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We all know today’s world is increasingly driven by data, and APIs are becoming more pervasive in that world, positively impacting data analysis and reporting for all savvy businesses and start-ups. Let’s take a closer look at how APIs make such a beneficial difference to how businesses collect and act on data, enabling them to make pertinent decisions for future vision and success. Data nerds, unite!

How APIs Work

APIs collect data from a wide range of sources. They then analyze the collected data in an efficient and highly accurate manner, saving a company both time and money. They often eliminate the need for a business to hire an expensive consultant or to outsource to an analyst who will have to collect all data manually.They offer quick and easy connection points, making it easy for companies to remain composable at a time when flexibility is essential. 

For example, a business could use the Google Analytics API, plus another API, to collate their social media reach and engagement, i.e., making use of the Twitter API to gather all tweets that contain their brand name and then offering them up for close analysis. More than one platform can be tracked at once, leading to a more accurate picture of what is and isn’t working for you. APIs can also be employed to generate automatic reports, so if a company needs to create a report on traffic to their website, they can once again make use of the Google Analytics API to collect the data and then utilize a good reporting tool that will create the report.

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The Benefits Of Using APIs for Data Collection & Reporting

The benefits of using APIs for data collection include the elimination of human error, quick real-time data, and flexibility to shift course where necessary. 

Elimination of Human Error

Automating the data collection with APIs means that human errors which occur when data is manually handled – say, a number of small details being missed - can be avoided. This allows you to gather all that data quicker and much more accurately. For example, imagine having to track down every mention of your brand name on Twitter within a certain time frame. That’s going to take time and effort. 

With the right API, the task is going to be a lot easier. There’s no worrying about the human error as that won’t happen with an automated system. You’ll also see that the process is a lot cheaper, as you do not have to hire an analyst to collect that data for you. 

Real-Time Data

In addition, there’s no underestimating the benefit of real-time data that API integration provides. If you want to track sales of your product, for example, an API can collect data in real-time from an e-commerce platform, providing way more value than the same task done manually - after the event - onto a spreadsheet. Tracking sales manually through spreadsheets can only tell you so much. If you want to get a real, up-to-date idea of how your sales are doing, you can do so with real-time API trackers. 

No Vendor Tie-In 

“Using APIs also means you are not tied to one vendor,” says Janet Llewellyn, a technical writer at Essay writer and UK Writings review. “If your one and only analytics or data vendor goes out of business or puts up its prices, you don’t have the flexibility to quickly shift course or change platforms. An API gives you the flexibility to plug and unplug parts of the data collection process into your platform. ”

No Limit On The Number Of APIs

Another key benefit of using APIs is that you don’t have to use just one. There are going to be several things that you want to track, so you can use several APIs to do so.

Again, let’s look at that example of the Twitter mentions. You may want to track the number of times you’re mentioned on Twitter, but you also want to track website traffic. There are different APIs that will help you achieve each goal. Once you have that data, you can then compare them together. In this case, you could analyze data coming from both APIs to see if you are getting more traffic on your site. Does that mean more people are talking about you on Twitter?

In another example, you can look at overall social media sentiment about your brand by tracking multiple APIs on different platforms. That will give you enough data to compare all these sites and get the data to compare. 

Let’s Recap

An important starting point is to define your goals, setting out exactly what you want your data analysis and reporting to achieve. Do you want to track your website traffic or measure your social media sentiment? Do you want to take a close look at customer behavior or monitor your sales?

Once your goals are set, you’ll need to lock down your data sources, deciding where you’ll get your data from and how often. Then you’ll need to set everything up, meaning selecting the right API designer or provider (like Stoplight!) for your business and connecting your data sources to your reporting or analysis tool once you have your API built or selected. 

Keep Adjusting Your Strategy

Remember that the strategy you use at first won’t always be the best fit. Keep examining your data collection strategy, monitor your APIs often, and adjust it as needed. For example, you may find you need to change the data sources you’re tracking or up the frequency of how often you collect it. 

As we’ve seen, API integration is an invaluable tool for your business’s analysis and reporting system. Due to it connecting to multiple data sources and being able to collect data in real-time, you’ll be left with a far more accurate picture of how things are going in your business and avoid the risk of vendor lock-in. 


Rebecca Leigh is a writer on marketing strategy for Literature review help and Do my essay services. She contributes to tech and marketing conferences, is a business consultant, and writes articles for online magazines and blogs like  OX Essays.

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