What Is An API, And How is it Changing Content Delivery?

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May 14, 2018

What Is An API, And How is it Changing Content Delivery?

With the explosion of new IoT devices along with the evolving MarTech landscape, brands now need more freedom to push their content through various channels.

And having an IT infrastructure that provides this freedom to allow developers to change their technology stack to incorporate content delivery to new IoT devices is equally important. Currently, many brands are locked into a system that has built their CMS, giving little or no room to maneuver in their content delivery.

The rapid rise of the API market enables brands to future-proof their content delivery and become flexible and adaptable to the ever-changing landscape of the IoT market.

We can see 2018 as an extremely important year for API. ProgrammableWeb’s API directory surpassed 19,000-mark in January 2018, a number that’s growing everyday.

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What is an API?

API stands for Application Programming Interface. To provide a definition of API in Layman terms, it is best to explain it via a working example, and the best way to do that is to look at how the world wide web works.

The web is seen as  a large of group of remote servers that are connected to each other. When you type in a web address on a browser, let’s say you want to visit Netflix’s website, a request goes out to the remote server which belongs to that website.

In this example, we see that the browser is acting as a client, and the website’s server is acting as the API. Meaning every time you visit a page on the website, you’re interacting with a remote server’s API.

This doesn’t mean that an API is the same as the remote server, far from it. An API is actually part of the remote server that receives a request and sends responses.

Think of API as a set of tools and protocols that enables two or more platforms to initiate a task or process. From a development perspective, APIs can help developers to create systems by using these readily available tools. This can save development time and internal resources.

Many applications have been created using APIs. A notable example is Tweetdeck. In 2008, the developers of Tweetdeck used Twitter’s API to create a social media dashboard catered for Twitter users. This platform proved to be very popular and achieved a market share of 23%. Twitter later went on to acquire Tweetdeck in 2011.

4 Reasons Why APIs Are Vital to Content Delivery in The IoT-era

The IDC have predicted that the IoT market will be worth $7.1 trillion by 2020. But arguably, many IoT devices would not have existed without the rising API market. APIs have shown to provide the interface between the Internet and the Things. On the contrary, in a 2016 Smartbear survey, 44% of API providers believe the IoT market will spur the API market to grow in next few years.  

We’ve already seen a rapid adoption of smart wearable devices like Nike+ and voice-based assistant devices such as Amazon Echo. All of these technologies use various APIs to deliver content to their customer.

Besides the rapid rise in IoTs, there are other factors which are currently playing a key role in making 2018 the year of API:

1. The Rise of B2D Market

The API market has allowed developers and IT staff to pick and choose APIs which are suited to their development needs, thus creating the Business-to-Developer (B2D) market in the process. The current trend that we’re seeing is that developers are choosing the most dominant APIs that are out there. To give you an example, MailChimp saw their API requests quintuple from 50 million in 2015 to 80 million at the beginning of 2016. 

This comes as no surprise as developers are compelled to use an API with established a solid reputation.

2. Adapting To New Devices And Consumer Demands  

Customer-centric development is a key factor in creating efficient APIs. Constant review of customer feedback and engagement encourages API developers to build around faster development cycles and also allows for faster scale up.

Investing in an established API provide reassurance in knowing API developers will continuously deploy and run updates ensuring their API continues to meet changing consumer needs. In terms of content delivery, brands can rest assured that their content will be delivered in the correct format in line new devices and customer trends.

3. Millennial B2B Buyers

A report in Business2Community has shown that there is an increase in the number of millennials embarking on a career as a B2B buyer. These younger B2B buyers tend to avoid traditional B2B marketing campaigns since it does not speak to them.

This is why more B2B companies are now investing in creating new business models using different APIs to deliver a more personalized marketing message directly to these millennials through various IoTs.

4. The Increased Need for a Headless CMS

Headless content management systems combine delivery and content modeling by allowing developers to utilize APIs to deliver content onto multiple platforms. It provides better security and allows users to manage the entire content platform from a single location.

Many brands are now adopting these headless CMS systems because it allows for better user experience and provide developers a better degree of flexibility in terms of innovation and incorporating numerous APIs.  

Future Proof Your Content With APIs

APIs can help you future-proof your content marketing strategy in the IoT-era. Rather than looking to internal developers and IT professional, brands can invest in an established and trust solution to deliver appropriately formatted content to their consumers without having to experience lengthy development times.

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