How to Develop a Messaging App Like Telegram?

By Sudeep Srivastava
October 18, 2019 4. min read
Last update on: July 16, 2021

Messaging apps have always been popular. 

But when Facebook acquired WhatsApp, startups’ third eye of innovation opened. And we saw a new slew of messaging apps entering the sector and the existing ones expanding their business model. 

Facebook’s acquisition of Whatsapp, which was one of the biggest business deals of 2014, presumed to make Facebook all the more profitable, ironically flamed the demand for Telegram application – one that was operating as a sidelined app before. 

Users who were already wary of Facebook in terms of how it used their data, switched to Telegram – the app which offered end-to-end encryption of messages. And within no time, without any single point promotional effort, the download rate of the messaging app increased by 1.8 million users.

Between then and now, the messaging industry has not just acknowledged Telegram as a top player but is finding answers to how to develop a messaging app like Telegram. 

Today, we are going to look into the different facets of Telegram like messaging app development, helping you get to the bottom of what made Telegram successful and the roadmap you will have to follow to become a success. 

Must-Have Features for Telegram App Development

Being a messaging app, the features and functionalities that Telegram app comes with is similar to other messaging app platforms operative in the industry. 

To revise, here are some of the features to make a messaging app like Telegram – Login, Text functionality, Creation of Group, Ability to make calls, Notifications, sharing of live locations, etc. 

User-Side Features of Telegram Application

User-Side Features of Telegram Application

Admin-Side Features of Telegram Application

Admin Features: Telegram

In addition to these features, there are some functions of messaging apps like Telegram that help the brand stand ahead of its competitors. 

Here are what those Telegram specific features are:

1. Multi-Platform Availability

The foremost advantage of Telegram is that it is not only active on Android and iOS, but also Web. So, you can take the help of either an app development company or take an iPhone development route to get started with the process of when you build a Telegram-like app

2. End to End Encryptions

Another advantage of Telegram is that it is one of those few messaging apps that use end to end encryption to safeguard the information shared on the platform. 

3. Multiple Accounts

The app allows users to log in from multiple accounts and use the application from different numbers, instead of restricting their usage on one number, like in the case of WhatsApp messaging application. 

4. Chatbots

Telegram was one of the first messaging platforms to include the functionality of chatbots within the application. The bot helps users with a number of tasks starting from reporting the recent news to enabling in-app purchases

5. Cloud Storage

Telegram works on cloud storage. And since cloud storage is known to be dynamic, it allows users to access their data from anywhere once it is saved in the app, without asking them to back-up their data. 

This cloud storage facility also enables them to track their sessions and download files any time they see fit. 

6. File Type and Size

The maximum data size that you can transfer within the application is 1.5 Gigabytes. The app also does not stop users from sending over specific file types. This makes the platform a go-to messaging app for people who use rare file types. 

7. Multiple Groups Creation

There are two types of groups which you can create on telegram application:

Normal Groups – Ones where you add people from the contact list. These can have 200 bots and members 

Super Groups – Every group can be promoted as a Super Group which is private and can have over 100,000 members and bots. 

While the features that Telegram comes packaged with, already creates a distinction between the famous messaging app and its competitors, what truly sets it apart is the user experience that it offers to its stakeholders. 

Telegram App User Experience Module

Telegram App User Experience Module

The application, straight from its onboarding page, highlights the best of its offerings and showcases what the users will get when they’ll install the application. 

From the moment you sign in, the whole user flow that follows, makes the application an example of a focused, minimalistic mobile app

Telegram App User Experience Module

The colour combination and icons, and text combination that Telegram uses is also directed towards making it an easy in and out experience for the users. 

Elements wise, they have not added multiple functionalities in the application that would take the focus away from messaging or making video calls. 

Creation of an application that can support an expensive feature set and minimal design standards like Telegram app business model does, calls for a technology stack that is hand-picked to provide a safe ecosystem for millions of users to interact and share data in real-time without any lags and breaches. 

Let us look at the probable Telegram tech stack to operate on next.

Technology Stack of Telegram Application

Telegram application is assumed to be made on some of the most robust technological combination of the modern time, which includes C++, Cocoa, JavaScript, and Objective-C etc. Check out the Telegram tech stack to choose from:

Technology Stack of Telegram

How Much Does it Cost to Develop an App like Telegram?

Even though the factors that affect mobile chat application development cost remains the same in case of Telegram app like it would be in any other app, the cost of Telegram application is several numbers ahead of the developmental cost of messaging apps like WhatsApp, Android Messages and Facebook messenger etc. 

The reason behind the greater cost of developing messaging apps like Telegram is the backend technologies it works around and the measures it takes to keep the data secure and unhackable.

Additionally, the fact that the app witnesses millions of users being active on the platform in real-time, performing multiple actions like messaging, making calls, making in-app payments, shopping, etc. makes the designing and development of the application all the more cost inducing compared to other apps in the same category. 

How Does Telegram Makes Money? What is the Telegram Business Model?

Business/revenue model is the core structure of any business. This offline business necessity holds equal prominence in the online/ mobile space as well. 

Businesses, irrespective of what category they operate in and what user size backs them need inflow of funds to keep the operation afloat – At least that is what we have grown to believe in. 

Telegram, opposedly, did not have a single source of revenue planned for themselves till much recently. Meaning, the Telegram revenue model was something that never existed in the company’s books. 

Right from the company’s establishment, the founder, Pavel Durov has been very clear that Telegram will never be a money-making business. The aim would always be on offering a safe, encrypted platform for people to interact in. This is the reason why the brand never saw funding coming in from only source nor any other mode of revenue generation. Telegram is till date working on the money that Pavel received upon selling his social media platform. 

But as the rule of the business goes, you cannot grow your business forever until you maintain a balance between expense and revenue. Telegram took its first step monetization 3 years back where the team developed and released paid stickers on iMessage and the money which is being earned through the medium is being used to pay designers and developers. 

Now while the amount earned through this Telegram revenue model route is not enough, the brand assures users that it will introduce non-essential options but will never turn towards advertisements option to earn money for making profit is not their end goal. 

But just because Telegram’s founder had a financial back doesn’t mean you would to. In order for you to survive in the industry, you will have to look into multiple ways to earn money on your Telegram app clone. 

How To Make Money With An App Like Telegram?

There are four most-applied ways that are a part of chat application monetization model, through which messaging apps generally make money and how you can too. Here are what those ways are:

Advertising 

Partnering with brands to show their ads on the app is one of the most incorporates ways to earn money on your app. Everytime a user clicks on an app, you get money in return from the business. 

In-App purchase 

You can add elements in your application like Stickers or Gifs which you can allow your users to purchase in monetary terms. 

In-App money transfer

Although this would require you to expand your messaging app business, you can create a structure for your users to send money to other users from within the application. This way, while you will get a portion of the transaction fees, they will not have to jump to other applications to perform the task. 

Gaming 

In this part of the application you can give your users the ability play games within the application by making payment – either to play the game or jump to the next level. 

Business Level Challenges In Making An App Like Telegram

While now we know how to create a messaging app like Telegram, there are still a few challenges in the way. The challenges that startups might face when developing a complex application like Telegram are majorly four-fold. Two of those issues are such which would need a technical solution while there are two issues which have to be solved by the business itself. 

Choosing the Platform 

While Telegram is available on all – Android, iOS, and Web, the maximum installs that it gets is from Android. While Telegram has reached a business level where it can afford lags in terms of low traffic, for a startup, it will be very important to choose between Android and iOS platforms to start with and then decide whether or not to expand into the Web platform.  

A wrong decision on this front can lead to startups losing a good portion of their limited money in vain. 

Database Choice especially on Concurrency Grounds 

The next technically inclined challenge that businesses can face would be in terms of the data+base choice. An issue that emerges with developing Telegram architecture for messaging apps of all types and complexities.

Ideally, they should prepare for a Telegram-like messaging app development process that would prepare the app to handle multiple users in real time, assuming they are all performing the most server draining tasks like uploading large sized documents or doing video calls. 

As a mobile app development company that specializes in the development of complex telegram-like messaging app development, we make use of Microservices architecture instead of Monolithic to ensure that the app never crashes and is ready to hold millions of concurrent users, with all of them performing highly complex tasks. 

Microservice Architecture and its uses

Raising Money for Development and/or Expansion

The technicalities, minimalist design, and complexities that Telegram-like messaging app development process comes attached with doesn’t just make it a time taking affair but also a highly costly one. 

While Telegram has a financial backup to manage their operations, assuming you are a startup that doesn’t have the same privilege, you will arrange for funds to build a Telegram app clone

Attracting Users 

Telegram claims that it has till date not spent a dime on the promotion of the messaging platform. The mediums that have helped them spread their business actively and attract new users are:

Telegraph

It is a publishing tool which lets users develop fully formatted post along with media files. Additionally, the Telegraph posts are supported by the Instant view functionality, making it easy to access content within the application. 

Gaming Platform

Telegram comes with a Gaming platform that allows you to develop HTML5 games with minimal sounds and graphics. These games are then loaded on-demand like web pages instead of asking to be downloaded on the users’ devices. 

Telegram Passport 

The service lets users store their personal data like passports, national IDs, receipts, and bills etc. on the cloud which is protected with end-to-end encryption. The messaging platform itself cannot access the data, which makes it an attraction point for security focused users. 

Bot APIs

The API enables developers to connect their program to the Telegram system. They also give mobile app developers a space to create their own bots, which can even be powered by Artificial Intelligence. 

FAQs About Telegram Like Messaging App Development

Q. Which is the best platform to make messaging apps like Telegram?

The answer to it would depend entirely on your users demographics. If you are looking to make a presence among both business and individual users, you too should take the Telegram route and release a Telegram clone android app, an iPhone version of it, and a Web application as well. 

Q. What database does Telegram use?

Telegram uses the Telegram Database Library. TDLib takes care of all network implementation details, encryption and local data storage, so that developers can dedicate more time to design, responsive interfaces and beautiful animations.

Q. Does Telegram replace WhatsApp?

Well, on the security assurance grounds, it will. But on the brand adoption ground, which is based on the promotional efforts, it might not.

Final Note

While Telegram has taken an unconventional route to promote their application, you can follow the usual practices to promote your application – advertisements, creation of websites, using social media to promote the app, pushing it on product sites like Product Hunt, etc. 

If you want to create a social media app like Telegram or hire social media app developers, contact a reputed social media app development company. A social network app development company will guide you through the entire process to build social networking app. 

 

Sudeep Srivastava
Sudeep Srivastava
DIRECTOR & CO-FOUNDER
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