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Get to Know Marketing Cloud APIs

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Describe each Marketing Cloud API.
  • Discover the endpoints used to access a Marketing Cloud API.

APIs: The Building Blocks of Marketing Cloud

As a developer, APIs are the building blocks you use to connect your system to Marketing Cloud. We want you to have everything you need to design and implement your code, so Marketing Cloud offers two robust APIs: REST and SOAP. Each API has its own benefits, so sometimes you may even use both, depending on your needs. In this unit, we take a look at these APIs and explore how they can help you reach your goals. 

Let’s Get Some REST API

Ready to make your job easier? Good news: You can create content, build your contact records, and monitor your customer journeys with the Marketing Cloud REST API. And the REST API is your key to the latest and greatest functionality across Marketing Cloud apps, like: 

  • Contact Builder
  • Content Builder
  • GroupConnect
  • Journey Builder
  • MobileConnect
  • MobilePush
  • Personalization Builder

Using the REST API, you can also send transactional (or triggered) messages, manage campaigns, and handle event notifications. Plus, our REST API requests and responses contain JSON bodies, and the resources accept synchronous requests.

Dive In with SOAP API

If you’re working with an existing Marketing Cloud integration or building new functionality with Email Studio, the SOAP API provides the tools you need. With the SOAP API, you can manage:

  • Automations
  • Content creation
  • Subscribers and lists
  • Tracking
  • Triggered sends
  • Other email activities

The SOAP API accepts SOAP envelopes to exchange information with Marketing Cloud. You can review your WSDL to see all of the available operations, or check out Salesforce Developers for a complete list.

Choose the Best API for the Job

So how do you choose between the two APIs? Well, the REST API works with the latest apps in Marketing Cloud and is up to almost any task, so it’s the best place to start. If you want to use Content Builder, the REST API is the way to go. However, the SOAP API can be helpful for managing Email Studio content and triggered sends—especially if you’re working with older accounts or integrations that require a specific functionality. Keep in mind, the SOAP API can only be used with classic content in Marketing Cloud (not Content Builder).

If you noticed some overlap between the two APIs (namely, content and triggered sends), you’ve got a keen eye! As we mentioned earlier, you may need both APIs to accomplish some of your Marketing Cloud tasks—and these shared uses are a good example. However, when possible, opt for the REST API to make sure you’re using the most current API offerings.

No matter which API you choose, you need an OAuth (Open Authorization) token to access Marketing Cloud. In the next unit, we walk through the steps to get your credentials and get started!