest with features to like/dislike anonymous user’s profile, internal chat functionality for communication, and Push Notification.
Go Or No: This unique app allows users to quickly upload photo of products they plan to buy, add short text about products, and get feedback from people whom they trust. Feedback will be summarized in a concise graph.
In terms of a stunningly convenient user interface and an interesting domain niche, the clear answer is Double. This app addresses the main concerns a person has when meeting a stranger for the first time — specifically, safety and ease of communication. It’s called Double because a user can pair up with a friend, search for another set of “doubles”, and enjoy a double date.Another app Sibers is proud of is a high-loaded messaging service for iOS, featuring complex server-side. We built its backend using Microsoft technologies, and both parties — Sibers and the client — are thrilled with the application’s performance, consistency, and response rate.
We have seen interest from a wide spectrum of industries for these type of applications. 648 group is currently developing a messaging platform, intended as a social mobile app for consumers (messages, group messages, file sharing, calls and group calls), as well as an innovative enterprise solution, highly encrypted. Think of Slack combined with Skype.
If you want to talk about about social apps or any other interesting topic for developers, you can post it in our forum. You can also hire these top mobile app development companies from our directory.