The API Measurement Secret: Know What Metrics Matter

Adam DuVander
Aug. 02 2012, 07:00AM EDT

Among the keys to a great API is one that is managed or measured. One of the common questions we get at ProgrammableWeb is "how should I measure my API?" Usually the problem behind the question is that there's no shortage of things API providers can track. The secret to how great APIs measure is that they prioritize the metrics that matter.

Traffic Metrics

  • Total calls
  • Top methods
  • Call chains
  • Quota faults

Developer Metrics

  • Total developer count
  • Number of active developers
  • Top developers
  • Trending apps
  • Retention

Service Metrics

  • Performance
  • Availability
  • Error rates
  • Code defects

Marketing Metrics

  • Developer registrations
  • Developer portal funnel
  • Traffic sources
  • Event metrics

Support Metrics

  • Support tickets
  • Response time
  • Community metrics

Business Metrics

  • Direct revenue
  • Indirect revenue
  • Market share
  • Costs

These are just a sampling of the metrics that might be important to your API. What do you track and why is it important?

For other tips, see what makes a great API.

Photos by purplemattfish and William Warby

Adam DuVander -- Adam heads developer relations at Orchestrate, a database-as-a-service company. He's spent many years analyzing APIs and developer tools. Previously he worked at SendGrid, edited ProgrammableWeb and wrote for Wired and Webmonkey. Adam is also the author of mapping API cookbook Map Scripting 101.

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