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What is unread message count?

Unread message count is a feature that reflects the number of messages in a conversation or group channel that a user hasn’t yet opened or read.

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This visual indicator informs users about unread messages in their in-app message inbox, helping ensure they don’t miss important messages, content, announcements, etc. Conversation threads with unread messages are listed atop the chat list interface, and as the user opens unread messages, the count reduces accordingly.

Unread message count is used with push notifications to prompt users to check their in-app messages, even while not active in the app. This is a standard feature in messaging apps because it provides users with instant feedback that they’ve got messages waiting to be opened. It also helps businesses to distribute important information and ensure users won’t miss out.

Benefits of unread message count

  • Message and content visibility: Unread message count informs users of new messages and content in the app, ensuring they don’t miss important information or updates from other users or businesses.

  • Improved user engagement: Users are more likely to engage with apps they trust to make them aware of new content and messages, helping to increase user activity and retention.

Use cases for unread message count

  • In-app chat: Unread message count is a fundamental feature of in-app messaging, allowing users to see new messages and prioritize the conversations to engage with first.

  • Social apps and online communities: Platforms like Facebook and Reddit use the unread message count feature to notify users of new mentions, group content, or direct messages.

  • Operations: Teams using collaboration tools like Slack rely on their unread message count to discover new messages and stay current with tasks, mentions, and discussions.

  • Customer support: Unread message count helps support agents track and prioritize pending customer inquiries in their helpdesk software.

  • Marketplaces: Platforms display unread message count to inform buyers of new order updates, shipping notices, or responses from customer support.

  • Financial services: Unread message count helps FinTech apps draw attention to account alerts, transaction notifications, financial news, and other timely information.

  • Dating apps: Users on dating platforms know they have new messages, matches, or profile activity when they see the unread message icon appear.

  • Online gaming: For gaming communities and multiplayer games, unread message count is used to signal new friend requests, game invites, or in-game chat messages.

The unread message count feature is a key tool for driving user engagement, ensuring that users stay aware of new messages and can respond promptly. This feature is available in the SDKs (software development kits) and UI (user interface) kits provided by Sendbird and other leading in-app communications platforms. With these kits, developers can quickly build and customize the unread message count feature for their project, without coding from scratch.

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