A Different Kind of AR: Audience Research

Increasing the effectiveness of targeting a developer audience.

A Different Kind of AR: Audience Research

One idea I keep circling back to, is a SaaS product that could make it easier for software tool vendors to reliably target a customer demographic that I am intimately familiar with: developers.

The idea came up because I was experimenting with content ideas that would have a dose of FOMO, which I think would make sense for the newsletter format. For the newsletter to succeed, the content needed to be perceived as valuable; the content had to resonate with the target audience.

So came the question: what kinds of content do early-, mid- and late-career developers find interesting? What kind of value do the myriad of newsletters out there currently offer to those 3 segments? Engineering know-how? Career advice? Technology trends?

To answer the question, I wanted to know which online venues are currently frequented by each of those segments, so I could get an idea of which newsletters are popular.

Off the top of my head, the online venues for early-career developers are chiefly: The PracticalDev aka Dev.To, Hashnode and perhaps freeCodeCamp, for newly minted bootcamp graduates.

But the answer wasn't quite as straightforward for mid-career and late-career developers, some of whom may have made the shift into adjacent roles like DevOps or management, or even left the industry altogether.

The premise of the idea seems to imply that for the developer market:

  • there is no dedicated tool for audience sizing;
  • if there is no dedicated tool, audience targeting is currently ad-hoc;
  • if audience targeting is ad-hoc, the effectiveness of a campaign will largely depend on how well a marketer understands the developer landscape.

How do we ascertain the truthiness of each of those points?

Tyler Jewell has done an excellent job of tracking the developer landscape and has been gracious enough to share parts of his data openly in a GitHub repo and as a Google spreadsheet.

Would be interesting to run some exploratory analysis on the raw data to figure out if there are better ways to categorize each business or perhaps group competing businesses so I can focus on all the players in a market niche that I am familiar with.