API Basics for Buy

API Basics for Buy

APIs Introduction

Watch this video to learn more about APIs.

Reflection: In the video you saw several examples of how an API works; e.g., API as a waiter interfacing between a customer and the kitchen and an app that allows you to book a flight. What examples in your daily life can you relate to using an API?

Benefits of APIs


Using a common language and set of rules, APIs offer simpler and shorter development efforts to leverage a 3rd party source.
Data or functionality is integrated directly into mobile apps, dashboards or other software.
Did You Know?
You are using this API benefit when you listen to music through a service such as Spotify or when you share an update on your Facebook timeline.


APIs can be leveraged by multiple applications, simultaneously allowing for content to be created once and automatically published or made available to many channels.
Did You Know? 
You, as well as millions of others, are using this API benefit in parallel every time you access KAYAK for the best airline deals.


Opportunities exist for APIs to replace manual processes through machine-to-machine automation.
Did You Know? 
You are using this API benefit with The Weather Channel that automatically feeds live weather to your App.


Clients can utilize a provider’s API features to customize solutions for their specific use cases.
Did You Know? 
You are using this API benefit when you customize your favorite media source on the Apple News App.


APIs typically allow for near-instant communication between software.
Did You Know? 
You are using this API Benefit every time you use a finance application such as Yahoo Finance on your device, in order to pull the latest stock ticker price.

Knowledge Checkpoint

  • Speed
  • Integration
  • Automation
  • Efficiency
  • Proficiency
  • Customization
Which are the key benefits of APIs? Select all that apply.

APIs for Buy Clients

Nielsen has developed a Buy Measures API.

  • A flexible API that makes all facts across a Nielsen RMS database available. It gives developers options for building their API and calls for each of the dimensions in their database: markets, periods, products and facts.
  • Available on major US RMS platforms, Consumer Insights Platform and Global Track Complete.

  • Data point limits exist, please contact your BTS representative for additional details.

Review this brief video demonstration of the power of Nielsen APIs!


Connectivity - Open, Closed, API

Why are APIs important for us at Nielsen?
As a measurement company, we have several options for how we share data and interact with our client’s applications. These options are often referred to as being "closed" or "open;" and now, API allows for a third option to provide a connected service.

To better understand these imagine you have three neighbors: Closed Carl, Open Oscar and API Annie. Each is like an "application." You sometimes need to borrow things from your neighbors, such as sugar for your coffee. This is the equivalent of "applications" communicating and sharing information.

Closed CARL

CLOSED CARL simply won't provide you with any services. He drinks his own coffee behind a high fence. Not only is there no way to ask him for anything, you can't even walk onto his property to try because his fence has no gate. An application like Closed Carl exposes no source code or APIs.


OPEN OSCAR is the opposite of closed Carl. He's so open that he will let you freely enter his house whenever you'd like and take any amount of sugar that you need. An application like Open Oscar has open source code, giving you free reign if you want it.

API Annie

API ANNIE will let you borrow the sugar if you ask in the right way (by calling the "getSugar" API in your own application code.) You can't enter the property without that request, and you can't take just any amount of sugar. But you can get the specific amount of sugar delivered to you as needed. Applications like Annie, which are closed but have APIs, are the most common in enterprise settings.

Analogy adapted from source: Orenstein, David. “How To: Application Programming Interface” Computerworld 10 January 2000.

Knowledge Checkpoint

  • True
  • False
APIs are tools used by developers that allow software applications to "talk" to each other securely over the Internet.

Knowledge Checkpoint

Select the application connectivity option (on the right) and match with the corresponding description (on the left.)
  • Closed
    This application simply won't provide you with any services.
  • Open
    This application allows you free reign to its source code.
  • API
    This application allows limited entry with an acceptable request.

API Use Case


Karl Lundberg, VP of Sales at Global Products, wants to build a calculator in their sales toolkit app, which will allow the team to utilize Nielsen data in real-time to determine the best display opportunity for their retail partner.


Global Products currently subscribes to Nielsen Answers on Demand (AOD) data and needs a way to feed their custom category data into their app. Karl meets with his Nielsen Account Manager, Sandra Doukas to discuss this opportunity.




Global Products would like easier ways to get data. 

Traditionally, clients may get Nielsen data through extracts. This requires operational support & infrastructure, and adds days before the latest data is available.


Sandra met with her Business Technology Solutions Team, who agreed that the best solution for Karl and his sales team would be to subscribe to Nielsen’s Buy Measures API. Karl agreed and saw several immediate benefits.

  • Integration: The Nielsen API acts as the messenger to communicate between the Nielsen AOD data and the Global Products' calculator app.
  • Immediacy: The Nielsen API allows the app to request instant data, allowing the client to make faster, more informed decisions.

  • Automation & Speed: The Nielsen API removes the need for Global Products engineers to build a manual process to incorporate Nielsen data into their app.

  • Customization: The Global Products Engineering team customized their app to incorporate any Nielsen data point (from their existing database.)



Global Products’ app is giving the sales team an opportunity to be consultants with customers by using real-time data to make decisions.

Knowledge Checkpoint

  • I want to integrate Nielsen data into a 3rd party business intelligence (BI) tool.
  • I'm building a data lake and need all of Nielsen’s data.
  • I need Nielsen data for a home grown application that our team is building.
  • I want to pull Nielsen data into Excel faster with Nielsen APIs.
In which client situations would an API be an ideal solution? Select all that apply.

What's Next?

What You Can Do - Your API Challenge

Drive Engagement

Go tell someone in your office how APIs work. Challenge them to pass along this knowledge!


Make Connections

Consider APIs that would be beneficial to your client – what specific Nielsen insights (e.g., item ranking, market share) do you think your client would want to connect with their tools or application? Share your thoughts on and see what colleagues are saying!

Share the Love

Have an API in your pocket that you love? Let’s see it! Post a quick video of your favorite API on Google+ using the hashtag #lovemyAPI.

Want to Learn More?

Digital at Nielsen

Do you have a good understanding of digital fundamentals? 
Click here to explore the ‘Digital at Nielsen’ learning path to help you learn more about our digital world, including courses in digital technology, big data, digital disruption and digital consumers.

Additional Resources on APIs:

Tutorial Completion

Congratulations! You have completed this API eLearning module! You should have an understanding of APIs and their benefits. We encourage you to share your knowledge with your Nielsen teams.

Are you ready to get started? 

If you feel confident about APIs and understand client benefits, then contact your Business Technology Solutions (BTS) rep today.