Instant Messaging & Chat Software

What is Instant Messaging & Chat Software?

Instant messaging and chat applications offer two or more people the ability to communicate in real-time over the internet. Instant messaging (IM) software generally implies text-based communication and differentiates from email in that it is instantaneous and provides a real-time, continuous stream of messages, rather than back and forth messaging. Along with text chat, many popular IM apps also offer voice, video chat, and even screen sharing.

In addition to standalone instant messaging and chat applications there are also many project collaboration and enterprise social networking applications that include instant messaging and chat as a main feature. These often include group chat rooms for specific teams and projects, as well as 1-to-1 private instant messaging. There are also many VoIP (voice over IP), video conferencing and online meetings apps that include the ability to send instant text messages.

Common features of instant messaging apps include the ability to see which users are online and available for chat. They will also include noise alerts when someone initiates a conversation as well as notifications of attempted chat conversations for offline users. You should also be able to record and archive chat conversations and search your conversation history for keywords. Instant messaging for businesses will often include the ability to share files and other content, as well as to give guest access to clients, vendors, and other third-parties.

Key Features & Benefits

  • Real-time text chat streams
  • 1-to-1/ multiple chat participants
  • List of online/ available users
  • Chat notifications & alerts
  • Multiple, dedicated chat rooms
  • File & content sharing
  • Conversation archiving & searching
  • Video, voice chat, & screen sharing
  • Invite guests to conversations
  • Chat over mobile, tablet & desktop

Instant Messaging & Chat Category Leaders Q1 2018

GetApp's quarterly ranking showcases the top 25 Instant Messaging & Chat apps based in the cloud. Each app is scored using five factors, worth 20 points each, for a total possible score out of 100. These factors include user reviews, integrations, mobile app availability, media presence, and security. Each app's score is independent of commercial interests and existing relationships that GetApp has with app vendors.

Scroll down for more details about how we calculate scores.

Reviews
Integrations
Mobile
Media
Security

1. Slack

A single place for team communication and workflows
74
20
20
18
16

2. Skype

Telecommunication, email, conferencing & instant messaging
65
15
10
20
20

3. Microsoft Teams

Chat-based workspace in Office 365
55
15
7
16
17

4. Beekeeper

A mobile-first communication app for non-desktop employees
51
7
16
13
2
13

5. talkspirit

Enterprise social networking & communication platform
49
10
11
13
2
13

6. HipChat

Team communication built for business.
48
13
17
15
3

7. Skype for Business

Converse, share and work with remote business collaboration
45
15
7
17
6

8. eXo Platform

Open Source Enterprise Social Collaboration
43
12
4
14
2
11

9. Zoho Connect

Enterprise private social network
41
9
4
13
3
12

10. Glip

Conversation platform for team collaboration & productivity
41
13
11
15
2

11. Bolste

Team Collaboration Made Easy: Chat | Plan | Store | Align
40
6
0
12
2
20

12. ChatWork

ChatWork is a group chat app for business
39
6
9
14
2
8

13. Flowdock

Chat & inbox software for teams
37
5
16
14
2

14. Team on the Run

The All-in-one Business Process Communication solution
34
4
2
13
2
13

15. Taskworld

Collaborative project management with built-in chat
33
14
2
15
2

16. Convo

Simple. Smart. Real Time Collaboration.
31
7
8
14
2

17. Communifire

Enterprise Social Collaboration Software
30
8
0
0
2
20

18. Lync Online

Lync Online is now Skype for Business
28
15
3
8
2

19. Workplace by Facebook

Secure enterprise social networking & communication platform
28
9
2
15
2

20. Stride

Group messaging, collaboration, and video meetings for teams
24
5
3
14
2

21. MiCollab

Mobile-first enterprise collaboration tool
24
5
2
14
3

22. Hibox

Collaboration support via chat, task sharing & video calls
22
5
2
13
2

23. Socialcast

Enterprise social networking & collaboration software
22
4
2
14
2

24. Workhive

Team communication made easy. Android and iPhone app available!
15
0
0
13
2

25. StrikeBase

Work Better Together.
14
0
0
12
2
Reviews
Integrations
Mobile
Media
Security

Who is the ranking for?

GetApp's Category Leader ranking is for business owners and decision makers looking for a comprehensive list of the leading cloud-based software products in the industry.

The ranking serves as a point of reference highlighting key factors that small businesses should look at when assessing a piece of software. These factors include user perception (reviews), compatibility (integrations and mobile compatibility), market presence (media presence), and security features (security).

How are the scores calculated?

An app's score is calculated using five unique data points, each scored out of 20, giving a total score out of 100. The ranking and scoring methodology ensure complete impartiality and independence from any relationships that GetApp has with app vendors.

User Reviews*

Review scores are calculated using reviews collected from GetApp and its sister sites, Software Advice and Capterra. Scores are calculated based on the total number, average rating, and recency of reviews.

The number of reviews and average user rating are scaled against the category average. A weighting is then applied to reward recency of user reviews: reviews written in the last 6 months score up to 10 points, those written between 6 and 12 months ago score up to 6 points, and those more than 12 months old score up to 4 points. These numbers are added together to give a total maximum score of 20.

Integrations

Integration scores factor in a number of variables. Up to 16 points are awarded based on the number of integrations an app has; the first 10 points are awarded based on the number of integrations relative to the category average, while 4 points are awarded based on the number of integrations relative to the leaders in the category. An additional 5 points is awarded for an integration with Zapier, a widely used software integration platform, while an extra point is given for having an open API. The total possible score for integrations is 20 points.

Mobile Platforms*

Mobile scores are calculated based on the availability of an iOS and Android app. 5 points are awarded for the presence of each app, with an additional 10 points being awarded for the number and average rating of reviews in both the App Store and Google Play. These review scores are calculated and scaled against the competition for a maximum of 5 points per platform and an overall maximum score of 20.

If there isn't a native iOS or Android app, the product's website is assessed using Google's PageSpeed Insights to measure mobile usability. The score is returned out of 100, then scaled to a score out of 5 for a maximum of 5 points.

Media Presence

Media presence is calculated using the number of Twitter followers and Facebook fans that an app has. The number of fans and followers are added together, and each app is scored based on this overall number, compared with others in the category. The first 15 points are awarded for the combined number of followers and fans scaled against the category average, while the final 5 points are awarded for the combined number of followers and fans scaled against the top leaders in the category. These two scores are added together for a total out of 20 points.

Security

Security scoring is calculated using answers from a vendor-completed survey. The questions in the survey are based on the Cloud Security Alliance self-assessment form as part of the Security, Trust & Assurance Registry. With 15 questions, each answer is assigned a point value based on vendor response, with additional points given for security certifications, for a maximum possible score of 20.

In the event of a tie, each data point is weighted for importance, with security taking precedent, followed by reviews, integrations, mobile apps, and media presence, respectively.

*All data points combining calculations for both ratings and reviews are calculated using a Bayesian estimate, which is a weighted average that includes the number of reviews and the rating of an app, benchmarked against others in the category.