API product intelligence: 10 KPIs to support your strategy

Are my API-led initiatives moving the needle in my business? It’s a question many organizations investing in API development ask themselves, and one that cannot be addressed by a single metric. It takes a combination of insights tying back to API delivery, performance/quality, adoption, and value — the four dimensions of API product intelligence — to help you realize the business outcomes of your API efforts. Here are ten KPIs for measuring the impact of your API program.

1. Speed to deliver API

The faster a business can launch API products, the more opportunities there are to earn market share. Knowing the speed at which you’re able to deliver API products can help you know if you’re hitting the rapid launch time markers or if your processes and workflows need to change to shorten delivery times.

2. Speed to call API

In an age where people expect quick response times, APIs need to deliver. APIs are typically considered high-performance when their average response time is between 0.1 and one second. This is a sweet spot where users are unlikely to experience interruption and third-party applications that use the API won’t endure noticeable slowdowns.

3. Number of business APIs

At the end of the day, the most important aspect of APIs is that they deliver a seamless and valuable experience. But there are innate benefits to taking stock of your API inventory from a sheer numbers standpoint. With digital transformation top of mind, this metric offers insight into API expansion, once you have that solid governance plan in place.

4. Transactions per day per API

Monitoring the volume of individual API transactions on a daily basis gives you a sense for what your API endpoints must be able to handle. This helps you, as an API provider, ensure SLAs are met. From this visibility, you can also have a clear understanding of which APIs are being most heavily used and offer unique opportunities for further growth.

5. API reuse rate

A big part of what enables businesses to maximize the value of their API investments is API reuse. After all, building APIs is an expensive, time-consuming process. When you can see the rate at which your APIs are being reused across multiple products/applications, you’ll get a better sense of whether or not they fit into that concept of a true enterprise API.

6. Domain capability coverage

While there may be many business capabilities at your disposal, chances are that only some are framed into an API product — with many others that could be used in a similar manner to grow monetization. Measuring domain capability coverage allows you to see the percentage of business capabilities that are APIs so you can prioritize how to maximize use of your digital assets.

7. Business area adoption

Having a grasp on which areas of your business are adopting APIs the fastest helps you better strategize for the future. You can focus your API adoption efforts on sectors that already have high API acceptance and achievement, for example, so you can continue your digital momentum and build a case for other business areas to follow suit.

8. Third-party adoption

Does your API strategy involve creating an ecosystem of partners? Even if the answer isn’t yes at first, it can move in that direction as your digital capabilities increase and new opportunities reveal themselves. Measuring API adoption by third parties helps you to visualize the growth of this ecosystem as well as identify partner APIs that can be beneficial in fulfilling gaps within your own business capabilities.

9. Business value traffic

A lot of the monetization that’s derived from APIs is indirect. In this scenario, new channels are enabled for existing business activities. Ebay, as an example, earns 60% of its revenue through API-led capabilities that let the business promote their auction lists on third-party websites, offering more exposure to eBay offerings that ultimately boosts business revenue.

10. Direct revenue traffic

Of course, there’s also direct revenue that can be tied to API consumption. Getty Images, for instance, leverages a direct API monetization model where visual content is available to businesses and their customers through subscription-based service. When APIs are meant to drive direct revenue, you tie your API technology investments to dollar amounts in sales and numbers of orders.

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