In the previous article, we have explained about the technologies being used by each of the solution providers. This was the first step in taking a decision as to which software to rely upon for chat integration. The next important set of parameters to evaluate is from the user’s perspective.
Let us understand the features which users will enjoy.
Audio And Video Calling
We all know how important it has become for users to have the option to converse face to face. With instant messaging applications like Messenger, WhatsApp making it their USP, enterprises wouldn’t want to lag behind. IP based Audio and Video calling is being offered by Applozic, Layer and Quickblox, while Sendbird is yet to release this feature.
SMS and Email Fallback
Although internet penetration has been immense and in-app messaging is undoubtedly on the rise, users still need a mechanism to be notified in its absence. SMS and email fallback allow users to receive messages on their mobile phones in case they are not connected to the internet or by email if they are not using the application. It assures that no message is missed or lost. This unique feature is offered by Applozic and Layer only. Sendbird and Quickblox are yet to offer SMS Email fallback.
Chat UI Kit
Users enjoy an easy to navigate mobile/ website application. With unique UI toolkit designers and developers can provide the same user experience even inside the chat application provided by third parties. To meet these needs Applozic and Layer provides an open source toolkit which allows designers and developers to completely customize UI as per their requirements. On the contrary, Sendbird offers limited capabilities with its open source sample UI kit and Quickblox with its chat view controller.
Number of Members allowed in Group Chat:
This is the age of networking and users with similar interests love to stay connected. Users love to form groups based on interests in apps they use instead of migrating to third party app always.Group Dynamics, not only induces engagement but also plays an active role in knowledge sharing. With Applozic and Sendbird there is no upper limit on the number of users in a group. However, in Quickblox you may need to host it on a dedicated AWS infrastructure for better performance.
Layer has kept a limit of 25 on the number of members a group can have.
Applozic, being a White Label SDK is highly customizable and allow developers to build chat the way they want. It has seen compounding growth among developers in platforms like Stack Overflow, Github, Reditt since its inception. On the other hand Sendbird and Layer have seen growth at a constant rate. Quickblox enjoys a good number of followers in Stack Overflow.
Customer Support is a determining factor for SaaS since unlike other products, for most businesses relying on SaaS – operations can come to a standstill even for minor malfunctions. Applozic has tried to redefine customer support in this domain with 24X7 connectivity across different channels like email, Skype and support chat. The typical response time is anywhere between few mins to an hour, whereas Sendbird, Quickblox and Layer are known to reply in days.
Conversational Commerce is a term coined by Uber’s Chris Messina in a Medium article in early 2015. It explains the power of Messaging and its impact on sales. It explains how business would see messaging as a mode to convert and earn. This has become a reality with mobile app and website developers integrating real time chat within their apps. However, relying on in-house capabilities to build and maintain a chat plugin comes with lots of disadvantages. It is advisable to buy 3rd party SaaS solutions and get rid of all worries at once. Have a look at our take on Build vs Buy.
Some of the solutions providers in this domain are:
A Bit of Background:
A white label and fully customizable communication platform that offers almost all types of conversations rich messaging, offline conversations, audio/video calling is yet to be perceived widely. There’s only a handful players globally with QuickBlox starting in 2011 followed by Sendbird and Layer in 2013 and then Applozic in 2015.
Every organization has tried it to position itself as a complete messaging solution provider. Applozic presents itself as, “Chat & In-App Messaging for Mobile and Web apps”, Sendbird as “Messaging and Chat API for Mobile Apps and Websites”, Layer as ”The power of messaging for every mobile and web product” and Quickblox as “Cloud Communication Backend API As A Service For Mobile And Web Apps”.
Though one can’t make out any major difference from their positioning statement but the protocol chosen by each one of them clearly highlights how Applozic has an edge over others. Applozic employs MQTT protocol, the standard for real-time communication, and is also used by Google and Facebook. Infact, all Internet of Things (IoT) devices are using this protocol due to its ability to exchange data faster as it creates several endpoints for data exchange. On the other hand, Sendbird uses Websockets, which is mainly developed for web applications as it is server based and can send message to specific clients/group of clients and the concept of Publisher and Subscriber which MQTT uses, is absent. Layer uses Push protocol which is a simple protocol to deliver real- time events. Quickblox uses XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol), a communications protocol which requires more space for encryption and storage, is not lightweight like MQTT and has more overheads.
Cross Application Support
Today, we see different applications for different types of users, Uber has one app for riders and other for drivers. With rise in mobile penetration every application being developed has its own niche category. Developers are finding parameters to find a common linkage for applications lying in the same umbrella. Applozic offers a unique capability which allow users on different apps to connect seamlessly on the same communication channel.
One of its customers, CarTrade has separate apps for car buyers and sellers. Applozic’s Chat SDK makes it possible for both parties to chat with each other from their respective app.
This feature is yet to be rolled out by any of its alternatives like Sendbird, Layer and Quickblox.
Today, users no longer use messages for exchanging only text. Rich messaging, thus allows users to share audio, video, images, contacts and location. Applozic, Sendbird and Layer support exchange of smart messages. It supports passing additional data as key-value pair. Quickblox is yet to offer this ability in its platform.
Broadcast Messaging and Push Notifications
Message Broadcasting and Push Notifications has been doing the rounds for quite some time as effective engagement tool.
Message Broadcasting helps businesses to leverage the immediacy of text messaging with the effectiveness of One-to-One Conversation. Applozic, Sendbird and Layer provide Message Broadcasting feature, while QuickBlox doesn’t.
Push Notifications is used to engage users for cross or up selling and re-ordering. All providers allow admin to setup push notification for its users.
The major advantage here is sending Broadcast Messages and Push Notifications with Applozic is relatively easy, can be done directly from the Admin Dashboard and the best part it requires no technical know-how. Also, it supports third party push service if you use any already.
Data is the new oil of the digital economy and hence it is must for organizations to ensure data backup. With data export option all your chat will be safe and you can extract it at any point of time. Sendbird, Quickblox and Layer allows data export option only for enterprise customers in either JSON (Layer) or XML (Quickblox) format. With Applozic this feature is available for all kinds of subscribers and with multiple options like direct excel/csv export from dashboard, APIs for bulk export and Webhook support for real time data delivery to your servers.
Applozic provides the most advanced dashboard with modern UI and analytics. It is designed to help strategist in meeting the business goals.Sendbird and Layer provides a modern UI but with only basic features. Quickblox allows users to customize their dashboard but with a classic UI.
Please note: Applozic offers a custom price for start-ups as per their business goals and financial capabilities.
Know more about user features each solution master offers in our next post.
Customer’s rising requirement for content, communication and marketing to be in their own terms, have made Messaging stand out as a form of direct and personal communication that allows you to get closer to your customer, more than any other channel. Message Broadcasting, hence is the mode of communication that helps businesses leverage the immediacy of Text Messaging with the effectiveness of One-to-One Conversation. It not only has the power to engage your customers on a daily basis but also can initiate context based two way conversations that help in boosting sales.
In this article we will highlight details about Message Broadcasting and as we do so, we will also highlight different Use Cases of the same
Let me first explain what Message Broadcasting actually is:
Message Broadcasting allows Organizations to send a message to a list of subscribers directly on their Internet-enabled devices. In most cases, these messages can be scheduled for broadcast based on the recipient’s time zone and other preferences in order to achieve the maximum impact.
Use Cases of Message Broadcasting:
In this section we will laborate how few of our customers are using Message Broadcasting:
- Message Broadcasting is extensively used by businesses to make any sort of announcements to Users. These announcements can be promotional, informational and even educational.
- Another widespread use can be seen in Project Management Applications for internal communication between employees. These messages can be about Task Updates, Project Status intimation, Major Announcements at Organizational/Departmental Level etc.
Other prevalent uses that we have seen are:
- Sending generic updates to all Users about New Feature Release or major updates
- News apps: Sending latest News snippets to Users
- Sports app: For sending score updates, Match Result updates etc.
- Emergency Services: To send alerts to Users about Emergency situations, Precautionary Measures during Emergencies etc.
Message Broadcasting – Cheaper and more Effective compared to SMS:
The widespread adoption of smartphones and the emergence of mobile apps as the new rising stars, has shifted focus from SMS to In-App Messaging for most online businesses. This apart the availability of low cost alternatives and the popularity of IP-Based Messaging platforms like WhatsApp have made consumers comfortable with In-App Messaging. Therefore Message Broadcasting being IP based is both economic for the broadcaster as it negates the need to subscribe to Bulk SMS packages and also convenient at the same time. Simultaneously Users are also open to receiving Broadcast Messages as the communication takes place within the confines of the app.
Opt In to a Message Broadcasting List:
The first step to Message Broadcasting is creating a list of subscribers. This is important because Mobile being a very personal device, users want communication to be on their own terms. Hence it is important to seek permission from Users before sending them Broadcast Messages of any type, be it promotional or informative/educational etc.
The best way to do so is by using “Click to Join” widgets, another way can be by using short code keywords that can be sent over the chat window, for example, send “JOIN” to get exclusive offers right in your inbox.
Sort and Segment your Subscriber list:
This is probably the most important step in the overall Message Broadcasting process. Getting Customers to subscribe to your Broadcast list is one thing, but engaging them with the content and ultimately making them click on the content is the real deal.
For a clear analogy let’s consider television, where hundreds of commercials are vying to grab your eyeballs at the same time, but does every advertisement instigate you equally? The answer is no, it doesn’t. Just like television ads, where the level of interest one manages to invoke depends on a large number of factors like the relevance to the audience, based on the demographic, the audience’s interest etc. not all kinds of broadcast messages are equally welcome. Hence once a recipient list is compiled it should be sorted into groups for easier management, so that recipients only receive messages that are relevant to them.
Ways to segment your list:
There are various ways in which companies can segment their Subscriber list:
- The most traditional way to do it is based on User demographics which can be the age, gender and location of the user.
- Another way to segment users can be based on User interests, which can be collected at any point during the User onboarding journey, similar to how companies like Stumble Upon or Quora does where one needs to select a minimum of 3 or more interests before proceeding further in the signup process.
- A more recent approach is based on analyzing User-Generated Data. Companies monitor User Behavior and draw insights into the same to realize their current need and interest to segment them into relevant lists. This is more welcome as most of the resulting communication is contextual.
At Applozic Inc. we not only provide an end-to-end communication platform for custom messaging, but also have provisions for Data Export using Webhooks so that businesses have access to Real Time User Data for analytics.
Sending Broadcast Messages using Applozic:
Once all these setup has been done, sending a Broadcast Message using Applozic is very simple. All you need to do is Login to your Applozic Dashboard, navigate to the Broadcast Message Section, Compose your Message and Send to the list of your choice. Yes it is that simple, you don’t need any technical expertise for sending Broadcast Messages anymore.
Have you started integrating Chat into your Mobile and Web apps for more Customer Engagement?
If not, Sign Up now or get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would love to hear from you about your business and consult with you about your specific Use Case on how you can use our platform to build Real Time Chat & Messaging in your apps, that can help you engage your Customers better.