Real-time Technology Glossary

An ever-growing repository of technical terms around real-time technology and beyond.

What is In-App Chat?

In-app chat is a chat interface within an app or product, enabling users to communicate in real time privately or in a group. In-app chat features can be as simple as solely allowing messages to be sent between the users, or can include any number of advanced chat features like typing indicators, user profiles, user lists, or push

Examples of In-App Chat

  • Customer service chat on an eCommerce site: Shoppers are able to ask questions and get support from a live service representative or chatbot.
  • In-game chat in a multiplayer game: Gamers are able to communicate with each other in real time directly in the game interface.
  • Embedded chat in a business collaboration appTeam members can communicate with each other within their larger collaboration environment.
  • Complimentary chat in a live event stream interface: Audience members watching a live event stream can chat in groups at massive scale, or directly about what they're watching.

Why In-App Chat?

According to the 2016 Mobile Messaging Report, 51% of people say a business should be available 24/7 and 46% prefer messaging over email to contact a business. More than half of US users between the ages of 18 and 55 have used chatbots. And messaging app sessions are growing 44% year over year.

In-app chat is a staple of every interactive application and product we use, whether it be web, mobile, or progressive web app. One major benefit of in-app messaging is keeping users in the application itself. If in-app messaging isn't included, users leave the app and use other means for communicating. That means less engagement for the application and overall less stickiness for user retention. Another major benefit of in-app chat is the room for innovation and improvement. In launching in-app chat (and choosing the right extensible services to build and power it), advanced features like chatbots can be integrated as product adoption and the user base grows.

In-App Chat vs. In-App Messaging

In-app chat is the 1:1 or group real-time, bidirectional communication that takes place in an app or product. In-app messaging are automated messages delivered in-app in response to what the user is doing or service they're interacting with. For example, if a user has hailed a taxi in an on-demand app, the application pings them with alerts like letting them know how close their driver is, confirming the end of the ride, and asking them to rate their driver. These are all automatic, triggered alerts that help enhance the user experience and keep the user in the loop while they use the app.

In brief, in-app chat is for communication and connectivity, while in-app messaging is for engagement and growth.1

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