API, ROI, SEO, PPC, LOL, TIL, BFF, OMG... We live in a world dominated by acronyms and abbreviations. And while some are relevant to your business (like KPI or ROI), others not so much (like BRB or NSFW).
If you’re a marketer or developer, though, few acronyms are as important for your business as API. Through APIs your business can easily expand its service offering and provide its customers with more added value. APIs can help your business build, customize, and automate completely new customer experiences, and generate entirely new sources of revenue.
So what are APIs?
API stands for Application Programming Interface. But what does that mean?
Well, simply put, an API is a set of rules that allows one application talk to another application or platform so that the first application can extract data from the second application, and package or repurpose that data around your needs.
For example, it’s the Facebook API that makes it possible to register or login to third party sites using Facebook Authentication. Similarly, Agendize offers an API so that our partners and clients can integrate our appointment booking CRM, live chat, and other tools directly into their own services.
In a nutshell, APIs allow third-parties to develop their third-party applications around an existing platform without requiring access to that platform’s source code or database. Consequently, those third-party marketers and developers can build their own, unique business ecosystem around another platform’s data, and generate new revenue streams without having develop their own proprietary tools and technology -- similar to why companies often white label third-party platforms.
The benefits of APIs
So if APIs are something that can help you enhance your own business, the question becomes whether doing so is worth it. Specifically, will the benefits of using APIs outweigh the costs of doing so?
And the answer is: absolutely! In fact, there are four key benefits to using APIs, and each of them work together to reduce your costs while building new revenue streams.
By seamlessly integrating third-party tools into your own site, CRM, or platform, not only are you able to create added-value and develop new services, but you save significantly on the costs of having to develop those tools or features yourself. More to the point, you save on the costs of having to maintain and update those tools/features, and even benefit from the added expertise and support of your API partners.
A great example of this is the YouTube API, which allows developers to embed a player directly in their apps, customize the playback experience so that users search YouTube content, upload videos, and create and manage playlists without ever leaving the third-party app. In other words, it allows developers to integrate the added-value of YouTube content directly into their own branded platforms.
Using APIs also offers you the benefit of automated data aggregation. Specifically, a robust API allows your platform to automatically collect, parse, and package data, offering you actionable insight into your users’ and customers behaviour.
The Agendize API, for example, allows our agency partners to create and configure Agendize accounts using their clients business data. For instance, every time one of our partners creates a website or landing page that features an Agendize tool, that partner can automatically create an agendize account for that client.
Of course, the mark of a good API is that it also offers developers (and marketers) to selectively choose which features/functions of the tool they want to integrate into their own platform. In other words, APIs allow you to leverage third-party technology in a way that compliments your business and meets the unique needs of its customers.
A great example of customization would be the Google Analytics API. It allows marketers and developers to pull custom data from Google Analytics, and package it into a branded dashboard experience so that they (and their clients) can quickly and easily focus in on the KPIs most important to their business and its campaigns.
Scaling any platform is a challenge. Oftentimes the original code behind certain features is insufficient to meet performance requirement on a larger scale, and has to be rewritten entirely.
Just like APIs allow you to save on the costs of having to maintain and update certain features of your platform, they also allow you to scale them more easily. For starters, you save on costs of having to scale the feature itself. Furthermore, you’re able to concentrate your resources on scaling your core platform, allowing you to offer your customers added-value.
For instance, the API for the Agendize appointment booking CRM can support serving single location SMBs, as well as multi-location businesses, such as franchises and brands. So as any of our agency partners’ clients grow from a single or a few locations to many more, our partners can still support their clients’ booking needs.
APIs, KPIs, and ROI
At the pace that business technology tends to move, offering the latest tools to your clients is essential to remaining competitive and growing your business, but also extremely challenging. A jack of all trades is an expert of none, and while you’re busy reinventing (or updating) the wheel, your core service offering can fall behind.
Leveraging APIs is an effective way to offer your clients the latest tools and support, while still being able to focus on your core platform or business. They allow you to seamlessly integrate new features into your offering, automate their workings, and customize and scale them to your needs. Indeed, when it comes to APIs, the only question for any agency, marketer, or developer should be which APIs can benefit their clients and business the most.