Businesses and business owners are always looking for a way to get an edge, stay ahead, and innovate. While APIs have been around for decades – and aren’t in and of themselves particular innovative – businesses are finding more ways to use API strategy in innovative ways that can help benefit their company business. Here’s what to know how businesses are using API strategy to transform their organizational operations.
What exactly is an API
According to Webopedia, “An application program interface (API) is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. Basically, an API specifies how software components should interact. Additionally, APIs are used when programming graphical user interface (GUI) components. A good API makes it easier to develop a program by providing all the building blocks. A programmer then puts the blocks together… Most operating environments, such as MS-Windows, provide APIs, allowing programmers to write applications consistent with the operating environment. Today, APIs are also specified by websites. For example, Amazon or eBay APIs allow developers to use the existing retail infrastructure to create specialized web stores. Third-party software developers also use Web APIs to create software solutions for end-users.”
It’s clear, then, that APIs are a useful tool for your business to be able to work more efficiently in certain environments and create custom solutions within an existing structure.
What does this look like in practice?
Business API examples
Larger brands often provide APIs for developers at smaller brands to use the functionality of other brand apps, as evidenced by brands like Google, YouTube, and others.
- YouTube APIs: YouTube API: Google’s APIs lets developers integrate YouTube videos and functionality into websites or applications. YouTube has several useful APIs, which include the YouTube Analytics API, YouTube Data API, YouTube Live Streaming API, YouTube Player APIs, and others.
Benefits of API strategy for your business
If you’re curious about how an API strategy may change your company business, here are some things to consider.
1. Better marketing
Digital marketing remains key, but some marketing channels are less effective than others. Banner ads, for instance, have struggled to drive real traffic and the ability to measure their influence on brand impressions is unclear. One Medium article points out that an APO can increase the reach of marketing efforts, saying, “APIs you can power dynamic cards and banners in third party apps to surface relevant, interactive offerings based on the context of the user. But this is only one small puzzle piece in a set of outreach channels ranging from deep-links to widgets. APIs can enable third-party websites, applications or conversational bots to tap into your services in order to build value add-on services for their users.”
2. Better customer experience
API strategy can help personalize and customize the customer experience. No longer are customers satisfied with generic marketing and outreach efforts. They are asking for more relevant experiences and brands to better understand their needs and position. Brands can use API strategy to enhance the customer experience. Medium notes, “By opening up information access via an API, companies empower their customers to design and tailor their own experiences. The possibilities are endless. 75% of individuals believe that their company’s use of APIs has significantly enhanced their customer experience. With APIs, customers can take a driver’s seat role and identify gaps in the customer journey.” A better, more personalized customer journey can positively impact revenue.
3. Better software connectivity for enhanced productivity
Many organizations use integrated software solutions, such as one umbrella software that houses their marketing and sales efforts and HR and finance processes. For those who have more disparate software solutions – particularly smaller businesses that have been adding solutions as they grow – APIs can increase connectivity and communication between software to streamline operations and improve efficiency. One Forbes writer notes, “APIs are the glue that allows these otherwise disconnected and siloed apps—the likes of CRMs, ERPs, finance, communication, and marketing automation platforms— to communicate with each other and, in turn, deliver any functionality that the organization requires or desires. With APIs, workflows can be carefully and strategically orchestrated so that productivity and impact are optimized.”
APIs are a tool that has created more flexibility and allowed companies to be more proactive and responsive to internal and external needs. Overall, organizations who need more agility or greater communication capabilities have turned to an API strategy to help create a stronger company business.