Everything your team needs to know to get started with Sendbird
Deciding to add in-app messaging is easy, but the next steps can feel daunting.
Do you build your chat experience from scratch? What features do you want to include (video, calls, channels, etc?) How will you support your scale and security needs?
When Sendbird was founded in 2013, we started to help people just like you -- product managers and developers wanting to bring their apps and websites to life with in-app chat, but unable to do this on their own.
By using Sendbird’s Chat API, over 1300 businesses are able to send and receive messages to users, delivery partners, vendors, patients, and more.
In this guide, we’ll go into what Sendbird is, the customers we serve, a breakdown of our messaging suite, and more frequently asked questions related to the question:
Is Sendbird right for me?
Your first decision: Build vs buy
Do you want to build an in-app messaging function from scratch or adopt a pre-built API? How long will it take to find a solution that can power your messaging needs and blend into your branding seamlessly?
Luckily for us, these questions are where Sendbird excels. Sendbird has been used to launch conversational capabilities and helped companies scale to millions of users on a proven, secure, and global platform that powers over 7 billion messages monthly.
A few points to consider:
Building your own messaging functions from scratch takes dedicated developer time and resources. Oftentimes, messaging and other features like voice & video chat aren’t the most essential elements of what your app does. They are additional features that improve engagement and retention, but they aren’t what brings your customer in.
Engineers inherently like to build. Perhaps there’s some developers on your team that are looking to build something from scratch, and messaging could be their bread and butter. Furthermore, there may be some instances where your developers may not feel comfortable regulating tasks to a third party vendor.
Remember your business goals. If your priority is speed, buying an API can get you there. Your developers will be free to do other work.
Avoid reinventing the wheel. Yes, developers need to build, but they don’t have to build it all. The reason why engineering leaders choose to build on top of APIs is so they can focus on differentiating the core experience, not reinventing the wheel.
Limit scope and costs. With pre-built components, you can limit the design time, onboarding, and unexpected costs of building and maintaining messaging.
How the Hinge product team decided on integrating an API.
The 4 types of APIs (Open APIs, Internal APIs, Partner APIs, Composite APIs), and API architecture (REST APIs, RPC APIs, and SOAP APIs).
Through chat apps, companies are creating opportunities to grow their customer base, and strengthen that base through community building.
You’ve been thinking about building chat in your application, and you’re trying to decide if you should build your own chat from the ground up or utilize a chat API or SDK.
What is Sendbird?
Sendbird is a complete in-app chat API and SDK platform that allows you to add real-time communication into your app or website seamlessly.
Sendbird believes conversations are at the heart of building relationships. Leading apps like Reddit, Hinge, and Paytm among 4000+ others improve customer retention, conversion, and satisfaction by building with Sendbird APIs across chat, notifications, voice, video, and livestreams.
Our goal is to improve the in-app experience by introducing conversations that enhance every part of your customers’ experience. Our conversations platform allows apps of all kinds to engage, grow, and support their customer base.
Sendbird has a full suite of products to help you build all types of messaging capabilities. Imagine a WhatsApp-like experience in the app you own, in a branded experience you control.
For adding conversation into every part of the customer lifecycle.
Chat: Drive higher engagement, more transactions, and better business outcomes with the most feature-rich and flexible chat platform embedded in your app.
Notifications (new): Direct customers on their journey to conversion with notifications. Notifications are interactive, support rich media, can be categorized by type, and personalized for specific touchpoints in the customer journey.
Calls: Communication isn’t only limited to text, which is why we aren’t either. With Sendbird Calls, you can add voice and video chat into your app to create deeper and more personal conversations.
Live: Host real-time interactive chat and video streams on your own websites and mobile apps. Create unique livestreams without relying on public platforms.
Desk: With Sendbird Desk, your team can completely customize the chat support experience for your customers so they can get answers without leaving your app.
How our customers utilize Sendbird
With Sendbird’s Chat API, a global ride sharing app saw a 75% reduction in booking cancellations.
A leading on-demand food delivery app saw a 33% reduction in customer support calls after adopting Sendbird Desk.
And a leading international community forum saw an 8% increase in user retention after using Sendbird to build user-to-user chat in-app and on their website.
The use cases of Sendbird are almost limitless. Since we serve a wide range of industries, companies, and apps, our team is used to coming up with customized solutions with a white-glove customer service approach.
Paytm and Sendbird Chat
Sendbird is proud to support Paytm, India’s leading financial services company. Paytm saw chat as a potential game changer in increasing user engagement and satisfaction.
Paytm also understood that building messaging functionality in-house would be an incredibly complex task.
With the sheer scale of Paytm’s user base paired with its breadth of offerings, the company needed a service that could offload the complexity and resources necessary to stand up a high-functioning chat interface while simultaneously offering the features customers desired.
Sendbird was fully prepared to support the volume of messages Paytm needed to support a conversational platform.
Virgin Mobile UAE and Sendbird Desk
Virgin Mobile UAE is a digital app-based business unit with no physical stores; every touchpoint a customer has, from a purchase to a support discussion, is digital. The Virgin Mobile UAE team knew their goal was to provide a 100% digital customer support experience with in-app chat-based interactions that would allow support agents to interact with customers at precisely the right time.
After evaluating multiple technology vendors, the team chose Sendbird for its integrated messaging solution that ties both the customer and agent experience together in a mobile-first environment. Virgin Mobile UAE implemented the Sendbird Chat API in its app to create an embedded support chat experience, enabling agents to respond to multiple customer queries quickly within one place.
With Sendbird, Virgin Mobile UAE customers can conveniently request support through a native chat experience within the Virgin Mobile application. Sendbird Chat delivers a personalized, engaging, and continuous chat experience for customers with features like typing indicators, the ability to share images and rich media files in the chat thread, and read and delivery receipts so customers know when their messages have been sent and read, similarly to texting a friend on a public messenger application like WhatsApp.
The implementation only took two weeks, and now Virgin Mobile UAE has entirely digitized its customer support experience with Sendbird.
Porter and Sendbird Notifications
Porter is one of India's leading logistics companies providing intra-city and inter-city services. They have serviced over ten million customers across 19+ cities in India, with a workforce of 2,600 employees.
Today, Porter sends approximately 10 million messages per month across their 5 million monthly active users. These include transactional, operational, and marketing messages such as how much driver-partners will be earning, payment forms and amounts, incentives for delivering a minimum amount of orders, and more.
Prior to Sendbird, Porter used standard mobile communications channels to reach its driver-partners, such as push notifications, SMS, and WhatsApp. They found that SMS and WhatsApp were expensive channels, with each unread or undelivered message adding up quickly while not achieving desired outcomes.
Sendbird Notifications could quickly integrate into Porter's existing app and enable the business to send a high volume of always-accessible messages to its driver-partners in a familiar user experience.
With Sendbird Notifications, Porter expects to save significantly on costs vs. SMS month-over-month, increase message delivery rates to over 96 percent, and improve open rates to 90 percent
All the ways to use Sendbird
Transport & logistics
Fantasy sports & betting
Investment & wealth management
Social & e-commerce
On-demand gig economy
How to implement Sendbird: An overview of the resources at your disposal
In a nutshell, Sendbird has a platform API for the server side and SDKs to manage client side communication.
In addition, with the Sendbird UIKit, developers can get started quickly with elegant pre-built components and ship in days, not months. With the introduction of modularized (as opposed to monolithic) chat UI components in the UIKit v3, developers can use pre-made UI components like building blocks to build a customized chat UI. The UIKit is customizable - see this guide for more details!
Our developer portal has a wealth of resources about how to implement in-app chat, calls, and live streaming. We highly recommend that you take advantage of these resources to quickly get your chat app up and running. For example, see this tutorial about how you can quickly build a react chat app! As a fun project, we recommend following along with this interesting tutorial about how to build a ChatGPT-powered bot. For additional help, please visit the docs or interact with experts on the Sendbird Community!
Sendbird for developers
We take a lot of pride in being a developer-focused API and SDK platform. Our developer portal is always being updated with new resources like documentation, demos, and tutorials to make the implementation and maintenance of Sendbird easy.
We understand that even if the product is amazing, if the developer experience is bad, nobody will ever get to use the product.
Sendbird comes with these critical elements to ensure developers have a smooth onboarding process:
Solid onboarding documentation with how-to steps and troubleshooting
Samples and demos of the app so developers can see a working model
A dedicated site with further resources
Our product onboarding takes less time than leading competitors, more participants successfully complete our tasks, and more developers are satisfied with Sendbird.
Before jumping to build chat from scratch, engineering leaders need to carefully consider the following:
Which databases to use to store messages, channels, user data, etc.
Storing and quickly retrieving file and media assets associated with messages
Services to support real-time data processing
Caching, message broker, and message queuing services
How to implement new features with all of the above considerations
Cost of implementing Sendbird
Sendbird has four pricing plans: Developer, Starter 5k, Pro 5k, and Enterprise.
Experiment with chat. Includes all pro features and community support, supports 100 MAU with 10 peak concurrent connections.
Get started with chat. Includes modern messaging essentials, basic moderation, and ticketed support.
Cost: Pricing is based on MAU, starting at 5K MAU for $399/month.
Messaging features for a growing business. Includes all Starter features and message translation, advanced moderation and filters, ticketed support.
Cost: Pricing is based on MAU, starting at 5K MAU for $599/month.
The power of the full platform. Includes all pro features and data export, option for dedicated servers, and priority support.
Cost: Custom pricing for companies with millions of MAU.
How long does it take to implement Sendbird
With our documentation and Sendbird UIKit, a set of rich, pre-built UI components that you can use to create a modern messenger experience, its possible to build messaging into your app in under 10 minutes.
Our custom enterprise plans are built for your specific needs and take more time to develop. However, Sendbird customers are usually shocked at how quickly our team can roll out a customized, functional messaging suite.
How to know if Sendbird will meet my needs
The easiest way to figure out is Sendbird is right for you is to talk to a member of our team. We’ll help you get started, get your questions about Sendbird answered, and help you learn more about our products and offerings.