The current explosion of intuitive messaging applications has taken digital communication to a whole new level. These apps allow users to communicate with each other more conveniently than the traditional means like SMS and MMS. The latest messaging apps allow you to communicate in all ways imaginable – from voice and video calling to text messaging, to photo uploading and sharing; they provide an extensive range of rich interaction services.
Most of the messaging applications have exposed their APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to enable developers to integrate their communication capabilities into their applications.
We looked at several messaging APIs based on the following five main criteria:
- API features: We assessed the various communication features of each of the APIs.
- Platform availability: We examined the types of environments that support the running of the applications.
- Popularity: We evaluated the popularity of each of messaging applications. Knowing their popularity will assist you to determine whether integrating them for your use case is worthwhile.
- Price: We reviewed the cost of using the APIs for building communication capabilities.
- Ease of use: We scrutinized the ease of embedding each of the messaging APIs into applications.
Ultimately, we created the following list of top 10 best messaging APIs.
- WhatsApp API
- Slack API
- Telegram API
- Facebook Messenger API
- Skype API
- Viber API
- WeChat API
- Line API
- LiveAgent API
- BrainShop.AI API
Top 10 Best Messaging APIs
TL;DR: Here’s a table summarizing our findings.
|API||API Features||Platform Availability||Popularity||Price||Easy to Use?|
|WhatsApp API||Create a business profile, chat with customers, send images, make video and voice calls||Mobile, web, desktop||1.5 billion monthly active users||Free||Yes|
|Slack API||Send messages, join or leave channels, track mentions, create files||Mobile, web, desktop, Apple Watch||8 million monthly active users||Free and paid plans from $6.67 per active user per month||Yes|
|Telegram API||Create bots, send and receive messages, check messages, create groups||Mobile, web, desktop||200 million monthly active users||Free||Yes|
|Facebook Messenger API||Send and receive various content, accept payments, discover users, get profiles, monitor performance.||Mobile and web||1.3 billion monthly active users||Free||Yes|
|Skype API||Create bots, perform interviews, make video call and chats||Mobile, web, desktop, smart devices||300 million monthly active users||Free||Yes|
|Viber API||Send and receive text messages, make video calls, get users’ details||Mobile and desktop||260 million monthly active users||Free||Yes|
|WeChat API||Send and receive messages, get users’ details, make voice and video calls, send images||Mobile, web, desktop||1 billion monthly active users||Free||Yes|
|Line API||Send reply messages, send push messages, group chat, get users’ profiles, send video or audio messages||Mobile, Chrome web browser, desktop||200 million monthly active users||Free||Yes|
|LiveAgent API||Get list of companies, register new users, get reports, engage in conversations||Web and desktop||150 million end users||Free trial and paid plans from $9 per agent per month||Yes|
|BrainShop.AI API||Create AI-powered chat bot, engage in human-like conversations||Mobile, web, desktop||Low||Free and paid plans from $99 per month||Yes|
Table of Contents
1. WhatsApp API
WhatsApp is a Facebook-owned cross-platform messaging application that enables users to communicate simply and reliably.
API features: WhatsApp has an API called the WhatsApp Business API that empowers businesses to leverage the features of the service in communicating with customers. With the API, you can create a business profile that describes your offerings, chat with customers in real-time, send images and other media, make video calls and voice calls, and more.
Platform availability: Apart from mobile platforms, the application can also run on the web and desktop computers.
Popularity: WhatsApp is currently the most popular messaging application in the world. As of October 2018, it was boasting of a monthly user base of more than 1.5 billion people from around the world. Therefore, you can realize your communication objectives if you integrate it into your application.
Price: The WhatsApp Business API is provided for free.
Ease of use: Facebook is known for providing comprehensive documentations to assist developers in easily integrating its services into their applications, and the WhatsApp API is a testament to this. Furthermore, there is a vibrant community of developers who are always willing to assist each other make the most of the API.
2. Slack API
Slack is a messaging application that is mainly used for managing communications between teams.
API features: Slack provides several APIs for integrating messaging capabilities into applications. For example, the Real Time Messaging API, sometimes simply called “RTM API,” is an API that enables you to receive real-time Slack events and send messages to other Slack users. Some of the API event types include mentions, sending messages, joining or leaving a channel, or creating a file. The Slack APIs also supports integrations with an extensive range of third-party applications and services, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and GitHub.
Platform availability: Besides the traditional web browser, Slack is also available on mobile devices, desktop computers, and Apple Watch.
Popularity: As of May 2018, the team collaboration application had a daily user base of more than 8 million people.
Price: You can use the Slack messaging APIs for free, but you’ll be limited to up to 10,000 message searches, up to 10 apps integrations, and one-to-one video calls. To benefit from unrestricted features, you’ll need to go for any of its paid plans, which starts from $6.67 per active user, per month.
Ease of use: Slack has easy-to-follow documentation and helpful tutorials to assist you in implementing the APIs within minutes.
3. Telegram API
Telegram is a messaging service that aims to offer secure, fast, and simple communication to users.
API features: Telegram provides two types of APIs: the Bot API and the Telegram API. With the APIs, you can access and embed the functionality of the messaging application into your specific use case. The Bot API enables you to create bots that interact with the Telegram system and complete tasks automatically, such as receiving notifications, replying to users, and integrating with other third-party services. On the other hand, the Telegram API allows you to create Telegram apps and complete various tasks on the platform, such as sending and receiving messages, checking your messages, and creating groups.
Platform availability: Telegram is available in multiple operating systems and environments—mobile, web, or desktop.
Popularity: As of October 2018, Telegram had more than 200 million monthly active users.
Ease of use: Telegram has detailed documentation on how to use the APIs. Furthermore, there is a vibrant community of developers who support each other in implementing the Telegram APIs.
Messenger is Facebook’s standalone messaging application that simplifies the exchanging of instant messages and other interactive content.
API features: The Facebook Messenger API allows developers to integrate capabilities for sending and receiving different types of content, accepting payments, discovering new people, retrieving IDs and profiles of Facebook users, harnessing Facebook’s natural language processing technologies, and monitoring performance using Facebook Analytics.
Platform availability: Facebook Messenger is available on web and mobile operating systems.
Popularity: As of October 2018, Facebook Messenger had more than 1.3 billion monthly active users, which makes it the second most popular messaging platform after WhatsApp.
Price: The API is offered for free.
Ease of use: Facebook provides easy-to-follow documentation, templates, and tutorials to ensure you integrate the Messenger application faster and without many hassles.
5. Skype API
Skype is a messaging application that offers real-time chat, video chat, and voice calls services between a wide range of platforms and devices.
API features: With the Skype APIs, you can customize and extend the functionalities of the application to suit your needs. For example, you can use the Skype Bots API to create bots for personalized interaction with people and the Skype Interviews API to create customized and scheduled interviews. Skype also allows you to embed video calling and chatting capabilities to your website and integrate payment methods for secure and convenient purchase experiences.
Platform availability: Skype can be run on desktop computers, mobile devices, smart devices, Xbox One, or the web.
Popularity: As of October 2018, Skype had more than 300 million monthly active users.
Price: The Skype APIs are offered for free.
Ease of use: There are in-depth developer materials, code examples, how-to documentations, and other useful resources to help you in comfortably implementing the Skype APIs for your use case.
6. Viber API
Viber is a messaging application that enables users to communicate with each other using instant calls, texts, video messages, and pictures.
API features: The Viber API lets you implement the features of the software and build unique user experiences. The API comes with methods for sending and receiving text messages, interacting with video messages, sending messages to multiple Viber users, getting users’ details, and many more.
Platform availability: Viber can be run on mobile devices and desktop computers.
Popularity: As of October 2018, Viber had more than 260 million monthly active users.
Ease of use: Viber provides comprehensive documentation that enables developers to integrate the API fast and without any obstacles.
7. WeChat API
WeChat is an instant messaging application that is widely used for powering free text chats, video messages, and voice chats.
API features: The WeChat API enables developers to access and embed the features of the software into their use cases. The API comes with methods for sending and receiving messages, getting users’ details, getting users’ location, interacting with voice, video, image, and music content, and many more.
Platform availability: The WeChat application can be deployed on mobile devices, desktop computers, or on the web.
Popularity: WeChat is popular around the world, especially among the Chinese. As of October 2018, it had more than 1 billion monthly active users, which makes it the third most popular messaging platform after Facebook Messenger.
Price: The WeChat API is offered for free.
Ease of use: WeChat provides comprehensive developer documentation and SDKs to help you in supercharging your application with the API quickly and seamlessly.
8. LINE API
LINE is an instant messaging service that allows users to communicate via video, audio, images, and text messages.
API features: The LINE Messaging API allows developers to tap into the LINE’s platform and create two-way communication possibilities between their applications and LINE users. With the API, you can send push messages, engage in group chats, retrieve user profiles, and send different types of messages such as video, image, audio, or text messages.
Platform availability: The LINE application can be run on mobile devices, desktop computers, and on the Chrome web browser.
Popularity: Although LINE is largely popular in some Asian countries such as Japan, Thailand, and Indonesia, it has also attracted a large number of global users. As of October 2018, it had more than 200 million monthly active users worldwide.
Price: The LINE Messaging API is offered for free.
Ease of use: LINE has provided easy-to-follow documentation on how to get started implementing the API into your application.
LiveAgent is an online application that offers the ability to engage in real-time conversations with website visitors.
API features: The LiveAgent API provides various methods for accessing your LiveAgent account and interacting with users. For example, the API allows you to get a list of companies, register new customers, get reports, start new conversations, delete conversations, and access knowledge base information. LiveAgent also supports integrations with an extensive range of third-party applications and tools.
Platform availability: The LiveAgent software can be deployed on the web and desktop computers.
Popularity: LiveAgent is used by more than 150 million end users around the world.
Price: LiveAgent offers a 14-day trial period where you can try all the features of the API for free. Thereafter, you can pick any of its paid plans, which starts from $9 per agent per month to $39 per agent per month.
Ease of use: LiveAgent provides an in-depth developer documentation and code examples to assist you in easily embedding live chatting into your application.
10. BrainShop.AI API
BrainShop is an artificial intelligence-powered tool that lets you engage in conversations with visitors to your website or application without requiring your direct intervention.
API features: The BrainShop API allows you to create a customizable chat bot that uses artificial intelligence technology to comprehend human words and respond just like humans do. You can use the API to develop trainable robots (called “brains”) and embed them into your use case.
Platform availability: The API can be integrated into any type of application—mobile, web, or desktop.
Popularity: BrainShop still has very low popularity around the world.
Price: You can access limited features of the API for free. To access more features, such as email support and ads-free content, you’ll need to go for any of its paid plans, which start from $99 per month.
Ease of use: The BrainShop API is easy to use. There is comprehensive documentation and brain tutorials that you can use to easily get started with the API.
Check out Rakuten RapidAPI’s complete list of messaging APIs. You may also like our list of top chatbot APIs and SMS APIs. We hope you’ll find an API that you can integrate into your application and take your digital communication efforts to the next level!
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