As marketers use more digital forms of advertising and customer outreach, it’s crucial to leverage technology. APIs or Application Programming Interfaces are now part of a modern marketer’s toolbox. Or at least they should be.
APIs can integrate data across various platforms, allowing marketers to gain valuable insights for marketing strategy development. The key to this is that APIs can not only integrate efficiently, but marketing professionals can also access data faster and create new processes.
What Is an API?
There are several different analogies for an API. One is that of a key or plug. Another equates the interfaces to a waiter in a restaurant. Using the example of a key, an API facilitates access between separate applications and services. A plug allows someone to transmit electricity from a device from an outlet. In the same way, an API establishes a connection between different data systems.
Jonathan Taylor with Klipfolio uses the waiter analogy. When people visit a restaurant, they need to order food from a waiter. The waiter is the API that takes the order or the request from the table or system. A waiter returning to the table with the ordered food represents an API’s response.
Marketers can use existing API plug-ins from third parties or existing developers, provided there is compatibility between platforms. Or they can build custom APIs to use across platforms and gather the data they need.
A common way organizations use them is through the social media icons visitors see on web pages. By clicking on these icons, visitors are taken directly to that organization’s corresponding social media page, and data reveals the number and source of those clicks.
Why Is Marketing API Important?
Marketers make decisions based on data. That data usually comes from consumers – what actions they take, their perceptions and values, and how they see themselves. Online activities such as clicking on pay-per-click ad links and watching video ads are examples of potential data. Marketing tools like digital survey platforms can capture consumers’ perceptions of companies, products, and services.
While this data is insightful, it exists in separate platforms and requires either manual or API intervention to bring it together. Unfortunately, manual processes take a lot of manpower and time. Plus, they are prone to mistakes due to interruptions, distractions, and human errors.
Automated processes like web scraping can pull powerful insights from data that exists in separate platforms. For instance, data from online surveys that reveal the main reasons why customers were looking to make a purchase can be correlated with the number of clicks on an online ad. The combined data could explain why there is an increase in clicks on ads for cell phones if customers indicate they’re looking for new phones.
Ways To Use API Data
Data collected and exchanged via technology can increase conversions, reveal who customers and prospects are, and measure advertising effectiveness. Marketing professionals can refine their targeting efforts and even discover new market niches. Just putting up a website, a social media presence, and digital ads aren’t enough. APIs can quite literally help marketers put clients on the map.
Targeting and Segmentation
Increased targeting is one way to gain and maintain market share by analyzing insights. Knowing which segments exist, what they need, what they value, and what they want to hear can form the foundation of marketing strategy. However, being able to act quickly on that knowledge is more important.
What if previous survey research says prospective customers for a telecom company are interested in the latest and most expensive smartphones? But, there’s a sudden economic downtown in the company’s markets and this causes prospects to pull back on their spending? A sharp decrease in ad clicks or actual purchases for these phone models might hint at a need to shift the company’s advertising focus for this segment.
Social listening data, or what customers and prospects are saying online, can help manage customer relationships. Are they complaining about similar problems with an organization? Are there indications that they’re ready to look for another service provider or find a competitor’s offerings more attractive?
Information about what customers and prospects are saying on social media can reveal additional insights. They may not match up with what people are willing to say on a survey they know is coming from the company. While it’s possible for social listening data to corroborate other sources, it can reveal hidden trends and competitor data that’s not readily available from third-party research.
Digital advertising and customer relationship management strategy also entail online content. From blog posts and webinars to white papers and eBooks, nurturing the buyer’s journey through information is a prevalent marketing tool. Marketing departments and ad agencies can find it difficult to create relevant and stand-out content if they don’t know what’s important to their customers.
Data from multiple sources can give more accurate predictions on what information target segments want. Online behaviors, including social media post engagements and impressions, can point toward pain points. Marketers can then determine if the content about those pain points and interests is worthwhile.
Personalization is a proven way to increase email open rates, engagements, and sales. Customers want to feel as though organizations care about them. They don’t want to receive canned or blanket advertising that doesn’t really match their needs. It’s difficult to get personalization right if a database’s information is wrong, missing information, or outdated.
With efficient, real-time, constant data synchronization, it’s easier to get personalization right. Although manual checks and scrubs still need to happen periodically, the process won’t take as long or be as tedious with APIs.
Successful marketing and advertising decisions rely on good, accurate data. With so many organizations using both traditional and digital outreach methods, it’s harder to gather, combine, and analyze that data.
APIs remove a majority of the hassles for marketers by letting various platforms talk to each other. With technology advancing each day, APIs will become more than an afterthought for marketers.
Positive Words Research – Why Marketers Should Seriously Consider APIs