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 2020 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.

At Mobindustry, we’ve 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, Houseparty, 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.

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Source: Statista

The importance of video chat apps

  1. Video conferencing. 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.
  2. Online retailers. 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.
  3. Enterprise platforms. 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

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Top 5 best video chat apps in 2020

#1 Zoom

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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
  • User statuses
  • Invitations via phone number, email, and company contacts
  • Safe driving mode
  • One-on-one meetings
  • Group video conferences
  • Screen sharing
  • Zoom meetings/Zoom rooms

Rating: 4.4
Installs: 10,000,000+
Download: Android, iOS
Works on: iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, web

#2 Skype

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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.
Features include:

  • International calls and texts
  • Ability to send photo, text, video, and voice messages
  • Support for a wide variety of devices
  • Video calls
  • Low calling rates to landlines and cell phones
  • Screen sharing
  • Live transcriptions

Rating: 4.3
Installs: 1,000,000,000+
Download: Android, iOS
Works on: iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, web, Xbox

#3 Google Duo

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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.
Features include:

  • 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
  • Voice calling
  • Low light mode

Rating: 4.5
Installs: 1,000,000,000+
Download: Android, iOS
Works with: iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac via web

#4 FaceTime

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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.
Features include:

  • Video calls with up to 32 people
  • Voice calls
  • 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

#5 Hangouts

how to build video chat app

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.
Features include:

  • 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
  • Landline calls
  • Remote management of the app with Google Cloud

Rating: 4.3
Installs: 1,000,000,000+
Download: Android, iOS
Works on: Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, web

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.

User registration

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.

User profiles

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.

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User status

For an app based on communication, it’s important for users 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.

Text chat

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.

Geolocation

With geolocation, users can quickly choose their country as the app will identify it automatically.

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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.

Push notifications

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.

How to monetize a video chat app

After video calling app development, you’ll need to think through how to monetize it. We’ve written several articles on the topic of mobile app monetization.

Here are a few ideas for monetizing a video chat app:

  1. Advertising. 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.
  2. Premium features. 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.
  3. 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:

  • Features
  • Design
  • 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.

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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.

Basic featuresDay minDay max
User registration35
User profile23
Search and add friends58
Voice calls57
Text chat69
Video calls58
Group chat videos46
Push notifications35
User login23
Settings23
User list24

Quick summary of developing a video chat app

The start of 2020 has shown us that people can stay connected and work from home with the help of video chat apps.
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 2020 are Zoom, Skype, Google Duo, FaceTime, and Hangouts.

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