Understanding APIs at Lexer

An introductory guide to APIs at Lexer

Lexer offers a suite of APIs (short for “Application Programming Interface”) that can be used to enrich your profile data, transactions, and customer event data, while interoperating with other systems and platforms, adding new functionality to Lexer products.

We have plenty of documentation about specific APIs and their uses coming soon, but APIs can be tricky to get your head around if you’re unfamiliar with the concepts and terminology. This introductory guide will walk you through the base concepts of what an API is, what they do, and how we use them.

What is an API

An API is a type of intermediary connection software that allows two applications to connect to each other. So, a bit like the middle person between your phone or computer using an application like Facebook or Twitter.

To contextualize this a bit, imagine that an API is like a waiter at a restaurant taking orders between the customer and the kitchen. The kitchen doesn’t know what to cook without the waiter first telling them what the customer has ordered.

Analogies aside, APIs are important because they allow two disparate systems to communicate with one another, making integrations at Lexer easy!

Enrichment, events, and entities

Now we know that an API is the middle person that connects two applications, the next question we need to answer is: what does this actually do for Lexer?

Through an API connection, we are able to enrich your profile data, meaning we can unify your profiles by applying attributes. This information is organized into datasets that contain events and entities.

Events represent a one-time event in a ledger format that, when aggregated, shows the present standing of a profile. We have the following event types:

  • Ecommerce purchase and return
  • In-Store purchase and return
  • Email send, open, click, and bounce
  • SMS send and click

Entities are commonly referenced in events, usually capturing metadata to aid in enrichment. For example, with ecommerce or in-store purchase events you might be able to determine product names or categories. From here, that metadata can be enriched further via purchases on a profile as attributes like colors purchased, or product categories purchased.

The difference between APIs and Integrations at Lexer

APIs and Integrations have sometimes been described as “different sides of the same coin” in that they are similar, but there are some key differences that set them apart.

Integrations enable the interaction between two systems (for example, connecting Lexer to your Klayvio account), but as we now know, APIs do a little more than this. They not only allow two different systems to communicate with each other, they also allow these systems to share data sources (such as the events and entities discussed above) and relay them automatically between various software tools. APIs are scalable and allow for end-to-end visibility between all systems.

Depending on which systems you want to integrate in the Lexer Hub, we’ll usually have an appropriate integration or API, just reach out to your Success Manager, or our Support team (support@lexer.io).

In summary

APIs can be tricky to get your head around, but in this article we’ve covered the base concepts and given you a good grounding in what APIs are and why we use them at Lexer. If you would like to learn more about APIs or Integrations and which might be best suited for your business, please read through our Data onboarding article.

Put simply, an API is the intermediary between two sources, allowing them to communicate with each other, and when used at Lexer, allows us to gather and enrich your data through enrichment, events, and entities.

Updated:
October 14, 2022
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