Instant messaging and chatting were all the rage from the 90s onwards, when Orkut, GTalk and Yahoo Messenger began taking the world by storm. But instant messaging actually dates back to the 60s? they started in the Compatible Time-Sharing Systems created in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Computational Center.
Today, the world of instant messaging is far more advanced. IMs are now on our phones, laptops, tablets, computers and email accounts; we take them wherever we go to keep in touch.
When talking about how to develop an instant messaging system, providers can usually take one of two routes:
- Build your own chat API
- Use an enterprise chat API from an experienced service provider
With the first option, you have the complete freedom to design your chat as you want it to function and look. It?s more appropriate for experienced developers with a high budget and loads of time. On the other hand, using a chat API from a service provider saves you time, money and effort. At the same time, it provides you with a secure instant messaging platform that you can still customize to meet your brand and user expectations. You?ll also be able to plug in additional features to make your chat app irresistible.
What is a Chat API?
A chat API is an application program interface that forms building blocks for instant messaging and chat platforms. Real time communication with chat API happens through servers and can be augmented with a tone of features and functionalities.
With a Chat API, you can open communication channels for a variety of purposes, such as:
- User ? user: This channel works well when used in an app that requires privacy, since it involves one-to-one two-way communication.
- Marketplace ? seller ? buyer: These API channels ensure seamless communication and help better customer service and faster response times.
- Service provider ? user: This communication channel aids better collaboration and higher user satisfaction. A chat API for education app will benefit
- Broadcaster ? audience: chat APIs can be used to alert audiences to new content as well as create hype for upcoming releases. They can also serve as a Q&A portal for frequently asked questions.
How Chat APIs Boost User Engagement
Chat APIs function as platforms for people to express themselves, get answers to questions, and create conversations. Here?s how the best chat API is capable of boosting user engagement on your platform:
- Multiple conversation modes
Chat APIs facilitate one-to-one, private and public conversations. One conversation mode won?t suffice for the variety of conversations people have, from checking in with their doctor to raving about the latest show with friends. Public forums are invaluable for gaming apps hosting multiple players; likewise, private chats boosts goal-oriented conversations.
- Collaborative features
Collaborative features such as whiteboards allow users to engage with one another, display data creatively and put heads together without meeting in person or using another platform.
File sharing through chat APIs keep the conversation running on a single platform. They make conversations seamless and double up as yet another communication option.
Sharing screens makes it easier to solve problems together and reach resolutions faster. It also improves the levels of transparency.
- Push notifications
Push notifications alert users to new messages and bring them back onto your platform. This way, even if they don?t have your app open, they can click on the notification to be taken back.
Chat API to Boost Retention in Mobile Apps
Chat APIs are inherently built for customer retention and do precisely that. Many APIs use AI technology to tailor channels and messages for a more personalized experience.
The addition of features such as file-sharing, emoji?s, languages, message reactions and voice notes serve to keep users on for longer and keep them returning to the app even when they?ve closed it. Instant messaging is highly interactive and, if you use these features well and plug in some additional ones without overburdening the app, you?re likely to see higher retention rates.
Chat API Increasing Audience Engagement across All Industries
- Dating apps
A chat API for a dating app needs to be interactive and facilitative of face-to-face private communication. Voice chats and video calls, over and above regular texts, serve to enhance the experience.
- Online Communities
A chat API for a community app allows for many stakeholders to collaborate and converse on a single platform. Digital whiteboards and message reactions are invaluable in such setups.
User-to-user chats on marketplaces aid problem resolution and keep customer loyalty intact. They also create transparency and trust, which is invaluable for businesses selling products or services of any kind.
A chat API for a healthcare app is essential to facilitate real-time conversations with healthcare providers and urgent consultations. They save time for both doctors and patients and keep in-person consultations for emergencies only.
A chat API for an e-learning app helps to augment lessons and encourage creative thinking. They can be in the form of student-teacher setups, group chats among peers or teacher-teacher collaborations.
Chat services are pan-industry and aren?t restricted to the uses listed above. Regardless of what domain you think of, it will likely benefit from having a chat feature to boost engagement? From games and e-commerce apps to consultations and service providers, there isn?t a domain that can?t be transformed with a simple chat API.
The Final Word
We?re sure that, by now, you?re convinced of the power and influence that a simple chat API holds. The next step is to find the right one for your app? one that tacks on seamlessly, doesn?t destroy infrastructure, doesn?t add weight to the app and serves users at any moment in time.