Developers DO Like Design

Sure, if the answer to a question is buried in hard-to-scan, visually unappealing text and code, a developer will wade through it. But they’d rather not. So when it comes to your advertising, design with the developer in mind.

The developers interviewed in our Meet the Developer series have said many of the things you’d expect from any consumer. (For instance, they appreciate visually appealing and easy-to-understand advertising.) But it’s important to keep in mind that the developer experience includes every touch point with your brand. That’s why the developer experience begins with your ad.

Simplicity Sells

Create a message that is easily understood by your target audience so they have enough information to self-select as “your kind” of developer. Keep your design visually appealing, but make sure it’s not distracting.  More youthful developers like Julia Nash and Oana Mancu give more weight to their visual experience with your ad, as well as where your ad takes them.

Mancu has this to say about ads for technology tools that she is likely to click on: “It’s great if they are funny and have a story to tell — like mini-movies with a script, music, and editing. I always appreciate good work.”

What’s the messaging that most developers need to see to compel them to click? According to Evans Data Corporation, developers who were surveyed in Evans’ Developer Marketing Survey 2019 just want to know the information they will get when they click on your ad. Is the information you’re offering about emerging technologies, training, new platforms, tools? Tell them — as simply and directly as possible.

Use Static Advertising

Pop-up advertising is a hard pass for developers. As Nash says, “ Don’t mess up the view!” However, according to Evans’ 2019 survey, static banner ads on websites and newsletters devoted to developers are well-received. Even text ads are acceptable.

Consistency Is Key

Once your brand has shown up supporting a favorite developer channel, maintain a presence. Invest in long-term campaigns across a mixture of digital channels that are frequented by your target audience. You can make tweaks to campaigns and channel selecture, but don’t expect to build trust and become top of mind if your brand’s presence is erratic.

Where Do Developers Click?

Evans’ survey of developers in 2019 supports the importance of offering ads in email industry or developer community newsletters, as well as web banner ads on sites developers frequent, and ads in developer forums and portals. Preferences are evenly split, however, so it’s not wise to choose just one of these types of ads. Successful brands will devise campaigns with a good developer experience in ads served on all of these channels: newsletters, websites, forums, and portals.

Make It A Pleasant Landing

Once developers do click, their experience with your brand hasn’t ended. High-quality advertising with a clear message and appealing design is all for naught if the landing page is poorly designed or has elements that don’t work well. (This is particularly true for brands offering developer tools.)

Mancu explains why, saying, “The quality of the product landing page or website is very important. But if I click on an ad, if I go to the product website, I judge by the website. Partly I judge how it looks, but mainly how it works, because I’m a developer and the site should be made by a developer. If the site is not good, then it means you have poor developers.“

Developer Experience Is Everywhere! 

If developers are critical to the success of your brand, then you can’t ignore the developer experience at any touch point. From the moment they view your ad, developers are evaluating their experience with your brand. Making a brand noticeable does require some visual appeal and cleverness, but not so much that it obscures the usefulness of your ad’s offering. Avoid annoying your audience with pop-ups. Stick to static banners, links, and text ads that can be placed in newsletters and websites. Once they click, ensure the page they land on looks good and works well. Devote yourself to optimizing the developer experience of your advertising campaigns from start to finish to make the most of every click.