How to Make a Messenger App in 10 Steps (Features + Timeline + Cost)

Messaging apps have made the entire communication system simpler around the world. The chat apps help us to get connected instantly with friends and relatives online. The use of messaging apps is growing globally, and users love to spend their time in these chat apps.

Most business owners have adopted chat apps like Slack, Chanty, or Troop to communicate during a pandemic faster. So, taking this as an opportunity, entrepreneurs and leading startups are thinking about making an app like WhatsApp? But, you might be wondering, Is it hard to create a messaging app?

With the help of our expert developer, we have created this article that includes all the aspects of how to make a messaging app.

First of all, we will look at the current market scenario of chatting apps.

Current Market Stats About Messaging Apps

Before you develop a chat app, you must understand the market scenario of chat apps. It is essential to know the depth of this industry. So, it becomes easier for you to decide which type of chat app you should create and launch in the market.

  • According to a report of Statista, as of January 2021, the most popular messaging app globally is WhatsApp, with 2000 million monthly active users.
  • current-market-stats-about-messaging-apps


  • In the US, over 88% of the population like to use the Facebook Messenger app regularly, as per Statista.
  • As per Techcrunch, the daily messages sent on WhatsApp are 200 billion. That means over 1.1 million messages per minute.
  • As of January 2021, Telegram is the most downloaded messaging app worldwide, with more than 63 million installs.
  • By 2023, it is estimated that 85.8 million users in the US will access WhatsApp.
  • According to statistics, it is estimated by 2020, messaging app companies will gain an average revenue per user of $15.

The above statistics show that messaging apps will undoubtedly grow, and in the next few years, these apps will reach another level. So, if you’re planning to create your own mobile application like WhatsApp, then it is the right time. Targeting the right audience, developing high-end features, and using the suitable monetization model will help to message app development.

Moving further, we will look into the steps of how to make a messaging app.

How to Create a Messaging App in 10 Steps

how to make messaging app in 10 steps

Before looking forward to instant messaging app development, let’s first understand how a messenger app works.

For example, WhatsApp is a chat app that allows users to text and share video/images between two users or group chat. It uses Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) to exchange messages. Thus, it is flexible and secure.

Do you wonder how to make a messaging app for Android and iOS? These ten steps will guide you through the process step-by-step.

Step 1: Messenger apps have a competitive market, and to achieve success, you will require to conduct market research before creating your own chat app. For market research, you need to know the overall performance of the app, UI/UX design, speed of the app, feedback, and ratings of consumers in a chat application. In addition, it will help to optimize your idea by offering unique functionalities to the target audience.

Step 2: Identify the competitors for your chat app development. To learn from these competitors regarding strategies they are using to sustain users on their platforms.

Step 3: Now, look for the features you want to include in your chat app development. Select and prepare a list of standard features that should be in the app. Once you decide on features, you will be more clear about your vision. So, it will allow them to create an instant messaging app more specifically as per your requirements.

Step 4: After deciding the chat app features, selecting the platform is quite difficult as it directly affects cost. You will have to determine if you want to develop an app for both platforms, Android and iOS, or any single platform.

Step 5: Once you decide on a platform, now it’s time to define your business goals and monetization strategies. Your business goal might be to acquire massive users on your app or provide unique app functionality to your users. Additionally, to give you an in-depth idea, we have prepared a list of ways to monetize your chat application which we have covered later in this blog.

Step 6: Choose a reliable software and app development company to create a chat app. They will help you to execute your idea into a reality with their expertise. Additionally, an experienced app development company will also help you create an app as per your requirements.

Step 7: Before developing a full-fledged product, we suggest creating MVP for your instant messaging app. It will help you to gradually improve your app according to your users’ requirements. Hence, it becomes easy for you to improve gradually in the long run.

Step 8: While the development of your chat app is going on, parallelly, create marketing strategies for pre-launch advertising of your messaging application.

Step 9: Once your app is functional to release to the market, launch the app in the Google Play Store or Apple Play Store.

All the above steps describe the chat app development process. Although this process is not the ultimate guideline, you can get a brief idea about creating instant messaging apps. Therefore, one can go according to requirements and time duration. Although, it is advisable to go through the steps mentioned above before launching your chat app in the global messaging app market.

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Cost of Developing Real Time Chat App

To create an app like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, there is no fixed cost guide and depends on requirements. Indeed, it depends on the features and complexity of your chat application development. Furthermore, the factors that directly affect the costing of app development include:

  • The platform you choose for your instant messaging app
  • The feature you want to include in your messaging app
  • The software development company you hire
  • UI/UX design requirements you want in your app
  • It also depends on the country from where you want to develop your chat app.

The approximate app development cost can range between $35,000 to $95,000 as it depends on one’s requirements of features and complexity of the application.

Furthermore, you can check our guide on application development costs.

How Much Time Does it Take to Develop a Messaging App?

Below we have given the estimated time required to develop a messaging app with our infrastructure.

App TypeEstimated Development Time
Android app with basic features280 – 320 hours
Android app with advanced features550 – 610 hours
iOS app with basic features280 – 320 hours
iOS app with advanced features550 – 610 hours

The time to develop the application may vary depending on one’s requirement as it is directly connected with the number of features and complexity of the project. To give you proper information on the project development stages of creating a chat app like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp? Discover the detail as below:

  • Project management
  • Team planning
  • Prototyping
  • UI UX designing
  • Development Phase
  • Testing and QA
  • Deployment

Every stage mentioned above will take a different amount of time, depending on the requirements. Furthermore, once you develop a messaging app, it can provide you with a high return on investment. Hence, it is essential to create a proper plan by conducting thorough market research. So, it becomes easier for you to come out with possibly good monetization models. Now, as you know what the cost and timeline could be, let’s look at the key features you must have to make a successful chat app.

Key Features to Make a Powerful Messaging App

key features to make a powerful messaging app

Do you wonder how to make a messaging app and its features? Almost every messenger app development is done with basic elements, and then gradually, the app is improved. For that, we have prepared a list of key features that you should include to make your app powerful.

  1. Authentication

    There are three types of signup process models through which users can create an account in chat apps, such as social media, phone number, or email. Most global instant messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, or Viber have a phone-number-based signing process. To stand out different from global messaging apps, you can provide all three signup process features for your target audience.

  2. Importing Contacts
  3. To make your app user-friendly, like Facebook Messenger, it is advisable to include this feature. This feature will automatically import contacts and show the available social networking connections. Hence, it becomes easier for users to get connected with friends instantly.

  4. Messaging
  5. Undoubtedly it is the foremost and core feature for every chat app. This feature allows users to send and receive messages in real-time. To implement this instant messaging feature, there are mainly two ways. First, the messages pass through the server and are received by the user. In the second, the messages are from the user to use directly without the role of server.

  6. Files Exchange
  7. Creating a chat app with a file-sharing feature allows users to share the audio, text, images, videos and documents without hassle. File exchange is essential for users so they can share the necessary file instantly.

  8. Location Sharing
  9. While creating your messenger app, consider this location tracking feature. Users can easily share the location with their friends, making it easier to reach a noted destination. For example, WhatsApp allows its users to share their live location or current location and on-clicking shows the route of the goal integrated with maps.

  10. Push Notification
  11. In an instant chat app, notifications play a vital role in informing users about new and recent messages. Therefore, while developing your messenger app, you should consider this feature as it notifies users as soon as a message comes or someone gets online. Hence, it’s a must-have feature to make your chat app successful.

  12. Encryption
  13. Providing security at its best level will bring trust to your messaging app. The majority of the users are concerned about their privacy while using messaging apps. Hence, it becomes crucial for you to bring consideration to the security of your chat app. Not only will this builds trust in your target audience, but they will likely prefer to use your app. On top of that, implementing encryption models like end-to-end and secret chats will make you stand with your competitors like WhatsApp or Telegram.

  14. In-App Voice and Video Calls
  15. How to make a messaging app with advanced features? To make your app more interactive, including video calls and voice calls features is a prominent way. As it allows users to get connected via voice and video calling without any cost. There are different types of options available to offer:

    Voice calls: Creating an app with voice communication allows your users to record and send voice messages and get connected with them over internet calling.

    Video calls: It is similar to voice calls but with video. It allows users to see each other in real-time over a video call when they are far apart. It uses Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to use video of a person making calls.

    Group calls: It’s pretty hard to implement as it allows multiple users to get connected over a video call and have a group conversation in real-time.

  16. Public Channels
  17. Nowadays, most chatting applications have included this feature allowing users to create community channels inside the app. It provides flexibility to users to get in touch with like-minded people to communicate. Also, it encourages users to share their thoughts, ideas and to initiate discussions on various topics.

  18. Self-Destruction Messages (Disappearing)
  19. Snapchat is primarily famous for its option of self-destruction messages. To make a messaging app with this feature will enhance user privacy and offer more control over the chat.

  20. Stickers
  21. The use of stickers, animation, pictures, and bitmoji will add emotion to their messages. For example, Snapchat provides unique to its users by creating their sticker emoji pack.

    As you know, these are the key features to make a successful chat app that will attract the target audience and dominate the messaging app market against your rival messenger apps. We would also suggest you consider including unique features that will help you make your app a leading position in the chat app market.

Want to make your messaging app with unique features?

Our experienced app development team will guide you.

How Messaging Apps Make Money

how messaging apps makes money

Indeed, once you develop your new chat app, you might wonder about monetization strategy. So, it will help you grow your company and gradually implement new features as per your consumer feedback.

How can you decide the right monetization strategy for your messaging app? For that, you will have to consider three factors,

Target Audience: Decide your target audience and know who is going to use your chat app. It will help to know which type of monetization model will be convenient for your users.

Competitors: Choosing the suitable monetization model for your app will require doing market research to know how your competitors are earning from their chat apps.

The app idea: It will likely be easy to create and launch apps like WhatsApp or Telegram. But, to dominate the high-end competitive market of chat app ideas, you will require to add something new and unique. So, it will help you attract customers to your app.

Here, we have listed several ways to monetize your chat app:

  1. Subscription fees

  2. In this option, you can set a subscription model for your users to the premium features of your text messaging app. For example, allowing users to get the benefits of the premium features like in-app video calls, turning off ads, normal calls through your chat app, or the use of chatbots.

  3. In-app purchases

  4. Providing in-app purchases for some extra features is worth trying. In-app games are the ones from which messenger apps get the most benefited. Secondly, offering paid stickers could be a good source of generating revenue. In addition to that, you can offer customized chat themes, wallpapers, filters, and send SMS text for free.

    These above-mentioned monetization strategies will help you to choose the suitable monetization model for your chat app according to your requirements.

    Do you have a question about which is the best messaging app currently in the market? Let’s have a look at them below.

9 Best Messaging Apps

Here, we have listed down the global best messaging app with its different parameters. It will also help you to know your competitors.

LogoNameDownload (Google Play Store)RatingLinks
WhatsAppWhatsApp5 billionAndroid: 4.0
iOS: 4.6
Android | iOS
telegramTelegram500 millionAndroid: 4.3
iOS: 4.1
Android | iOS
facebook messenger appFacebook Messenger5 billionAndroid: 4.0
iOS: 4.0
Android | iOS
SnapchatSnapchat1 billionAndroid: 4.3
iOS: 3.8
Android | iOS
ViberViber500 millionAndroid: 4.2
iOS: 4.6
Android | iOS
WeChatWeChat100 millionAndroid: 4.2
iOS: 3.6
Android | iOS
QQQQ10 millionAndroid: 2.4
iOS: 4.0
Android | iOS
line appLINE500 millionAndroid: 4.1
iOS: 3.5
Android | iOS
signal app Signal50 millionAndroid: 4.4
iOS: 4.7
Android | iOS

Looking to create your own messaging apps like WhatsApp or Telegram?

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FAQs About How to Build a Messenger App

  1. What must you know before developing a messaging App?

  2. Before creating a messaging app like WhatsApp or Telegram, consider the below steps:

    • Research your market and competitors
    • Know the core competitors of your app
    • Decide the features in your messaging app
    • Creating a prototype of your app
    • Design is primarily part of your app
    • Choosing an experienced app development company
    • Create MVP of your app idea
    • Decide the platform iOS or Android
    • Marketing Plan
    • Monetization Strategy
  3. How do I make my messaging app?

  4. To create your messaging app consider the below steps:

    • Research the market
    • Build a prototype of your messaging app
    • Select the feature you want to include
    • Choose the app development company
    • Build MVP of your messaging app
    • Launch your messaging app
  5. How much does it cost to build a messaging app?

  6. The cost of a messaging app depends on features you would like to include in your app and the complexity of the app. The approximate app development for messaging could be from $50000 to $150000.

  7. How to hire messaging app developers?

  8. To develop a chat app according to your requirements, you must hire an experienced app development company. Because they will have experience of delivering high-end quality products. You can hire our experienced mobile application developers of Space-O Canada to develop your chat app.

  9. What are the advanced features of messaging apps?

  10. The advanced features of any messaging app are as below,

    • In-app voice and video calls
    • Self-destruction messages
    • Stickers
    • Public channels

    You can consider these features in your chat app to enhance the user experience of your application.

  11. How does any messaging app store chat history?

  12. Usually, there are two ways through which a text messaging app stores chat history. First, they save the data locally on the device in a text file. Second, the messages are stored in the server with proper encryption.

Create Your Own Messaging App

The chat app market is evolving gradually, and it will grow significantly over the period. Hence, investing in creating a messaging app will provide you with profits and get connected to a global audience.

In this blog post, we have covered all the aspects of how to create a mobile messaging app, from initial designing to app development costs. But to make your messaging app different from global messaging apps, you will have to include a unique idea for your app.

Want to make a messaging app MVP? Or If you are looking for a custom messaging application development in Toronto, then connect with us. We are a prominent app and software development company based in Canada and have an expert team of app developers to guide you. You can contact us by filling up the below form. We will get back to you within three working days.

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Rakesh Patel

Written by

Rakesh Patel is the Founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies (Canada). He has 28 years of IT experience in business strategies, operations & information technology. He has expertise in various aspects of business like project planning, sales, and marketing, and has successfully defined flawless business models for the clients. A techie by mind and a writer at heart, he has authored two books – Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions and A Guide To Open311

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