How to Create Video Chat App Like Zoom, Skype and FaceTime.
In this article, I’ll provide you with a full guide to video chat applications and how to develop one. Find out what video chat apps are the most successful in 2023 and what features such an app should have.
Many companies are switching to remote work due to the coronavirus quarantine. People are staying at home and can’t see their friends and communicate with their colleagues as they used to. This has led to a fast increase in the popularity of video chat apps. Today, everyone uses some sort of video calling app to socialize. If you’re planning to develop a video chat app, now is the right time to start.
Video Chat Companies have managed to be just as productive as before the quarantine thanks to remote work instruments including, of course, video chat apps. If you want to make your own video calling app this article will be very helpful.
Let’s look at the statistics
According to Priori Data, global downloads of Skype, House party, and Zoom each grew by more than 100 percent in March. Spring 2020 is the era of virtual meetings. The video chat app Zoom was downloaded almost 27 million times in March compared to only 2.1 million times in January.
While Zoom is definitely the fastest-growing video chat app today, Skype remains in the lead when it comes to active users. According to Priori Data, Skype had 59 million daily active users of its iOS and Android apps in March, when Zoom had only 4.3 million. Keep in mind that Skype can be used for more than just video conferences, whereas Zoom is strictly for video chats, so this comparison isn’t totally fair.
What are the types of video chat apps?
Video chat applications have similar features, so the main factor that can differentiate them is their domain and target industry. Video chat apps are very popular in:
Let’s look at some of the major categories of video chat apps based on their use cases and domains.
Video conferences can increase employee productivity. Employees who usually communicate via email show a slow pace of work. By using multi-party video conferences, you can improve collaboration between employees in real-time.
Almost every e-commerce website provides its customers with chat-based assistance. A video chat helper can increase the quality of customer service, which can, in turn, improve brand performance, sales, and customer loyalty. With a video chat app, issues can be solved faster and in real-time.
Team efficiency rises 45% with the use of collaboration tools. Enterprises can improve their engagement rates by implementing social platforms that support one-on-one video calls.
Top 5 best video chat apps in 2023
Zoom is considered one of the best video chat apps today. It’s not only famous among professional teams but is used for simple and personal video chats due to its support across all platforms. With a free plan, users can set up video conferences with 100 concurrent participants that last up to 40 minutes. By purchasing a “large meeting,” users can host up to 500 participants. Zoom is a cloud-based video conferencing app that’s used by over half of Fortune 500 companies. Features include:
Group messaging with text, images, and audio from desktop and mobile
Invitations via phone number, email, and company contacts
Safe driving mode
Group video conferences
Zoom meetings/Zoom rooms
Skype is one app that doesn’t need an introduction. It’s been connecting people around the world for years. Skype is known for being one of the most reliable video chat apps. Video calls support up to 50 participants.
International calls and texts
Ability to send photo, text, video, and voice messages
Support for a wide variety of devices
Low calling rates to landlines and cell phones
#3 Google Duo
Google Duo is a recently launched app that today is considered one of the best video chat apps for Android users. Duo is preinstalled on most new Android phones, and it’s easy to use and completely free.
Calls across Android and iOS devices
Recording and sending of video messages
Video calls with up to 12 people
Knock Knock feature that gives a live video preview of the caller
Low light mode
It’s not surprising that FaceTime is on the list of the best video chat apps. This app is built into every iPhone, iPad, and Mac. FaceTime wasn’t the first video chat app, but it was the one that jump-started video communications for mobile users.
Video calls with up to 32 people
High definition video calls up to 720p
Incoming calls on iOS devices even when FaceTime isn’t running
Incoming calls on all Mac devices
Video and audio calls
Effects, Animoji, and stickers
Quick access to key people in the Phone app
Integration of FaceTime calls into the recent calls list in the Phone app
Rating: 3.6 Installs: 10,000+ Download: iOS Works on: iOS, Mac
Last but most certainly not least is Google Hangouts. This app is one of the best options for Android users. On the downside, it’s not as easy to use as Google Duo: it’s not your usual video chat app. Users can create a web video chat link and let people join in on their phones, tablets, laptops, or even from the web. They can also add video calls to the calendar with ease.
Video calls with up to 32 people
Up to 150 contacts
Synchronized chats across all devices
Google Voice account for phone calls, SMS, and voicemail integration
Status messages, photos, emoji, stickers, and animated GIFs
Remote management of the app with Google Cloud
How to create a video chat app
Step 1. Define your idea
What will make your app different from the competition? How will you market your app? What resources do you have? How will you monetize your product? You need to answer these questions before jumping into development.
You don’t need definitive answers yet — just a vision and a direction will suffice. If you have never developed a digital product before, your next step is to find an experienced team that will ask you the right questions and recommend you the technologies and even monetization strategies.
Step 2. Find a reliable team
If you don’t have an in-house team, and you want to save resources on development, outsourcing is your best option. There are thousands of software development teams worldwide, so how do you choose the perfect one for yourself? Here are the steps:
Ask for recommendations from your acquaintances, colleagues, partners, etc.
Search listing platforms like Clutch.co for detailed, verified reviews.
Check your candidates’ portfolios and websites, read their content, and check the services they offer/
Shortlist several companies and contact them. Pay attention to how they communicate, and what solutions they offer right off the bat.
Have short interviews with each company, involve a trusted specialist to assess their technical skills, and choose your final candidate.
You don’t have to make a huge commitment right off by signing a development contract. First, you can plan the development and create a technical specification for your video chat app, as you’ll need it anyways.
Step 3. Plan your development
Before the development process starts, you need to plan it. This is what a discovery phase is for:
Interview you to understand your business goals, expectations, objectives, and timeline
Perform market and target audience research, as well as competitor and SWAT analysis, to make sure your product hits the market and gets a perfect niche
Create wireframes that show the future’s product user flow
Create a technical specification that includes features, functionalities, requirements, and other details that will guide everyone on the team through the development process
The technical specification is the most important document on the project that ensures you get exactly what you expect after the development is done.
Step 4. Design your app
Now it’s time to create the UI/UX design for your app. A good user experience design will ensure your product is easy and convenient to use, and a user interface design will make your video call app visually appealing.
Make sure that your interface is simple and minimalistic and corresponds to the modern best practices of UI/UX design. Test your design with your target audience by involving early users and focus groups.
Step 5. Develop and test
Now it’s time to develop your application. You’ll need to develop its server-side and front-end side. You can cut corners by choosing a SaaS solution for your backend development. It will be less flexible, compared to custom development, but it will save you time.
One of the most important parts of video chat app development is integrating a video streaming protocol. Today, WebRTC is the most popular and reliable protocol out there.
As your team gradually builds your app, your QA specialists should test it bit by bit after each piece of code is delivered. This will help you save money in the long run and avoid large inconsistencies at the final stages of development.
Step 6. Release and maintain
After you did all the final testing and prepared your app for release, it’s time to show it to the world! However, the work doesn’t stop here. To keep your app relevant for the users, you need to update, test and improve it regularly. Regular maintenance guarantees that your app is secure, up-to-date and ready for your business growth.
Technology stack for a video chat app like Zoom
Programming Languages – Kotlin, Java, Flutter
Toolkit – Android Studio
Video Chat – WebRTC
SDK – Android SDK
Programming Language – Swift, Flutter
Toolkit – Apple Code
Video Chat – WebRTC
SDK – iOS SDK
MVP features of a video chat app
To calculate the cost of and create video chat app, you need to have a list of your app’s indispensable features. Here is a list of must-have features for the minimum viable product (MVP) of a video chat app.
Let your users choose between three methods of registration. The first is to sign in via social media accounts like Facebook or Instagram. The second is standard registration from scratch using an email, name, and other contact details. The third is registration via phone number.
A user profile in a video chat app should let users display basic information like photos, names, and a small description.
Search and add friends
Video chat apps are all about communication and interactions. Add features so users can search for people, find friends, and invite them to join a chat. Consider adding a feature that can import contacts from a user’s phone or social media accounts.
For an app based on communication, users need to see if their video chat companion is away, on a mobile phone, or not available. Users should be able to see the status of other users to understand whether they’re available for a conversation.
Even in a video chat app, text-based chat should always be available in case the internet connection is poor. Not every big video chat network app has this feature, but we advise you not to skip it for a better user experience.
With geolocation, users can quickly choose their country and the app will identify it automatically.
Video and voice calls
Finally, there’s the video chat feature. Above, we talked about features that almost every app should have. Now we address the feature that makes a video call app what it is. When adding a video call feature, remember to let users turn the camera on and off, show the screen, and mute/unmute the microphone. Also, don’t ignore simple voice calls, as they can replace ordinary phone calls that can be quite expensive.
Group video chats
When creating a video chat app, remember to include a group video call option — especially if want to build video chat app right now while the whole world is in quarantine. People need this feature to communicate with their friends.
Use push notifications to improve user engagement in the app. You can use push notifications to notify users about the latest updates, chat invitations, and new messages.
Here are a few ideas for monetizing a video chat app:
You can make video call app free and add advertising. Include brand advertising in your app. Try to collaborate with brands that might be useful for your target audience. This way, interactions between users and brands will lead to better profits for your video chat app. You can choose one of the following ad pricing models:
Cost per click. Charge advertisers every time a user interacts with their ads in your app.
Cost per mille. Charge advertisers for every 1,000 ad impressions in your app.
Cost per action. Charge advertisers only when users complete a target action, such as installing an app or signing up for a newsletter.
You can offer premium features like customized backgrounds or stickers. This provides people with a better user experience that they might be willing to pay for.
Paid video calls
You can give users the opportunity to use video chats for free for a limited period of time, and, for example, charge for calls longer than an hour.
How much does it cost to develop a video chat app?
The cost of a video chat app depends on these factors:
Hourly rate of your development team
The biggest factor that influences an app’s cost is the hourly rate of developers. And hourly rates often depend on location. For example, an application that costs $40,000 to build in the US will cost around $9,000 if developed by engineers in Ukraine.
Developing your app with a company based in Eastern Europe is cost-effective and gives you access to top talent.
Here’s a rough estimate of the cost of an MVP for a video chat app.
What to consider when developing your video chat app
There are two sides to developing your video chat app: a technical and a marketing aspect. From the technical standpoint, you need to consider your tech stack, especially these elements:
video streaming protocol with an adaptive bitrate
a sustainable cloud architecture
A good software development team will advise you the best toolset for developing your video chat app, so if you have no technical expertise, you need specialists you can trust. As a business owner and founder, you’ll need to pay more attention to how you’ll sell this solution after it’s developed.
From this perspective, you should really consider:
your target audience
your current resources
business plan and scaling
As a tech partner with a high focus on business, we are always ready to help you with your business strategy just as much as with the technical intricacies of building an app.
Quick summary of developing a video chat app
Here are the key takeaways from this article:
Zoom is on the rise and Skype is still thriving.
Make sure to include core functionality in the MVP version of your video chat app.
The cost of a video chat app depends on the features, the design, and the hourly rate of your development team.
The best video chat apps of 2023 are Zoom, Skype, Google Duo, FaceTime, and Hangouts.