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APIs: A Strategy Guide by Dan Woods, Greg Brail, Daniel Jacobson

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How Metrics Evolved at NPR

NPR used metrics to evaluate and improve its API’s impact on the business and their ability to better serve their end-user audience. A look back at the history of the NPR API is instructive. Use of the NPR API grew tremendously since its 2008 launch. Figure 9-1 shows growth in requests to the NPR API over time.

Requests to the NPR API

Figure 9-1. Requests to the NPR API

A big jump in API requests from July to August 2010 followed the launch of many new products in July. Among them were a relaunch of NPR.org, the NPR.org Flash Player, and the NPR News iPhone app, WBUR’s new website, and Minnesota Public Radio’s new site. Since then, an increasing number of applications were implemented on the API, including the NPR mobile site and other station sites (like KQED and KPCC), accounting for the steady growth near the right side of the chart. Although requests are only one part of the picture, it is still a good proxy for demonstrating overall growth for NPR’s distribution and app strategy.

In October 2009, NPR started tracking the total number of stories delivered by the API to the calling application (Figure 9-2). Note that stories requested is not necessarily the number presented to or consumed by end users.

Number of stories requested via the NPR API

Figure 9-2. Number of stories requested via the NPR API

Although NPR received more ...

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