How Much Does it Cost to Build a Messaging App like WhatsApp or Telegram?

Messaging Apps like WhatsApp

Messaging Apps like WhatsApp or Telegram

Messaging Apps like WhatsApp and Telegram are the most popular forms of messaging in this 21st century, which attracts communication providers to go for these apps. Businesses want these apps in a customized form wherein they can change the look & feel and also offer services under their own brand name.

However, the cost of building Messaging Apps like WhatsApp is quite high. The cost of developing an app for two of the major platforms – Android and iOS can go up t0 $50,000 USD or even high depending upon the level of customization.

Revenue and Usage Statistics of Messaging Apps

The rapidly growing popularity of these Instant Messaging applications is due to the wide range of features they offer along with the basic function of sending messages.

Considering both personal and business usages, these apps have occupied an important place in the communication sphere. What initially was thought to be a new trend in technology, today is being increasingly adopted by the masses leaving the traditional telephone service providers far behind.

popularity of messaging apps

  • According to Statista, WhatsApp had over 2000 million active users in March 2020. This number was 10 times higher than in 2013. Further, it adds every month around 2 million active users. Statista report also shows that WhatsApp is the top messaging app followed by Facebook Messenger, WeChat, QQ Mobile, Telegram, and Snapchat in the top 6 spots.
  • As reported by The Verge, in March 2019, Telegram added 3 million new users in just 24 hours due to a sudden series of Facebook outages.
  • Business of Apps also reports that in addition to having 200 million monthly users, Telegram is targeting to reach 1 billion users in 2022.
  • Research data from Business of App reports that while 15 billion messages are sent in Telegram per day, WhatsApp accounts for 65 billion messages and 2 billion minutes of WhatsApp Voice and Video Calls per day.
  • Kommandotech report predicts the average revenue generated from the messaging apps is going to cross $15 per user by 2020.  Facebook is estimated to earn around $5 per user followed by WhatsApp $15 per user, whereas WeChat is expected to generate $15.64 per user.

Why is WhatsApp So Popular App?


The need for a communication process that is simple, fast, and low cost is what has led to the beginning and evolution of the Messaging Apps of today. Popular instant Messaging Apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, Snapchat, WeChat had a primary goal of offering users the facility to exchange messages in real-time only via the internet.

Evolving from the initial function of real-time messaging, Messaging Apps like WhatsApp offers a lot more today. These applications have added features like profile creation, file and image sharing, audio-video calls, status, stories, photo filters for images, stickers, and many more to give it an entertaining corner and make it more appealing to the users.

The increasing popularity of Messaging App like WhatsApp is directly related to some of the prominent features they offer. Some important functionalities of Messaging Apps like WhatsApp:

  • Real-time 1-on-1 or Group Chats
  • Images, File, and Live Location Sharing
  • Audio, Video Messages, and Calls
  • Sharing Contacts and Links
  • Add Stories, Status, build a Profile

The availability of these features is beneficial for people in general as they can stay connected easily. Further, the compatibility and availability of Messaging Apps like WhatsApp on multiple operating systems help it to retain its position as the popular choice.

Steps in Building a Messaging Apps Like WhatsApp or Telegram

Steps to build an app like whatsapp

While Messaging Apps like WhatsApp is fun and convenient to use, a lot goes behind the scene to build it. The app development process is lengthy with lots of complications. It requires extensive planning, selection of the right strategies to take each step, decide which features or functions to include, detailed designs, and most importantly a skilled workforce.

To get an estimate of how much money you would need to develop an app from scratch, you must consider these 5 steps:

Step 1- Plan Architecture of Messaging App

To build a Messaging App like WhatsApp you need to first understand the architecture. WhatsApp uses the Ejabberd XMPP Application server for handling heavy message traffic. It also has a high-performance web server named YAWS dedicated to multimedia file storage.

WhatsApp uses Mnesia for databases and FreeBSD operating systems for power servers. In addition to this, WhatsApp also uses Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) technology for message transfer.

While the technical details mentioned above are some of the major ones, various other technologies go on in the backend. If you have the resources you can try gathering each component, else you can hire app development companies to do the heavy lifting.

Step 2- Decide Features and Functionalities for App

Your selection of features and functionalities have a huge impact on the app development cost. In addition to this, the set of features that you select for your app also affects the way the app would be received in the market.

If you aim to make a messaging App like WhatsApp then you need a powerful server to manage all the operations seamlessly. The app development cost depends on the amount of time the development team would take to create the features you want to include. Some popular features are Registration and authentication, User Profile, Contact Sync, 1-on-1 chat & Group Chat, Audio-video calls, Chat & Call history, Web/Desktop version, and End-to-End Encryption.

Step 3- Hire an Experienced Development Team

There are 2 available options, which you must consider when you want to make a Messaging App like WhatsApp. You can keep an in-house development team or avail the services from an app development company.

However, hiring an app development company produces better results. This is because they have the experience and the ability to deliver top product quality by integrating the latest technologies and proven methods for the best output.

But on the other hand, the in-house development team would give you more room to make adjustments according to your vision. Here are some of the team members and the skills you need to include: Project Manager, Business Analyst, Software Developers,  App Tester, and UX/UI Designer.

Designing details like color theme, font style, icon design, or layout of each app page matter a lot for your app to stand out in the crowd. Therefore, in addition to being a feature-rich app, it also needs to be attractive and also simple to use.

Keeping the interface fresh and user-friendly would help your app become a user favorite.

Step 4- Choose Right Monetization Strategies for High Return

The 3 major factors that you need to keep in mind while selecting the monetizing model for your messaging app are the target audience, your competitor, and app idea. The target audience will help you to recognize who will use your messenger more.

Proper research on the market and your competitors will bring many important points forward. And finally adding something to the general idea of creating a messaging app will help your app to grow fast and attract more users.

Monetizing strategies are those that will help you to gain that extra revenue from your app. There are 3 major ways in which you can monetize your Messaging app.

  • In-App Purchase: When users buy something inside the app to enhance their messaging experience or subscribe to any premium function.
  • In-App Advertising: A common and quick way to earn from your app. However, too many ads can adversely affect the user experience.
  • Peer-to-peer Transactions: If your users send money to each other using your app, you can charge a fixed fee for each transaction made.

Check here to know more about App Monetization: How to Monetize Your OTT App For High Returns

How to Calculate the Cost of App Development?

To know how much your app development would cost, you can multiply the total number of hours of development by the per hour cost of the development. Although it is difficult to present a fixed rate, the above calculation would help you to narrow it down.

As already mentioned, the app development cost depends on several factors, you can go on adding the amount as you complete the budget of each part.

How Can you Save Cost?

Both the options of hiring an app development company as well as going for an in-house development team are costly. The in-house development team also associates with itself the trial and error process which would cost more resources as well as can impact the product launch deadline as well.

Therefore considering all the pros and cons of these 2 options, there is a 3rd option that has become quite favorable in recent years, which is known as the Whitelabel app solution.

A White-label solution is where a 3rd party develops the app for you. Customization options are available which gives buyers the room to make changes according to the business objective. For example, changing the brand name, logo, UI designs, colors, adding for removing features, and more.

With a Whitelabel solution, businesses do not need to think about app development at all. They receive a ready to launch the product at a much lower price than the previous 2 options of the in-house development team and hiring an app development company. Further, after-service support available makes it easier to handle any technical factors leaving the business to focus on its main goal.

Apart from white-label apps, many businesses also choose custom apps. Custom apps are built for a specific user or group of users within an organization. These apps address specific needs within an organization.

Want to know, why service providers should have their own messaging app? Read this informative blog ‘Why You Should Create Your Own Messaging App Like WhatsApp

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The Author

Abhijeet Guha

As a dedicated content marketing professional with a passion for crafting engaging pieces within the telecommunications sector, I prioritize thorough research to ensure that every piece of content delivers maximum value.
Abhijeet Guha