Announcing API usage plans

May 25, 2022 | 4 minute read
Robert Wunderlich
Product Strategy Director
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We’re pleased to announce API usage plans, which enable companies to better understand how their API portfolio provides value. Usage plans allow API developers to offer a collection of APIs to their users and define quota limits per subscriber. Before the launch of usage plans, metrics were available at the API and gateway, but not at the client level.

Now with usage plans, API clients can capture metrics, providing API teams greater insights into the behavior of their user community. Usage plans allow teams to further monetize APIs and can unlock new revenue streams, but the key benefit is that the API development team can better understand their consumer and track the usage and value of the API portfolio.

The API development team is faced with the following questions:

  1. How many consumers are signed up for this API?

  2. Who are our top consumers?

  3. Who are our longtime consumers?

  4. Who are our new consumers?

  5. Who has increased or decreased usage?

Usage plans allow you to capture analytics based on the subscriber, answering the critical questions for the API development team and open the door to API monetization. At its core, an API provides a secure machine to machine interface to data. If a company holds data that’s of value to others, API monetization can help the company take advantage of new revenue opportunities.

An example of API monetization

A social networking site collects a lot of data on its users and can turn that data into products. Some examples include targeted advertisement and social sentiment analysis. Other companies can build products that use the data through an API provided by the social networking site. The social networking site can offer various API plans and charge a fee, enabling the social networking site, which holds valuable data, to monetize it.

We can further extend our scenario to consider a use case where multiple social media platforms exist. A company who wants to better understand their social sentiment is interested in a view across all these networks. This availability opens the opportunity for an information aggregator to offer a value-added service that performs sentiment analysis across multiple platforms. If the information aggregator determines that they can offer their value-added data to other app developers, they can offer a monetized API. Even no perceived path or need for monetization exists, usage plans are a great way for teams to better understand their consumer's usage patterns.

Usage plans are easy to set up

Setting up a plan includes the following high-level steps:

  1. Enable APIs for usage plans: The API developer, sometimes called API Manager, chooses the APIs that can be eligible for usage plans and configures the subscriber token.

    Some API management solutions require a specific header or query string, but OCI usage plans re much more flexible. API developers can choose from any header, query string, path parameter, or authorization context. For example, if the API uses an OAuth bearer token that contains the client_id that identifies the subscriber, it can be used without having to require a change in the clients.

    A screenshot of the Edit Deployment page, showing the configuration of an API for usage plans.

  2. Entitle the APIs into a usage plan: The API Product Manager can create an API plan and choose one or more APIs to include in the plan. The plan manager can also define the quotas or rate-limits applied per subscriber.

    A screenshot of the Edit usage plan summary, showing API deployments entitled.

  3. Add subscribers to the usage plan: The API Product Manager can subscribe API consumers to the plan. The API consumer is an app developer who wants to use the API for their project. Developer portals and subscription management systems can also initiate the subscription.

    A screenshot of the Subscriber Details page showing usage plans that a subscriber can access.

After the plan is enabled, the API development team can monitor the traffic and analytics of their APIs based on the subscribers to the plans and gain a greater understanding of their customers and usage patterns.

A screenshot of the Subscriber Details page showing the subscriber-level metrics.

Usage plans enable the API development team to better understand their customer's usage. Whether unlocking new revenue streams through API Monetization, or simply being able to report the value of the API portfolio, usage plans help the API development team drive API-led digital transformation.

Learn more

To learn more about API usage plans, see Defining Usage Plans to Manage Subscriber Access to APIs. If you haven’t tried Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, get started today with free trial credits!

Robert Wunderlich

Product Strategy Director

Software product management and development leader with 21+ years experience delivering software, services and solutions in cloud, API Management, and Integration.

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