7 Best In-app Messaging APIs for App Developers

Usage of messaging software applications has predominantly increased in recent years with nearly 81% phone users in the U.S. using the texting feature to communicate with others.

As more smartphone users connect with friends, family or engage in workplace communications via messaging apps, nearly 56% of developers  are using messaging APIs to build applications. Hence, there is unlimited scope for developers to create new apps that are innovative and enhance the quality of communications. But the increasing use of social media platforms does raise questions about the use of messaging APIs in the future.

In the following sections let us review the future of Messaging APIs…

Messaging Apps: Past, Present, and Future  

The initial form of phone-based messaging was on SMS-based devices. But with the arrival of smartphones, this system of messaging was outgrown, though SMS continues to be used for verification purposes. The current form of messaging applications on smartphones has been very effective giving rise to hundreds of applications WhatsApp and others.

Similarly, social media-based messaging is also on the rise. Despite the popularity of either WhatsApp or Messenger or Instagram, there is yet scope for higher-levels of innovation and improvement by small teams to offer newer options.

While SMS has become obsolete, the scope for messaging app disruption is very high. Messaging APIs are being used by 93% of the communication service providers furthering the reach of these apps. But a constraint that software developers see is : will messaging apps take precedence over email in the future…

Will Messaging Apps dominate or Email services continue?

Email services have been consistently delivering communications for several decades at the organizational level.  However, the ‘dependency’ on cloud server synchronization often leads to lag during quick deliveries. 

Messaging apps are very agile and deliver messages instantly, and also have built-in audio calling and video-calling features for direct communication. Currently, emails are dominantly used for official communications, professional networking, negotiating business or video conferences.

Hence, both email and messaging apps complement each other in terms of weaknesses and strengths. Therefore, there is no foreseeable risk for developers to be afraid of becoming irrelevant because of email.   

Besides, the emerging technology of AI-driven chatbots is likely to be implemented in the latest messaging services given users readiness to interact with chatbots! They become a direct communication channel with users and open up avenues to collect feedback and  refine applications.

Also Read : Guide to Launch an Android TV App For Your Brand

Questions before using Messaging APIs  

Once you have realized the usefulness of using Messaging APIs as a developer, then your approach to build your app shall involve two critical aspects:

(1) what are the features you wish to include at the time of the launch and

(2) Which of these features will you support/update in the long term and to what extent?

After you have decided these

factors, let’s consider the features needed to build your app

You can explore the features you need in the following top-7 best in-app messaging APIs.

7 Best in-app Messaging API Providers for App Developers

1. CONTUS MirrorFly

Founded in 2013, CONTUS MirrorFly has been pioneering API-based services creating niche followers who have built great applications on this platform. The differentiating features that this provider offers have been driving the quick adaptation of this messaging   API extensively for community engagement and user experience.  It supports SAAP and SAAS based Chat, Voice and Video Call APIs for easy implementation with third party apps.


  •         Encrypted conversations
  •         24 X 5 support
  •         Analytics-driven conversations
  •         Text messaging
  •         Multiple channels
  •         Video calling
  •         Push notifications
  •         Offline messaging
  •         Live streaming and broadcasting

Pricing: Available now as a SaaS product, pricing various by active users. Basic plan called Essential Plan is priced $99/month

2. Twilio

This cloud communication services provider offers PaaS, with unified text, sound and video calling, and securing features like authentication with ample bandwidth to scale as per budgets.


  •         Rich messaging
  •         Permissions
  •         Group chat
  •         One-to-one chat
  •         Chat transcriptions
  •         Keyword filtering
  •         Offline message delivery

Pricing: It has a flexible pricing model with volume discounts and pay-as-you go. Active users are charged $0.03/user/month, storage is $0.25/GB/month

3.  Apphitect IM

A much-used solution for in-app messaging, this company has been offering rich features as white-label solutions. It uses technical stacks that ensure sustainability like Erlang for optimized UI performance, and an advanced XMPP app server for higher compatibility. It is mainly used for enterprise-level mobility functionality.


  •         Cross Platform Messaging
  •         Built on FreeBSD operating system
  •         Group chat
  •         HTML WebSocket important for communication services
  •         Spell Check
  •         Amazon web services for cloud storage
  •         File Transfer
  •         HMAC authentication

Pricing: Contact sales team for customized pricing

4. Slack

This iconic workspace platform for business messaging offers its API to interface queries and changes within its environment. Typical for ad-hoc queries and rich in-app messaging features that make office communications seamless on one platform, slack is  now owned by Salesforce, the cloud computing services provider.


  •         Transparent – channels are easily viewable and easily searchable
  •         Flexible – eases file sharing, clips and real-time messaging
  •         Collaboration – is highly intuitive
  •         Secure
  •         Integrations are seamless
  •         Automated

Pricing :  Three types – free to use with limited features (2) Annually bills $6.67 USD/active user/month(3) Monthly billed $8 USD/active user/month

5.  One Signal

The uniqueness of this messaging API is the support it provides for high volume, cross-platform and push notification. So, if you want to optimize push notification features, this is the API for you, since it is available on email as well as web. Therefore, integrating it to enhance user’ experience on any type of device is also easy. Ideal for use when planning to add a chatbox feature in the app


  •         Built to scale
  •         Seamless sending
  •         Create different user segments for personalized messages
  •         Managing user data
  •         Retrieve statistics of notifications
  •         Active users database
  •         User filters as per target or specific audience
  •         Cancel notifications

Pricing: Different pricing segments: (1) Free to use (2) $9/month for $3/1k push subs and $3/1k in-app (3) $99/month for $3/1k subs for push notifications and $3/1k/in-app impressions (4) custom pricing also available

6. Sendbird

This provider’s vision is to build connections across the online world and move forward from where SMS messages became slow. Headquartered in San Mateo, California, and a strong presence in Korea, Singapore and London, Sendbird has been pushing the horizons of messaging apps innovation. The USP of this chat API is to allow developers to include back-end chat services and server infrastructure for running real-time chat within any app.


  •         Message Translation
  •         Ticketing based support
  •         Moderation and filters
  •         Dedicated servers for customized use
  •         Data export
  •         Peak concurrent connections
  •         Advanced Messaging

Pricing : Free Trial for developers (1) Starter 5K at $399/month(2) Pro 5K at $599/month

7.  Intercom

An app that has more enterprise level implementation for its chat tools, its success has been with handling customer queries at websites about products.  Since this type of usage involves a large variety of contexts, data use is also very high.  The focus is no ensuring that all services are rendered seamless without disconnect between chat strategies and marketing technology so that the customer experience remains excellent.


  •         Notes
  •         Segments
  •         Tags
  •         Company categories
  •         Data attributes
  •         Update
  •         Export
  •         Manage data

Pricing : $65/month for a year for startups

Beginning development with Messaging APIs

Hence, if you want to build from scratch just building and launching an app cannot be your final goal. Instead, you should consider creating for tomorrow, keeping in mind what the end users would need.

When you use Messaging APIs you have the comfort of building the next most-popular messaging app with new engaging features with minimum turnaround time and development costs.