Messaging apps cannot help being popular. Communication, oral, written, etc. is what makes us human beings. It is no surprise that every year the number of active messaging app users is growing. It rose from 2.11 billion in 2016 to 3.32 billion in 2021. So there is a solid opportunity to enter this segment.
One might argue that the market is monopolized to a significant extent. This is true. You can hardly compete with WhatsApp. Such success stories as Telegram or Signal are not likely to be repeated.
On the other hand, a chat app development project is a good idea for niche groups. For example, government agencies might need to create a messaging app due to secrecy concerns. The same applies to companies dealing with sensitive info, ranging from arms manufacturing enterprises and space industry companies to gambling and adult entertainment providers. They, too, might prefer a less popular and more secure messaging app. Also, such organizations as private businesses, schools and universities, affinity groups, etc. might view their own messaging apps as one more element of their identity. Finally, adding your own branded messaging feature is a good idea as your clients won’t have to leave your site for a third-party tool to get in touch with you. After all, retaining clients for as long as possible is the ABC of marketing and success.
Let’s dive deeper into the topic.
What are messaging apps?
These can be defined as chat-type mobile or web-based apps making it possible for end-users to send and receive instant messages, including texts, images, sound files, videos, and links, create groups, and make calls. The technology associated with messaging apps started to be popular back in the early 90s. Having skyrocketed around the early 00s, it became an important rival of ‘classical’ mobile network carriers. Around 2013, the amount of messages sent through messaging apps exceeded the number of messages sent via SMS.
Why is it still a good idea to build a messaging app in 2022?
The fact is that many potential users feel dissatisfied with the existing tools and might be ready for innovations. Before discussing how to create a messaging app, let’s examine the shortcomings of the existing solutions:
- Privacy issues. Quite often, users complain about the way their data is used by app owners and are afraid of possible leaks and hacking intrusions;
- Lack of ‘personal touch’. Using a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution limits the customization options of your messaging tool. That is why it is logical to develop chat apps for narrower niches, such as, say, patients and doctors or law enforcement agencies;
- Inadequate performance, low speed, and large app sizes. Many ‘oldies’ suffer from these shortcomings, as they have to carry the burden of legacy code and poor compatibility with newer systems;
- Inconvenient designs and missing functionalities negatively affect the overall user experience;
- Intrusive and excessive ads shown in-app result in low-level usability unless you pay for extra features and add-ons.
In the light of this, chat app development projects can still reveal new horizons. There is surely room for improvement and attracting a target audience, now matter how competitive and saturated the market looks.
Key messaging app features
We at Andersen divide the features you can implement into two groups. Namely, mandatory must-haves and extras.
The former refers to the minimum functionalities a messaging app literally cannot work without:
- Convenient authentication. Normally, developers enable users to register with the service via cell phone numbers and emails. Also, instant registration is normally possible through users’ profiles on social media.
- Instant integration of contacts with an opportunity to share them. It is not a good idea to make your users add contacts one by one, manually. No one is going to do that nowadays. So all their contacts must be collected from their “phone books” and social media profiles automatically. In addition to that, users should also be able to quickly share contacts by sending them in messages.
- Account profiles. Such personalized elements as profile images, names, customizable backgrounds, and personalized themes are also a must.
- Messaging as the core functionality. Live chat features, with encryption enabled as an industry standard, are the reasons why users download such apps.
- File exchange features making it possible to send and receive pictures, stickers, memes, GIFs, as well as other media files, in addition to texts.
- Alerts and notifications to inform your users about new messages received, product updates, and other events.
Additional messaging app features you might want to include to make your solution stand out from the crowd or simply to follow the guidelines provided by your client:
- Voice and video calls instead of “regular” phone communication;
- Voice messages instead of typing;
- Games or gamification elements to engage your users;
- Chatbots for better customer support;
- Location tracking with the opportunity for a user to share their location with friends and other contacts;
- Enhanced security encompassing secret sessions, self-destructing or temporary recordings, etc.
How to create a messaging app
If you intend to address these needs and wonder how to make a messaging app, here is the typical approach used in custom software development projects. As a trusted engineering vendor, we follow these steps:
- Project discovery phase. At this stage, we specify our customer’s needs, do market research, identify key competitors, and outline the project scope.
- MVP development phase. We seek to create the first prototype with core functionalities to test it with customers and focus groups, and identify key areas for improvement and expansion.
- Since messaging apps are by definition used by large groups of heterogeneous audiences, we pay special attention to design QA as early as at the MVP stage.
- Main engineering phase. We normally carry this out in an iterative Agile fashion in constant contact with the customer.
- Final testing round concerning usability, security, and performance.
If you plan to monetize your messaging app, you also need to test your marketing hypothesis. However, if you need a messaging app for your enterprise or organization, monetization is irrelevant.
Challenges of building a messaging app
To develop a messaging app, one also needs to be aware of typical challenges and pitfalls. The easiest way is to choose a reliable custom software development vendor, such as Andersen. Working in this fashion will enable you to resolve such challenges as:
- Scalability issues associated with growing numbers of users and addressed via load balancing, proper approaches to caching, stress testing, and trustworthy databases;
- Reliability issues addressed via optimized architecture design, tailored-fit configurations, adaptation to slow Internet connections, and system monitoring;
- Security issues addressed via authentication based on biometrics, safe storage, putting needed safeguards in place, and vulnerability scanning.
Developing a messaging app can still be a promising idea in 2022. In spite of the fact that the market is, in general, saturated, there are niches to enter. First, it is not uncommon for people to use several messaging apps simultaneously. Also, there might be individual groups requiring their own unique app.
Andersen’s team boasts years of hands-on experience in social media app development. Contact us for an exhaustive and absolutely free consultation on building a modern and progressive IT solution.
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