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Why going custom is worth it when building your own messenger app

Anton Dyachenko
7 Aug 2020
Building your own messaging app

Today the growth of the messaging app market is experiencing rapid development. Statista predicts that the number of messenger users will grow to three billion users in 2022. This increase is due to an infinite potential of messaging software. Since smartphones transformed our lives, cheap or free messenger apps have become an excellent alternative to SMS and MMS services. Messaging apps have changed the way we connect, delivering information in a second.

Recently, messaging apps were considered only a communication tool for personal activities, but now they can improve business everywhere. Communication is key to running a business efficiently. Messaging apps provide users with a wide range of options such as group chats and video calls, quick photo and video sharing, and much more.

Messaging apps offer more than basic workforce communication. Advances in technology can empower your employees to be even faster, more productive, and collaborative. To set up their presence, tech entrepreneurs tend to consider how to develop a messenger app of their own. But is there a place for a messaging startup, and what functions should a messenger include to win favor in a highly competitive field?

QuickBlox helps create chat apps, so we will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of building your own messenger experience. What option to better choose going custom with a chat API and SDK vs. developing a messaging solution from scratch?

Needed features set

Instant messaging apps involve more than just quick responses and efficient communication. They can be used for file sharing, company updates, and even employee recognition. The corporate messaging app solutions should be simple, user-friendly, and secure. There are a few must-have features to include to build a rival communicational solution:

  • Secure communication
  • Messaging apps provide a reliable channel for secure communication. At the same time, users must comply with corporate security policies for working with data, which increases the safety risks when transferring, viewing, downloading, editing, and sharing corporate data. Special attention should be paid to privacy and decent data protection, therefore all communication channels must be fully encrypted. The end-to-end encryption ensures all your messages have the keys required to decrypt the content and prohibits any third party from receiving it.

  • Group chats/ 1-to-1 chats
  • Group chats help keep order and manage stages, ensuring employees stay organized and developing a healthy working environment. You can easily create a chat per location, project department, or start a private dialogue. Group chat is a perfect option for better customer experience when a business depends on coordinating sellers and customers. It allows addressing customer needs, team responsibilities in real-time to keep everyone engaged.

  • Voice / Video calling
  • The video calling feature enables business collaboration to be seamless and productive between team members, bringing all project interactions together. It streamlines the way teams communicate within an office or with clients. Via a messenger app, team members can have virtual daily meetings, enabling better employee engagement. Video calling encourages an efficient and transparent workflow, which leads to creativeness and development.

  • Chatbots
  • Messaging app is a perfect platform for making use of a chatbot. Chatbot’s interactive and instant response has higher open rates compared to email. It identifies issues and assigns requests to the right person in the team, improving customer experience. Chatbot helps to focus on the target audience when the messenger is used as a marketing tool. Customers can make payments with a chatbot without leaving the messenger app. A chatbot allows making payments without leaving the messenger app, which keeps users engaged.

  • File sharing
  • This feature enables users to send existing files and take photos and videos directly from the app and send it immediately. Whether you need to make documents available to the team quickly or send a big project over to a client, file sharing is pretty useful. All files can be synced, archived, and searchable for future reference. Text and video chat features promote communication between team members, while file sharing encourages efficiency and productivity within teams.

While these are a few features, there are many more to include in a messenger app. Everything will depend on your specific requirements.

Cost of development from scratch

Now that we went through the main features required for a messaging app let’s calculate the costs. These are only estimations, and the actual costs will depend on a wide range of factors like specifics, required technologies, developer’s rate, and for what platform you develop.

Let’s take WhatsApp-like applications with essential features and a simple level of complexity. We are now talking about app development for a single platform, so its cost will be more or less reasonable.

The cost of building a messaging chat app consists of several components:

  • UI / UX design – up to 150 hours;
  • Development – up to 900 hours, plus 25% for PM (Project Manager) and QA (Quality Assurance) services.

The average development cost will be around $ 45,000 – $ 55,000 for a simple 10-year-old WhatsApp like application that only allows sending messages. But in its current state, WhatsApp has 10 years of continuous development and progress. Building such a messaging app from scratch will take 6-8 months on average, with development costs ranging from $ 55,000 to $182,500.

Popular chat applications are characterized by a large audience and high user activity. However, in the process of their evolution, they face a common problem – the highly competitive market is full of similar solutions. Messengers don’t miraculously take the cake. It’s quite tricky to build and scale, to produce the right user experience to encourage adoption.

Many risks exist to consider before startup to market with an essential messenger experience along with the popular chat apps. They include business risk, time-to-market, scope, data, security, and more. You have to evaluate the pros and cons of developing a messaging app from scratch or reaching the market faster with QuickBlox chat API and SDK.

Solution from QuickBlox

QuickBlox has considerable expertise and best practices in fully-functioning chat apps development. We develop digital solutions that will advance and empower newsworthy ideas. Our clients launch with excellent messenger solutions, benefiting from the best chat expertise and standards across industries.

QuickBlox provides developer-friendly messaging APIs for a wide range of use cases such as on-demand, eCommerce and marketplaces, e-learning, healthcare, finance, and banking. Our APIs give access to QuickBlox’s server infrastructure to offer features that are essential for real-time chat and messaging across mobile and web applications.

QuickBlox’s chat SDK allows simple implementation of real-time chat, video chat, and push notification functionality to your app, significantly boosting its overall effectiveness. A chat API and SDK as a service is an excellent option for teams looking for the best solution and business benefits with maximum security.


The messaging app market is ever-evolving, and there’s still a chance to build a WhatsApp-like app that will stand out from the crowd. At this point, it’s your choice whether going custom is worth it when building your own messenger app. No matter what you choose, the outcome must be a reliable and secure messaging app to succeed between competitors.

If you are about to build a brilliant messaging app enhanced with additional modern features, contact QuickBlox dedicated team to discuss details on how we can help to achieve your business goals successfully.

Check out pricing plans and documentation.

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