If you’re looking for free beer, you’ve come to the wrong place. Try Goose Island.
However, IPAs and APIs both do in fact make your life a lot better. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) allow developers to build out components of apps that seamlessly communicate with other apps. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel if you can access data that already exists – especially when the tools are free.
Most useful free APIs in 2019
The number of public APIs is consistently increasing as app development continues to grow as a field. It can be a lot to weed through. We asked accomplished developers and tech-savvy marketing pros what free APIs they couldn’t live without. Some of these APIs are not only free but they are also easy to implement, even for marketers and other non-developers.
1. HubSpot CMS Blog Post API
“We leverage HubSpot APIs for a multitude of use-cases, be it for back-end integration services or just to expedite front-end development. I find the most powerful developer tools they offer are related to their CMS, such as the HubSpot CMS Blog Post API. These allow us to quickly convert blog post or website/landing page metadata into an Excel-friendly format so that we can quickly edit numerous pieces of content at once. Once that is done, we can then use the same free API to bulk-update those pages and posts.
Being able to bulk-update content, manage form properties, and integrate local development practices and tools with a cloud-based IDE has created numerous efficiencies for our team. We also utilize other resources they provide, including their Contact and Form APIs. HubSpot APIs allow us to deliver more value on a tight timeline.”
“Clearbit's Company Autocomplete API is the most useful free API I know, period. It is especially helpful for B2B companies. Clearbit's solutions are usually not free but the Autocomplete endpoint is. It takes a company name, even a partial one, as a parameter and returns additional information such as the company domain name, logo, etc. Very helpful in saving time and effort for any enrichment process starting with just company names."
TIP: These free APIs are highly recommended by programming pros. But we couldn't possibly cover them all as there is an overwhelming amount of public APIs available on the market today. While this is great for development, it can be hard to find what you need. If you want to find APIs other than the ones mentioned here, consider using API marketplace software to discover and use a variety of different APIs.
3 & 4. Google Analytics Reporting + Search Console APIs
“Without a doubt, my two favorite free APIs are the Google Analytics Reporting API and the Search Console API. All marketers will be using Analytics and Search Console. With these APIs, you don't have to worry about setting up additional bits software or adding more monthly tool subscriptions.
Although you can wrangle these APIs yourself with custom scripts, both also have handy Google Sheets add-ons. This levels the playing field to make them useful to non-technical marketers. Plus, they are free to use and well documented. The usefulness of these two APIs for me comes from quickly getting data into a spreadsheet. No manual .csv exports, no copy and paste. Just install the add-on, set up your sheet and pull all the data you need.
With the data in your Google Sheet, you can:
Get data from multiple profiles and for multiple metrics.
Create custom calculations and dashboards
Schedule reports to run automatically
Quickly get query, page, clicks, impressions, average position and CTR data.
Backup data daily or monthly
For marketers, it is pretty useful to be able to have this kind of control over pulling all of this data without having to code a thing.”
“We use everyday bit.ly APIs to automatically gather the link clicks of certain bit.ly links directly in a Google Spreadsheet column. It helps us easily check hundreds of links all in one spreadsheet instead of checking each link one by one in separate tabs. This API also has a cool feature to bulk createbit.ly links starting from a list of long urls. You just need an access token and the documentation is all available right there."
“IBM has an impressive suite of APIs, both free and premium, that have provided extremely valuable insights for our company. In particular, I recommend their Watson Analytics API for its ability to process vast amounts of raw data in order to perform predictive analysis regarding certain trends on which we can capitalize. Additionally, I would recommend Watson IoT Context Mapping for anyone involved in IoT development that would like to incorporate geospatial features.”
In order to make the best apps, you need to have the best tools. But that doesn’t always have to come with a hefty price tag. APIs and SDKs help developers program more efficiently. You just might be able to safely cut a few corners with these best free APIs.
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Bridget Poetker is a former content team lead at G2. Born and raised in Chicagoland, she graduated from U of I. In her free time, you'll find Bridget in the bleachers at Wrigley Field or posted up at the nearest rooftop patio. (she/her/hers)