There’s an API for That
Remember the Apple ad that said “there’s an app for that”? We can now say “there’s an API for that.” APIs (or application programming interfaces) have been significantly important to the rapid evolution and adoption of technology in the media and advertising industry. The successes of Facebook, Apple, and Google as media/technology companies can definitely be attributed to their heavy and aggressive investments in APIs that have allowed third-party apps and platforms to plug into and help grow their ecosystems. In the digital advertising arena, too, APIs have played a key role.
An API called openRTB has been largely responsible for the ability for brands to buy and sell media programmatically. This API allows sellers and buyers of media to communicate electronically about availability of inventory, ask and bid prices, information about the inventory itself, etc. All this has been done using a set of standard APIs, and it has enabled programmatic media buying and selling to scale and gain adoption rapidly despite the varied media suppliers, supply-side and demand-side platforms, and exchanges that are invariably involved in such media transactions.
In the world of personalized advertising, APIs can now tell us everything from where a user is located to what the local weather is like to what movie theater is playing a particular movie. All these APIs serve up data that can be used for more effective personalization.
APIs also allow for interoperability and ease of integration between the pieces of software that have to come together to make personalization work. For example, most data management platforms have APIs by which dynamic/personalized ad platforms can fetch data to personalize ads.