A great song depends on a musical idea, a short riff, a passage, or phrase, that is used to “catch the ear of the listener.” In a similar fashion, the Internet depends on “hooks” so that one system can catch the attention of another. This is the premise of a webhook.
Imagine you’re expecting a friend to send you an important package, and you want to know as soon as it’s delivered. You could:
- Stay on the phone with your friend until it’s delivered.
- Call your friend every 5 minutes to see how it’s going.
- Have your friend call you once they’ve delivered it .
The third option seems the most efficient and that’s exactly how webhooks work. They perform a callback to let you know an event has occurred.
Software vendors build webhooks into their products and decide what webhooks they support. There are a huge variety of webhooks available. There’s everything from an alert that an email or text message has been delivered, to a new file appearing in a folder, to your toast is ready.
Webhooks are usually processed by code you create to perform some function specific to your business needs. For simple processes, you can use online services from companies like Zapier.com or IFTTT.com. For a more robust enterprise solution, Microsoft Azure Integration Services allows webhook integration to both your cloud and on-premise resources.
For digital marketers there are numerous ways webhooks can help. You could set up multiple “if/then” commands for time-saving automation. For example, anytime you post to Instagram the photo is then automatically posted natively to Twitter. Another use of webhooks could be to send a direct mail to customers based on activity they performed on your website or app. Yet another is to credit a customer’s account when they have taken advantage of an online deal, booked a certain level of business, or achieved a reward status from a loyalty program.
There are undoubtedly thousands of webhooks available. How your business responds to these webhooks to improve your business processes is up to you, but ignoring them is probably not your best option. This is one case where you don’t want to be let off the hook.
Want to learn more about webhooks and how they can help your business? Contact CC Communications and we’ll be happy to walk you through the process.