With 2 million monthly active users, WhatsApp is the most popular instant messaging app and its popularity continues to grow. Using instant messengers for both business and personal communication is also a trend that is here to stay and capitalize on. So, how to create a messaging app like WhatsApp, what technology stack to choose and how to promote such a product in a highly competitive environment?
Find the insider answers in this article.
So, before discovering how to make an app like WhatsApp, let’s take a quick look at WhatsApp itself, the history of its creation, its unique value proposition and the business model behind it. WhatsApp was created back in 2009, by two employees of Yahoo. The project was largely inspired by social media and the opportunity to quickly update and share users’ personal statuses. This idea is also at the heart of the product’s name. Each time the users update their personal statuses, their contacts receive a notification that can work as a trigger to start a conversation.
Also, there is one more thing that makes WhatsApp popular and respected by modern users. The application is free from ads, games and gimmicks – this was just the principle the creators developed 13 years ago and it is still unchanged. WhatsApp’s freedom from annoying elements allowed it to win the competition with Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Snapchat, and Viber. Nevertheless, in 2021, WhatsApp generated $8,7 billion in revenue by selling additional services like WhatsApp for Business and WhatsApp Pay.
Let’s proceed with the steps to build a WhatsApp-like app, following the LEAN development approach and keeping the best practices of Agile methodology in mind.
In one of our recent articles, we have already discussed how to build a messaging app, so you are welcome to check it and grab some winning ideas for your WhatsApp-like application development as well. Now, let’s discover how to create a chat application like WhatsApp, keeping the specifics of this messanger in mind.
Given the popularity of WhatsApp, making its clone makes no sense. Instead, you have to come up with a unique value proposition that will make your future solution stand out. For example, Snapchat offers engaging augmented reality filters, while Telegram is famous for its data security and encryption mechanism. Get started by analysing the main competitors in the niche, and discovering the features their solutions may lack.
Also, pay attention to business and personal communication trends. For example, more and more users prefer interacting with their favorite brands via instant messengers and staying in quick touch with them. Instant messengers have also become adopted tools for business communication, and what’s more, some companies encourage using personal devices for it. The opportunity to have all the messages from multiple chatting apps would also be nice for the customers using several communication apps at once, so think about such integration as well.
How to make WhatsApp-like app drive revenue for the long run? The answer is simple – you have to choose a promising business model that will perfectly fit your future app specifics and meet the expectations of the prospective users. While WhatsApp sells additional services, Telegram has recently released some freemium features. Snapchat, WeChat and Facebook Messenger follow an advertising business model.
While advertising can be a viable monetization tactic for newly created startups, the presence of ads can be quite annoying in a communication app, especially if you want to create a WhatsApp-like solution for business communication. Freemium monetization strategy is the smartest choice for chat apps since in this case, you can offer the basic functionality for free, while more advanced features should be paid for.
There are several ways to build a WhatApp-similar application but hiring a tech-savvy development team is a must to create a technically powerful solution with no bugs and data security issues. Below are three ways to hire the necessary talent for your project, along with their pros and cons.
So, partnering with a development vendor is a pitfall-free tactic to build an app like WhatsApp. Tech-savvy experts would be able to suggest an effective technology stack for your WhatsApp-like project creation, balancing the development cost, the quality of the final product and the time to market.
At this stage, you will also have to decide on the operating system you will create your app for since communication apps are better be native. Despite all the popular chatting solutions having their web versions, most users expect them to deliver a native experience and be downloaded from the official app stores. So, depending on the OS your prospective customers use and your development budget, you will have to make a WhatsApp-similar solution for either iOS, or Android, or create two separate native applications. Let’s review these approaches in more detail.
So, creating native apps for Android and iOS has its specific pros and cons, so the main factor to be guided by when making the choice is the share of your target audience using this or that operating system. WhatsApp, in turn, has native apps for both iOS and Android, plus a web version. Let’s take a look at WhatsApp’s technology stack across the platforms.
At the next development stage, you have to shortlist the features that will be enough to make your WhatsApp-like app work. Here they are.
Plus, you have to add something more advanced to make your communication app stand out. Smart chatbots, augmented reality features, various integrations and gamification are just some of the ideas to keep in mind.
Leading chatting apps have pretty simple and even similar user interfaces. Communication app development isn’t the case when you have to reinvent the wheel – following the established UI/UX practices the users are already used to would still be a wise tactic. However, consider some additional UI and design ideas that can make your solution a little different.
Do you want to get more design ideas and tips for your future app? Get in touch with our creative team to discuss them!
Now, it’s time to create a Minimum Viable Product and test it with the target audience. At this stage, you have to pay special attention to promoting your solution since competition in the communication apps market is fierce. Using social media advertising makes the most sense in this case. This is a cost-effective promotion tactic that allows for reaching out to the target users quickly. Next, proceed with gathering their feedback for further improvement and scaling.
|Development Stage||Hours||Cost ($50 per hour on average)|
|QA and testing||100||$5000|
|Support and maintenance||50||$2500|
Creating a WhatsApp-similar solution can be a viable business idea in 2022, given the popularity of instant messengers for both business and personal communication. Despite the seeming simplicity and a pretty short list of the necessary features to develop, creating such an application still needs practical experience and deep technical expertise. Binerals tech team is highly skilled with communication and social media application development and would be happy to help your project grow as well.