How to develop a Zoom like video chatting app?

This year so many changes happened  in the world. And now we all are getting used to the new reality and habits. Remote work, homeschooling and online business meetings instead of real ones became a common thing. Now we can imagine our working or studying day without a notebook and a pen, but without gadgets it seems impossible. 

And speaking about our technological helpers, do you know what applications are installed on every single device and used on a daily basis? The right answer is – video chatting apps. You may be a fan of old but gold Skype, or prefer newer solutions like Zoom or WhatsApp. It doesn’t really matter what solution you prefer, the fact is that you are using it day by day. 

The popularity of video chatting apps is indisputable. And although there are already many solutions present on the market, there is still a place for something fresh and different. So if you are thinking of developing your own solution for video chatting and messaging, it is the right time to discover what it takes in terms of efforts and finance. This article will help you to understand how much money do you need to invest in your app, what features should be present in it, and what popular solutions you should consider as a great example. 

What does it take to build a video chatting app? 

As we’ve already mentioned, now all video chatting applications are no longer just a part of the entertainment sphere. They are transformed and become important business tools. Thanks to apps like Zoom, FaceTime or Google Hangouts people from all over the world can arrange video calls and discuss studying matters or business, offer a variety of online classes and exchange media. And this multifunctionality and convenience of video chatting solutions is what makes them so popular and demanded. 

So if you decided to enter the market with an app that offers video chatting, then you should understand that to develop it is not an easy and fast task. First of all you’ll need to hire a professional development team that will build your solution from scratch and guide you through all processes starting with the discovery phase and ending with the release and submitting of your app to the markets. Basically the development will require:


Pre-development stage
The stage when you and your Business Analyst are going to explore the market, take a look at the solutions offered by your competitors and define a necessary feature set for your future app. You will also get a Project Vision document and Specifications with well-defined technology stack. 
Design
It is crucial to pay special attention to the design of your video chatting app since it makes the solution convenient for users. On this stage the designers will create mockups and perform prototyping. So you will be able to take a look at your future app, its color scheme, screens, buttons, etc.
App building
On this stage the front-end and back-end developers will write code of your application and add all desired features. Also all required services are going to be integrated (like connection to social networks, support of sharing options, etc).
Solution testing
When your app is all set and ready it is time to perform its quality, speed and compatibility checks. QA engineers will perform all necessary testing and make sure that your solution functions exactly as it is supposed to. 
Release
That is exactly when your application will be ready to be presented to its audience and submitted to the market. On this stage the team will make sure that your app is accepted by the stores and the team will also prepare all necessary materials for this (screenshots, description of the solution and features, etc.). 

Speaking about the specialists that you require to build your video chatting application, we would nam the following ones:

  • Business Analyst;
  • System Administrator;
  • UI/UX Designer; 
  • HTML/CSS Coder;
  • iOS Developer; 
  • Android Developer;
  • QA Engineer;
  • Scrum Master. 

Each of the named team members has an hourly rate that will define the cost of your video chatting app. However, it is important to mention that the final price will depend on the overall app complexity and the set of features and integrations you would like to incorporate in your solution. 

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How much does it cost? 

The basic Zoom-like solution may cost you $25,000 and this price may get bigger depending on how advanced you want your app to be. To make it all slightly clear and provide you with real numbers, we have prepared a table with the required development hours for each specialist and the approximate amount of money you may need to pay for their job. This table is relevant for MVP of video chatting apps so the cost will be less than we mentioned above. 

Job Dev HoursApproximate Cost
Business Analyst 59$1652
System Administrator 20$400
Designer 35$700
HTML/CSS 17$238
iOS Developer106$2544
Android Developer 106$2544
Back-end Developer114$2736
QA Engineer 99$1683
Scrum Master 83$1743
PRO TIP
MVP is a great idea if you have a limited budget but want to test your idea and decide whether it is worth bigger investments. We have already covered the topic of MVP, when it is needed and what benefits it offers. So we’d recommend you to check out that article right away if you keep putting your idea aside because of temporary budget limitations. 

No less important question related to app development is “Where do you find all those specialists who will shape your idea and deliver a solution?” First of all you need to look at the special websites like Clutch. There you will find a lot of development companies from all over the world and you will be able to compare their rates and average project size. The most popular among clients companies are:

  • From Europe – they offer great price quality ratio;
  • From US – they offer high development quality but their rates are really high as well;
  • From Asia – they have lower rates and although they can build good solutions, you may experience some communication challenges which can influence how your app will turn out.
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Looking for reliable and experienced developers?

We have a team of specialists who can build your video chatting app from scratch at reasonable price.

How to monetize your app for video calling? 

It is one thing to build a great solution that will be appreciated by all users, but it is absolutely another thing to make it bring you income. Monetization is a crucial step you should think about. If you select the right strategie, your solution will quickly pay itself off and start bringing you money on a regular basis. So we have collected several great monetization methods that you should pay attention to and consider adding one of them to your video chatting app. 

Freemium 

This strategy implies that your solution will be free, however you will offer some advanced functionality for a certain cost. It can be statistics, some customization options, additional features, extra content, etc. For a chatting app it is a good idea to sell sticker packs, offer customized dialogues background, or maybe even filters for video calls. 

Advertising

In general your video calling app may be free and include paid advertising. You may collaborate with companies that sell goods or services that might be of interest to your app users. To get an income from this strategy you need to choose the pricing model. It can be cost per click, cost per action, or cost per mille. So depending on which one you choose you will charge advertisers either for a certain amount of ad clicks, impressions or actions like installing the advertised app or signing for certain services. 

Paid calls 

This monetization strategy is rather common among apps for video chatting. Here is how it works – your app users can use your solution for free, make short calls for, let’s say, under an hour. And all other long calls will be charged. The price may not be high but if you have numerous regular users it can be a decent income. 

Related Topic
If you are interested in all possible monetization strategies, then you can read our post dedicated to this topic and written by our experts. It can be found here.

Must-have features for your app

Needless to say that users prefer applications that offer a set of extremely useful features. So the main thing you should think about before developing your video calling app is what options it is going to offer and if they are really a must have. To help you with the decision making we have prepared a list of top features of video chatting apps. So, without further ado, let’s check it out right away. 

User profiles and easy registration

When we install any app we need to have a way to identify ourselves, to get a profile that will be recognized by others. After all, a video calling app is about finding contacts and interacting with them. 

Under easy registration we imply the presence of several registration methods. Either manual filling of info or registering via social account like Facebook or Twitter, etc. As to the user profiles, they should be adjustable and display the name, picture, phone number, and basic information.

Text chat

It may seem unreasonable to take a lot of effort to add something that is going to be rarely used. However, most users of video chatting apps also need a text chat. Let’s play a user who has an issue with the connection. If there is a text chat it is possible to inform others about it. Also it is convenient to exchange the data in it like send pictures, documents or attach other media. 

Group chats 

If you are building a video calling app for business purposes and your aim is to attract people who are going to actively use your solution, then group chatting is a must. It will be possible to organize remote meetings for employees, or read lectures for a group of students, or just communicate with several people simultaneously. 

Push notifications

This is a crucial option because it will let people notify all necessary users to join the video call or receive notifications about the latest messages. It is very convenient from the perspective of the user experience. 

Search for friends and add contacts

This option is rather obvious. Your app is a communication tool so an ability to add contacts (or even import them in one click) is a necessity. Your users can also benefit from an advanced search with filters to be able to find crucial contacts and add them to their list and send invites to join video chat. 

E-Wallet 

Thee days people prefer paying for services online. So many app owners consider adding a reliable and safe cryptocurrency wallet that will let app users pay instantly for any kind of service. In case with video chatting apps this can be used to pay for webinars, or if you choose paid calls as your monetization strategy.

Screen sharing 

For business people who are used to online meeting screen sharing option became a real working helper. Sometimes it is better to shoe a diagram, table or electronic document on a shared screen than explain it all in words. So when choosing feature set for your app, think about your target audience. And if it is students and business people – than you cannot omit adding screen sharing.

Geo Tagging 

Many contemporary messengers have geo tagging which is extremely convenient. You should not forget that you app will have a messenger feature so geo tagging should be present as well. It will let people exchange the locations and find necessary people nearby. People who go on business trips will be thankful for such feature in your video calling app.

Some popular video chatting apps 

Speaking about such apps the first ones that came into our mind are Zoom, Skype and FaceTime. They all are extremely popular an convenient and proved their reliability by years of stable work. However, there is always a place for the innovation and new approach. That is why the idea to develop a new video chatting app is not bad at all.

Let’s take Zoom with all its variety of features. Thanks to Zoom you can arrange group meeting, set a status, invite people via phone, mail or corporate contacts, share your screen and even benefit from Zoom Room feature. The students and business people from all over the world appreciated Zoom when we all have been on strict quarantine.  However as any other solution it has its drawbacks. For example, some argue if the security standards of Zoom can be trusted. Others say that it is not so safe to share sensitive information with this app.

The next giant in the industry of video calling is Skype that is well known and widely used for 10+ years. Although it allows many callers to join an online meeting simultaneously, it has its disadvantages too. Sometimes the connection is poor and such popular among people things as emoji reactions, status updates, and other creative tools are not at their best. It is an old but gold app, but not perfect for the todays reality.

One more great app for video calling we all know and actively use  is Facebook Messenger. Needless to say that it is a high class solution, because it is constantly improved by Facebook team, and this year it was even merged with Instagram to turn direct messaging to a whole new level. A to the video calling option, it has some handy features, it is easy to use ad the calls are totally free and not time-limited. The only thing about this app – you need to have a Facebook account to use it. But who does not have it these days?

Basic Zoom like solution may cost you $25,000 or more. However, if your goal is to create something different, more interesting and advanced, then it will cost more.
Everything depends on the monetization strategy that you will choose. It can be advertising, freemium or paid calls methods. Each of them is great and can bring you quite stable income.
Among such solutions you will find Zoom, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Skype, Discord, Facebook Messenger. You can take them as the example for your custom solution. But don’t forget to add something innovative and unique.

To conclude

The world has changed and all activities shifted online. Studying, communicating and even doing business – these days all of the above can be performed thanks to a small but powerful device with a necessary app on it. And this app is a video calling one. It is hard to underestimate the power of solutions that connect us through Internet. They are great for many things and their popularity will only keep growing. That is why it is a good idea to invest in video chatting apps.

If you find the right development team, then you will be able to enter the market with a competitive solution. Zoom and Skype are still on top, but this does not mean that you cannot have an app that will be in a top 3 among most frequently used. All you need is to develop a great feature set, find your unique value proposition, wrap it all in a beautiful design and let the people use your app.

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