1. Planning#

Exciting times! You're looking to hook your app into Zapier, this is the place to start.

This guide will get you started in the right direction. It will set expectations and provide an overview of how new apps are added to Zapier.

Outside of this guide, the most important thing you'll want to read and often refer to is our App Development Guide. The App Development Guide has the do's and don'ts of building your app on Zapier. Any app which seeks to be available for all users on Zapier must follow the points listed in the App Development Guide.

Ok, enough of an intro. Let's dive in...

Categories of Apps on Zapier#

There are a lot of reasons why you might want to create an App on Zapier. The two broad categories are:

  • Adding an app to Zapier for just you or your co-workers to use
  • Adding an app to Zapier for anyone to use

If you're in the first category then only the Planning (the rest this section) and Development stages of the App Lifecycle apply to you.

If you're in the latter category then all stages of the App Lifecycle will apply to you.

Motivation#

Zapier makes your tool future-proof. With one simple integration, your app can now connect with the most popular apps. Your product team can rest easy knowing that any must-have integrations will be covered.

Your Zapier integration allows you to:

  • Close more customers - say "yes" to the long-tail of customers that need "X integration" before they can buy. Your potential users (and current ones) often conduct web searches such as "Does X tool integrate with X?". We give your integration a series of dedicated landing pages, so your integration shows up in search results.
  • Retain more customers - customers that are using your API become sticky, and churn less.
  • Be discovered by Zapier's 2 million customers - get found in Zapier's app directory, emails, and inside other software tools with our embedding technology.

Commitment#

Launching a public app on Zapier also implies a series of commitments:

  • Commitment to follow our App Development Guide and technical review/UX feedback - Details here.
  • Commitment to a co-marketed launch with us - Details here.
  • Commitment to support your app on an ongoing basis, which includes providing a responsive contact for any issues surfaced by Zapier support - Details here.

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 app 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 platform apps 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 app on Zapier. These sections contain considerations that you should review prior to getting started and serve as a reference as you build your app. We break down the guide into the following sections:

Category Specific Guides#

There are also special considerations you should take if your app 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#

Building#

Building an app on Zapier necessitates having one eye on the technical bits and one eye on the user experience.

Some of the best apps on Zapier 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.

The best place to start is our Getting Started guide.

Testing#

While you're building your app, it's best to have a separate tab open in your browser to the user-facing Zap editor. As you're adding triggers and actions you can hard-refresh the page to see the changes 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 App 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 using your app.

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

App management and status#

Note: These lifecycle docs only apply to web builder apps. If you're working on a CLI app, please check out our docs on CLI versioning and lifecycles here and the associated commands for managing CLI apps here.

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

There are several status' your app can be in.

Private is the most common status and is the default. A private app is only available for your user account and can only be seen by you. Only Private apps can be edited and deleted. A Private app can only be deleted if there are no Zaps which depend on it.

Invite-Only is used when you want to share the app with another user. This will give you a shareable URL other users can click on to enable the app in their Zapier account. Invite-Only apps cannot be edited. If you'd like to delete an Invite-Only app please contact us.

Public is status your app will be in if you choose to go through the activation process. Public apps are available for all users. Public apps cannot be edited or deleted. Beta apps are also Public

Another important concept is migration. If you want to make changes to an Invite-Only or Public app, please follow our Deploy process.

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3. Activation - Public Beta#

This guide only applies to you if you're planning on making your app public.

Activation is the process of making your app available to all users on Zapier. Public apps receive:

  1. App Directory landing page (ex. Evernote, Asana and Slack)
  2. The ability to list and embed Zap templates, which appear on your Zapbook page and can be integrated in your app (ex. Facebook, Trello, Eventbrite and more)
  3. Zapier Help Doc (ex. Evernote, Asana and Slack)
  4. Co-marketing support if they have been fully tested - see the Marketing Launch guide for more details.

Testimonials - Why go public?#

"Autopilot paying customers that connect to Zapier are 17% more likely to upgrade compared to those who don't connect." - Anne Fleshman, Autopilot

"We've found that users who connect Airtable with Zapier are our most valuable users- they're more likely to upgrade to a paid plan and are using Airtable in more interesting and complex ways than the average user." - Zoelle Egner, Airtable

"Shout out to Zapier that brought us consistently high numbers of quality visitors and an astonishing conversion rate, if you build apps – make sure to partner up with them" - Dunja Lazic, Toggl

"I'd estimate around 40% of our customers use Zapier in some way or another. So Zapier is an integral part of our business / integration strategy :)" - Jeremy Clarke, WebMerge

"And we had quite a few signups from being featured in the Zapier newsletter, and many of them were much higher value leads than we typically get (in that they converted to predominately higher $$) " - Jordan Baker, Focuster

Process#

Here are the steps to make your app Public after you've finished development:

1. Ensure your app follows the Zapier App Development Guide#

The App Development Guide is written with the user in mind, ensuring a consistent experience across Zapier. We've launched hundreds of apps on Zapier and the App Development Guide is a list of best practices we've learned launching those apps.

Later in the activation process, we'll verify the App Development Guide is followed.

2. Have at least 10 unique Zapier users currently using your app, and 1 live Zap for each of the visible Triggers, Actions, and Searches#

Clone your app 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 progress towards your goal of 10 active users and Trigger and Action use, reference the Usage tab in the Developer Builder in the Zapier account associated with the Invite-Only app.

usage

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 outside of your company.

If you have a lot of Triggers and Actions (you shouldn't following per app development guide) you may need more than 10 users because all the Triggers and Actions won't have been tested.

Read our App Review Tips to help you better prepare your integration before submitting it for review.

3. Submit your app for Public activation#

Public Activation

Once you have 10 users with live Zaps and have resolved the issues surfaced by our Automatic App Development Guide Checker (found at the bottom of your app's dashboard), submit your Invite-Only app for Public activation. Expect to hear from us after a few business days to assist with the following steps.

See also: Promoting an App Version (to Go Public) on the CLI

4. Wait for our feedback email#

After you submit for Public activation, we verify your Invite-Only app has at least 10 users and 1 live Zap for each Trigger and Action. We'll send feedback your way from our partners@zapier.com inbox.

5. Make necessary changes identified#

With the feedback email in your hands, make the requested changes via our deploy process (clone, make changes, deploy and replace).

When you're done, reply to our email. If everything looks good, we'll pass your app to our UX team for a second round of feedback, this time focusing less on the technical aspects and more on the user experience of your integration.

6. Your app goes Public#

Within a day or so after any necessary changes are complete (and re-submitted) we push the app Public. It takes about 24 hours for an app to be fully Public once we throw the switch. We'll reach out to let you know when we do this.

Every public app has a Zapbook landing page (ex. Evernote, Asana and Slack), and a paired Zapbook page with every other app on Zapier, like this.

Public apps are completely functional, and anyone can use yours by visiting your Zapbook page, trying your Zap templates, or making a new Zap with it in the editor. The invitation link is no longer required.

The first part of being Public on Zapier is a Beta phase:

7. Enter the Beta phase#

We consider an app to be in Beta until there are approximately 20 live users on it (ideally, most of them from your userbase, not staff). A "Beta" tag will appear above your app logo on Zapier during this time.

During that time we will keep an eye on usage to check that customers are having a good experience with setting up and running Zaps. We keep a close watch on support feedback during this time, too. At the start of this phase we'll expect you to create help docs and 10 Zap templates using your app: These baseline materials are required for every public app on Zapier.

7a. Write your help doc for zapier.com/help#

Help docs assist users creating their first Zap or give them a quick answer to an error. This combination can greatly ease your team's customer support load related to Zapier at launch.

In order to complete your activation, you will need to submit your help docs to us.

You'll only need to submit info for your app's "How to get started" copy and screenshots via our form, only plain unformatted text is needed and the screenshots we request. The formatting and all the other parts of the documentation are automatically generated by us.

To submit your documentation to us, please fill in this form here.

Please note that it will take a few moments and you will need to provide some screenshots. It is also really important to select the correct "auth type" when you are filling the form in. If you choose the wrong type you may need to resubmit your docs to us. If you have any questions about this form, please feel free to drop us a message before submitting the form.

On top of us hosting your help docs, it greatly benefits your users to publish documentation on your site too, as well. For an example, check out WooCommerce’s help docs.

7b. Publish 10 Zap templates#

Now comes the fun part—showing our mutual users how they can make use of your app on Zapier. To do so, please submit 10 Zap templates for review, which will then populate your Zapbook page and be available for you to embed in your app, launch post, onboarding flow or integrations directory.

When creating Zap templates, you'll need to:

  • Use each Trigger and Action at least once
  • Include a variety of app categories, e.g. show how your app can connect with a CRM, email marketing app and project management tool

Get started on Zap templates!

8. Over 20 users: Out of Beta#

External testing and refinements during the Beta period are natural and necessary for an app's success. We ask for 20 users before considering an app out of Beta because your primary goal with Zapier should be retention. Your first users and testers should be drawn from your internal userbase—we recommend surveys and blog posts with embedded Zaps to capture interest while still in Beta, as well as reaching out to all those who have expressed interest in integrations.

Once that growth happens, you're ready for the marketing launch! That involves:

  1. Announcement post on Zapier Updates blog (ex. Convo, Zoom and Solid)
  2. Feature in weekly Zapier Updates newsletter (ex. New on Zapier this week)
  3. Highlight in monthly Zapier newsletter (ex. New Zapier Apps, Triggers and Actions)

This doesn't have to happen right away, we're happy to announce it whenever you're ready. For an overview of this process, read the Marketing Launch guide.

Please let us know if you have any questions about these requirements, we're always happy to discuss them!

Zapier Partnerships Resources#

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4. Launch - Out of Beta#

Congratulations! You've successfully created an integration with Zapier and been approved for public beta. Now, it’s time to officially launch your App! The following is the blueprint for a highly effective, coordinated launch with Zapier. These are the best strategies developed from our experience launching 1,000+ integrations, including those with our most successful partners like MailChimp, Asana, Facebook, Eventbrite, and Typeform.

How Will Zapier Promote the Partnership?#

  1. We'll write a dedicated Launch Post to announce the partnership on our updates blog
  2. Feature the partnership in our weekly newsletter
  3. Promote the partnership in our monthly email and blog post
  4. Announce the partnership through social campaigns
  5. Host and maintain your App Directory page, Zap templates, and help docs on our site

"Just wanted to send a huge thank you for all of your help on our Zapier launch! It was exceptionally positive for us, and we got tons of signups right away and plenty freemium to paid in the first few hours. The majority were even annual! We also landed a few very substantial global clients who continue to add expansion seats every day. Over those few days, our conversion from unique visitors to signups were 45%!! With a whopping 90% of all visitors watching our demo video to the end.” - Bernie Aho, TimeHero

How Should You Promote the Partnership?#

  1. Announce the partnership on our pre-scheduled co-marketing launch day so your users know they can now connect your app to any of their 1,000+ favorite apps via Zapier.
  2. Embed Zapier in your app so users can easily discover how to connect any of their favorite apps post-launch.

How to Announce the Partnership#

The goal for launch is to make sure your users know that they can now connect your app to 1,000+ other integrations via Zapier. The best channels vary by Partner but, we’ve seen the most success with blog posts, in-app announcements, email announcements, newsletters, social campaigns, on-boarding emails and more. Here are some ideas and examples to get you started:

Embed Zapier in Your App#

The best way to ensure users are able to discover how to connect your app to 1,000+ 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. The Zapier embedding technology gives you the ability to:

  • Show users examples of your most popular or recommended use-cases
  • Get users to the "aha!" moment faster through visually understanding how Zapier works with your app
  • Keep users in context by popping open a new window that allows them to set up their Zap template rather than navigating them away from your app

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

  1. Use our Embed Widget to drop a simple snippet anywhere on your site / app
  2. Use our Partner API to present your Zap templates to users styled in the way that works best for your app’s experience.

Get Started Quickly with our Embed Widget

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:

Looking for a more customized partner experience with Zapier? - Try using our Partner API which gives you total control over the look and feel of the Zapier experience inside your app. Read more about the API here.

Are You Ready to Launch? Check our Zapier Launch Checklist:#

  1. Create and submit 10 Zap templates for your public App Directory page
  2. Submit Help Docs for your Zapier hosted help page
  3. Prepare announcement materials for launch
    • Blog post
    • Newsletter or email announcement
    • In-app announcement
    • Social campaign
  4. Ensure your users can find Zapier on your site
    • Create directory listing for Zapier on marketing site and in-app
    • Embed Zap templates
    • Add Zapier help docs to your support and FAQ pages

Do you have everything ready? Send an email to the Zapier Partnerships team at Partners@Zapier.com with links/screenshots/previews and let's set a launch date!

Helpful Resources#

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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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