Hopefully by the time you have put an API management plan in place, you already have a health business model in place, which should provide framework for you monetization goals.
Its not just about how you are going to generate revenue via your API, it is also about how you will keep your API in operation, and performing for consumers.
Not all APIs are created equal. The reasons for deploying an API can vary widely, but we are seeing some common patterns emerge.
Many companies start by focusing on launching and evolving their API strategy and gaining essential experience, before fully executing on their API monetization strategy--relying completely on indriect value from an API. While it is better to have a monetization strategy in place early, many are finding success by prioritizing the API first and monetziation second.
With APIs being deployed in various capacities, within a company, privately between partners or in the public, a wide mix of monetization strategies can be used. Some API resources just lend themselves better to a pay as you go model, while some markets demand that data be freely accessible with the need to register or be charged for access. There is no one size fits all approach to API monetization.
One way to think about an API is as an external research & development lab within a company. A lab that accepts ideas and integrations from partners, incubates these ideas, applications and business relationships. Companies are using APIs to bring allow the introduction of outside ideas and talent into the mix, in hopes of inciting innovation. Some API providers will hand select the best integrations, invest in their individuals and companies, sometimes resulting in acquisitions of technology and the talent they possess--creating entirely new approaches to monetization you may not have thought of.
Just like there is no on size fits all approach to API monetization, there are few constants in pricing or access. Even the pioneers in the space like Amazon Web Services are constantly adjusting, tweeking and experitmenting, trying to find the most competitive approach possible. APIs are about business development and finding new ways to monetize your new and existing resources.