fbpx

Website Development

What Is An API? And What Is It For?

An API… Is that the newest release from the local brewery?!

Sorry to disappoint, but no.

Not to be confused with an IPA, an API stands for Application Programming Interface — which sounds a lot less delicious than that local lager. We know. We know.

But, hold our beer. We’re going to explain what APIs are and how they’re used every single day — every single minute (yes, you use them all the time, even if you don’t realize it!) — and how they can be useful to your business.

So, what the heck is an API and what the heck does it do?

Even though API stands for “Application Programming Interface,” that doesn’t help a whole lot in telling us what this thing ACTUALLY does.

So let’s think about an API like this: It’s software that allows two applications to talk to each other; in other words, it delivers a user response to a system and sends the system’s response back to a user.

Do you login to Facebook from your smartphone? That requires an API. Do you check the weather from your phone. Same. What about booking a flight on Expedia or similar? You guessed it; those sites communicate with the airlines’ respective APIs. Same for hotels. How about buying or selling products via Amazon? Those affiliate links use an API. Have you signed up for a newsletter via a pop-up on a website. That’s an API that’s likely integrated to an email platform like Mailchimp, Active Campaign, or Constant Contact.

And this list goes on and on.

Here’s another way to explain an API: You’re at a restaurant. Your server would be the API —the messenger — who takes your order (the request) and tells the kitchen what to do and delivers the response (the food!) back to you.

Long story short, APIs are just about everywhere and they do just about everything. But, keep in mind, it would be rare for you — the end user — to directly interact with an API (just like you normally don’t go back into the kitchen and talk to the line cooks at that restaurant!)

Why APIs are important for your business

Consistently updated and innovated APIs are essential to most, if not all, modern companies’ strategies and success metrics.

According to the State of API Economy 2021 Report by Google Cloud, 56% of IT decision-makers view APIs as assets that help organizations build better digital experiences and products, 52% say APIs accelerate innovation by enabling partners to leverage digital assets at scale, 40% view APIs as systems integration enablers, and 36% say they see APIs as strategic assets for creating business value.

Public APIs power consumer-facing applications. They are the little superheroes behind the scenes because they enable new ways to engage and connect with your audiences, customers, and fans through web, mobile, and social sites and apps.

Private APIs can also serve businesses by offering employees and partners internal tools for streamlining operations and serving consumers and customers more efficiently and effectively.

Even for non-digital-first business, APIs are still critical. Take, for example, self-storage companies. Their sites rely on APIs to track the storage units that are available for rent. Now, if that API isn’t functional or optimized, they’ll lose out on customers who are unable to get a clear picture online of the storage units available.

In essence, companies use APIs for a wide array of applications, with web (57%) and mobile (56%) efforts leading the way, followed by automation (49%) and Internet of Things (IoT) (46%) initiatives. Research shows that larger companies use APIs more often to power mobile applications, while smaller enterprises are more likely to focus on desktop apps, according to the State of API Economy 2021 Report.

I need API (and an IPA!). What do I do?!

You grab the beer, but to take care of APIs, it’s important to have access to a developer with effective resources and tools for designing, testing, monitoring and updating them. That’s where we come in at CRANK Digital Marketing Authority! Not only do we create beautiful websites for businesses, we work on all the functionality behind the scenes — including APIs. To learn more, reach out here.

Cheers! 🍻

Comments are closed.

may we suggest...

Website Development

Love at First Site

Love at First Site

An API… Is that the newest release from the local brewery?! Sorry to disappoint, but no. Not to be confused with an IPA, an API stands for Application Programming Interface…

Website Development

Mobile Responsive Websites – Now is the Time

Mobile Responsive Websites – Now is the Time

An API… Is that the newest release from the local brewery?! Sorry to disappoint, but no. Not to be confused with an IPA, an API stands for Application Programming Interface…

Website Development

5 Reasons to Use a Professional Team for Web Design

5 Reasons to Use a Professional Team for Web Design

An API… Is that the newest release from the local brewery?! Sorry to disappoint, but no. Not to be confused with an IPA, an API stands for Application Programming Interface…