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API Marketing: First Comes Usability, Then Discoverability

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How do we increase developer conversion? In this session, I cover some ways to market your API, on and offline. You'll learn the major directories and marketplaces to add your API to, and how to set up your service for machine-readable discover. I also discuss Search Engine Optimization (SEO) suggestions for developer portals, and API definitions like OpenAPI Specification. Lastly, I reiterate the importance of creating and sharing evergreen knowledge.

Published in: Technology

API Marketing: First Comes Usability, Then Discoverability

  1. 1. API Marketing:First Comes Usability, Then Discoverability How do we increase developer onboarding? BILL DOERRFELD @DoerrfeldBill AT: API Strategy Conference Nov 2, 2017
  2. 2. WHAT IS NORDIC APIS? A international community of API practitioners and enthusiasts. Quality events all over the world High impact blog posts Illuminating eBooks
  3. 3. https://nordicapis.slack.com IN THE WORKS... Future Nordic APIs plans Webinars (taking ideas) Consulting Slack channel Ex.
  4. 4. HOW DO WE FIND APIS?
  5. 5. Search Results for 'email API'
  6. 6. Thank you for watching! PRESENTED BY: BILL DOERRFELD @DoerrfeldBill AT: APIstrat Nov 2, 2017 That's how you discover APIs!
  7. 7. This doesn't exist ….. yet ● API Discovery: Can We Do Better? ○ APIs.guru Mockup:
  8. 8. API Discovery is Uncertain ● Size: Over 18000 public web APIs (ProgrammableWeb, 2017 data) ● Standards: Little consensus ● Varying Approaches: hand curation, automated, metadata, directories, using specifications. ● SEO: Still your biggest ally ● Word of mouth:
  9. 9. Trends: API Economy Growth ● 18,000+ APIs ● Enterprise ● Impacted sectors: ○ Business Operations, end user experiences, FinTech, DevOps, "AI," IoT, travel, shopping, food, etc.
  10. 10. Competition: Create Unique Value
  11. 11. How do you stand out? How to position service for discovery? What strategies can we use?
  12. 12. 3x3-Tiered Discovery Approach /usability /advocacy /evangelism /support /leadership /seo /model /visibility /directories /docs /portal /dx GET /marketing
  13. 13. Assumptions 1) You have an API 2) The API is a Product 3) Public API (free or $) 4) web service 5) More = = =
  14. 14. Visibility GET /api/marketing/visibility /usability /advocacy /evangelism /support /leadership /seo /model /visibility /directories /docs /portal /dx GET /marketing
  15. 15. Improve SEO ● A public-facing developer home page has high value. ● To improve SEO, consider: ○ Words: Make human-readable descriptions of functionality. ○ Keyword Frequency: # of target keyword(s) matters! ○ Optimization: Consumer, location, partner. ○ Segmentation: Niche landing pages per service. ○ Tools: Google Adwords Keyword Tool. ○ Content: (more on this in /advocacy ) GET /api/marketing/visibility/seo
  16. 16. Search results for: "Sentiment Analysis API" COMPANY “TEXT” “ANALYSIS” “API” Aylien 19 (6%) 11 (3%) 13 (4%) AlchemyAPI 2 (1%) 2 (1%) 3 (1%) Text Razor 2 (1%) 2 (1%) 3 (1%) Bitext 6 (2%) 6 (2%) 20 (6%) Saplo 11 (3%) 7 (2%) 18 (5%) GET /api/marketing/visibility/seo Lessons: Balance individual keyword frequency with keyword variance Landing page content matters! Frequency & % of target keywords in top 5 search results for Sentiment Analysis API
  17. 17. Definition ● What is the Difference Between API Documentation, Specification, and Definition? Resources: GET /api/marketing/visibility/model ● Open source tooling ● Generate client libraries, SDKs ● Generate documentation ● Improve discoverability
  18. 18. Discovery Format GET /api/marketing/visibility/model ● Like sitemap.xml ● Include in root of server ● 2015 ● low adoption ● Swagger, API Blueprint or RAML can use ● Reads OpenAPI specs ● Automatically searches ● Has API ● "copyright free sharing and collaborative design of API specifications, interfaces and data models." ● APIs.io API ● schemas for structured data ● No schema for API model!
  19. 19. APIs.guru The Wikipedia of APIs ● https://apis.guru/openapi-directory/ Taken from: Directory metadata
  20. 20. ● https://apis.guru/openapi-directory/ Taken from: APIs.guru The Wikipedia of APIs ● https://apis.guru/openapi-directory/ Taken from: Directory metadata Essentially, It's a REST API to learn about REST APIs
  21. 21. API Directories 1. ProgrammableWeb 2. RapidAPI 3. APIs.guru (OpenAPI Collection) 4. Public-APIs (Github Repo) 5. API List 6. APIs.io 7. SDKS.io 8. 8. API For That GET /api/marketing/visibility/directories 9. IBM API Harmony 10. Any-API.com 11. API Hound 12. Hitch hq 13. Product Hunt 14. API Katalogen 15. APInf.io 16. Intent.to Profile your API with these sites!
  22. 22. ProgrammableWeb programmableweb.com #1 1700 APIs Hand curated • SDKs & libraries too • news, blogging
  23. 23. RapidAPI rapidapi.com #2 Mashape merged • hand curated marketplace • karma rating • track updates 500 APIs
  24. 24. APIs.guru apis.guru/openapi-directory/ #3 500 APIs OpenAPI spec • open source • community generated • has API
  25. 25. PublicAPIs https://github.com/abhishekbanthia/Public-APIs #4 Github repo • open source • hand-curated of most used ≈ 70 APIs
  26. 26. API List http://apilist.fun/ #5 ≈ 100 APIs Hand-curated • searchable • new, small directory
  27. 27. • experimental • has API • open source search engine (coming soon?) APIs.io http://apis.io #6 1100 APIs
  28. 28. SDKs.io http://sdks.io #7 Pulls from Github, APIs.guru, Mashape, others 30,000+ APIs/SDKs Definition translation SDK generation
  29. 29. API For That http://www.apiforthat.com/ #8 hand curated • niche categories • user-provided input 600 APIs
  30. 30. IBM API Harmony https://apiharmony-open.mybluemix.net/public #9 APIs.guru • web crawling • user-provided input 1900 APIs
  31. 31. Any API https://any-api.com/ #10 APIs.guru • LucyBot • test consoles ≈ 300 APIs
  32. 32. API Hound http://apihound.com/apifinder #11 Web crawling • difficult to navigate • comprehensive • can't add API manually 50,000 APIs
  33. 33. Hitch https://www.hitchhq.com/apis #12 docs • SDKs • changelogs • profiles require Hitch account ≈ 800 APIs
  34. 34. Product Hunt https://www.producthunt.com/ #13 Startups • San Francisco • manually added • karma ratings ≈ 200 APIs
  35. 35. API Katalogen http://apikatalogen.se/ #14 In Swedish • civil, open data • APIs are submitted manually 300 APIs
  36. 36. APInf https://apinf.io #15 API Management platform • Telco • requires sign up 163 APIs
  37. 37. Intent.to https://inten.to/ API COMPARISON SHOPPING#16 next gen API marketplace • niche AI / machine learning • curated
  38. 38. API Directories 1. ProgrammableWeb 2. RapidAPI 3. APIs.guru (OpenAPI Collection) 4. Public-APIs (Github Repo) 5. API List 6. APIs.io 7. SDKS.io 8. 8. API For That GET /api/marketing/visibility/directories 9. IBM API Harmony 10. Any-API.com 11. API Hound 12. Hitch hq 13. Product Hunt 14. API Katalogen 15. APInf.io 16. Intent.to Let me know if I missed any!
  39. 39. Usability GET /api/marketing/usability /usability /advocacy /evangelism /support /leadership /seo /model /visibility /directories /docs /portal /dx GET /marketing
  40. 40. Improve API Documentation ● API docs: public API's best tool ● Point of sale, ongoing support ● Site architecture: 3-Columned, ● Use Definition: Quickly generate from API definition ○ 30 Doc Solutions (see Resources) GET /api/marketing/usability/docs ● "3 Ways to Organize Your API Developer Docs" ○ Derric Gilling, Nordic APIs Resource:
  41. 41. Example: Scale API GET /api/marketing/usability/docs https://docs.scaleapi.com/
  42. 42. But docs are only part of the picture...
  43. 43. 7 Ingredients for a Superb Dev Center ● 7 Ingredients That Make Up a Superb Developer Center Resources: Getting Started Guide Authentication Guide API Documentation Testing Console Dev Resources (code sample, SDK, libraries) Support Channels Platform Policy GET /api/marketing/usability/portal
  44. 44. Cater to All Types of Visitors ● Best Practices in API Documentation, Smartbear Credit: GET /api/marketing/usability/portal
  45. 45. Have good style: Industry best practices ● API Handyman’s API Stylebook ● Zapier Engineering - "API Geriatrics" Resources: Endpoints: logically map to data model REST vs SOAP: Almost always REST….GraphQL URIs: Readable constructions Optimization: Pagination, Filtering, Ranging. Data Formats: JSON over XML, YAML Error Handling: Human readable responses CRUD: Correct HTTP verb mapping Hypermedia: Powerful but optional Changelog: All edits documented Security: OAuth & OpenIDConnect for identity Versioning: "Don't" - Roy Fielding. if u have to, use deprecation headers Timestamp: Always use ISO8601 format GET /api/marketing/usability/dx
  46. 46. "The effort required to design something is inversely proportional to the simplicity of the result. " -Roy Fielding Designer of Representational State Transfer (REST) Inspiration: GET /api/marketing/usability/dx
  47. 47. Advocacy GET /api/marketing/advocacy /usability /advocacy /evangelism /support /leadership /seo /model /visibility /directories /docs /portal /dx GET /marketing
  48. 48. The API Evangelist Playbook 1. Understand userbase 2. Communicate value of product 3. Ensure program is attractive 4. Always be observing, gathering feedback 5. Host, attend, speak at events 6. Build & maintain an online knowledge center 7. Translate tech trends 8. Build a community of heroes ● "Day in the Life of an API Evangelist" ○ Nordic APIs Resources: GET /api/marketing/advocacy/evangelism
  49. 49. The evangelist routine: Day in the Life CUSTOMER RELATIONS EVENTS SUPPORT Social media activity Travel Respond on Stack Overflow Authoring blog content Host webinars Dev center maintenance Weekly newsletter Speak at events Test the API Recognize and award hero developers Research, gather feedback Work on Github helper libraries GET /api/marketing/advocacy/evangelism
  50. 50. "To help customers and potential users see the value and benefit in your API to such an extent that they themselves become evangelists for your company." – Liz Rush, Evangelist, Algorithmia Primary role of a dev evangelist: GET /api/marketing/advocacy/evangelism
  51. 51. Promotion: Where? • API Blogs • PW.com, API Evangelist, Dev Weekly Digest, GET PUT POST, Nordic APIs, dZone, API2Cart • Social channels • Hackernews, Product Hunt, Beta List, Stackshare.io, SubReddits. • Conferences • IPAs & APIs, API Strat, REST Fest, API World, APIdays, Nordic APIs Platform Summit ● http://webapi.events/ Resources: GET /api/marketing/advocacy/evangelism
  52. 52. Success Story: Stack Overflow GET /api/marketing/advocacy/support ● IPinfo.io ● 250 million daily requests ● One StackOverflow response ● $0 budget.
  53. 53. Form a community: Developer Relations • Random success is rare • Dev outreach increases: • Awareness • Understanding • Share vision • Decrease 1-1 support • Forum, Knowledge base, code examples, demos, use cases • Shopify ● DevRel: How to Offer Unparalleled Developer Outreach Resources: GET /api/marketing/advocacy/support
  54. 54. Thought leadership: Evergreen Content GET /api/marketing/advocacy/leadership • Less GIFs please • 18 months • Extend • Credible • Readable
  55. 55. "Either you own the conversation around your APIs or someone else will." – Kin Lane The API Evangelist Own the Conversation! GET /api/marketing/advocacy/leadership
  56. 56. Or else... GET /api/marketing/advocacy/leadership Public apps need to own a fully-fledged public API presence. Otherwise, someone else will own it. ● Either You Own The Conversation Around Your APIs Or Someone Else Will ○ -Kin Lane, API Evangelist Resource:
  57. 57. 1. The way we discover APIs is important 2. Improve SEO with target keyword copy in developer home pages & docs 3. Create an API definition 4. Leverage API discovery formats to make your API machine readable 5. Profile your API in the growing number of API directories 6. Own the conversation! IN SUMMARY How to make your API more discoverable?
  58. 58. Thanks! Signing off...
  59. 59. Keep in touch With Nordic APIs! • Twitter: @NordicAPIs • Follow our blog: nordicapis.com/blog • Bi-weekly digest: nordicapis.com/newsletter
  60. 60. FEATURED BLOG OPPORTUNITY Consider sharing your thoughts on our blog! • 3,000 newsletter subscribers • 90,000 monthly visitors • copy editing & graphic design • Social promo If interested, email me: bill@nordicapis.com
  61. 61. API Discovery: 15 Ways to Find an API, Nordic APIs http://nordicapis.com/api-discovery-15-ways-to-find-apis/ 4 Methods to Make Your API Truly Discoverable, Runscope https://blog.runscope.com/posts/4-methods-to-make-your-api-truly-discoverable Ultimate Guide to 30+ API Documentation Solutions, Slideshare https://www.slideshare.net/BillConradDoerrfeld/ultimate-guide-to-25-api-documentation-solutions-slideshare-01-69651002 How to Market an API, Nordic APIs http://nordicapis.com/api-ebooks/how-to-market-an-api/ A guide to RESTful API design: 35+ must-reads, Tech Beacon https://techbeacon.com/guide-restful-api-design-35-must-reads Helpful Resources
  62. 62. API Marketing:First Comes Usability, Then Discoverability How do we increase developer onboarding? PRESENTED BY: BILL DOERRFELD @DoerrfeldBill AT: API Strategy Conference Nov 2, 2017 Thanks!
  63. 63. Slides are up: @DoerrfeldBill https://www.slideshare.net/BillConradDoerrfeld/….
  64. 64. Some other Hidden Truths GET /api/marketing/extra_advice /usability /advocacy /evangelism /support /leadership /seo /model /visibility /directories /docs /portal /dx GET /marketing /extra_advice
  65. 65. • "Convincing the Architect" • Disseminate best practices • Foster internal culture • Security • Agility • Consistency: Style Guide GET /api/marketing/advocacy/leadership Internal leadership: API Intrapreneur
  66. 66. Monetization: Free Trial • Support developers! • Increase integration ease • Scalable • Ex. Safety Culture GET /api/marketing/extra_advice
  67. 67. Provisioning: Release in tiers Private PublicPartner GET /api/marketing/extra_advice
  68. 68. "Think of APIs as an evolution...You don’t have to boil the ocean from day one” -John Musser, ProgrammableWeb / API Science Founder Inspiration: GET /api/marketing/extra_advice
  69. 69. Why consider all this?: A Balanced Release GET /api/marketing/extra_advice

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