Zapier - Integration Platform
Zapier helps automate business processes by wrapping a user-friendly interface around code to interact with the APIs of the most popular internet tools and services. It's a fantastic tool for automating simple things such as alerting your team on Slack. whenever a new record is created in Airtable.
Each automation in Zapier is referred to as a Zap and each Zap consists of Tasks. You can think of Tasks as a single piece of an automation (e.g. convert a date formatting from 01-31-2020 to 31-01-2020). Another term that's important to understand is Trigger, which is just an event that causes an automation to run. (e.g., new email in Gmail, new record in a google sheet). It's impressive what Zapier can do out of the box, but unfortunately it's not without limitations.
Zapier's pricing structure is entirely based on the number of Tasks used each month. Remember that Tasks are just a single component in a larger automation. You'll find that for a small number of very simple tasks, Zapier's fees are palatable but it becomes expensive quickly at scale.
The following prices and plan features were last updated April 10th, 2021.
Limited to 5 Zaps and a single Zap can only use a single Task. This means one trigger event and a single output event. If you want to manipulate the data at all, there's no room for it in this plan. You'll also find that a lot of actions (called premium apps) are only available on paid plans, and others only on the higher tier paid plans. You should also expect to wait up to 15 minutes for your Zaps to run on this plan.
There are two tiers in the starter plan with all of the same features, the only difference being the number of tasks you're allowed to use. You'll receive room for 20 Zaps (up from 5), access to multi-task Zaps, allowing intermediary steps between the trigger and output. You also receive access to a humble 3 premium apps. Unfortunately despite paying, you're still limited to 15 minute delays in execution.
Billed Monthly: $29.99 Billed Annually: $19.99
Billed Monthly: $58.50 Billed Annually: $39.00
The professional plan has many tiers, incrementing quickly in both the number of tasks available as well as the price. One common point of frustration is that you may only need 2100 tasks, forcing you to upgrade to tier 2 (5k tasks a month). Those 100 additional tasks will set you back an extra $480 a year, when billed annually or $720 a year when paying monthly.
Some major improvements in this plan include a reduction in the delay until execution time from 15 minutes down to 2 minutes. This single feature is a game changer. You also have access to unlimited premium apps and a feature called "Auto Replay" that will automatically try to replay your automation again and again if it happened to fail the first time.
Billed Monthly: $73.50 Billed Annually: $49.99
Billed Monthly: $133.50 Billed Annually: $89.00
Billed Monthly: $193.50 Billed Annually: $129.00
Billed Monthly: $283.50 Billed Annually: $189.00
Billed Monthly: $433.50 Billed Annually: $289.00
Billed Monthly: $733.50 Billed Annually: $489.00
Billed Monthly: $1,155.00 Billed Annually: $769.00
Billed Monthly: $2,175.00 Billed Annually: $1,449.00
Billed Monthly: $3,300.00 Billed Annually: $2,199.00
Billed Monthly: $5,985.00 Billed Annually: $3,389.00
Starting at $448.50 when billed monthly or $299.00 annually for 50k tasks, you can invite your team to join your Zapier account. This tier also offers 1 minute automation trigger times, improving on 2 minutes in the professional tier. Like the professional plan, the Team plan ranges in the number of Tasks per month up to 2 million tasks for $5,250.00 a month or $3,499.00 a month when billed annually.
Finally, the last option begins at 100 thousand Tasks per month at a cost of $898.50 per month or $599.00 per month when billed annually. Like the team plan, it also features 1 minute automation trigger times and introduces advanced admin permissions and live training with the Zapier customer success team.
Things to Keep in Mind:
- When deciding to pay annually, make sure you will actually use it for the entire year. In our experience, Zapier will not issue a refund; however, they will credit it on your account to use in the future.
- If you hit your maximum Task allowance before the month ends, everything will stop running until you upgrade your plan or you wait until the end of the month for your allowance to reset.
- If you only need 2,100 Tasks a month, you'll be forced to upgrade from the 2k Task/mo plan to the 5k Task/mo plan, almost doubling your total bill for those extra 100 tasks.
Zapier does a fantastic job of making complicated API calls easy even without any programming or web development knowledge. Overall their system is very user-friendly and it's easy to learn the basics to start automating.
With this said, to take complete advantage of Zapier and all of its features, there is a very high knowledge ceiling. It can take a while to learn all of the tools and many of them, such as the webhook step will not make sense without some technical understanding of the web and APIs. The more complicated your automation requirements, the harder they will be to achieve with Zapier.
In our experience working with companies running over 40,000 Tasks/mo, Zapier generally performs well; however, it can be tricky to debug your Zaps when they break. It isn't always very clear what caused an automation to fail and if you don't know the cause of a problem, you'll find yourself wasting a lot of time and energy shooting in the dark trying to fix it.
With the scalability of cloud computing, we would like to see Zapier adopt more flexible payment options. Major cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform only charge users for the resources they use. Gone are the days of paying a flat monthly server fee. Why doesn't Zapier share this price model with its users? Jumping from 50k tasks a month to 100k is a tremendous difference in computational resources and in price ($300 more a month). Usually business automation is a gradual process and at this scale, you wouldn't just double your output from month to month.
Zapier also has limitations on the amount of computational resources that you can use in each Task and will actually timeout and stop running if a Task is taking too long. Processing very large amounts of data takes time and to achieve it you would need some custom code distributed across multiple Zaps or Tasks to accomplish your automation goal.
Since Zapier's entire platform is dedicated to integrating systems together, it's no surprise that they are probably the most-integrated platform on the market. You can find Zapier integrations for most services and tools with a public API. Absolutely top notch in terms of integration ability.
Zapier is fantastic for simple automations at small-scale. It comes with hundreds of amazing off-the-shelf features that require no coding knowledge. It's a great introduction to the automation game; however, for complicated automations at scale, we can do much better.