The first commonly used messaging platform was created in 1996. It was called ICQ. Nowadays, we have a whole range of messaging apps to choose from.
Since people use messengers daily, it seems like a good idea to create your own one. But you have to prepare for challenges. With strong competition on the market, it’s tough to create a hit. Still, it’s possible if you have a well-crafted business strategy and offer useful features.
So, if you aim to develop a messaging app, continue reading this article to get some insights.
What you can offer to the niche
Of course, a messenger has to be fast and personalized. All commonly used apps offer real-time texts, photo, video and audio sharing, group chats, and security features. These options are usually free.
However, in order to develop a successful platform you have to study the competitors. Why did they become so popular? Why do they stand out from the crowd? What do their users mention in negative reviews? Will you be able to turn their weaknesses into your strengths?
Let’s look at some of your strong competitors and their major advantages.
- Viber suggests an opportunity for a user to make landline calls.
- Telegram has excellent security.
- Snapchat attracts its users with funny filters.
- WhatsApp is a pioneer in mobile messaging that has a rock-solid reputation.
- GroupMe makes it possible to create a group chat with up to 500 participants.
Core features of messaging apps
First and foremost, messengers are associated with real-time texting and sharing files. Yet, there are a few more core features that are worth your attention.
1. The registration process and contacts integration
The registration process has to be quick and simple. WhatsApp, Telegram, and Viber, for instance, ask for your phone number and send a registration code for confirmation. To register in Snapchat, you input your username, password, and date of birth. You can also add a phone number or email. This is to ensure that you’ll not lose your account if you forget a password. But this function is optional.
Sometimes, along with a phone number and email, there’s an option to link a social media account.
Moreover, messengers provide immediate integration with a contact list. There’s no fun for users to add every contact manually if the app is to be regularly used for communication. There are also business-focused apps, such as Slack. It was created for communication between co-workers. Thus, a company’s manager sends a personal invitation so that an employee can participate and have access to the information in corporate chats. If you intend to build a similar app that has a specific target audience, most likely, there’s no need to consider the contact list integration.
2. Customized profiles
Top messengers analyze their users’ habits and provide the features they need. For instance, users tend to change their picture or username from time to time, or take an instant photo. Another useful feature is to see when somebody was online or who’s online at the moment.
Telegram, for instance, has an option that allows users to choose the background of their chats by either using an in-app library or adding a picture from mobile.
They have to be included at the early stages of app development. A messenger’s MVP should also have notifications. It ensures that users stay engaged since they are aware of every app update and new messages they receive from their personal contact list. If a messenger requires adding a user’s date of birth to their profiles, notifications can also remind of the friends’ birthdays.
Messengers make the communication process faster and easier, that’s obvious. Yet, utilizing the technology also comes with certain risks. The user’s data security can be breached by hackers, the government, or enterprises. For instance, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat don’t apply end-to-end-encryption, so they aren’t fully secure. That’s why high-level security is more and more demanded in the tech world.
Telegram is considered to be one of the highly secured apps. It utilizes end-to-end encryption and users even have the option of secret chats and self-destructing messages.
Once you have done market research, as well as understood the uniqueness and weaknesses of your competitors, it’s time to plan the development process.
Select a platform
This step will be the first on your way to building a successful messenger. Consider your target audience, location, and demographics.
Also, you can choose whether you want to build an app for mobile devices only, for desktops, for web browsers, or a cross-platform app that covers all bases.
Determine the exact list of features
This list can be divided into two parts. The first part may include the core features mentioned above, while the second part may cover the unique features that you may want to add. The extras may include stickers, games, messages with pre-set expiration time-limits, and more.
Crafting a budget
Creating core elements such as UI/UX design, iOS and Android compatibility, the backend may cost up to $130,000 in total. However, the cost depends on the specific features, platform(s), and the time before the launch.
To sum it up, app development is challenging and requires a lot of dedication, a well-thought-out strategy, and scrupulous planning. On the other hand, the demand is huge and if everything is done in the right way it’ll become a successful business opportunity.