Since the past decade and a half, numerous messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, Skype, and Viber, have been introduced in the market, out of which WhatsApp is one of its kind. It is not just a messaging app but a lifestyle that has become widespread across the globe.

Empowering you to chat, call, display your status, share media files, and now do business and make payments in matter of clicks, the app has not only upgraded human lives but also made it easier like never before. Unlike the usual cellular messaging, these messaging apps do not bound you to the OS or a particular cellular network. All you need to operate the application is a smartphone and internet connection. This convenience to the user earned the application huge popularity, which has been rising every day since its release.

Here are some stats to throw some light on the popularity of messaging app among the users-

  • According to Sensor Tower, alone in Q3 2020, there were 140 million downloads of Whatsapp.
  • Around 100 billion WhatsApp messages are exchanged per day.- Facebook
  • According to Facebook, 700 million daily active users make calls through WhatsApp and Facebook apps.
  •  As of January 2021, the WhatsApp messenger has been used by around 2 Billion users in a month.

Most popular global mobile messenger apps

Source: Statista

Whatsapp, a messaging app developed in 2009 by Brian Acton and Jan Koum, started as a simple application just to help the users to update their contacts about their availability status about taking calls or text, but today it has become a popular and reliable platform for doing business. Considering its success and demand, many companies launched similar products in the market, which provided the user with multiple options to choose from.

Although these apps have made our life extremely easier, the complexity in the process of making them cannot be avoided. Starting from the features, designing, and development to testing and deployment, you have to be careful about everything, as it is something that will be used by billions of people and handling a pool of their critical data.

If you have landed here, you might also have been planning to build a similar messaging app. The article will guide you through the entire development process of the application. Here we have covered the stages of the app development process as well as their rough estimate of the cost, in a detailed manner.

Cost Estimation of the Development Process of a Messaging App like WhatsApp

The cost of the application can be estimated based on the 2 initial steps of the app development process- Requirement Analysis and Feasibility Study. These steps give you a rough idea of the cost that you might require to develop a messaging app like Whatsapp.

Requirement Analysis

To develop a flawless messaging application, first of all, you need to jot down the core functionalities that a messaging app like WhatsApp should possess.

Core Functionality of Messaging Apps

  • Should function on the internet connection.
  • Free audio and video call
  • Free messaging
  • Data security through encryption.
  • Profile customization facility
  • Multimedia Support
  • Group messaging and call
  • Geolocation integration
  • Synchronization with the device calendar
  • Cloud storage facility
  • Data backup facility

These features could form the foundation of your app, but not the complete one. If users already have a good option for the messaging app in the market why would they install another replica? Hence, try to find the lacking factor of these apps that you can include in your app to entice the users. Never lose sight of creativity if you want to stand out in the market. Include some unique features that add to the user experience and make you a bit different from the other available messaging applications.

Feasibility Study

Once, you have created the requirement list you want in your application, check for its feasibility with the availability of resources and goals. The feasibility of the application should be checked on 5 criteria, based on which the cost of the application is decided-

  1. 1. Technical Feasibility

    Check whether you have all the resources, both hardware, and software,  that will be required to develop your application. If not, what are the missing ones? Along with this, also check the technical skills and members your app development team possesses.

    Make sure you have a skilled team to develop a flawless application, in the case you don’t have one,  you can hire an expert development team, which includes the competent members like-

    • Requirement analyst
    • UI/UX designers
    • Project manager
    • Web and Mobile app developers
    • QA engineers
    • Digital Marketing Experts
  2. 2. Operational Feasibility

    Check whether the features that you have enlisted are operationally feasible i.e. easy to operate and maintain. There is no point in making an application that is complex to use, requiring the user to learn a special skill to operate it.

    Messaging apps are used by all types of users- technical and non-technical. Hence, make sure it has a shorter learning curve, as it will decide the acceptance of your app among the users. So, make sure to have as simple an app design as possible, requiring you to have good designing skills.

  3. 3. Schedule Feasibility

    Check whether your application will be able to match your deadline or not. For this, you need to evaluate the time and efforts required for each of the phases of the development process.

    Effort estimate in days for developing a messaging App like WhatsApp
    • Requirement Analysis & Management – 8 Days
    • Architecture and Design – 15 Days
    • Modules Development – 132 Days
    • Unit Testing – 8 Days
    • Functional Testing – 18 Days
    • Performance Testing – 6 Days
    • Compatibility Testing – 10 Days

    Based on the above efforts estimated breakdown, the total effort required to develop an App similar to WhatsApp is approximately 197 Days i.e 1500 Hrs.  The actual implementation timeline will be much lesser as multiple team members will be working on the project.

    Following is the high-level list of modules considered in Modules Development:

    • Registration and Phone book
    • Messaging
    • Calling (Video/ Audio)
    • Navigation and location
    • Multimedia file exchange
    • Contact Sharing
    • Settings
  4. 4. Economic Feasibility

    Economic Feasibility is the study that gives you an idea about whether your application development and deployment fits your budget. Analyze each aspect of the development process from a cost perspective to have an idea about how much would it cost to make and to maintain (operating costs) an instant messaging app like WhatsApp?

    Factors Affecting the Cost of App Development Process
    • Hardware and software required
    • Hiring a development team
    • Deployment and marketing
    • Maintenance scope
    • App store charges

    The cost of hiring an individual developer for each task might vary based on their hourly charges and location. The best approach here could be hiring an entire team who delivers quality that too within your budget.

    Let’s breakdown the cost based on 2 major stages of the Application Development and Marketing

    Development Stage: The development stage cost differs based on the development team structure as the hourly rate for UI/UX expert, Front-end and back-end developer, Quality Assurance person will be different.

    An average hourly rate of Mobile App development in the USA ranges to 100 USD/hr. If you require approx. 1500 Hrs to build the modules, the estimated cost to build the entire App will be $150,000.

    However, if you are able to offshore part of the development, there is a good scope of reduction of cost to the tune of 30 to 40%. There will be a fixed and ongoing hosting cost which will be lesser in the initial months and will vary as the user base of the app increases.

    Marketing Stage: Along with the development stage, you will also require digital marketing experts to promote and market your app to make a profit out of your application. According to Business of Apps, the average cost of app marketing, including the pre-launch and post-launch processes ranges to 10K USD/per application.

    Initially, the cost might look higher, but if you consider the revenue statistics of Whatsapp as released by Forbes, which is expected to generate 5 to 10 billion USD in the coming years, it will seem nothing.

  5. 5. Legal Feasibility

    Do not forget to check your application for the legal points. As the applications will be publicly available and also will be handling the personal details of the users, make sure it abides by the rules and regulations of the government, such as data protection acts,  social media laws, copyright, and license, etc.

Once you are done with the analysis, you can do the preparations and head with the further processes including development, testing, deployment, as well as marketing.

Are You Ready to Develop a Mobile App Similar to WhatsApp Messenger?

Now that you have a close idea of the entire development process as well as the cost associated with it, the decision-making might have become easier for you. The key to successful app development and launch lies in the accuracy of the analysis and implementation. The more accurate will be the analysis and the development process, the higher will be the success rate of your application.

Formulate an efficient strategy that can help you achieve your desired goal. If you need any assistance with the process, reach out to our experts. Having a thorough knowledge about the market trends as well as the technologies, our experts will not only develop an outstanding application for your business but also help you with the marketing and monetization strategies for your application.

How Much Does it Cost to Develop an App like WhatsApp_cta
Sonal Chauhan
Sonal Chauhan
Sonal is a marketing hustler who implements out-of-the-box strategies & ideas that facilitates the growth of the organization on the digital front which ends up building a concrete connection between the company and the client.