People looking at mobile phone appPeople looking at mobile phone app

How social SDKs revolutionize app development for software teams

Julianne Youngberg
Julianne Youngberg
January 13, 2022
Julianne Youngberg
January 13, 2022

Software development kits (SDKs) are often touted as a way for software teams to accelerate product releases and boost performance. Among their many advantages are time and cost savings which, frankly, benefit end-users much more than they benefit app developers.

Does that mean product teams have little to gain from the use of devkits with API integrations? Not at all. SDKs were created to revolutionize app development for software teams.

Average Android applications use 15.6 different SDKs, while iOS counterparts use at least 7. This statistic alone shows that devkits hold value for creators, and they’re here to stay.

How SDKs facilitate a better developer experience

Mobile app developers are tasked with creating, testing, and programming apps for brands. While well-rounded devs will have a good grasp of different programming languages, cross-platform mobile app development frameworks, UI/UX design, and third-party integrations, there will always be some requirements they may not readily be able to fulfill. 

The process of building apps includes countless details, and building a fully functional platform from the ground up is tedious and unnecessary. Whether you're building iOS or Android applications (or both), it's smart to take advantage of tools that can speed up the process.

Every mobile app can benefit from a few universal features such as push notifications and community groups, both of which can be integrated with SDKs

Instead of spending months on a supplementary social media platform feature, SDKs allow you to use an API key to add third-party integrations. In doing so, devs have much to gain—and we’ll be discussing these benefits below.

Technical simplicity

There is one primary goal all SDK integrations aim to achieve: simplicity. Devkits are meant to make developers’ lives easier, which is why they come fully equipped with everything from documentation to code examples. Technical specialists need not know every single detail of how a kit works to successfully deploy its own social features.

Mobile app development evolves at a breakneck pace, and those in the tech industry need to move just as quickly. Devkits reduce experiential redundancy and make it possible for developers to keep up with new tools and solutions they may not have personally worked with before.

Reduced lag time

Project managers know lag time as a delay between tasks with a dependency. Among dev teams, lag time is often the result of needing to research and learn techniques beyond a developer’s core competencies. SDKs speed up the process by giving creators a complete toolkit to build on.

Using a social network API also reduces lag time by allowing teams to work on several tasks concurrently. Responsibilities are more restricted and touchpoints between features are fewer, meaning that aside from improved efficiency and faster delivery, updates to one feature are less likely to break another.

Guaranteed performance

Hosted APIs and SDKs make it possible to build social media features into your application without having to deploy and maintain server infrastructure. Contrary to popular belief, they aren’t just codebases—they come hosted on cloud infrastructure and are maintained by the vendor. 

Vendors providing cloud-hosted devkits offer scalability, resilience, and high availability—all major limitations of aging system infrastructure. Considering performance can make or break the user experience, a high-quality SDK solution can support your team’s goals at a fair subscription price.

Opportunities for horizontal diversification

Horizontal diversification refers to a strategy where a company releases new products that—while they may seem completely unrelated to existing products—appeal to the same target market.

We can see this strategy in action by observing some of the biggest companies ranging from Samsung (electronics, military hardware, apartments, and more) to Disney (cartoons, movies, theme parks, and more). 

The very same horizontal diversification strategy is seen being used today in mobile development, evidenced by major tech brands like Google, Twitter, and Facebook.

With the help of APIs, brands can deliver more solutions to their target audience while keeping all of the data and central information connected. At a certain point, apps that offer various services under a single platform become super apps. 

To truly reach super app status, product teams must recognize the needs of their target audience. Beyond that, they must provide a cohesive experience across products and integrate social media features to tie everything together—which is just what TrueID did to fuel growth engagement.

So what does this have to do with social features?

One aspect of mobile development every product team should prioritize is community. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from 2021, it’s that demand for value-adding, community-centric apps is still growing.

Consumers seek mobile solutions to address an increasing number of physical needs, as illustrated by this year’s $143 billion spend at 20% growth YoY.

Imma Calvo, Managing Director of Apps at Google, is vehement in her belief that the primary goal apps should be working towards in 2022 is user discovery. Creating a space where users can engage meaningfully is key in a time where expectations are more sophisticated than ever before

Social media features are crucial to meaningful user engagement because they allow your customers to enjoy a personalized and connected experience with your brand. When you can demonstrate you are listening to what your audience has to say, you’ll be many steps closer to a compelling app experience.

Essential social app features to add using SDKs

In an age where 1 in 4 users are abandoning apps after a single use, kicking things off with a great first impression is paramount.

Abandonment is often the result of not being able to lead customers to value quickly enough. That’s something you can improve with social features such as in-app messaging, push notifications, and community engagement.

Development teams can (and should!) use Amity Social SDKs to integrate social media platform features into any app. These tools can create a more consistent and personalized experience for users which, in turn, boosts retention and engagement. 

A social feature API helps you create apps that are stickier and more community-centric with relative ease.

Here are some API features you can add with Amity Social Cloud:

1 - Personalized feed

A user’s feed—or timeline—is a personalized collection of posts based on the groups they are a member of and the users they connect to. These are functionalities that social media giants like Facebook or Twitter are recognized for.

Activity feeds give users another way to feel connected to the brand and other people in the community. Whether they're used to communicate about a new product or just to say "hello world," feeds customize the experience and give your audience a space to talk and be heard.

Another advantage of using activity feeds in your app is that it will establish the platform as the main base of communication. As a result, you can reduce reliance on other third-party social media platforms.

With our activity feed API, users can view their timelines in any of three ways: (1) as a User Feed, which includes content relevant to the individual user, (2) as a Group Feed, which includes content created by members of the group or community, and (3) as a Global Feed, which is an aggregate of both User and Group activity feeds.

2 - Post creation

Without posts, feeds would be empty. Fortunately, users and brands alike can generate a variety of content as well as engage with them.

Social sharing helps groups of people create bonds, which further enhances stickiness by adding the personal connection factor. 

Brands can also create posts to keep their audience updated on any product changes, promotions, or events. Prioritizing social sharing on native apps over other social platforms helps to reinforce it as the primary method of communication.

Amity Social SDK supports the creation of seven different types of posts:

  • Text post
  • Image post
  • File post
  • Video post
  • Livestream post
  • Poll post
  • Custom post

The many options ensure that you always have a unique and personalized way to get your message out to the world.

3 - Post interaction

Comments

Being able to share thoughts and opinions on a post or piece of content is a crucial part of social sharing—and that’s where comments come in.

Users and brands can send and receive messages, leave comments on content they see on their activity feeds, and receive comments in return. In the process, they might be able to strike up a conversation and build new connections.

Reactions

Sometimes, words are not needed to convey your feelings about a message, post, or comment. Reactions allow users to interact in a simple, easy way even when they don’t have anything to say. They also go beyond language barriers and can be a fun way to get input, such as with a reaction poll!

4 - User profile

User profile pages are viewable to others on a social network, although the content is usually restricted based on permissions. These pages give your members a great opportunity to showcase a little bit of their personality, further benefitting user engagement. 

With our API, user profiles are kept simple and straight to the point, yet effective. Members can set up their nicknames, profile pictures, and profile descriptions. In the process, you gain valuable data to use for personalized product/service recommendations and network building.

5 - Push notifications

App-based push notifications

Direct push notifications for social features are triggered and delivered by Amity servers, making it possible for product teams to bypass developing a notification trigger system from scratch. 

Push notifications are used to encourage users to take action when social events occur, such as in the following circumstances:

  • A new post has been created in a community the user is a member of
  • A post the user created has been interacted with (via comment or reaction)
  • A comment the user created has been interacted with (via comment or reaction)

Since push notifications are displayed on a device’s main notification console and not only when a user is logged into the app, they’re excellent for improving engagement and retention.

Web-based push notifications

Notifications work to keep users engaged and ensure they don’t miss any important content. While a well-placed web-based push notification can encourage patrons to become active users, going overboard could quickly cause them to mute—or worse, quit using your app entirely.

Amity does not yet support this functionality for Web, but it will be coming soon!

6 - Community engagement

Groups/communities

A social network wouldn’t be complete without features to help you connect to other users, and that’s where groups and communities come in. Users can join communities they are interested in and engage on its feed. 

Personal connections have a major role to play in mobile app stickiness, which is why communities are such an important feature of every social network.

When relationships are built, people are much more likely to return and return more often.

Community moderation

Administrators have greater control over what is put on public groups with Amity Community Moderation. Moderation feature setup allows them to give roles to certain users, flag, mute, ban, and unban. They can even set posts up to be reviewed before being added to the community feed. 

Careful moderation of communities ensures that they remain safe and topic-relevant places that users keep coming back to.

Reshape your development process with Amity Social SDKs

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to features that every app can benefit from. You can deploy a complete suite of social network features on your app remarkably quickly and easily with the help of Amity Social Cloud

We take care of the heavy lifting so you can set your priorities on your primary product rather than supplementary features that—while vital to your app’s success—may not be your core competency.

In 2022 and beyond, a vibrant community should be every brand’s priority. People are spending more time online and seeking meaningful engagement, and you’re presented with the perfect opportunity to become one of their digital mainstays. It’s time to grab it.

To learn more about Amity Social SDKs and how to build an in-app community - talk to our sales team now!

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