We’ve launched the State of Developer Marketing 2023/24 Report, which offers plenty of insights and expert opinions, and helps you understand which marketing strategies work best, what your competition is up to, and so much more.

One section of the report was dedicated to developer communities. For the full picture, get your free copy of the report—but, in the meantime, here are the highlights of our findings and what they might mean for you.

How many marketers belong to developer communities?

Developer communities play a pivotal role in the tech ecosystem. They help developers to exchange knowledge, network, get support, develop skills, solve problems, and more. 

Marketers can greatly benefit from online communities as well, as they're able to engage with their audience. For example, belonging to a dev community can help you to:

  • Stay on top of the latest tech trends and products (and get key insights into them).
  • Connect with developers and other marketers, which opens the way to collaborations and partnerships.
  • Improve your communication skills with technical teams.
  • Better understand the needs of your developer personas.
  • Use the many educational resources that dev communities often have about the latest products.
  • Find beta testers and get feedback on your product or feature.
“Developer communities are hotbeds of knowledge exchange. By joining one, you gain access to a diverse pool of expertise where experienced developers share their insights, tips, and best practices, while beginners can ask questions and seek guidance.”Ben Oguzie, Content Marketer

When we surveyed our respondents about whether they belonged to a developer community, 72% said yes (compared to 2022, where only 53.3% of developer marketers said they belonged to a community).

Of those 72%, 77.8% also manage the community themselves – compared to only 31.3% in 2022, which is a huge shift; meaning developer marketing professionals are increasingly managing their own communities.

Only 5.6% of respondents who belong to a community said it catered to both developers and marketers (a similar number to the 6.2% answer we got in 2022) and 5.6% said they belonged to a community of marketers – whereas last year this figure was zero.

The overwhelming majority (88.8%) of respondents belong to a community of only developers. 

In 2022, 6.2% survey respondents said they belonged to a community that catered to both audiences, so there’s been a slight decrease. Interestingly, in 2022, no one said they were in marketing communities and, this time around, 5.6% of developer marketing professionals told us they belong to a marketing-dedicated community.

How big or small is your developer community?

We wanted to know the size of the developer communities our respondents are a part of.

In 2022, 42.8% of developer marketers belonged to communities with over 5,000 members. 

In the 2023/24 period, this number is 38.9% (still the majority, though not as high). The second highest range is 0–50 members at 22.2%, followed by 250–500 members at 16.7%.

What is the impact of your developer community?

The impact the developer community has on developer marketers’ orgs can vary greatly, and we wanted to find out just how much.

In 2022, responses showed that gathering feedback (31.2%) was the biggest benefit from belonging to a developer community, with the second most important being event participation (25%), and the third being beta testing (18.8%).

In this report, the top answer was still gathering feedback (50%), with half of all respondents who belong to a community choosing this option (higher than last year). The option with the second biggest benefit was event participation (17.2%) as well, but the third was peer recommendations (9.1%) instead of beta testing.

The ‘Other’ (5%) category included spreading word of mouth. It’s interesting to see event participation being so highly represented here, since it’s one of the main responsibilities of developer marketers, as we’ve seen.

“Remember that the focus should always be on building relationships and providing value. If you can work within those two things, and there's a lot of room to work, you can do both of these activities. You can foster a beneficial community while also showing those community members the value of what your company or your brand has for them.
“It doesn't always have to be a sales pitch, but you can provide content, assets, and engaging events that show people the value of using these things to further their own personal goals. You always need to make it about them, because it is about them.
“It's not about you as the company or the business owner, it's about the people in your community and what their needs are. How can you make them successful, almost to a fanatical degree?”Jeff Bull, Head of Developer Community at Cisco DevNet

Beneficial activities

We believe it’s important to look at the activities developer marketers felt were beneficial to the relationship between marketers and developers.

We noticed several changes from 2022 to 2023/24. While wanting to offer a great customer experience remained the most beneficial activity, only 33.4% of respondents chose it in this report, when compared to 50% in 2022.

The second and third most beneficial activities were lack of marketing jargon (22.6%) and same motivations/goals (22.2%). 

Harmful activities

We also looked at harmful activities, just like we did last year, so that we can better understand what can damage the relationship between marketers and developers.

In 2022, the activities deemed the most damaging were selling to developers instead of educating (37.5%) and making it hard for developers to access products (37.5%).

In 2023/24, the overwhelming majority (72.2%) chose selling to developers instead of educating as the most harmful activity. Making it hard for developers to access products (11.1%) and going for an early sale (11.1%) were the second and third. 

Key advantages of developer communities

In 2022, when we asked developer marketers what the three main benefits of having a developer community were, we discovered 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.

In 2023/24, the top three advantages of developer communities are (respondents could choose several options): creating ambassadors for a product (83.3%), understanding the developer audience on a deeper level (77.8%), and teaching others about the product (50%) – so, the results were very similar.

The ‘Other’ (5.6%) category included educating developers. 

Developer pain points

When we asked about the most common developer points, we found that finding the right tools for the job (66.7%), rapid technological evolution (44.4%), and communication issues (44.4%) were the top three challenges.

In 2022, the three most popular options consisted of finding the right tools for the job (75%), rapid technological evolution (68.7%), and a lack of resources (50%), meaning the first two pain points remained the same.

‘Other’ (11.2%) included the fact that developers are not usually budget approvers but users of the tools, as well as shifting business priorities. 

“I would generally caution against using pricing as the key pain point. Even if you save a company thousands a month, it might only be 0.01% of their revenue.
“That saving might not matter when balanced against migration headaches and platform risks. For example, Heroku is more expensive than AWS.
“Yet saving DevOps staffing costs and headaches make the price worth it to users. So, I wouldn’t recommend putting all your eggs in that basket.” Zach Goldie, Marketing Manager at browserless

Where are developers?

There are many different developer communities, as developers hang out in many different spaces. So, we wanted to find out where developer marketers were finding developers.

The answers were varied and included community groups (50%), social media (44.5%), events (33.3%), organic search (27.8%), and online forums (22.2%).

In 2022, social media and community groups topped the list at 31.2% each, so results are similar in that regard. 

Community engagement

When we 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), most people chose the options ‘8’ (27.8%), which means they believe their communities to be engaged overall.

However, many people also chose the option ‘3’ (16.7%), bringing the average to 5.7. The rest was evenly distributed, which is curious. There doesn’t appear to be a true consensus among developer marketers.

Overall, the results follow a similar pattern to 2022, where the most chosen options were ‘7’ and ‘8’. However, the average was 6.4, so there’s been a decrease this year.

How do you measure that engagement?

In addition, we followed the previous question by asking respondents how they measure their communities’ engagement.

Answers were varied and fell into the following categories, in which community participation/engagement/interactions (50%) was the main way developer marketers measured engagement.

In 2022, the top way to measure engagement was also community contributions (37.5%).

It’s clear there are different ways to measure engagement in a community, and it’ll depend on things like community goals and company objectives, for example.

“There are two kinds of developers: Developer X, who is motivated by money, and Developer Y, who is motivated by reputation and fame.
“An advocacy group understands both of these intrinsically. What an advocacy team does is build a content strategy, or, in other words, a program, that caters to both. A company could build an MVP program picking two or three people they want to uplevel because of what they were able to build with the company’s product and dedicate a landing page to them.
“A developer advocacy program is really important because all the people who work in this particular function, both the marketers who built the content in the programming and the technical developers, help build that respect and create that flywheel to keep it going.” – Nisha Baxi, Head of Community and Digital Customer Success at Gong

How satisfied are you with how engaged your community is?

It’s important that developer marketers are also happy with how engaged their community is. We measured our respondents’ answers to this question on a scale 0 to 10 (from very unsatisfied to extremely satisfied).

It seems like, overall, marketers are fairly satisfied with their community's engagement levels, with 16.7% of respondents choosing the options ‘6’ and ‘7’, respectively. Most marketers, however, picked the option ‘3’ (22.2%), indicating a below average level of satisfaction (4.6).

The trend is similar to 2022, where respondents appeared relatively satisfied with their current community engagement as well (18.7% chose a ‘4’ and another 18.7% a ‘5’. With 12.5% of respondents choosing a ‘9’).

In short

If you haven’t downloaded your free copy of the report, do it now for great industry insights and expert thoughts. From developer marketing KPIs and budgets to essential skills and AI tools, our State of Developer Marketing Report offers you a comprehensive look into the industry.