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.

Here's what our partners have to say:

"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

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. How to Enter Beta#

After you've finished development of your Zapier integration, you need to take the following steps to enter your integration into the Beta stage:

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. Your app should not have more than 5 of each (trigger, action, or search) when first going Public; we suggest started with your most popular 2-3 use cases.

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 non-QA emails and external or 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. Enter the Beta stage#

Now, a "Beta" tag will appear above your app logo on Zapier during this time. During this 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.

Now that you're in the Beta stage, you're ready to work on launching your integration officially.

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4. How to Launch#

Now that your integration is in beta, you're ready to start working on launching it.

Once you launch, you will automatically join the Zapier Partner Program and can access the program's many co-marketing benefits including:

Steps to Launch#

There are 5 steps you need to complete in order to launch your Zapier integration and join the Zapier Partner Program. You can complete these steps in any order and they typically take our partners 1-2 weeks to finish, but feel free to let us know if you need more time.

Step 1: 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.

Step 2: 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.

Step 3: 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:

Step 4: 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.

Step 5: 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!

Once you've completed these 5 steps, make sure to work with our team to set a date to launch your integration. Free feel to email us if you have any questions!

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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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