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API Marketing: How to Make Your API More Discoverable

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How do we increase API adoption? One method is by making the web service more discoverable. In this presentation, I explore 3 areas of API marketing; visibility, usability, and advocacy. In it, I outline discovery formats and API definitions that can help create more usable front ends. I list the the API directories and marketplaces that catalog REST services to make your interface more findable. Also, I describe best practices for crafting usable APIs, and strategies top evangelists deploy to build effective developer communities that convert developer visitors into developer users. Given at the Nordic APIs Platform Summit 2017.

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API Marketing: How to Make Your API More Discoverable

  1. 1. API Marketing: How to Make Your API More Discoverable Seeking answers to the Holy Grail question: How do we increase API conversion? PRESENTED BY: BILL DOERRFELD @DoerrfeldBill AT: Nordic APIs Platform Summit Oct 10, 2017
  2. 2. Search Results for 'email API'
  3. 3. Thank you for watching! That's how you discover APIs! PRESENTED BY: BILL DOERRFELD @DoerrfeldBill AT: Nordic APIs Platform Summit Oct 10, 2017
  4. 4. This doesn't exist ….. yet ● API Discovery: Can We Do Better? ○ APIs.guru Mockup from article:
  5. 5. API Discovery is Uncertain ● Size: Over 1800 public web APIs (ProgrammableWeb, 2017 data) ● Standards: Little consensus ● Varying Categorical Approaches : hand curation, automated, metadata, directories, using specifications. ● SEO: Still your biggest ally ● Word of mouth:
  6. 6. Trends: API Economy Growth ● 18,000+ APIs ● Enterprise ● Impacted sectors: ○ Business Operations, end user experiences, FinTech, DevOps, "AI," IoT, travel, shopping, food, etc.
  7. 7. How do you stand out? How to position service for discovery? What strategies can we use?
  8. 8. 3x3-Tiered Discovery Approach /usability /advocacy /evangelism /support /leadership /seo /model /visibility /directories /docs /portal /dx GET /marketing
  9. 9. Assumptions 1) You have an API 2) The API is a Product 3) Public API (free or $) 4) Stateless web service 5) More = = =
  10. 10. Visibility GET /api/marketing/visibility /usability /advocacy /evangelism /support /leadership /seo /model /visibility /directories /docs /portal /dx GET /marketing
  11. 11. 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
  12. 12. 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
  13. 13. 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
  14. 14. Discovery Formats GET /api/marketing/visibility/model ● Like sitemap.xml ● Include in root directory ● Little adoption ● 2015 ● 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!
  15. 15. APIs.guru The Wikipedia of APIs ● https://apis.guru/openapi-directory/ Taken from: Directory metadata
  16. 16. ● 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
  17. 17. API Directories (As of July 2017) 1. ProgrammableWeb 2. RapidAPI 3. APIs.guru (OpenAPI Collection) 4. Public-APIs (Github Repo) 5. API List 6. APIs.io 7. SDKS.io GET /api/marketing/visibility/directories 8. API For That 9. IBM API Harmony 10. Any-API.com 11. API Hound 12. Hitch hq 13. Product Hunt 14. API Katalogen Profile your API with these sites!
  18. 18. ProgrammableWeb programmableweb.com #1 1800 APIs Hand curated • SDKs & libraries too • news, blogging
  19. 19. RapidAPI rapidapi.com #2 Mashape merged • hand curated marketplace • karma rating • track updates 500 APIs
  20. 20. APIs.guru apis.guru/openapi-directory/ #3 500 APIs OpenAPI spec • open source • community generated • has API
  21. 21. PublicAPIs https://github.com/abhishekbanthia/Public-APIs #4 Github repo • open source • hand-curated of most used ≈ 70 APIs
  22. 22. API List http://apilist.fun/ #5 ≈ 100 APIs Hand-curated • searchable • new, small directory
  23. 23. • experimental • has API • open source search engine (coming soon?) APIs.io http://apis.io #6 1100 APIs
  24. 24. SDKs.io http://sdks.io #7 Pulls from Github, APIs.guru, Mashape, others 30,000+ APIs/SDKs Definition translation SDK generation
  25. 25. API For That http://www.apiforthat.com/ #8 hand curated • niche categories • user-provided input 600 APIs
  26. 26. IBM API Harmony https://apiharmony-open.mybluemix.net/public #9 APIs.guru • web crawling • user-provided input 1900 APIs
  27. 27. Any API https://any-api.com/ #10 APIs.guru • LucyBot • test consoles ≈ 300 APIs
  28. 28. API Hound http://apihound.com/apifinder #11 Web crawling • difficult to navigate • comprehensive • can't add API manually 50,000 APIs
  29. 29. Hitch https://www.hitchhq.com/apis #12 docs • SDKs • changelogs • profiles require Hitch account ≈ 800 APIs
  30. 30. Product Hunt https://www.producthunt.com/ #13 Startups • San Francisco • manually added • karma ratings ≈ 200 APIs
  31. 31. API Katalogen http://apikatalogen.se/ #14 In Swedish • civil, open data • APIs are submitted manually 300 APIs
  32. 32. Usability GET /api/marketing/usability /usability /advocacy /evangelism /support /leadership /seo /model /visibility /directories /docs /portal /dx GET /marketing
  33. 33. 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:
  34. 34. Example: Stripe API GET /api/marketing/usability/docs
  35. 35. But docs are only part of the picture...
  36. 36. 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
  37. 37. Cater to All Types of Visitors ● Best Practices in API Documentation, Smartbear Credit: GET /api/marketing/usability/portal
  38. 38. Have good style: Industry best practices ● API Handyman’s API Stylebook ● Zapier Engineering - "API Geriatrics" Resources: Endpoints: logically map to microservices REST vs SOAP: Almost always REST 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
  39. 39. Dynamic Behavior (Discoverability) GET /api/marketing/usability/dx ● Exchange between client & server ● Client scopes ○ may limit which operations are available to an app; ● User permissions ○ may limit operations ● HATEOAS ○ Hypermedia APIs allow exploration/navigation ○ Provide responses to GET/POST calls
  40. 40. "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
  41. 41. Advocacy GET /api/marketing/advocacy /usability /advocacy /evangelism /support /leadership /seo /model /visibility /directories /docs /portal /dx GET /marketing
  42. 42. 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
  43. 43. 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
  44. 44. 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
  45. 45. "The primary role of a developer evangelist in forming a developer community is 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 Inspiration: GET /api/marketing/advocacy/evangelism
  46. 46. Form a community: Developer Relations • Dev outreach increases: • Awareness • Understanding • Share vision • Ways to form a community: • Email, chat, forum, conferences, Knowledge base, blog, content, demos, use cases • Shopify ● DevRel: How to Offer Unparalleled Developer Outreach Resources: GET /api/marketing/advocacy/support
  47. 47. Stack Overflow GET /api/marketing/advocacy/support ● IPinfo.io ● 250 million daily requests ● One StackOverflow response ● $0 budget.
  48. 48. Thought leadership: Evergreen Content GET /api/marketing/advocacy/leadership • Less GIFs please • 18 months • Extend • Credible • Readable
  49. 49. "Either you own the conversation around your APIs or someone else will." – Kin Lane The API Evangelist Inspiration: GET /api/marketing/advocacy/leadership
  50. 50. Thought leadership: Own it. 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:
  51. 51. 1. Create an API definition 2. Leverage API discovery formats to make your API machine readable 3. Profile your API in the growing number of API directories 4. Improve SEO with target keyword copy in developer home pages & docs IN SUMMARY 4 ways to make your API more discoverable
  52. 52. 3x3-Tiered Discovery Approach /usability /advocacy /evangelism /support /leadership /seo /model /visibility /directories /docs /portal /dx GET /marketing
  53. 53. Thanks!
  54. 54. API Marketing:How to Make Your API More Discoverable PRESENTED BY: BILL DOERRFELD @DoerrfeldBill AT: Nordic APIs Platform Summit Oct 10, 2017
  55. 55. 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
  56. 56. Slides are up: @DoerrfeldBill https://www.slideshare.net/BillConradDoerrfeld/….
  57. 57. 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
  58. 58. Competition: Create Unique Value GET /api/marketing/extra_advice
  59. 59. • "Convincing the Architect" • Disseminate best practices • Foster internal culture • Security • Agility • Consistency: Style Guide GET /api/marketing/advocacy/leadership Internal leadership: API Intrapreneur
  60. 60. Monetization: Free Trial • Support developers! • Increase integration ease • Scalable • Ex. Safety Culture GET /api/marketing/extra_advice
  61. 61. Provisioning: Release in tiers Private PublicPartner GET /api/marketing/extra_advice
  62. 62. Why consider all this?: A Balanced Release GET /api/marketing/extra_advice

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