If you have an idea for building your own messenger, you should know it is a non-trivial task. However, you should consider your idea of developing such a product as promising.
Here are some facts proving it:
- 41 million messages are sent out every minute. (Statista)
- Messaging apps have 20% more active monthly users than social networks. (Business Insider)
- 39% of messaging app users utilize the platform for accessing news and information; 35% use messaging apps for customer support solutions. (Jooksms.com)
- 36% of messaging app users have at least two apps installed. (The Wall Street Journal)
- The messaging app market sector will grow from $313,600 million in 2021 to $409,900 million in 2028.
Having read our article, you will learn how to develop a mobile messaging app. We will tell you what stages this process consists of, what functions you should implement in the messenger, how to monetize your product, and how much it will cost to build a messaging app.
The number of people using messaging apps surpassed three billion in 2021. Sources: Business Insider, eMarketer, Kommandotech
Research the Market and Define Your Target Audience
All chat and messaging apps share quite a similar principle of operation. The difference is in the functionality, monetization methods, and other features, mainly determined by the audience that a specific app is aimed at. Therefore, understanding the market segment and knowing the target audience are parts of a crucial discovery phase.
You might want to include a range of cool features in your app, like artificial intelligence, chatbots, or games. However, if you define your target audience, you will manage to draw the line. This approach will help you narrow down the product’s scope of use and select the features you primarily must include in the software.
Having done that, you will manage to identify the list of potential competitors, narrow it down, and work on defining the design and features more precisely, positioning your messaging app as a whole.
Determine the Features to Include in Your App
At first glance, a chat app may seem to be a relatively simple product, but in fact, the list of functions implemented in it can be rather extensive.
When you develop a messaging app, you can include the following main features to be available to users:
- Text messages. The feature allows users to communicate both individually and in general chats, search messages in overall correspondence, edit them, and resort to other relevant functionality.
- Individual and group audio and video calls.
- Exchange multimedia files. That includes documents, photos, videos, audio, emojis, stickers, etc.
- Authorization and account. The feature allows users to sign up and in, using profiles on social networks or on a cell phone.
- Contact management. It allows importing, exporting, and syncing contacts.
Image: Giorgi for Ascended by Dribbble
As for the technical part, it is worth implementing the following features:
- Cloud-based data synchronization among devices. Message history saving is also significant.
- Correspondence encryption and data transmission. The risk of identity theft by attackers makes strong encryption a must for any app.
- Integrated geolocation. It is a possibility to share your current location with friends.
- Push and in-app notifications about various events.
- QR code scanner.
Special “schticks” you may want to implement in your app:
- Integration with third-party services, for example, cloud data storage or social networks.
- Delayed messages and messages deleted after a specific time.
- Internal games for users.
- A possibility to develop chatbots.
- A possibility to create your own stickers.
Architecture development is the most challenging part of building a messaging app for Android or iOS. The developed app structure should allow seamless adding of new features into the app.
We design and develop architecture according to clean architecture principles. This approach allows us to design a flexible and scalable system.
Target Platform and Technology Stack
Depending on the platform for which you intend to develop your app (iOS, Android), the app’s complexity, functional and non-functional requirements, and the target audience features, you have to determine the technology stack to resort to it during the development process.
Do you design your chat app for Android users, iPhone users, or users of both operating systems? Knowing this in advance, you can effortlessly pinpoint what kind of development it will be — native or cross-platform. In most cases, it is reasonable to build a chat app for Android users first.
Take care of a good backend because this part is what any app is based on. The core functionality peculiar to any app and backend includes the infrastructure: API, databases, storage servers, messaging protocols, etc.
Read more about the technology stack in our article: Technology Stack for a Project: A Guide for Non-Tech Business Owners.
Do not Forget about UI/UX Design
Currently, it is hard to surprise users with new functionality, but usability and good design remain the factors that will never lose their relevance. That is why you must pay special attention to the work on your app’s user interface.
Any chat user interface should look as comprehensible as possible for any individual at any age. Messenger design should be simple, minimalist, and familiar.
It is necessary to work thoroughly on chats’ defaults, screens, sections where nothing has happened yet, feedback when sending messages or downloading files, and other states or user interaction with the app.
Chat and Messaging App Monetization Strategies
Popular chat apps involve a large audience and have high user activity. However, while designing the product, developers face a common problem — how to monetize a messaging app.
Messengers badly suit the standard advertising model. While users are quite neutral to advertising posts in the social network news feed, they can get irritated when they see them in the messenger due to space limitations: the smartphone screen is small, the context is different, and detailed targeting is not accessible.
A successful messenger can prove to be very profitable, but the challenge is to choose a suitable monetization method. Read more about how to monetize your product on our blog: 8 Proven Ways to Monetize Your Mobile Application.
Messaging App Development Cost Estimation
How much will it cost to develop a chat app like WhatsApp, Signal, or Telegram? Since different factors affect the price, developers can answer this question only after they have analyzed the specifications of a particular project in detail.
If we talk about generalized figures, a mobile messaging app development cost will reach $25,000 to $30,000 on average and above. The main factors affecting the price are:
- Features you plan to implement
- The number of screens the designer has to develop
- Platforms on which your app will work
- Technology stack
- Time spent on testing
- The team working on the product (staff count).
One proven way to save budget without sacrificing quality is to build a messaging app MVP. To do so, you can release a product version with the minimum necessary functionality to the market. Then, based on the feedback received from users, you can proceed to its further development.
We wrote more about this development approach in this article on our blog.
Now you know how to build your own mobile messaging app and drive it to success. Despite intense competition, you always have an opportunity to develop your own product with a chance to win its market share. Furthermore, such applications are popular both among ordinary users and within the corporate sector.
Your mobile messenger may combine the functions typical of existing solutions or be intended for a niche audience. Otherwise, you can step further and create something conceptually new in the area of messaging apps.
Are you looking for a reliable partner to create a new messaging experience? We design and develop mobile and web apps that bring value to customers and change the way people think and act. Go check out our works here and choose the best technology partner for your next project!