What is an API?

What is an API and, more importantly, why should you care? This article will help you to understand APIs and how AE uses them to make cool stuff happen!

How do APIs work?

API stands for Application Programming Interface.

In plain English, APIs are messengers that relay information back and forth between different applications and servers.

In fact, each time you type a URL into your web browser, you are using an API.

For example, when you visit www.spotify.com, a request goes out to Spotify’s server (a.k.a. where all the data that makes up Spotify lives).

You are basically saying in code, “Yoohoo! Show me the Spotify website please!”

Once your browser has received a response from the server, it can display the page.

In this scenario, your browser is using Spotify’s API to relay information from Spotify’s server.

So thanks to APIs, applications and platforms are able to communicate with other applications and platforms. Hello Internet!

This is huge because a lot of existing software and tools rely on API’s every day to do their jobs…including AE.

When you first signed up, you may have wondered “How is AE able to funnel such awesome and useful data into the dashboard?”

Well, let’s break it down.

Let’s say you have a website for one of your emerging artists. You learn about how AE works and decide to integrate it into your site’s newsletter sign-up form.

Now, when a fan signs up, AE starts to track their artist related activity online and across social media.

APIs actually sit behind this entire process.

In this case, the newsletter sign-up form is an API that connects your website to AE’s dashboard.

An example of AE’s social login

And if the fan signed-up using their Twitter login, another API is in charge of getting in touch with Twitter and requesting data about the user. APIs like this one continue to request data regularly, enabling AE to provide real-time data!

Basically, APIs allow AE to gather key customer insights and pass them safely and securely to your dashboard. (Want even more detail about this process? Nerd out here.)

When you sign up for AE, one of the first things you will do is create an application for each social sign-in option you want to offer.

But, don’t worry, it’s actually rather simple. Plus, we have tips and help docs to guide you every step of the way!

We hope APIs make a little more sense now.

Learn more about how to get AE set up.

Odette Jacquet

About Odette Jacquet

I'm AE's jack-of-all-trades marketer! I'm a part of everything from social media to analytics to sales. My passions include videography, the arts, and growing food.