Devon Biondi | VP, Strategy Services
October 23, 2013

Unlocking the 5 Secrets to a Successful API Program

 

Here at Mashery, we've seen it all – the good, the not so good, and the spectacular – when it comes to APIs. The question often asked is, what makes those spectacular programs unique and stand above the rest?

With more than 200 launches under our belt, we've pinpointed five key commonalities of all successful API programs. I recently sat down with one of our most successful customers, Edmunds.com's Ismail Eshareef, for an in-depth look at the automotive information company's API program. Ismail explains how, within 20 months, Edmunds was able to create a multimillion-dollar, revenue generating API program utilizing those five key components, below:

  1. DEFINING YOUR GOAL - It is crucial that your API goals are lined up with your business goals. Ismail knew that Edmunds.com needed to increase brand awareness in order to reach the ultimate goal – being a part of every automotive transaction that happens on the web. By allowing access to Edmunds.com's automotive data via APIs, Ismail assured his executives that it would encourage outside developers to innovate, thereby increasing awareness and eventually opening the door to additional revenue streams. He was right. The results were and are spectacular!
  2. COMMIT TO THE EFFORT - At Mashery, we see companies launch an API program and expect immediate ROI. It rarely works that way. A successful program needs time and resources. Although he was the only one working on the API program, Ismail devoted himself to creating and refining the initiative. Committed to its API program and witnessing the initial success, Edmunds.com in turn invested additional time and money to strengthen it by attending hack-a-thons, communicating with developers and creating partnerships with outside companies.
  3. DON'T BE AFRAID TO ITERATE - PROGRESS PROGRESS PROGRESS! Executives need to see progress being made to understand an API's value. Ismail worked extensively with us at Mashery, using our reporting and dashboard metrics to show Edmunds.com's executives forward movement. At any given moment, they could see how many developers used their automotive data, how many people incorporated their API and how many endpoints were being used. The more progress was shown, the more likely API program managers would get the resources to grow the program further.
  4. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE - With a successful API program it's key to know who is going to consume your API, how it's going to be consumed and how it works within the entire ecosystem. Edmunds.com's APIs were first built for internal developers before they were promoted to the outside developer community. As a result of this hybrid approach, Edmunds.com was able to create strategic relationships, which lead to further innovation and revenue.
  5. EVANGELIZE - PROMOTE! It's key that the developers and partners know and use your API. You can have all the data in the world, but if the developers aren't using your API, it's all for not. Edmunds.com was able to gain momentum by evangelizing the API internally, as well as externally. In addition to attending hack-a-thons, Edmunds.com leveraged Mashery's newsletter, attended external events and pushed information on its API through social media.

For deeper insight and information into the secrets of a successful API program, check out the webinar below or contact us today!