With the tech world advancing at a rapid pace – bringing with it its own challenges and obstacles – it can be tough to succeed alone. Communities can give developers the support they need, from advice and networking to skill expansion and product trials.

In our State of Developer Marketing 2022 Report, we looked into developer communities to give you a treasure trove of intel you can use in your role. Here’s a sneak peek at what you get when you download your free copy of the report. 👇

How many marketers are part of dev communities?

Many dev marketing professionals belong to developer communities, as they understand the benefits provided.

In fact, when we surveyed our respondents about whether they belonged to a developer community, a little over half (53.3%) said they did (with 68.7% saying they don’t manage the community themselves).

graph about belonging to a developer community

In addition, only 6.2% said their community catered to both developers and marketers, when we asked: ‘Is this a community of developers or other developer marketers?’ No one belongs to a community that caters only to developer marketers.

graph about the type of developer community

Size of the community

Another area we found important to dive into was the size of the developer community, as 43.8% of respondents belong to huge communities with over 5,000 members. This further goes to show that developers seek to have a support system with their peers, as coding and programming can be solitary activities.

size of the developer community

Impact of the community

Next, we wanted to see which areas of the community had the biggest positive impact on developer marketers’ companies.

Most replies (31.2%) show that gathering feedback is the biggest benefit from belonging to a dev community, be it getting feedback about a product or ideas on how to tweak a feature, for example.

The second most important benefit appeared to be event participation (25%), followed by beta testing (18.8%).

The ‘Other’ category (12.5%) included replies like helping developers to discover products and getting devs’ contribution to the product development stage.

impact of the developer community

Beneficial activities

Another thing we looked at was the activities people felt were beneficial to the relationship between marketers and developers.

50% of respondents said that the desire to offer a great customer experience was the most important factor when forging a strong mutual relationship, and we also saw an even split between ensuring mutual respect (12.5%), having great communication (12.5%), and opting for highly personalized marketing (12.5%), each being considered equally crucial by the participants.

activities that benefit the relationship between developers and developer marketers

Harmful activities

There are some activities that respondents believe to be harmful to the relationship between dev marketers and developers.

‘Selling to developers instead of educating’ and ‘making it hard for developers to access products’ were seen as the most damaging, with 37.5% of participants, respectively, choosing them.

activities that harm the relationship between developers and developer marketers

Key advantages of developer communities

When we asked respondents what they thought the three main benefits of having a developer community were, we found that understanding the developer audience on a deeper level (82%), creating ambassadors for a product (81.2%), and teaching others about the product (56.3%) topped the list.

This makes sense, as better understanding a target market allows you to improve your marketing strategies; getting advocates helps you to raise brand awareness and reach a wider audience; and educating developers means they can use your product to its full potential and might even recommend it to others.

Dev marketers would also be keen to find a community (or set one up) where they can get developers to trial their product, as respondents felt this was a key benefit as well, representing 50% of responses.

After all, developers are such a unique audience – and are averse to more traditional marketing tactics.

benefits of developer communities

Developer pain points

We also enquired as to what respondents felt were the most common developer pain points. Finding the right tools for the job (75%), a rapid technological evolution (68.7%), and a lack of resources (50%) were the three most chosen options.

The ‘Other’ category (6.3%) included localization, as what works in one country or region might not work in another.

It’d be interesting to see if developers also feel the same way, or if they’d choose different pain points. This would indicate whether marketers truly understand developer needs.

developer pain points

Where are developers?

Seeing as the developer community is fragmented and there isn’t just one place where developers hang out, we asked respondents where they find developers.

Answers varied, but there was also a lot of common ground, especially when it came to social media channels (such as Facebook, Twitter and Reddit) and community groups (including Slack and Google Developer Student Clubs), which represented 31.2% of the answers, respectively.

25% of respondents also said they find developers through search engines like Google, while forums such as GitHub were also fairly popular with 18.7% of replies.

graph about where developers can be found

Community engagement

We also asked respondents how engaged they consider their community to be on a scale of 0 to 10 (from not engaged at all to extremely engaged).

While a minority said their community is not very engaged (6.2% chose the option ‘1’ and 6.3% the option ‘3’, for example), most respondents found their communities to be engaged, with the majority voting ‘7’ (25%) and ‘8’ (31.2%).

This is good news, as developer communities are an integral part of the industry, allowing marketers to get the most out of an audience that is notoriously difficult to market to.

percentage of community engagement

Expert contribution

We also asked the question: “What is your number one tip for creating a more engaged developer community?”, and Alex Zdanov delivered:

“Firstly, as a dev tool company, you don't need your own community. As a developer, if I ever join a specific tool's Discord server or Slack, it's for customer support, not to engage with other people using this tool. You know what communities I do join? Language communities, like #svelte, #clojure, or #postgresql. These communities are already well established and your time and effort would be more appreciated as a supporter or contributor to them.
There are also plenty of other types of communities out there, like ones that form around blogs or forums. Use your resources as a company to lift these communities up and I'll guarantee you'll see better results than trying to start your own.
If you're really set on starting your own, don’t always focus on software development. Developers are people too and most of them just write code as a job and not for fun. If you can engage with them on a more personal level, you’ll see better engagement overall.”

How do you measure that engagement?

In addition to this question, we also wanted to know how our respondents actually measured developers’ engagement in their communities.

Answers were varied and fell into the following categories, in which community contributions (37.5%), i.e., posts, comments, interactions, etc., were clearly the main way dev marketers measured engagement.

how do marketers measure the engagement in developer communities

The second most popular option appeared to be analytics, which included platform tools, number of weekly active users, and response time to questions (18.8%).

We then saw an even split between feedback (12.5%), which referred to surveys and forums, participation in events (12.5%), tech discussions (12.5%), and Net Promoter Score (12.5%).

This means that developer marketers measure engagement in many different ways, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. It’ll depend on factors like the community’s goals and the company’s objectives, for example.

How satisfied are you with how engaged your community is?

We also wanted to know whether developer marketers were satisfied with the levels of engagement in their community, so we measured their answers on a scale of 0 to 10 (from very unsatisfied to extremely satisfied).

It appears that respondents are relatively satisfied with their current community engagement, as 18.7% chose a ‘4’ and another 18.7% a ‘5’. With 12.5% of respondents choosing a ‘9’, it’s fair to say some are very happy with the engagement levels at the moment.

If developer marketers find opportunities to increase engagement in the community, we may see higher satisfaction levels next year, so it will be interesting to compare the numbers year-on-year.

graph about how satisfied marketers are about the engagement in their developer community

Community growth

After asking respondents how they grew their community, we found that the main driver was the creation of useful content for developers (37.6%), which can take the form of articles, product documentation, tutorial guides, etc.

Hanging out where developers are was also a popular option, with 25% of developer marketers saying that’s how they grew their community. The ‘Other’ category (6.2%) included people recognition and event hosting.

developer community growth

Future of the developer community

Dev communities will always be important – and they’ll always have a big impact on the developer marketing industry. For this reason, we asked our participants, ‘What do you want to see from your community in the future?’

Most developer marketers (43.8%) wanted to see more engagement in their community, including both more interaction between members and more active participation in general.

Other answers included growth (18.8%), such as implementing a hub of developer evangelists, and to have more developer contributions (12.5%), which included content writing and product documentation in GitHub directories.

For an in-depth look into the developer marketing landscape, as well as inspiration on how to improve your day-to-day with top tips from experts worldwide, download your free copy of our State of Developer Marketing 2022 Report today!