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Post by Rich Moy on Feb 5, 2018 12:00:00 PM

Advertising products to a technical audience is a unique challenge. Programmers consider a lot of factors before deciding whether or not to click on an ad. Plus, while most consumers have been burned by misleading and dishonest marketing tactics, developers also have the technical knowledge to install ad blockers and shut you out for good if they choose.

As an advertiser, how can you overcome their preconceived notions about online ads and engage with your target developer audience? While you might need to leave a few of your favorite marketing tactics behind, let’s talk about a few things that you can do to build trust with developers through advertising.

Monitor the Conversations They’re Having About Your Product

Before you think about targeting strategies for your developer marketing campaigns, you need to understand your audience. Where do they go for information? Which topics are most interesting to the developers that you want to reach? What are their pain points?  

Fortunately, the answers to these questions aren’t too difficult for advertisers to find. For example, they use sites like Stack Overflow and GitHub to find solutions to their most significant coding challenges and help their peers on a daily basis. Unless the product that you’re marketing is brand new, developers are likely discussing it already. On some sites, it might even have a dedicated technology tag.

In addition to targeting the most relevant developers, scan your product’s tags on Stack Overflow. This is an excellent way to see what they enjoy about your product, as well as the things they’re struggling with. Not only is this good feedback to take back to consider in future iterations of the software, but these insights will also help you create more trustworthy marketing campaigns.

Get Involved in the Developer Community

You’ll learn a lot by monitoring the conversations that developers are having around your product. If you’re also willing to contribute to their discussions, you’ll be in a stronger position to build trust when you advertise to developers.

As you scan your products’ tags, you might notice that some information is outdated. You could come across a relevant article that isn’t tagged correctly. Or you might even find that a developer’s question has gone unanswered for an extended period. In any of these cases, feel free to chime in, but don’t go out of your way to promote your products. Over time, developers will see that you’re not just selling something to them, but that you are making an effort to add something of value to their community.

When in Doubt, Get Straight to the Point

Developers don’t mind ads that communicate why they should use a product. But when those reasons get buried in witty ad copy and jargon, they’ll assume that you’re no different than any other advertiser.

Let’s say that your ad copy reads, “Our API is great. Use it today!” You might think that’s an effective way to communicate value, but put yourself in a developer’s shoes. Is there a tangible and specific benefit to using your API that would get you excited? Most programmers would probably say that the answer to that question is a resounding “no.”

For advertisers looking to build trust with developers, it’s often as simple as showcasing a specific feature or benefit of a product. One platform might make mobile development faster. Another could be an optimal solution for ensuring cybersecurity. Identify something about your product that would benefit your target audience, and showcase it in your ad copy.