What Are the Different Types of APIs?

4 min read

APIs are everywhere and we already showed how ubiquitous they were by the means of down-to-earth examples. That being said, how can we now categorize them to better understand and use them? We often talk about Private, Partner and Open APIs. What do those categories mean? What examples can we give? A company’s API strategy often starts from building internal APIs, to making them available to partners or customers.

Private/ Internal API - Business Coherence & Agility

A Private/ Internal API is an API that is exposed inside of an organisation and that opens part of the organisation’s backend data. Only people working within the organisation are using it. Using internal APIs eases the data transfer.

Example A
At a Manufacturing company, the Marketing team retrieves the company’s Sales data (age, gender, geolocation, time and date) to build a strategic Customer Loyalty Program & to decide on the right market segment to focus on.
#operationalefficiency #costsavings #singlesourceoftruth

Example B

A Tech company aims at enhancing its Product mindset and improving - in fine - its customer journey. To do so, the company relies on data collection and data insights gathered thanks to internal APIs. These two help the company iterate and develop a better customer experience. #operationalefficiency #developmenteffectiveness

Partner API - Collaboration & Business Development

A Partner API is an API that is exposed outside of an organisation and with a Business purpose. The API provider company chooses whom it would like to grant access to and to which data attributes. Then, the company can choose to monetize it or not.

Example A
A Health Technology company collects data from e-medical devices and sells the data to external partners (practitioners, disease prediction companies…)
#newrevenuestream #newofferings

Example B

A Push Notification company builds a part of its business on API monetization. This kind of platform is executing its clients’ CRM strategy. The reward comes from their push notifications being sent to the right person at the right moment via their APIs.
#APIasaproduct #APImonetization

Open/Public API - Innovation

An Open API is an API that is publicly available for any developer that needs the data at stake. This type of API has none to few restrictions (restriction example: register to the service that is providing the API).This type of API is backed by open data. The goal for companies providing that kind of API is to make it consumed by the larger population. APIs can both be paid or free, but anyone can sign-up to access them.

Example A
A Weather application grants access to their API for multiple applications to retrieve free weather data. This includes access to current weather data, forecasts, and weather maps. Lots of applications developers are using it to build their own map-based interfaces.
#broaderintegration #betterservices

Example B
An Online Payment application makes the “Pay with x functionality” a widely used option for e-commerce applications. Once on a checkout page, when a user clicks the “Pay with x” button, the application sends an “order” request to the payment provider’s API, specifying the amount that needs to be paid. A pop-up authenticates the user and the purchase can be confirmed. If all goes well, the API sends payment confirmation back to the application.
#security #fastertimetomarket

Being knowledgeable about the different API options makes it easier to decide on the strategy to adopt, depending on the company’s culture and goals.At Blobr, we believe it is time, for all companies, to design and manage their APIs as products. What does it mean? It means Partner and Open/ Public APIs should be designed and built so that:

  • they answer customers' needs (from time-to-market to value provided)
  • they are tracked so that their real value is known (from user's consumption to attributes' consumption)
  • they are endlessly improved so that a stellar experience is provided to API users

Looking to move up your API strategy? Get in touch with our team

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