In-App Chat

How to find the right In-App Chat Platform5 min read

Curious on how to add In-App Chat functionality? Building Chat functionality seems easy at first but it gets really complicated when you start to think about advanced features and handling chat infrastructure at large scale. To overcome this, there are In-app Chat solutions available, offering you robust features, ease of integration and value-based pricing. 

In-App Chat Benefits

Real-Time Communication features can increase growth when used correctly. The below stats prove this statement and show a significant impact of In-App Chat on users. 

  • Nearly all types of Apps were able to achieve a significant amount of engagement from their user’s communicating with one another.  Furthermore, Real-Time Chat turns into an add-on feature that helps in increasing revenues.
  • Approx 62% of users accepted to use the services of a business if they offer Real-Time Chat Feature. Benefit for Apps: This helps businesses with better conversion rates as well as improve user engagement. 
  • More than 77% of users prefer Real-time messaging for communication instead of traditional modes of communication, like Email.  Benefit for Apps: This could play an essential role in generating monetization within the app using Chat.


You can clearly see what’s at stake here and it answers the first question well: Why do you need In-App Chat for your Applications?

Even though we have already established that Buying is better than Building, consider the following:  

At some point in life, every user has been exposed to at least one of these communication platforms – Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Skype or WeChat. Applications like these offer a highly refined chat experience to users. And if Applications provide any lesser chat experience than the afore-mentioned Apps, then users are bound to migrate from their platform. 

An Application or a Website integrated with poorly designed and inadequate Chat functionality, deficient of important features, is far worse than having no Chat Functionality. 

How to select the right In-App Chat Platform?

Now comes the real dilemma, how are you going to decide which In-App Chat Platform is the best fit for your Application?

Selecting the right platform to build your chat can be a challenging task since requirements can often be as unique as the business itself. Therefore, in order to choose the right Chat Solution for your Application, you first need to understand your product and how Chat would fit into it. It is most likely that no In-App Chat platform would meet all your requirements out-of-the-box. So, some investment would be needed in custom development using the Chat API & SDKs of such In-App chat platforms.

For Example, Uber has integrated a Chat SDK within their apps that let Drivers & Riders connect with each other before a trip. Furthermore, Real-Time Chat is considered to be a core feature in Dating Applications like Tinder, Bumble, and Happn

Even Web Applications like Twitch, Periscope, and Meerkat have integrated In-App messaging functionality to introduce Group chat and messaging during Live-Streaming to establish a strong relationship between community members.

Here are a few factors that you should consider before adding In-App Chat features within your App or Website:

1. Media Rich Conversations

Rather than sending plain text messages, users nowadays feel more hooked to interactive messaging features that support sharing media types like GIFs, Emojis, Stickers, Images, Videos, Voice Notes, Location, etc.  The ability for users to share such media could also be crucial to your app’s use-case for Chat. Example: Location sharing is important for most Marketplace apps; Document & Image sharing is important for Educational apps.

Credits: Concept by @keeplegend

Providing such engaging Chat, comparable to popular messaging apps like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, right within your Application is bound to increase Engagement and Retention.

2. Cross-Platform Support

Cross-Platform Support refers to the compatibility of Chat to run identically on different platforms. For example, Tinder’s Chat on Android has the same functionality as that on iOS.  You would also want your Application to work the same on every platform where it is available.

With the increasing heterogeneity in devices, your chat solution must support Cross-Platform Integration, i.e. 2 users with different device types should be able to communicate well with each other. Availability of Chat SDKs for platforms in which your Apps will be available is a key enabler for ensuring this. 

3. Ease of Integration and UI Customizations

Nobody likes getting stuck up in lengthy codes for hours, or not being able to achieve the desired functionalities with Chat. An In-App Chat must be seamlessly integrated with the website or mobile apps.

Integration of In-App Messaging platforms normally requires Chat API & Webhooks integration for backend and Chat SDK integration for frontend. Some In-App Chat platforms provide a Pre-built UI that provides a readymade and easy to use chat interface that can be easily embedded using a few lines of the code. 

Furthermore,  Chat UI should be customizable, and it should be possible to build custom features around Chat. The customization capabilities of any tool can be determined by the adaptability of previously built UI and how much you can further build on or change the looks and feels of your chat window to match your application’s interface.

4. Features and Functionalities

A feature-rich messaging tool helps in increasing engagement and retention percentages; that we get. But features like Typing Indicator, Online Presence Indicator, Message Read/Unread Status Indicator, Push Notifications, and Webhooks have enabled In-App Chat tools to offer even more complete solutions.
 

Credits: Connect with your Client over Chat. Concept by @zoiamaltseva

Video and Voice Calling enhances the chat session irrespective of the platform. Combining this with Message Broadcasts and Group Chat enhances the possibilities with Chat by a lot. 

Therefore, before hunting starts, we (the developers) and you (the app owners) need to create a list of desired features and functionalities to achieve with Chat. 

5. Check the Pricing Models

Numerous In-App Chat platforms have provided users with a free tier that allows businesses to build prototype applications. Tools like Channelize.io are providing a 30 Days free trial plan with 1000 monthly active users (MAUs) to get your App up and running.

Most communication platforms offering In-App Chat follow usage-based pricing. Thus, factors like the App’s Monthly Active Users are considered as the Pricing factor.  Depending on your MAU, most such platforms offer predefined subscription packages.

Consider all pricing factors like your forecasted growth in MAU, storage space provided, duration of messages retention, etc, and see if the pricing works for you. 

Conclusion

In-App Chat is one of the best ways to boost growth in today’s modern, app-driven businesses. We hope that the above checklist helps you make a judicious choice for the In-App Chat platform best suited for your Apps. 

Being a platform-independent In-App Chat solution, Channelize.io also provides Real-Time Chat SDK and Messaging APIs that make it very easy to integrate into websites and mobile apps.

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