API Analytics Across the Developer Journey
API providers want as many developers as possible to adopt and use their APIs. But what metrics matter most to the developer journey? The answer is in the data.
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
Every API product manager wants as many developers as possible adopting and using their APIs. They want them to get to Hello World quickly and have a great developer experience (DX) along the way. Of course, the bigger goal is to be able to tie API success into the larger objectives of the company. For many, despite the best intentions, their metrics are too simplistic, narrow, and based on outdated models of engagement.
With complete API analytics, you can guide API users throughout the entire journey—from signup and education to Hello World and app deployment. Often, it’s not enough for someone to get started with your API. Instead, you want them to make complete use of it. And raw usage of the API does not tell the full story of your collective customer experience. You can use analytics to carefully plan the design of every API, improve the experience for every developer, and maximize the outcomes for your product.
Drive More Developers From API Signup to Success
Developers typically have choices of APIs to integrate or whether to integrate at all. When you’ve managed to attract signup to your API, you want to do what’s needed to get the developer to the next step. You need to simultaneously keep this micro success in mind while also aiming for macro success across the entire API journey.
As an API provider, you want to ensure that every developer who creates an account successfully integrates your API with their application. API analytics can enable you to:
- Improve API Onboarding
- Help Developers Get to Hello World Faster
- Encourage the Use of More API Features and Endpoints
Some of these may be familiar to you. You’re likely attempting them without much data. And the final success of deep integration is something most API product managers don’t track—likely because it’s invisible.
Improve API Onboarding
A lot can happen from the time a user generates an API key to when they’ve integrated your API with their application. With API analytics and user interface data, you can track developers as they go through onboarding, collecting data from different points of the journey, such as:
- When a user signs up for an API account
- When a user generates an API key
- Each step or page included in your onboarding flow
- When a user makes their first API call
You should look closely at API and user data to determine what onboarding flow works best for most developers. The fewer decisions users have to make during onboarding, the better. Try offering limited onboarding options to start with and then later expand the onboarding paths based on the data presented.
Personalize onboarding by analyzing API and user data and sending well-timed, customized emails.
Initial onboarding can engage a developer that’s kicking the tires. The next step with your API analytics should be to gain insights to help those developers get to Hello World faster.
Help Developers Get to Hello World Faster
Looking at your API data, you could find that some developers are having trouble moving from the pre-integration to the sandbox stage- the Time to First Hello World (TTFHW). The TTFHW is one of the most crucial API metrics you need to track, and reducing this time should always be a priority. A range of issues could increase the time it takes a developer to reach their first Hello World.
Among those potential issues are:
- API errors
- Bugs in your SDKs
- Flaws in how users have implemented your API
With API analytics, you can track API usage and look at developer behavior as they use your API. You can find the places where users get tripped up and help them work through any roadblocks. For example, are some developers visiting pages of your documentation after using specific API endpoints? Use this data to improve your documentation and make it more relevant for them. You may need to help some developers get to the first Hello World, so provide them plenty of information about your API via relevant content and assistance.
Some users may never get to the first Hello World. This is another reason TTFHW is such a crucial metric to track because it can signal eventual developer churn. You need to understand which aspects of your API users struggle with and then help them stay on the right track. Create a funnel with your API analytics and tag the actions to indicate not only a successful Hello World but the signs of more than a single call.
Many API product managers stop at Hello World and don’t explore deeper success. Or, sometimes, those next signals are more manual, such as sales conversations. By exploring usage across multiple endpoints, you can encourage developers to adopt additional API features.
Encourage the Use of More API Features and Endpoints
Developers usually start with a few core endpoints, often unaware of everything an API has to offer. The long-term success of an application usually requires integrations beyond a single area of an API. Use API analytics to track which endpoints haven’t gained much traction with developers. Then use triggered emails and content marketing to introduce developers to your entire API.
For example, you could send some users an email with a link to product pages, documentation, or a short video that explain the benefits of a specific, unused endpoint. Provide additional content that explains the value applications would gain from that endpoint functionality. Periodically introduce new and unused endpoints to developers through automated emails, encouraging them to use more API features.
Another way to identify deeper integrations is through SDKs. You can pull out API headers to determine how much each is used. Further slice that by the day of the first API call to determine whether your product has been integrated into an active project.
Once you have your API analytics data available, there are many ways to interpret it. In addition to following the developer journey, you can depend upon data to make better API product decisions.
Make Better API Product Decisions with Data
When you have visibility into the entire developer journey, you can make product decisions driven by real API usage. You can understand the “hot spots” and lesser-used parts of your API, then plan future updates accordingly. With API product management a newer field, you need a tool that understands the unique questions you want to answer. For example, you may want to know:
- Top customers by API usage
- Endpoints used by each customer
- Implications of endpoint deprecation
- Which marketing channels drive actual API usage
Armed with this data (among others you might seek), you can explore current results and make product updates with confidence. When you consider the full developer journey, you’ll revisit metrics to help more developers not only take the important first steps but also more fully integrate your API into their systems.
Published at DZone with permission of Derric Gilling. See the original article here.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.