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Post by Rich Moy on Apr 3, 2018 12:00:00 PM

Two weeks ago, we released the results of our 2018 Developer Survey. This year, we asked new questions about advertising. Based on what we found, it’s blatantly obvious that developers want ads to be as transparent as possible. In fact, they ranked “honesty about their goals” as one of the most important ad evaluation criteria.

With transparency being a priority for developers, what does that mean for advertisers looking to engage with them? How honest should you be when you design creatives or write landing page copy? Here are a few tips to consider when you advertise to developers.

Avoid Promoting Your Product as a “Do-it-All” Solution

There are undoubtedly features of your product that make it unique. But let’s be honest, there isn't a single solution that solves every problem that developers have. If you try to promote your product as something that does everything a programmer needs, it won’t be long before developers start to assume that you’re actually trying to hide something from them.

If you’re looking to generate downloads of a new back-end development platform, promote the features that make your solution better than the competition—even if the software could include front-end support down the road. The idea of a full-service solution might sound compelling to a non-technical audience, but selling your product as a “do-it-all” solution could make it more challenging to build trust with developers through advertising.

Be Specific About What You’re Offering to Developers

Does advertising to developers require you to go into detail about its potential shortcomings? Of course not! Your goal is to drive downloads, sign-ups, and sales. Focusing on all of the things that make it unattractive would be entirely counterproductive. At the same time, it does mean that you should be crystal clear about whatever it is that you’re offering.


Transparency from advertisers is high on developers’ list of ad priorities, but it’s not the only thing on that list. As you can see in the chart above, 6% of developers look for ads that avoid fluffy or vague language. When you try to accomplish too much in your campaign, you run the risk of writing copy that ultimately confuses your target audience.

Instead, get right to the point and lay out the facts about each campaign. Want developers to participate in a beta? Give them all the information they need about what they should expect during that program. Looking to drive downloads of a new product? Tell them about how your platform will benefit them.

Include Samples of Code on Your Landing Pages

In previous editions of our Developer Survey, respondents told us that they wanted to see more live code during the interview process. The same can be said of what they look for on your landing pages. Since most programmers respond to ads that are relevant and honest, showing off live code is an ideal way for advertisers to reach developers.

Imagine that your product demo makes it easier for developers to build mobile websites on a mobile device. Now, put yourself in a developer’s shoes. Would you be excited about that product after reading a few bullet points about its benefits, or would you be more interested if you saw an actual sample of a mobile website that someone created on your platform? Most, if not all, developers would lean towards the latter.

Run this idea by a developer on your team. In some cases, he or she might be able to help you create a sample project to highlight on your landing pages. You also might work together to find a snippet of code that you can easily include as text. No matter what the case may be, ads that are written in a programmer’s language tend to resonate with them, making this an incredibly worthwhile exercise.

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