6 Developer Marketing Trends in 2022
Developer marketers, we know you have a huge challenge on your hands. How can you engage with a buyer persona that doesn’t respond (as well) to traditional marketing? Meanwhile, you need to increase your product’s adoption, provide an effective educational experience for developers, and stay on top of trends and the best practices that will lead to developer marketing success.
Below is a list of the developer trends that are shaping how software companies engage with developers in 2022 and beyond.
1. The Developer Population Will Continue to Grow
In 2018, there were 23 million software developers in the world. This figure grew to 24.5 million in 2020 and is expected to increase significantly within the next few years to reach 45 million software developers worldwide by 2030.
More software companies are also becoming developer centric (look at Redis, Chef Software, MongoDB, Auth0, Stripe, and Kong HQ as examples), because they recognized that good developers are crucial to their commercial success.
With the number of developers continuing to rise and companies switching to a dev-centric approach, understanding how to market to this growing population is becoming increasingly important. Developers will also be taking the reins much more when it comes to selecting which products to try and which to buy.
2. Developers Will Influence More Software Purchases
Previously, software marketers ignored developers, but their influence over the purchase decision is increasing. More than half of developers now exert a great deal of influence on technology purchases and 60% have the ability to approve or reject a technology purchase. This trend is happening because developers are often the ones who have to implement the software and work with it day-to-day, so they are rightfully asking for (and getting more control over) which solutions their company’s select. If developers don’t support your product, it stands a much smaller chance of success in your customer’s company. In fact, 34% of sales opportunities are dropped because of developer influence.
This means that focusing on developer marketing and figuring out how to market to developers –– a notoriously tough crowd for marketers –– is crucial to driving the adoption of your software. And traditional sales and marketing tactics, such as 1-on-1 demos, marketing brochures, and overview videos, won’t be as effective when it comes to developer marketing.
3. Developer Marketing Will Expand in 2022
As developer job roles expand and their purchasing influence grows, the need for developer marketing will increase. And while the idea of marketing to developers is still fairly new, Appsembler predicts that developer marketing will start becoming more widely-applied in 2022 and beyond. We predict that 2022 will be the year when developer marketing grows beyond just developer-centric companies and expands into the broader software industry. So for traditional marketers, now is the time to begin educating yourself on just what developer marketing is, its best practices, which companies are doing it well, and what tools/technologies you need to get the initiative built.
4. Companies Will Create and Improve Products With Developers, Not Just For Them
Developers can be one of your most useful resources when it comes to product development. If you open up your source code to developers, then they can see what is under the hood, see how your product works, and play around with it to the point of making new feature suggestions or provide feedback about your product’s code.
While providing sample code may seem scary, taking a collaborative approach with your developer community and being transparent about what your product can do (and can’t do), will help you improve your product and also ensure that you are building something that developers want to use.
Taking a product-led and developer-centric growth approach, where you let your software do the majority of the selling (rather than sales and marketing) will also enable you to scale faster, gain a more trustworthy brand, and capture higher valuations (Product-Led Growth by OpenView Partners).
5. The Developer Marketing Approach Will Continue to Evolve
Developers don’t respond well to traditional sales tactics, such as sales pitches, promotional videos, and demos. They are also less likely to call or email you if they have questions about the product (and are more likely to figure it out themselves). In fact, 77% of developers seek to solve a problem on their own and to solve it themselves (Source).
Developers want to figure out your product and use it in real-life situations that they’ll encounter on a day-to-day basis. They want educational and technical product information, as well as interactive, hands-on product experiences.
As well as providing educational content such as documentation, sample code, and training courses, you should deploy virtual labs to provide an immersive experience where developers can get hands-on software sandboxes that enable them to try your product and shape their buying recommendation.
6. New Developer Marketing Metrics Will Emerge
Marketing to developers not only requires a different approach, but also a different way and a longer timeline to measure its success. In traditional marketing, you might track the progress of leads through your marketing automation software using metrics such as downloads and page views. And while some of these metrics might still work for developers –– such as newsletter sign-ups or eBook downloads –– there are developer-specific metrics further down the funnel that won’t be applicable and take much longer to measure (e.g. the # of applications built using your product or the # of 3rd parties interacting with your API).
While developer marketing metrics are still in flux, here are some ways you can track success. Below is an excerpt from our “What is Developer Marketing?” piece where we broke down these metrics into several categories:
Awareness refers to how many developers your developer marketing program is reaching. This can usually be measured by looking at the number of:
- # of registrants to your developer newsletter
- # of impressions to your developer portal or content
- Social media subscribers (assuming you have a developer-specific channel)
- Hackathon and developer event attendees
- Blog article views & reads
- Social media mentions
Your adoption rate analyzes how many developers are actually signing-up for your product. Awareness is a pivotal starting point to getting noticed by prospective developers, but ultimately, your adoption rate will be a much better indicator of whether your awareness efforts are driving results. The following indicators play into your adoption rate:
- How many virtual labs or developer playgrounds are being spun up
- How many trials (attributed to your B2D efforts) are being spun-up
- How many applications are being built or have been built
- Number of applications per developer
- Number of 3rd party integrations onto other platforms
While adoption rate looks at the number of developers making that initial first touch with your product, your engagement rate analyzes how frequently developers are using it. This is an important metric to determine whether developers are continually returning to use your product, or if they just wanted to give it a test run. Engagement rate will require you to look at:
- How often are developers using your product
- How often specific features within a product are being used
- Number of API calls (assuming your company sells or markets an API)
- Average number of logins per developer
- Number of developers engaging with your product 30 days after sign-up
Your developer community is the foundation that your product stands on. Building a strong community depends on your organization’s ability to participate in insightful conversations with developers and add value as like-minded professionals and thought-leaders. The community metrics you should be taking note of include looking at the number of:
- Monthly growth of your developer community
- # of developer groups & # of new groups added per month
- # of developer meetings per month
- # of developers per group & # of total developers
- Active developer tokens
You’ve attracted the right developers and engaged with them in a meaningful way. Now it’s time to consider how satisfied they are with your product. Determining your Developer Satisfaction Score will require you to look at two factors:
- Your Net Promoter Score (NPS)
- Time to First Hello World (this is a common acronym used in developer marketing circles to refer to the time it takes for developers to experience a product’s value. The lower the TTFHW, the better)
Learn from Companies Already Leading the Charge
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to developer marketing. There are already companies out there that have taken major steps in implementing developer marketing practices that you can learn from.
Redis, a leading real‑time in-memory data platform, launched Redis University where developers can take online learning courses, collaborate with peers, and gain insights from other Redis experts. Chef, the leader in Continuous Automation software, chose Appsembler for Developer Marketing to provide hands-on educational product experiences to their developers, turning Learn Chef into a reliable and high-volume lead generation channel. Dremio, a SQL lakehouse platform that enables high-performing BI and analytics directly on data lake storage, uses Appsembler to increase the volume of product trials delivered to potential buyers by streamlining the trial process and prioritizing the user experience.
If you want to learn how these companies are using Appsembler to push their developer marketing efforts to the next stage, get in touch with us.