Developers are a particularly hard audience to capture with ads. Most of them know how digital advertising platforms work from a technical standpoint. As a result, they’re not particularly enthused when they find ads that don’t meet their standards.

Yet, a truly great ad will definitely capture your target developer audience. Are your ads winning developers or losing them?

You can improve your own developer ads by including these seven critical elements.

1. Authenticity 

First and foremost, developers are skeptical of everything. It’s not because they’re paranoid, but because developers are usually scientifically-minded.

The scientific mindset means that nothing is true until it is proven to be so. Until then, it’s just a theory.

So, when you want to create an ad for developers, make sure it’s genuinely authentic.  Developers do not buy into marketing hyperbole. They want to know that your solution will solve their problem. Be honest and give them a glimpse at the humans behind the company.

2. Social Proof 

This same skepticism also makes social proof a critical element for developer ads. Social proof is key in any ad, but it’s paramount for developers.

You can add social proof into your ads in a variety of ways.

  1. Create a video story ad based on a collection of testimonials that surround a similar topic.
  2. Include the number of 5-star reviews in your ad.
  3. Use the written part of a review as the content of an ad alongside visual media that correlates with the topic of the content.
  4. Go in depth into one developer story and highlight that in the ad.

The sky’s the limit when it comes to social proof.

3. Placement

Another quirk of developers is their ad placement preferences. Many of them design user interfaces (UIs) when they create with code. So, they know when a UI is ruined by ads.

We’ve all seen these kinds of websites and applications. You can hardly move your mouse or read a line without an ad popping up, getting in the way, or blasting a video on auto-play. Do not put your ads there.

Choose your ad placements wisely. Only place yourself in non-invasive spots like on developer community websites that are created for developers, by developers. These types of sites are where developers are actively looking for solutions to immediate problems.

4. Good Design 

On this same note, good design will make a huge difference in your ads. Not every developer is a designer, but some designers are developers.

So keep your designs captivating and well-done. If you need to hire someone outside your company to create ads with good design, it is worth your investment.

Developers expect ads to look perfect and thoughtful.

5. A Story

Developers also want to be captivated just like every other audience. It’s too easy to drift toward touting product features instead of focusing on how they create an experience for developers.

Think of the best technology product ads you’ve seen recently. Most of them put the product into the story of a persona (or personas) representing their target audience.

Some of the most prominent examples come from Apple.

How does your product fit into the everyday lives of your target audience? Can you create an ad surrounding that concept?

6. Benefits

Benefits are the cornerstone of all good marketing. So, don’t forget them with your developer audience.

How does your product or developer community improve their lives or solve specific pain points?

While you’re writing your story ads or coming up with new ideas, make sure you’re focusing on this question. The benefits you include should speak to the motivations of your audience.

7. Smile 

Finally, the most underrated way to improve your developer ads is to make them smile. A smile will always win.

You don’t need to include cheesy humor, but if it works for your brand, try it. Another way to make people smile is with authentic stories. Think outside the box.

What makes you smile about your product or service?

Improve Your Own Developer Ads

Now that you’ve seen all seven, go assess your current ads. Are they working? How could you improve them? Try a few of these things and see if your results change for the better.

You can also dig deeper into what makes a good developer ad if you need more information to come up with new ideas.