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How to Build a Video Chat App? Types, Cost, & Features

Published On May 24th, 2024 11965Communication
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Video Chat Apps have become an integral part of our daily lives. Whether it is small talk with friends and family or remote work, video calls are becoming increasingly popular every day. 

With that said, the demand for advanced features and convenient connection methods is challenging developers to grow more competitive. So, how can you build a video chat app that stands out in the global market?

Well, in this article, we’ll address the following in detail:

  • Needs of your users
  • Video call app development overview
  • Strategies, and monetization method

So, let’s look into the details.

Market Overview: Video Chat Apps

The post-pandemic years are experiencing a serious shift in the way many businesses operate around the world. Right from the start of 2022, most organizations have converted their operations from remote locations.

As per Statista, the usage of live chat in mobile apps has drastically increased from 17% to 44% in the US. In the same period, the market evaluation rose from $4.21B to $6.28B. Is expected to reach a whopping $16B by 2030.

Employees have started to work right from the comfort of their couches. And they can attend official meetings from anywhere, anytime. All thanks to live video chat apps! 

On the other side, the live video call app development market is becoming more and more competitive than ever before. Developers are expected to innovate and build apps that are faster, secure, and reliable.

So, we took this into our research to find the best options to build a video chat app. And that’s what we’ll explore together in this article. Let’s get started!

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What are the Main Types of Live Video Chat Apps?

When you search for video chat apps in your app store on your Android or iOS devices, you’ll be able to find thousands of options. But, not every app in the list is meant for professional purposes.

Some of them are built for businesses, a few for gamers and others for different purposes and use cases. So, to help you choose the right niche for your audience, we’ve boiled down these options to 3 major categories.

1. Video Calling

Video Calling or Video Chat is a communication technology that connects users via face-to-face meets. It is mostly built as a key feature of instant messaging apps. Video chats, in general, have gained popularity among the users around the world. It enables users to see a person virtually and talk to them instantaneously without having to meet them in person.

2. Video Conferencing

Video Conferencing allows users to connect with each other via virtual meets. In a video conference, users can utilize screen sharing, user management, video recording, and live content moderation. This technology is used in laptops and desktops and functions more like an extended version of a remote workplace.

3. Entertainment Apps

Apart from chat, users can also connect with each other virtually for playing games, watching movies, exchanging photos, videos and files. These apps are created completely for keeping the users engaged and entertained, and refrain from boredom. 

Popular Use Cases of Live Video Call Apps

Now let us discuss where these apps are used in day-to-day activities. Here are 6 most popular use cases of video chat apps:

1. Online Marketplace: A video chat app is the modern solution for buyers and sellers involved in a procurement. Particularly, when a purchase or deal involves huge monetary transactions, a customer would be greatly benefitted. He/ she can choose the product from their own location without having to commute to the seller’s place. This gives more flexibility to the user, saving the cost and time of travel. 

2. Telehealth: Right when the Covid-19 pandemic started to spread, telehealth apps have gained a huge popularity. Patients can get direct consults from doctors, go through diagnoses and get their medicines prescribed virtually. They can be confident about the privacy of their health information, as most apps adhere to HIPAA compliance. 

3. Online Gaming: Gaming has become an integral part of life for many people around the years with the advent of innovative gaming apps. On the other hand, live game streaming brings together players from different parts of the world with a sense of connection. It drifts up their experience with engaging voice features, making it possible to voice out wins and loss. 

4. FinTech: Video Chat features that allow users to speak face-to-face have made banking and financial experiences more trustworthy. Even when the users are far away from the portfolio managers, lenders or banking agents, these apps make banking communication a breeze. Above this, most banking apps are built with security encryptions that protects every conversation with ironclad protocols. 

5. Online Dating: Several matchmaking or dating sites have included video chat into their apps to make communication more integral and to prevent frauds.

Instead of driving conversations without knowing who the person is on the other side of the chat, video chats help authentic communication. 

Looking to Build a Live Video Chat App For Your Business?

What to Consider When Developing Your Live Video Chat App

Here is a checklist of factors you must consider when building your video chat app. We’ve approached each component separately and have categorized them for a clearer understanding:

I. Features

Core Video Chat Components

Interaction FeaturesUI FeaturesTechnical Components
Multi-user Chat
Video/ Audio Muting
Screen sharing
Noise Cancellation
Emojis & Stickers
Masks & Filters
User Management
Profile Management
In call chat
Presence Indicators
Moderation Controls
Invite Links
Infrastructure
Video Protocols
Application Layer
Security Encryptions
Hosting Performance
Tech Stacks
Video calling app for android

II. Tech Stacks

Common Tech Stacks for Android and iOS Apps

Programming Languages FrameworksDatabasesCloud Platforms
Java
Swift
Kotlin
Node.js
Spark
MySQL
Oracle
Amazon EC2 
Amazon S3
 
Create Your Own Video Call App With MirrorFly Today!

How to Build a Live Video Chat App in 5 Simple Steps?

A complete chat experience involves a well-planned development process. We’ve prepared a 360-degree approach to plan and deploy your video chat app below:

Step 1: Customer Mapping

To create a customer journey map for your video chat app, you need to answer the following questions:

  • Who are the target users for your video chat app?
  • What is the purpose of your video chat app?
  • What is the demography of your target users?
  • What is the need of users/the pain point they are experiencing with other video chat apps?
  • What are the interaction activities users perform on competitor apps?
  • Which features will give your users the best video chat experience?
  • What’s on your roadmap to retain your users?

Step 2: Development Strategy

When it comes to developing a video chat app, you can either build a complete app from scratch or buy only the features from an API provider and integrate them to your app. 

Here are the pros and cons of both these strategies:

Building your app in-house vs Buying a Video Chat API

BuildBuy
InfrastructureNeed high capital investment for development and deployment.Hosting is managed by API provider – requires minimum cost.
DevelopmentRequires huge investment to start.Possible to start for Free.
ResourcesRequires a devoted development team.An individual developer can integrate and deploy the app.
ComplexityRequires high server capacityManaged by the API provider
Capital Requires high investment for development and maintenanceAvailable for a monthly subscription
Dev TimeTakes months for complete developmentPossible to complete the entire integration in less than 30 minutes
SecurityPrivacy and Security management need dedicated resourcesThe APIs are build with compliance to industry standards and regulations
UpdatesExtensive planning and execution is required for updateUpdates take place within few minutes
Build white-label live video call app

Step 3: Budget Estimation

The most crucial part of developing a video chat app is the control of your budget. Here is a sample spend-sheet with factors you may need to consider for planning your budget.

FactorsAverage Cost
Initial Investment / Upfront Cost$ (Cost)
Software & Hardware requirements$ (Cost)
Payment to Developer(s)$ (Cost)
Infrastructure / Hosting Cost$ (Cost)
Registration with API Provider$ (Cost)
Feature-set Cost$ (Cost)
Estimated cost of roadmap factors$ (Cost)
Total Cost$ (Cost)
Customizable video chat app

The above-mentioned budget sheet is a simplified version of the basic factors. You may need to drill down the details and prepare a budget plan for perfection.This step is essential to keep your project up and running without any hassle. 

💡 Quick Tip:  Keep your plan and budget intact with Intercom’s RICE Score Model. This simple tool allows developers and product managers to plan features without going beyond your spend boundary.

Step 4: Backend Technology 

The one major factor you must keep in mind is to make sure that you check the compatibility of APIs and SDKs with your existing apps. There are chances of video quality degradation when there are underlying issues in the backend infrastructure. To rule this out, you need to make sure of the following:

  • Clearly understand the backend infrastructure
  • The compatibility of Video Call APIs and SDKs with your app, if using any
  • Configurations necessary to make the app deliver HQ videos
  • Maintain the bandwidth consistency and latency by continuous monitoring

On the greener side, many third-party vendors allow you to try their speed, quality and performance. This is essential for building high-quality live video apps for your users.  

Step 5: Frontend Design 

User experience is the paramount of all. At first sight and use, users get to decide whether or not to continue using your app. The way your app looks and feels for them is what decides the next step of their journey with your brand. So you’ll need to do a detailed homework of every element that your users prefer or reject, to gain their brand loyalty for your video chat apps. 

Benefits of Integrating Pre-built Video API

As explained above, building a video chat app from scratch can be time-consuming, complex and expensive. And the immediate solution to these limitations is to choose ready-made APIs and SDKs. Still got doubts? Here’s what you’ll benefit from integrating chat features:

  1. Easy Integration:  APIs and SDKs can be easily integrated into any platforms (iOS, Android, and web apps). They can operate on any device. (mobile, desktops, laptops, and tablets)
  2. Minimal Maintenance: You can avail maintenance support from your API vendor and can stay focused on your core development process.
  3. End-to-End Encryption: Almost all video chat APIs are built with end-to-end encryption protocols and comply with industry standards like GDPR, HIPAA, and ISO to ensure privacy and security of user information.
  4. Easy to Make Changes and Updates: When you plan to enhance your video chat features, you have the flexibility to upgrade your plan. On the other hand, if you’d like to switch to a different API provider, it is possible to migrate without any downtime.
  5. Cost Effective: Save your expenses on development, design, and hosting. You can just pay only for the features you use from your API provider.

Ways to Monetize Your Video Chat Apps

Got plans to generate an income from your video chat apps? Here’s a quick list of ways to attract revenue:

  • Ads: If you are building live streams in your video call app, videos, pop-up and static ads are well-suited for you. You can add skippable ads and closable banners on your video call screen, without affecting the user experience. This way, advertisers will pay you small commissions to gain a spot on your video call screens.
  • Plan Limitations: Once you develop a video call app, you can set limitations like maximum number of users in a group call, or spaces. But if the users need to extend usage, they’ll need to pay you a rent or monthly/yearly fee. 
  • Feature Costs: Apart from the plan upgrade option mentioned above, you can also charge users for using individual features. For example, if a user needs only a sticker pack without upgrading from their current plan, you can sell out only the particular sticker pack for a minimum cost.

Conclusion

We hope our comprehensive analysis of live video chat app development helped you to get hold of the stages, strategies, requirements, and monetization methods. 

However, if you are looking for an easier and budget-friendly option to build real time video calling apps, then we suggest you opt for MirrorFly’s video APIs.

MirrorFly is a leading in-app chat SDK provider of both SaaS and self-hosted solutions that offers modern call and chat features that are secure, scalable, and affordable. Additionally, with our self-hosted video chat SDKs, you can build white-label video chat applications with 100% customizations on all features at a one-time license cost. And, if you need step-by-step guidance on how to build video chat apps for iOS or Android, here is an amazing collection of guides you can check out.

Looking To Build Your Own Custom Video Chat App?

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  • 100% customizable
  • On-premise hosting
  • Multi tenancy

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

List the basic features of a video chat app?

Some of the best features of video chat apps include registration, profile management, contact list, video and voice calls, group calls, text chat, end-to-end encryption, and push notifications.

What is the procedure to make a video conferencing app?

To build a video chat app it is a must to check for certain major things like technologies, protocols.
You must check for strategies such as
1. UI/UX Design
2. Backend development
3. Video streaming protocol integration
4. Testing stage
5. Tech stacks
6. team selection to accomplish the entire process.

List the technologies that are used to build video call apps?

The technologies needed for building video-calling applications are as follows,
1. Swift
2. Kotlin
3. Java
4. Node.Js
5. Spark
6. Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3

How to create a video chat app for iOS?

Before planning to build a video chat app for iOS, there are certain things to be considered.
1. Deciding whether yours is a full-fledged app or MVP.
2. Front-end and back-end elements
3. Testing stage

What is the procedure to build a video calling app from scratch?

To build a video chat app from scratch you need to perform the following steps:
1. Research the needs of your target audience.
2. Choose the features and functionalities you need.
3. Select the tech stack.
4. Hire a developers team.
5. Work on the budget of the project.
6. Start developing the video call app.


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Krishi Shivasangaran

Krishi Shivasangaran is a digital nomad and a veteran of Digital Marketing strategies. She is passionate about learning the newest trends in video APIs. And, when she's off-role, she loves to sketch and make people realize the true color of nature.

56 Comments

  1. Neelam says:

    I have a team already and i Want to explore more about live video chat app

    1. Hello Neelam, I am glad that you are interested to know more about our video calling solution. To be brief about our real time in-app chat solution, it is 100% customizable with over 150+ chat, voice and video calling features that can be integrated easily into any mobile or web app. To know more feel free to contact us. Thank you.

  2. Diana says:

    Let me know for One to one call solution or for Conferencing how much does the license cost and what the time will be taken

    1. Hi Diana, concerning your enquiry for one-to-one call or conference calling feature cost – our video calling solution is available at one time license cost with your desired features and you can contact us to have more clarity on pricing. Thank You!

  3. Kenny says:

    I want to create a live video chat app for my business and let me know the cost of it

    1. Hello Kenny Williams, great to know about your live video chat app. Brief about our video calling app you can avail our solution with end-to-end customization with over 150 + chat features. All this is available at one time license cost with customer feature option. To know more about, feel free to contact us to proceed further. Thank you!

  4. I Need Video Calling API for iOS and the same should be integrated into app

    1. Hi Rodger, Thanks for showing your interest in our video calling APIs and SDKs. As you have asked for our solution, it is available to be integrated into any iOS as well as web app. To know more about feel free to contact us. Thank You!

  5. Susan Maria says:

    I would like to have a demo of video calling api for android and I would be glad to arrange that.

    1. Thanks for showing your interest in our video calling app. Of course, you can have a demo of our solution to obtain more clarity. Feel free to contact our team and get the further guidance to proceed further. Thank you!

  6. Baskaran says:

    My Product based on Call center software, CRM, Social media, Agent workflow management. I need a live video call app, voice and chat features.

    1. Sure Baskaran, feel free to contact our team and have your demo version ready for trial. Thank you!

  7. Ivan says:

    We would like to test your features to use it an another project of mine in live video call app for android.

    1. Hello Ivan, as you have asked for you can have a trial with our demo version. For that contact our team and get the access to proceed further. Thank You!

  8. John Kendy says:

    I have to create one video chat app in special for writers. can i have a look at your demo?

    1. Hello John, sure if you want you can use our demo version to have more clarity with our video calling APIs and SDKs features and functionalities. To proceed with that you can contact our team and request for the same to proceed further. Thank You!

  9. Santhosh says:

    I want a demo about your products and services to make my live video call app for iOS.

    1. Hi Santhosh, Your product sound great with so many variety of stuff. Of course, our video calling API and SDK can support your project in all possible manner. To brief about our solution, its 100% customizable with over 150 + chat features and can be easily integrated into any mobile and web app. To know more in detail feel free to contact us to proceed further. Thank You!

  10. Andrew says:

    I need to build a voice, chat and video in 3 months. I got a team already to integrate live video call api

    1. Hello Andrew, Good to know about your voice, video and chat app requirement. Of course, our ready-made real time communication API and SDK could be a right choice for your project. As our solution is completely customizable, it can be integrated easily using our UI Kit and guided documentation with your in-house team itself. You can go live within a short period. To know more on with features and other issues, feel free to contact our team to proceed further. Thank You!

  11. Melvin says:

    Hello Team,

    Looking for a best video chat app in existing app that I build for schools, I need a video conferencing for whole classrooms which has 60 students for a section. Please let me know pricing for video chat app for both iOS and android.

    1. Hello Melvin, good day! I am really amazed at your work on building e-learning video calling app and that you are interested in our video APIs. MirrorFly’s video SDKs offers high-end video calling capabilities at ultra-low latencies and high scalability for both recurring monthly plan and custom pricing. If you would like to proceed further, please give a call to our experts.

  12. Wyatt says:

    Hi MirrorFly Team! We are a startup in the professional networking sector. We are interested in your live video call API solution. Similar to professional networking platforms like Airmeet and Brella, We are looking to put heavy emphasis on helping our users make new valuable connections through the best video chat app. I’m quite intrigued by your pricing structure breakdown as well as the video monetization feature. Let us know how to connect with you guys further to know more

    1. Hello, Wyatt! Great to know about your startup and thanks for taking interest in our video call API solution. Really glad that you found our pricing plan to be exciting. And for your knowledge, we offer a recurring monthly subscription and custom pricing plans. In case you are interested to proceed further, please talk to our experts.

  13. Avery says:

    Hello Team, I would like to know if your MirrorFly video chat platform support for flutter framework, and also if you provide a pre-built UI component I can run a test on the same, and also would like to know the pricing model of live video chat app for android. Do you have a pay-as-you-go model?

    1. Hello Avery, good day! Yes, we do support all the requirements that you listed, from offering Flutter tech stack for mobile app development to pre-built UI kits. Additionally, MirrorFly’s video chat SDK comes with a pay-as-you-go pricing model and a custom pricing option for developers to build apps at their convenience. So, if you are interested, please talk to our experts.

  14. Edith says:

    I have an idea to build live video chat app like WhatsApp so basically idea of this app is a communication app however the main purpose is for people to communicate across different languages. i want an app that will allow you to call someone in a different language and when we speak, the voice has to translated to their understanding in their language in real time. Do you provide Video API & SDK for my requirements with Monthly subscription plan.

    1. Hello Edit! Great to hear that you are building Whatsapp-like video chat apps!! And we’re really excited to tell you that our video SDKs offer the language translation feature that you are looking for at a recurring monthly subscription plan. And if you are interested to proceed further, please talk to our experts.

  15. Maiziee says:

    Hi! I am contacting you from a startup called bitz. We have created a online video chat platform where individuals can ask experts in different segments for advice. At the moment customers only get to ask one question, and we are looking to develop the same function into a video chat app where the customer and expert could have some sort of communication. Its a engaging Platform. Address this and let me know when shall we get connected.

    1. Hello, Maiziee, congrats on your startup, and really glad that you have created a video chat app for users. Yes of course, our video chat API and SDKs would be able to support your app’s requirements. Because, we offer some of the top features like single and group video calls, language translation, call muting, call logs, and more. If you are interested to proceed further, please talk to our experts to schedule a demo. Thank You!

  16. Brinly says:

    We looking for a white-label best video chat app to be integrated with our digital broadcasts platform for live streaming engagement amongst multiple participants.

    1. Hello, Brinly! Thanks for your interest in MirrorFly’s white-label video chat SDKs. Please contact our experts to get the help you require regarding our product and pricing.

  17. Piper says:

    We are a production company based out of Hyderabad, India and We are looking for an best video chat app. We would like to know more about the pricing and other commercial details.

    1. Hi, Piper! I’m indeed pleased that you are interested in our video chat SDK. And, as you asked about pricing, MirrorFly offers both custom pricing and a recurring monthly subscription to avail our high-end call features. Further, you may talk to our experts or visit our pricing page to know more about our pricing.

  18. Wren says:

    We are looking for a customized best video chat app for one of our clients. (They do not want to use zoom or any such platforms due to security concerns. Would be appreciated if you can arrange for a demo/call in the upcoming week.

    1. Hello, Wren! Thanks for opting us out of the box of so many video chat API providers!! And, we are glad to tell you that MirrorFly’s self-hosted video chat solution offers both white label and completely customizable video chat solutions for mobile and web apps for a one-time license cost. Please talk to our experts to schedule your call and get your queries resolved.

  19. Zachary says:

    We are developing a health care solution, so we need a best video chat app to continue the development of the communication module that we already built one. We are looking for a advanced communication app for our internal team

    1. Hello, Zachary, it is great that you are building a healthcare video chat app! And secondly thanks for your interest in us. MirrorFly’s video APIs are absolutely the best and ideal solution for any developer because we offer custom pricing and monthly packages for availing 150+ call and chat features that are all modern. And, our video SDKs render high scalability and ultra-low latencies. For more information, please talk to our experts.

  20. Myles says:

    Hi, we are a fintech company located in Singapore and Indonesia also in few more locations, we are looking for a best video chat app to our customer for live verification. It Would be great if we can arrange a time for a discussion.

    1. Hi Myles! It is really great that you are looking for MirrorFly’s API to integrate messaging features into your banking app. For details regarding our features or for integration support og pricing, please talk to our team of experts.

  21. Nethran says:

    Hi, I am developing a live video chat app for one of my client. I need a chat support. Can you give me more detail about pricing and video chat API details how I can test before purchase. Is there any demo project? Thanks, Nethran

    1. Hello, Nethran! Thanks for your interest in MirrorFly’s video calling SDKs and we are glad to tell you that we have a demo app to check out our in-app video chat features, and you may talk to our experts regarding this. Now coming over to pricing, we offer both monthly subscriptions at recurring basis and custom pricing plans to developers.

  22. Rithun says:

    Hi, We would like to create a live video chat app for a sales team of approximately 30 users. I would like to know the pricing and other features that surround your live video call api. Can we arrange a call this week? Thanks

    1. Hello, Rithun, thanks for your interest in MirrorFly’s video calling SDK, and it is amazing that you are creating a video chat app. Sure, you may talk to our experts and get your call scheduled at your convenience. And, you may opt for any of our pricing plans: recurring monthly plan or custom pricing model based on your needs.

  23. Yazar says:

    I am currently building a live videoo chat app for my business and i want to have the ability to group video call with minimum eight participants and one-to-one options also. Is it easy to customize the behavior of my app. Do you have samples? Kindly get back to me, as I need a solution fast.

    1. Hello, Yazar! Great piece of news about your video chat app development, really glad. And regarding the group video call feature, yes, MirrorFly’s video chat SDKs offer some of the high-end video call features like 1-to-1 and group video calls, call muting, language translation, call logs, and more at custom pricing and monthly subscriptions. Further, at a one-time license cost, you can avail 100% customizations on features and pre-built UI kits. Please talk to our experts to get an instant response to your queries.

  24. Christ says:

    Required to implement chat, group voice call, video call and screen sharing functionality in one of our client live video chat app. We are interested in licensing your product as part of our offering and would like to know more about your video call solutions.

    1. Hello Christ, firstly thanks for your response. And coming to your query, MirrorFly’s self-hosted video chat solution can be the ideal choice for you, as you are looking to own the features and brand them with your identity. Our self-hosted video SDKs render 100% customization on 150+ call and chat features and offer dedicated development support too at a one-time license cost. For more info, please talk to our experts.

  25. Dany says:

    Hi, Currently thinking to build a live video call app that will have the ability to make audio/video calls, can you provide me a list of prices? Please reply back to me with some more info. Thanks, Dany

    1. Hello, Danny! It is great news that you are building a video calling application and looking to integrate MirrorFly’s video and voice calling features into your app. Sure, we offer two pricing models – custom pricing and recurring monthly subscription for developers to build apps at their convenience. And, you can visit our pricing page to get more details on this.

  26. Neha says:

    Thanks for sharing such a great information. I read and manage blogs, the blog site is very interesting and effective. Keep posting.

    1. Thanks Neha, for your response to my article. My best wishes to you!

  27. Abishek says:

    We looking for a white-label webrtc video chat software to be integrated with our digital broadcasts platform

    1. Hello Abishek! Really nice to hear that you are looking for a white-label video chat solution for your platform. For information regarding MirrorFly’s video API features or for integration support, please talk to our experts.

  28. Nalan says:

    We are a production company based out of chennai India and we are looking for an white-label webrtc video call app. We would like to know more about the pricing and other commercial details from your team.

  29. Hello Nalan, thanks for your response. As you requested, MirrorFly’s video chat SDKs offer two pricing plans: Pay-as-you-go or SaaS plan and the other one is a One-time license cost (self-hosted). If you would like to build a white-label video chat solution and complete ownership of our call features, then our self-hosted pricing model will be the ideal choice. If you would like to know what more we offer, talk to our team of experts.

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