How much does it cost to build an instant messaging app?

Standard price for an instant messaging app: $37,500

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What is an instant messaging app?

An instant messaging application is a web, mobile, or desktop application that allows users to communicate with each other in real time. IM apps typically include features for sending messages and files, scheduling messages to be sent at a later time, and creating private groups.

Instant messaging apps are very similar to group chat apps, conference calling apps, and video conferencing apps. Some popular instant messaging applications include Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, Viber, and Skype.

Here are some recent instant messaging app examples built with Crowdbotics:

  • An instant messaging app that alerts users to free goods in their area using data from Facebook Marketplace, NextDoor, and similar platforms.

What is the typical cost to build an instant messaging app?

An instant messaging app usually costs $37,500 to build. However, the total cost can be as low as $25,000 or as high as $50,000. An instant messaging app with a low number of features (also known as a "minimum viable product", or MVP) will be more affordable than an app that includes all intended functionality.

For example, here are some recent instant messaging app price quotes from Crowdbotics:

  • $16,199

Here are some considerations that may impact the cost of an app:

How long does it take to build an instant messaging app?

An instant messaging app usually takes 216 hours to build. However, an instant messaging app can be built in as few as 133 hours, or in as many as 267 hours. The exact timeline mostly depends on how complicated your app is. As a general rule, it will take longer if you require highly custom designs, niche features, or non-standard release platforms.

For example, the most recent instant messaging apps built with Crowdbotics received the following hourly estimates:

  • 216

How to successfully grow your instant messaging application

An instant messaging app's growth strategies are similar to those of a dating app, but with two notable differences. First, the pool of potential users is much larger for an IM app because the audience includes anyone who owns a smartphone. Second, instant messaging apps can grow their user base by offering unlimited use for free, or by offering free credits or coins that can be used to pay for in-app purchases.

Risks and challenges of building a instant messaging application

Instant messaging apps can face legal and reputational risks associated with the distribution of copyright content, the distribution of sensitive personal information, and the distribution of harmful code. It is recommended that instant messaging apps take strong measures to reduce the distribution of copyrighted material (including by leveraging APIs from popular content providers like SoundCloud) and that they provide mechanisms for users to report harassment or abusive content.

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Some of the descriptions on this page were completed with AI assistance. Learn more here.