Paid media: Soliciting the developer community

I think I’ve got to be a rare breed – a marketer that uses ad blockers and my preferred search engine is DuckDuckGo. I’m not denying my love of a good marketing campaign, but sometimes it feels like companies are following me around the web and constantly advertising products and services which are of no interest to me. Not only is this frustrating, but it’s wasted paid media budget for the advertisers. I guess that’s one thing I have in common with developers, we don’t want to see irrelevant and irritating ads that interrupt our journey.

In the developer marketing and developer relations space there is a common understanding that ‘developers hate marketing’. I actually don’t subscribe to this. From what I’ve seen developers don’t hate marketing, they just hate marketing that doesn’t add value to them, gets in the way of what they were doing and isn’t relevant… who can blame them? An example of a successful paid media campaign I saw recently, which appealed to me (the ad blocking marketer) was from a new start-up, who launched their business and have grown at an exponential rate through their paid media campaigns. They have been spot on with their ad copy, creative and targeting and guess what? It worked on me. I was fully aware that:

  1. This was a paid media campaign
  2. I was clearly being targeted through geo, age, and interests
  3. I was probably going to click on the ad and make a purchase

So how did a relatively unknown brand get so many people engaged and clicking on their ads? The reason this campaign has been successful is that the product is solving a problem and the ad copy is completely relevant to the target audience. I was also impressed with the journey after clicking on the ad, it made sense. On their site, there is a lot of useful info including a forum, a clear path to purchase and the language is spot on in appealing to me (their target audience).

What can we learn from this experience? I can draw a lot of parallels between the way I view and engage with paid media ads and the way developers do. The key practices you can apply to your next paid media campaign for developers are:

  1. Who am I targeting? Hint: it’s not all developers. By accurately identifying and targeting the right segment of developers you’ll not only have a more successful campaign, but you won’t be wasting your marketing budget on the wrong audience
  2. What am I marketing? Is it a product, service, something else? Be very clear about your offering
  3. What’s the value proposition? What problem are you solving for developers? Don’t tell them something general about the product and expect them to click. Be direct with a solution
  4. What is my approach to keyword research? This is very important to get right. Precise and accurate keywords and targeting will ensure you get your ads in front of the right audience. Find out which keywords are worth the money and which aren’t. Don’t use a blanket approach for all social media channels, this task needs to be completed for each platform
  5. What creative should I use? Whether you are using images, videos or something else this needs to be catered to developers and not just a replica of your B2C or B2B campaigns
  6. Go live, test and learn. Find out which ads are working and which need to be tweaked, analysed and optimised – all of which are key to ongoing campaign success

We regularly run paid media campaigns for clients and the preparation prior to go live is one of the most important aspects of the campaign, second to monitoring and optimising. What’s nice about a paid media campaign is that you can almost instantly see your results. A recent campaign we ran for a client saw some great results, we tripled the number of click-throughs on Twitter and more than doubled the industry average click-throughs for Facebook and LinkedIn. The campaign expanded brand awareness and exposure in over 20 countries and increased sign up’s on the developer portal, which was the ultimate goal.

When you get paid media right it can really help to promote your product or service to the developer community. Get it wrong though and it’ll be an annoyance and an irritant. Although a good paid media campaign can be a great tool, it is just one part of the marketing mix for developers and it should rarely be used on its own. Check out our Developer Program Framework to find out what other key components can help your developer program ROI.

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