1. Planning#

Functionality#

Before you begin development, you'll want to plan out what triggers and actions to build. If you haven't yet, please read How Zapier Works and set up a few Zaps to get a sense of the user experience.

Building on the Zapier platform is different from other platforms in the sense that you'll be creating discrete triggers and actions instead of defining an entire app's end-to-end user experience.

However, it is similar in the sense that end user experience still matters a lot. Simply pointing triggers and actions at your public API endpoints isn't enough. You'll want to strongly consider which triggers and actions your app will support to start and what the user experience looks like while setting up a Zap that includes your trigger or action.

The most successful integrations on Zapier only have a few (2 or 3) triggers and actions to start. You can always add more over time as users request them. If you need help figuring out what might be useful to your users, you can browse the App Directory for similar apps and see what triggers and actions are supported.

In the sections below, we'll break down how to design a successful integraion on Zapier. These sections contain considerations that you should review prior to getting started and serve as a reference as you build your Zapier integration. We break down the guide into the following sections:

Category Specific Guides#

There are also special considerations you should take if your product is a specific category, like a form app. The guides below describe those edge cases and potential solutions for different types of apps so that the users of your integration have better success building Zaps. This is a work in progress and we will be adding more soon!

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2. Development#

Note: These lifecycle docs only apply to integrations created with our legacy web builder. If you're using the visual builder, please check out our docs on versioning here. If you're using the CLI, please check out our docs on CLI versioning and lifecycles here and the associated commands for managing your integration with the CLI here.

Building#

Building a Zapier integration necessitates having one eye on the technical bits and one eye on the user experience.

Some of the best Zapier integrations are built when pairing an engineer and a product manager together but it's certainly not a requirement! If you adhere to the Planning guide and App Development guide anyone can build a great app on Zapier.

There are two ways to build Zapier integrations: the visual builder or the CLI. The visual builder allows you to create a new Zapier integration in your browser without code—then can customize the integration with code if needed. The CLI, instead, lets you build integrations in your local development environment, collaborate with version control and CI tools, and push new versions of your integration from the command line. Both run on the same Zapier platform, so choose the tool that fits your workflow the best.

Build a new integration with the visual builder at zapier.com/app/developer and learn how to use it with our Quick Start tutorial. Or, learn more about Platform CLI in our CLI Quick Start tutorial

The best place to start is our Getting Started guide.

Testing#

While you're building your integration, it's best to test authentication, triggers, and actions as you add them to your app. In Platform UI, you can test each step live in the editor as its built. With both Platform UI and CLI, have a separate tab open in your browser to the user-facing Zap editor, then refresh anytime you add a new trigger or action to test it live immediately.

Note: you might have to refresh a few times for new triggers and actions to appear.

After you're done building, you will want to invite users to try your integration before making it available to a wider audience.

Invite-Only#

As you're getting close to finishing development, you’ll want others to try out your app using Zapier. You can invite co-workers or your users to provide feedback. Invitees must have a Zapier account, which they can create for free during the invite process.

Keep in mind that once your app is in Invite-Only mode, you won’t be able to directly make edits like with Private apps. Instead, you need to clone the app, edit that private and app and then deploy it to replace the invite-only app, as outlined here.

App visibility: private

To switch an app to Invite-Only, scroll down to the Visibility section of the app builder. Click the “Invite Users to App” button.

App visibility: invite-only

Then you can click the “Invite Users to App” link to pre-populate an email to a user. Alternatively, you can copy the invite URL (which is unique to your app, but not to each user).

Invite screen

Users will see a page that explains that you have invited them to your app, covers some common questions about Zapier, and explains that you will support your app while in beta.

After accepting the invite, users will land in the Zapier editor, where they are prompted to build a Zap with your product.

It's a good idea to reach out to the users you invited and check in on their experience using your integration with Zapier so that you can identify any problematic usability issues.

Integration management#

A common pattern is to have several versions of the same Zapier integration in your account. You can generate a copy of your Zapier integration by cloning it.

Another important concept is migration. If you want to make changes to a Zapier integration that is no longer private, please follow our Deploy process.

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3. How to Give Your Users Early Access#

Now that you're finished developing your Zapier integration, you're eligible to give your users early access to your integration! Plus, your product will get a dedicated page and be listed in Zapier's App Directory with an "Early Access" tag to let prospective users try out your integration before it's officially launched. Just take these steps:

1. Ensure your integration follows the Zapier Integration Development Guide#

The Integration Development Guide is written with the user in mind, ensuring a consistent experience across Zapier. Hundreds of companies have launched Zapier integrations and the Integration Development Guide is a list of best practices learned, so your users have the best experience with your Zapier integration.

Your Zapier integration should not have more than 5 of each (trigger, action, or search) at first; we suggest starting with your most popular 2-3 use cases. Later on, we'll verify the Integration Development Guide is followed.

2. Have at least 1 live Zap for each of your integration's visible Triggers, Actions, and Searches#

Clone your integration and place it into invite-only mode. Doing so provides you a link to share this instance of your Zapier integration with prospective users. To see your number of users per Trigger, Action, and Search, check under the "Visibility" header in your dashboard.

The intention of this step is to ensure any show-stopping bugs are worked out and verify existing user demand. Towards this end, your users should be non-QA emails and external or outside of your company.

3. Prepare your team to support and maintain your integration#

Zapier's support team serves as frontline support for your Zapier integration. If your users find bugs with your integration, we will surface them to your team. We expect your team to promptly reply to those requests from your users and to maintain your integration.

4. Submit your integration for review by the Zapier team#

Read our App Review Tips to help you better prepare your integration before submitting it for review. Navigate to the Visibility tab for your app and click the Make this App Public button. Expect to hear from us within a week.

Legacy builder:

Visual builder:

Welcome to Early Access!#

Now you get a page in Zapier's App Directory and your users can click it to gain early access to your integration.

Note: You won't yet be able to create Zap Templates at this time. That capability is enabled once your integration receives a beta tag.

What's the Next Step?#

As your integration continues to accumulate users, our team will watch the growth of your integration. We will contact you once your integration reaches 50 users and extend an invite for you to officially launch.

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4. How to Launch#

We may invite your company to officially launch your Zapier integration and join the Zapier Integration Partner Program. Once you launch, you will automatically join the free Zapier Integration Partner Program and can access the program's many co-marketing benefits including:

Here are the steps to take to officially launch and join the program:

1. Reach 50 Users to Receive an Invite from the Zapier Team#

While your integration is in the Early Access stage, we'll monitor how it's performing. When your integration reaches 50 users, our team will get in touch to invite you to start the official launch process. You must receive an invite from our team before you can start the rest of this process.

2. Pass a Final Review and Get a Beta Tag#

Estimated time to complete: 2 weeks

Who to involve: Your development team

Once you've been invited by the Zapier team, we will conduct a comprehensive review of your integration and provide feedback. Our team will check that you have followed our development guide, test each Trigger/Action/Search of your integration, as well as provide UX feedback. You'll need to make the requested changes via our deploy process (clone, make changes, deploy and replace).

Once you've passed the review, a "Beta" tag will appear above your product's logo on Zapier during this time. During this time, we will continue to keep an eye on usage and support feedback to check that customers are having a good experience with your integration.

3. Create 10 Zap Templates#

Estimated time to complete: 1-2 hours

Who to involve: Your product or marketing team

Zap Templates are readymade integrations or Zaps with the apps and core fields pre-selected. In a few clicks, they help people discover a use case, connect apps, and turn on the Zap. Zap Templates are the fastest way for your users to automate workflows. Think of 10 use cases for your integration, and get started creating 10 Zap Templates for your users.

4. Help Our Team Create Help Docs on Zapier.com#

Estimated time to complete: 5 minutes

Who to involve: Your product or marketing team

The Zapier team provides frontline support for your integration and, in order to provide the best experience for your users, we also host help documentation about your integration on our site. Help our support team create accurate documentation by filling out this form.

5. Once You've Completed Your Zap Templates, Surface Them In Your Product and On Your Site#

Estimated time to complete: 5-10 minutes for an engineering or technical resource

Who to involve: Your product and development team

The best way to ensure users are able to discover how to connect your app to 1,300+ other apps is to surface your integration where your users are looking for it. Using Zapier’s embedding technology, you can present your most popular Zap Templates to your users in your app’s UI, help docs, FAQs, blog posts, and more

There are two ways to add embed your Zap Templates on your site:

Option 1 The Embed Widget: Embed quickly by copying and pasting a simple line of code

Use our Embed Widget Generator to generate your own Embed Widget that features your app. This small snippet of Javascript allows you to quickly and easily embed your Zap templates on your site and in your product.

Here is an example of what it looks like for MailChimp:

Option 2 The Partner API: Embed in a customized way to fit the style of your product

Our Partner API which gives you total control over the look and feel of the Zapier experience inside your app.

Here is an example of how our partner Unbounce implemented the Partner API inside their product:

6. Create Help Documentation for The Integration on Your Site#

Estimated time to complete: 1 day

Who to involve: Your support or marketing team

Make sure your users of your Zapier integration can get their questions answered easily. Create help documentation on your site like our partner Autopilot did:

We've put together this template to help you get your page up quickly.

7. Create a Marketing Campaign for The Integration's Launch#

Estimated time to complete: 1-2 weeks

Who to involve: Your marketing team

Work with your marketing team to create a launch campaign to let your users know that they can now connect your product to 1,300+ web apps. Marketing campaigns help you get more users on your integration right away, so you can rise the ranks of the Zapier Partner Program more quickly.

Here's some inspiration from some of our most successful partners:

  • Write a blog post about the integration like Evernote did
  • Send an email to your users to announce the integration like Wunderlist did
  • Send an in-app announcement like Feedly did
  • Promote the integration on social media like Hootsuite did
  • Feature your Zapier integration in your product's onboarding sequence like Base CRM does
  • Add your Zapier integration to your website's integration directory like Zoho Connect

Make sure to check out Zapier's brand guidelines as you're planning!

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5. Ongoing Support#

Once you've launched your Zapier integration, you're enrolled in the Zapier Partner Program and are eligible for a variety of benefits. Congrats. You'll receive monthly emails from us about how your integration is doing, plus updates on where you stand and what benefits you're eligible for.

Have any other questions about the Partner Program? Please email us.

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