APIs are all around us. Every time you use a rideshare app, change the AC temperature from your phone or make a mobile payment, you are using the API.
API stands for application programming interface. It is a software intermediary that allows two applications to communicate. APIs are an accessible way to extract and share data within and across organizations.
How Does an API work?
A simple way to understand how APIs work is by looking at a common example. For instance, take third-party payment processing. When a user purchases an item from an e-commerce store, they may be prompted to “Pay with Credit/Debit Card” or “Pay with UPI.” The function relies on APIs to make the connection.
When the user clicks on the payment button, an API calls to retrieve the information, also known as the request. This request is processed from an application to the web server via the API’s Uniform Resource Identifier or URI. The API makes a call to the external program or web server upon receiving the valid request from the product webpage. In this case, the external program is a third-party payment system.
The server sends a response to the API with the requested information. The API then transfers the data to the initial requesting application, here the product website.
Why are APIs important?
- APIs help developers add new features to their apps. Instead of creating an app from scratch, developers access useful APIs to save development time and make sure that the key functionality works easily.
- APIs add a layer through which a company’s data and enterprise assets are presented with requisite governance and security. This approach elevates customer, employee as well and partner interactions.
- A business can have greater functionality and scope of services delivered to their users, improving customer experience and increasing the reach of software and their brand.
What are the Benefits of APIs?
Public APIs and the ones shared with their partners help an organization do the following:
- Grows customer database and increases conversion rate by aligning its services with other trusted brands.
- Allow third parties to use its data, allowing brand exposure.
- Securely control and manage how users and systems access data and service functionality.
- Monetize its APIs so that they become a line of revenue.
Thus, advertisers and markets get information from developers through APIs. Through this, a business can analyze data across multiple campaigns at once and use it to its advantage to track its performance. This is especially significant in mobile marketing where multiple tools or dashboards can be used to create an ecosystem of sites, platforms and mobile apps.