API Data Collection

An API can be an excellent resource for a reporting project that requires uniting data from disparate sources, or just for simple automation.

What is an API

API stands for Application Programming Interface. An API is a framework by which machines can communicate. It is similar to a UI – a User Interface – in that requests from one machine machine are interpreted by a server, and a response is sent back to the requesting machine.  With a UI, the request is initiated by a User – a human. An API is designed for an Application to make requests programmatically.Through the API, one Application can ask another machine a specific question and receive a structured response.

Slate Analytics’ API Integration

Slate Analytics usually takes a more thorough approach to API data integration than simply automating the requests. The benefits of API data integration are fully realized when disparate information is first united in a data mart.

A prominent cancer research hospital used Slate Analytics’ API data collection methodology in their web analytics reports. Instead of using the Google Analytics API to answer simple questions for integration directly into a marketing report, Slate Analytics uses the API to return huge swaths of web traffic information, which are then stored in a proprietary data mart. The data mart processes the integrated web analytics information many times over in different ways.  The advantage of the Slate approach is the creation of a multidimensional taxonomy of content: departments, diseases, doctors, and more. The benefit to the hospital is having web analytics reports that show more than Google Analytics can on its own. As well, the web analytics information is united with financial performance metrics, which exist outside the confines of Google Analytics.

By leveraging the Google Analytics API for data collection, the conclusions made available from the data mart driven reports are many times more valuable than Google Analytics alone.