Dev tool advertising examples

ads
campaigns
video
youtube
brand

"I'm gonna push some buttons" video campaign from Postman

How to do a dev-focused brand video and get 10M+ views?

Making a memorable brand video is hard.

Doing that for a boring tech product is harder.

Doing that to the developer audience is next level.

Postman managed to create not one but three of those brand videos that got from 4M to 10M youtube views.

The videos I am talking about are:

  • "I am gonna push some buttons"
  • "Together"
  • "We did this"

So what did they do right?

  • They are all short playful stories touching on values coming from a centralized API platform.
  • They hint at the motif of space which is a clear part of Postman's branding
  • They do show the actual UI of the product

Honestly, I am not exactly sure what special sauce they added but those are just great videos that you watch.

And I definitely remember them and the company which is exactly what you want to achieve with brand ads.

ads
reddit
social posts

Meme Reddit ad from Zesty

Developer-focused Reddit ad. 33 upvotes, 30 comments.

So @Zesty is a company that targets devops folks and helps with cloud cost optimization.

And they decided to run Reddit ads.

So they:

  • Chose the format that works with devs on (some) subreddits
  • The funny message that connects to their main value prop
  • Made it clear that they solve that problem in the copy
  • Added clear(ish) branding

And they got 33 upvotes and 30 comments.

Some of the comments were technical.

One comment that got 67 upvotes was actually

"Okay, this ad is pretty funny"

And I agree, this is a pretty funny ad that I am sure brought them some brand awareness and clicks.

ads
copy
vs competitor
campaigns
twitter

Vs competitor Twitter ad from Convex

VS competitor ads are hard to pull off with devs. Not impossible though. ๐Ÿ‘‡

So the problem is that:

  • You want to list problems people have with the competing tool.
  • But you don't want to come off as too negative and aggressive.
  • And you want people to not think those are just "some bs claims to sell your tool"

@Convex does it really nicely here:

  • They start positively by acknowledging that some people do "Love Firebase"
  • They tag the competitor to build trust in the claims they are making
  • They list problems people have with the competitor explicitly in voice of customer: "request waterfalls", "weak react support", "managing end-to-end consistency"
  • And they link to a deeper vs competitor page for details

And even though this is by a "aggressive" competitor marketing hundreds of devs liked/bookmarked this tweet.

Good job!

ads
brand
billboards

vercel billboard ad

Just an awesome billboard/ad format for a dev too company coming from Vercel.

What I like about it is:

  • you catch attention with something different
  • those who are in your audience get it, maybe they feel more seen
  • you reinforce that your brand is very developer-focused
  • you don't forget to put the "obvious" branding in there
  • and there is a CTA to get people to do something

Simple and beautiful.

Btw, they actually run similar ads on Reddit and it makes a lot of sense IMHO.

brand
campaigns
ads
billboards

snowflake billboards

Ideating how to do dev tool billboards?

I like these from Snowflake.

Especially the customer showcase ones as the format can almost be copy-pasted ;)

One more interesting thing about those billboards though:

  • folks from Snowflake placed just a few of them strategically in the cities
  • And changed content of the billboard often

By doing that they seem to have billboards everywhere, fight ad fatigue, and stay top of mind.

Love it.

ads
reddit
social posts

Meme Reddit ad from Featureform

How to run developer-focused Reddit ads that get upvoted?

Reddit is well known for anti-promotional sentiments.

Just post something along the lines "you can solve that with our dev tool" and see.

So running ads on Reddit feels even more like a no-no.

Especially if you add problems with bot clicks and attribution as most devs will have some sort of blocks.

But you know your audience is on Reddit.

And for some of us, it may very well be the only social platform they are on.

So what do you do?

This is how @Featureform approached it to get almost 100 upvotes on an ad:

  • They start with a simple conversational copy pointing at their target users pains
  • They agitate target users pains in their language (lots of jargony terms, tools and problems)
  • They use very devy language, likely rooted in deep user understanding (voice of customer)
  • They don't talk about their product in the meme
  • They show clear branding so that you can connect the dots.

If you are going for brand awareness rather than a direct conversion those types of ads can work very well.

I liked it for sure.

social posts
ads
reddit

Funny Reddit ad from Aporia

An ad that doesn't feel like an ad.โ€

I like that this is almost a meme.

But it still explains what the company does.

Love it.

campaigns
copy
developer experience
ads
reddit

"We blew our budget on X" format

Funny ad, that makes fun of ads.โ€

But it actually communicates that you don't care about the ads but more about something else, like:

  • docs
  • code examples
  • integration
  • backend
  • UI
ads
video
youtube

YouTube shorts ad from Digital Ocean

Digital Ocean went for an ad for the Hactoberfest in a tricky place.

To keep it in the medium that fits YouTube shorts they:

  • made it into an actual short vid
  • used a comic book story

I think doing YouTube shorts is an interesting opportunity in a yet unsaturated market (as of 2022).

And doing ads that fit that medium so nicely is an art.

Good job DO!

ads
copy

Trieve newsletter sponsorship ad

Awesome sponsorship ad from Trieve in the Cassidy Williams newsletter.

Not sure who wrote it but it must have been a dev ;) It is just so refreshingly to the point.

๐Ÿ’š What I like:

  • "What is it": A product description gives you no fluff "what it is". Feels like something from "Hacker News launch" ย almost.
  • "What it compares to" | "Why should I care" : They compare vs a well-known dev tool in the space. And this is great, helps the dev anchor with something they know. Helps them understand why this could be valuable. They even give you a life app where you can see for yourself.
  • "How can I test it for myself": They offer free credits to play with in a cloud version.

This ad does it so gracefully and quickly it is just hard not to love. ย 

social posts
ads
linkedin

Funny With/Without Linkedin ad format

With/without is a classic marketing campaign theme.

AhoyConnect does it nicely in this ad.

Obviously, not everyone loves memes.

But many devs do.

Those who do may smirk -> smirk builds brand affinity.

ads
reddit
copy
social posts

Basic Reddit Ad from Kubero

How did this super basic ad get so much engagement on Reddit?

First of all, the value prop is succinct, to the point, and says what it is.

No "streamlining", "boosting", or "democratizing" is involved.
No clever tagline or pains, benefits, or values just says what it is.

But what it is, is "free and open-source" which is what many devs, especially on Reddit want to hear.
And Heroku is a known brand so if you know what Heroku does, you know what Kubero does.

I liked that they linked out to the GitHub project too.

Not 100% sure if that would perform better than a landing page or home. ย But I see how it feels more in sync with the channel you are running your ads on.

The screenshot? I don't like it but perhaps it doesn't matter as much here?

What do you think?

Oh, and if you read the comments, you'll see that people actually talked about the project, said that they liked the ad etc.

Good stuff.

ads
linkedin
social proof

V7 "testimonial" ad on Linkedin

It's a nice template for ads on socials.

So you have:

  • Value
  • Testimonial about the value/benefit
  • Person
  • CTA

Ideally, I'd make it dark to stand out in the feed and make the CTA about that value as well.

But still, great ad imho.

ads
video
youtube
social proof

Testimonial Video Ad from Teleport

Classic remarketing ad. But things are classic because they work ๐Ÿ‘‡

Youtube remarketing is one of the most popular ways to stay top of mind with devs who visit your site.

Lots of devs spend time on Youtube so it is a solid match.

But, "buy now" style ads rarely work because if they wanted to try/buy they would have already.

They need something more.

That "more" is often trust.

They simply don't trust you, your product, and your company.

They don't think you are the real deal and will solve their problems.

But you can build that trust. And to do that you can use testimonial-style ads:

  • use case explained in the voice of customer/developer
  • real user sharing their story
  • clear product branding

That is it.

Show enough of these and % of people will trust you and convert.

brand
campaigns
ads
billboards

"Life is too short" campaign from New Relic

Is this brand campaign ๐Ÿ’ฉ or โค๏ธ?

I like it a lot actually.

It gets attention, it is memorable, it gets reactions. ย 

And It does speak to a product message: that you have better developer experience than other tools.

It definitely beats flavors of "5x developer productivity".

brand
campaigns
ads
billboards

"What good is bad data" from Segment

This is a really clever billboard campaign.

Show don't tell they say.

And Segment did exactly that by putting billboards with the wrong location printed on them (LA in SF etc).

The theme/message was "What good is bad data?" which was exactly what they wanted to convey.

What I like about is the alignment between:

  • campaign creative
  • campaign theme
  • product value

This is hard to do imho so big kudos to them ๐ŸŽ‰!

Downside?

Reportedly many folks who saw billboards didn't get that it was intentional and Tweeted at them about the error.

Or maybe they were next-level jokers...

ads
reddit

Stack trace ad from Sentry.io

I really like this Reddit ad from Sentry.

Powerful simplicity.

They don't do:

โ€ข long value-based copy
โ€ข fancy, in-your-face CTAs
โ€ข creative that feels "professional

They go for:

โ€ข focus on the pain
โ€ข creative that speaks to that pain
โ€ข low-key CTA ", get Sentry" rather than "Get Sentry Free!"
โ€ข building rapport with the dev with copy "If seeing this in React makes you ๐Ÿคฎ"

And through simplicity and focus they deliver a message:

โ€ข Stack traces in React are not much fun
โ€ข They seem to understand that
โ€ข Sentry helps you solve that

Good format.

copy
ads
linkedin
brand

Joke ad format with a transitional CTA from sdworx

Dorky joke right?

But it does two very important things beautifully.

It gets a smirk (from some people) and when it does you know you just moved someone closer to your brand.

It has a clear CTA which is hard to do with joke-format ads.

This subtle call to conversation/check us out does the job.

Love it!

ads
linkedin

Run.ai Linkedin ad

๐—”๐˜๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐˜๐—ถ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ ๐—ฐ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—ฎ๐—ป ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ณ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ฑ๐˜‚๐—ฐ๐˜ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—ฟ๐˜‚๐—ป๐˜€ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐—ฎ ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—บ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—น?

Hard, but Run.ai did that.

Infra products are not "obviously cool".

There is no shiny UI, no happy people wearing your sneakers,

So what do you show on your ads?

First off, the rules still apply:

โ€ข Catch your audience's attention
โ€ข Say what you do in their language
โ€ข Better yet, show how it actually does it

And Run.ai ai and MLOps infra tool managed to create a beautiful Linkedin ad IMHO:

โ€ข They catch attention with the code visual
โ€ข They say what they do quickly with "Dynamic Fractional GPU using One Command"
โ€ข They extend on that in the post copy with an action-driven "Open Terminal -> Run Command -> Boom"
โ€ข The code shows what it feels like to use the tool
โ€ข And it shows you the result -> fractional GPUs

Job well done!

ads
developer experience
youtube
video

CircleCI code and UI presentation in video ad

Showing code and UI in an explainer video is always a dance and rarely ends well.

You want to show the code to make it devy.
But you don't want to show everything not to overwhelm.

The same goes for UI which should look like your UI.
But show only what is necessary.

It's a struggle but CircleCI does it really nicely in this explainer:

  • They blur out all code
  • But use colors to make it really look like code
  • And the file sits clearly in a text editor (as it should)

They do the same for the UI later in the video.Just a really clean way of explaining things. Nice!

video
youtube
ads
campaigns
brand

Postman "We did this" campaign video

How to do a dev-focused brand video and get 10M+ views?

Making a memorable brand video is hard.

Doing that for a boring tech product is harder.

Doing that to the developer audience is next level.

Postman managed to create not one but three of those brand videos that got from 4M to 10M youtube views.

The videos I am talking about are:

  • "I am gonna push some buttons"
  • "Together"
  • "We did this"

So what did they do right?

  • They are all short playful stories touching on values coming from a centralized API platform.
  • They hint at the motif of space which is a clear part of Postman's branding
  • They do show the actual UI of the product

Honestly, I am not exactly sure what special sauce they added but those are just great videos that you watch.

And I definitely remember them and the company which is exactly what you want to achieve with brand ads.

ads
video
youtube
social proof

CircleCI video testimonial ad

Testimonial ads are a format that helps you move people from "I know what you are doing" to "I trust you enough to do business with you".

Video testimonials are even better.

You see the person who has a similar role that you do saying things about the product you are considering.

CircleCI did a solid job here.

And so if you are running remarketing to people who went to pricing but didn't sign up, or signed up to a free trial but haven't converted yet this is a good format candidate.

Just watch it.

ads
social posts
reddit

Reddit ad format from ClearML

Code-style ad format on Reddit.

Code can speak louder than words (sometimes).

It makes your value prop real and concrete to the right audience.ย 

brand
campaigns
billboards
ads

"Ask your developer" billboards from Twillio

Just wanted to share this classic dev tool branding campaign.

There is even a book about this from Jeff Lawson at Twilio.

But I recently saw someone share on HN that it got changed to "How can I reduce acquisition costs by 65%". Made me a bit sad.

But perhaps after years and years of working it stopped delivering any additional brand awareness/affinity.

Could they have come up with another flavor of "Ask your developer."?

Maybe. But maybe at their levels of mind share you are playing a different game.

The good thing is, you are not at that stage ;)

And f you pull off something that is 1% of the success of that famous Twilio campaign you can make your brand noticed and remembered.

I know we are in the year of doing what brings results right now. And branding campaigns may not make the cut.

But maybe we can (and should) afford to do something that helps us deliver that pipeline next year or a year after that?

ads
social posts
linkedin
social proof

G2 quote Linkedin Ad format from Algolia

A great example of a quote-style ad.

I like it because:

  • Trust:ย it builds trust via G2 crowd reference and an actual person mentioned
  • Value/benefit:ย the quote talks about what the tool does and what is good about it
  • More trust:ย links to G2 crowd profile, NOT your page -> more trust especially when I don't know the brand yet

Great stuff.