Been told you need an API integration between your pre-registration and other event technology tools but not sure where to start or why you even need one? You’re not alone. API is one of the biggest buzzwords in event tech right now, but do you really need one and can you justify the cost?
Here’s our quick guide to knowing when to AP-aye and when to AP-don’t.
What is an API?
An API is simply a way of moving a large data set from one place to another.
API stands for Application Programming Interface. Sounds fancy, right? It’s actually really simple. APIs allow two computer systems to talk to each other and to share data sets. The chances are, you’ve used an API in the past. In fact, you’ve probably used one today. When you search for information online, such as flight prices or restaurant menus, or when you purchase a product on Amazon, an API is working away behind the scenes to make it happen.
APIs are awesome when they’re used in the right setting. They digitally connect up two systems so that information is shared between them without any need for a manual update.
Need to keep your registration system paired up with your event app so that last-minute changes to attendee details are automatically updated at the registration desk? An API is a great solution.
What can an API do for me?
An API can be used to integrate your ticketing system (such as Eventbrite) with your registration system. If you use an API integration, it means that your registration staff or provider can access your registration data directly without you having to manually give it to them. That can be handy if you’re a busy #EventProf on the go.
When should I use an API?
When you need constantly updating, real-time data for your live event, use an API.
If you’re dealing with large data sets for your event registration, and you need attendees to be able to register for the event up to the last minute or even after the event has begun (for a multiple-day event for example), then an API can be a really effective tool to ensure that all of your systems are up to date and working with the same, ever-altering data.
APIs can also be useful if your event takes place several times a year. Once integrated, the API can be used again at every event, so the initial set up cost could be justified by the number of times you will get to use it.
When shouldn’t I use an API?
APIs are great, but they can be costly. In the age of GDPR and increased consumer interest in data protection, we’re all on the lookout for simple, secure ways to handle data, so it’s easy to want to use every data tool you can find, but in many cases, #EventProfs just don’t need a sophisticated API system in place. For many events, a simple CSV file will work, and it’ll save you a lot of time and money.
Not only can APIs be costly to integrate with your registration systems, they also require stringent testing, which can be time-consuming.
There’s no denying that APIs are effective and secure, but when you weigh up the cost and time involved, you may find that you can work without one.
If it’s not essential for you to access real-time registration data within your own CRM, and if your data won’t change once the event has begun, then you don’t need an API.
To API or Not to API? That is Question…
If you’re an #EventProf who is running multiple events every year…
Because…Once API integration is done, it’s done, so the initial start-up cost will be justified by the amount of use you’ll get from it.
If you’re an #EventProf with one big event that has a fixed date for registrations…
Because…You will have a fixed data set to hand over to your registration company, and you won’t need to keep updating it. By not using an API you can save a lot of time and money.
If you’re an #EventProf whose ticket system never goes offline…
Because…Your registration data will be changing all the time, so having two systems that can talk to each other and update in real-time as new attendees register or cancel will make your registrations a lot more streamlined.
If you’re an #EventProf running a multi-day event with different attendees every day…
Because…Your event will be up and running before you close registrations, so you will need to keep updating your data sets to allow your registration desk to function.
If you’re an #EventProf on a budget and trying to adhere to GDPR for your one-off event.
Because…An API is costly and time-consuming, so if you don’t have constantly changing registration data and you’re only running one event a year, you can make a big saving by simply sticking to a CSV file.
If you’re an #EventProf who is running an event that has a clear cutoff for registrations…
Because…If your event registrations close before your event begins, you can simply gather the registration data in a CSV file. There’s no need to use an API.
Want to know more about API and all things data? Find out more in the Noodle Live data ebook.