Offering an API with excellent design is important but it is not enough. It is necessary to develop several other factors: Discoverability, differentiation, user experience, monetization model, associations, key-indicators to improve and maximize the value for the parties involved (collaborators, partners, developers, end users, etc).
As with any other product, not always the technically better option is the one that wins, but rather the one with the best market strategy. It is not efficient just to make the API available and wait for people to magically start using it. There is a wide variety of APIs available, and it is essential to stand out from the competition for the developer’s attention.
Therefore, it is very important to:
– Identify all parties involved in the value chain of the API and be clear about the value offered to them (pains it addresses, possible gains, etc).
– Identify the ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) and define its positioning in each profile to stand out from the competition.
Think of the 4 Ps:
- Product (What pain or gain of the parties involved will be addressed with the API? How to design the API and offer the best dev experience?)
- Price (what will be the monetization model? Don’t hesitate to evaluate the competitors’ models)
- Place (Where can your API be found? API catalogs, partner channels, communities, portals, etc.)
- Promotion (How will they know your API? How to involve developers?)
– Define the strategy to develop the ecosystem around the API:
- What would be the possible partners?
- How to attract large customers?
- Think of open innovation initiatives, such as hackathons.
– Don’t forget to establish mechanisms for feedback and metrics to evaluate progress, accompany the results obtained for the business, verify the effectiveness of the strategies, and enable continuous improvement.
– Consider the role of an API Product Manager, responsible for articulating the Business Value, measure KPIs, optimize Marketing and Monetization Strategy, advance the Roadmap, and continuously improve the Experience and Value in the use of the API.