Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) enable you to open up your app’s data and functionality to third-party developers and business partners. They allow services and products to communicate with each other. You can utilize them to accelerate the business process. As a result, API markets are becoming increasingly important. They connect API providers and consumers. They enable you to conveniently discover feature-rich and user-friendly APIs. But how can you build an API marketplace? In this post, you will find all the details.
Table of Contents
What is an API marketplace?
An API marketplace is a user-friendly public hub. It allows API providers to publish APIs. So, developers can easily discover them. The API marketplace brings the API sellers and buyers together. It ensures mutual benefit.
You can create an API marketplace for both public APIs and internal APIs. A public marketplace promotes products to third-party developers. It has a wider audience. On the other hand, a private marketplace focuses on the internal consumption of APIs.
What are the differences between an API marketplace and an API portal?
Many people interchangeably use API marketplace and API portal. But in reality, they are two different things.
Usually, developers create API portals from scratch. Also, they may use an API management template. API portals have API documentation. They include useful features, including tutorials and interactive explorers. Also, portals offer access management features. It enables you to securely onboard with the API producer. It helps you easily understand the necessary authentication mechanisms.
On the other hand, an API marketplace brings several API producers together into a place. Hence, you can conveniently find and implement your desired APIs. In other words, the marketplace aggregates multiple components into a single panel. Hence, it effectively connects API sellers and buyers.
What are the features of a successful API marketplace?
Here are some of the most essential features of a successful API marketplace:
- API Management – The top platforms allow you to effortlessly administer and coordinate the tasks of managing APIs. As a result, you can easily make the most of them. By utilizing an API management solution, you can efficiently improve the visibility of your products. It ensures smooth scaling and orchestration. Also, it helps you significantly minimize security risks.
- Access Management – A versatile API platform allows you to enforce access management. It enables you to enhance the security of your APIs. It gives you complete control over your product access.
- Suspicious Activity Detection – The top platforms feature an alert engine. It can actively monitor APIs for suspicious activities. It notifies users whenever it identifies a breach.
Why use an API marketplace?
For API providers:
- Allows creators to market APIs for a wider exposure
- Enables you to quickly get feedback from API consumers
- Offers statistics and analytics resources to determine the API performance
- Allows you to monetize APIs through different subscription plans
For API consumers:
- Allows developers to easily discover amazing APIs. You can group products into different categories, collections, and capabilities. Hence, you can effortlessly find APIs that best suit your needs.
- You can automatically get onboard and begin implementing APIs. You don’t need manual approval from every API provider
- Enables you to get started quickly by providing documentation and educational materials
How to Build an API Marketplace
There are plenty of ways to create the marketplace. As long as you follow the best security practices, you can build it in the way you like.
You can create an API marketplace in five simple steps. Let’s find them out.
1. Planning and API Governance
The first step in building an API marketplace is planning. Without it, you can’t achieve success. The most important aspect that you need to plan for is API governance and security protocols. The marketplace needs different governance arrangements to comply with regulatory requirements. It ensures that your products follow appropriate technical specifications.
Also, it’s very important to create governance documentation before sharing any APIs with the developers. Because your products will be consumed and used outside of your organization. That’s why you need to create documentation for everything ranging from access and control rules to usage rights and security.
Once you are done with the first step, you are ready to roll out your marketplace. You need to find a developer portal that offers built-in API marketplace features. It will enable you to easily perform customization in line with the look and feel of your brand.
3. Promote Your API Marketplace
The third step is promoting your API marketplace. It’s a critical phase. Because it involves building an API developer community.
You need to consider your marketplace as a digital product. By developing an effective digital marketing strategy, you can quickly draw the attention of API consumers. Also, you should look for ways to incentivize forum activity and developer sharing.
Another great way is using revenue-sharing models. You can incentivize key developers for their contribution to marketplace products. It will draw the attention of the community. It can be highly effective to promote APIs.
Finally, make sure to make the most out of social media. You should give your best effort to stimulate conversation in the social community of developers. Make sure to promote your marketplace in the discussion of relevant industry APIs.
4. Scale API Analytics
Once you are done with the promotion, you will have to start working with the marketplace analytics. There are two main categories of marketplace analytics. They are:
- Operational API Analytics: Operational API analytics provide insights into how people are using your APIs. Also, they help you determine whether the products are properly functioning or not.
- Platform-Based Analytics: Platform-based analytics offers insights into the performance of your marketplace. Examples include visits, time on site, and engagement metrics. You can use them to make adjustments to the ecosystem. It enables you to make the API marketplace more attractive for consumers.
Analytics plays an important role in supporting API monetization.
5. Provide Documentation
Every developer prefers to follow a well-documented API. Nobody likes poor documentation. It can make the lives of developers very difficult. That’s why you need to provide comprehensive documentation with all of your APIs. They should contain specific instructions for easily integrating the product into web apps in different programming languages.
Also, the documentation should include details about your API’s classes, functions, return types, and arguments. Also, it should have plenty of tutorials, examples, and support materials. It will enable developers to quickly get up and running with the APIs.
What Are The Best API Marketplaces?
There are plenty of marketplaces available online. However, which are the best ones? Let’s find 5 of the most popular API marketplaces.
1. APILayer – The Best API Marketplace Available Online
APILayer is a cloud-based SAAS and API provider. It launched its API marketplace in February 2022. Right now, it offers 75+ products, including Currencylayer, Weatherstack, and Marketstack. Also, the marketplace regularly adds new APIs.
You can partner with APILayer to get wider exposure to a broader client base. The marketplace assists you in key management and payment collection. In other words, APILayer handles everything for you. Therefore, you can focus more on other aspects of your business.
APILayer allows you to set your preferred pricing for your products. It gives you total freedom.
2. RapidAPI – One of the Top API Marketplaces
RapidAPI is one of the largest and most popular marketplaces for 2022. It helps you easily list your product and manage API integrations through a well-designed dashboard. Also, it enables you to effortlessly monetize your APIs.
RapidAPI provides code snippets in different languages. Hence, users can easily integrate your API into their web apps. Also, RapidAPI validates each API request to strengthen security. Therefore, you never have to worry about potential attacks. It assigns API keys to each user. In this way, it facilitates easier user management and quick setup.
Rakuten is another popular API marketplace. Over 1 million developers around the world are using it. It enables you to easily manage, market, and sell your API.
Rakuten offers simple and fast integration. As a result, you can add your parameters within a few minutes. Also, it automatically generates docs. Hence, users can instantly test the API from any web browser.
Gravitee.io is a comprehensive platform. It helps you effortlessly market and showcase your APIs. You can use it to easily manage and earn revenues from your APIs.
Gravitee.io comes with tons of useful features. For instance, it enables you to track the performance of your APIs. Also, it lets you enforce access management.
5. Amazon Marketplace API
The Amazon API marketplace is a completely managed service. It enables users to quickly develop, publish, and monitor the products. It assists you in handling different API management tasks. Hence, you can ensure optimal performance.
The Bottom Line
API marketplaces enable API providers to connect developers. They help consumers easily discover amazing products. Also, they enable providers to reach a significantly larger audience.
There are plenty of marketplaces available online. However, the best one is Apilayer. It provides a collection of versatile APIs, such as Marketstack, Currencylayer, and Weatherstack. By utilizing them, you can easily implement new features for your app. Also, APILayer provides robust documentation for each of its products. As a result, it has become massively popular among developers worldwide.
Why API marketplace is important?
An API marketplace allows providers to publicly publish their APIs. As a result, developers can easily discover them. Also, the marketplace allows providers to monetize your APIs by creating a subscription plan. Hence, you can earn revenue.
What is API?
API stands for Application Programming Interface. It is a software intermediary that lets two applications communicate with each other.
What is API management?
API management refers to the processes of distributing, controlling, and analyzing the APIs. It ensures compliance with corporate policies and external regulations around data privacy.
Do I have to pay to use an API?
There are many open APIs. You can use them without spending any money. However, there is plenty of premium APIs. They require you to pay a subscription plan.