A Guide to Developer Advertising

Good ads harness specificity to speak directly to developers.

This guide tries to help you to create engaging ads for our audience on the EthicalAds network and make sure those ads perform well once people click on them. For frequently asked questions, see our Advertiser's FAQ.

Optimizing ads themselves

There are many factors to successful display advertising from compelling branding to optimized landing pages but it pays to not overlook the image and text copy.

The average click through rate (CTR) for display ads on across the EthicalAds network is around 0.10%. The best ads perform more than three times better than that. Here are some features of high quality ads:

Excellent copy

This could be an entire book itself. However, great ads may include the benefits of the product, have keywords the reader understands, explain the product, feature a discount, and reassure the viewer.

Well targeted

Making sure your geographic targeting parameters match your desired customers is a start. Using other targeting parameters or running geographically different ads for different regions will help both the CTR as well as conversions.

Use multiple ad formats

Publishers choose the format that works best for their site so as an advertiser you want to provide both formats to ensure that your ad can be shown on all sites on the network. Sometimes if the image isn't critical to the ad, the same ad can be used both with and without an image but sometimes crafting two separate ads is better.

Keep ads fresh

We have noticed that new ads perform better. This is known as ad fatigue. Swapping ads once every quarter or so will keep them performing well.

Optimizing conversions

Having people click on your advertisement is only half the battle. Once they get to your landing page, you want the visitor to take the desired action. Some of our best advertisers have conversion rates better than 20%.

While there are many books and guides available to optimize landing pages, here are some key points to ensuring your ads with Read the Docs convert well:

Pair ad copy with landing page copy

Nothing is worse than when somebody clicks on the ad and is confused about what is being offered on the landing page. It's important to reassure the visitor once they click to a different site that they are getting what they clicked through for.

Setting expectations with the ad copy

In addition to just pairing with the copy, the ad can prepare the visitor for what will be on the landing page. A classic example of this is an ad that features a large discount (eg. "get $100 free credit"). This large discount has set the expectation that the product will be fairly expensive.

Examples of successful ads

These are not real ads that ran on the EthicalAds network but are based on very successful past ads. ​

SaaS product

A successful SaaS product ad on the EthicalAds network

This example is based on a successful ad run by an advertiser using EthicalAds to drive interest in their SaaS product. The ad catches the reader's eye without being flashy, it is technology specific, and the ad makes very clear what problem is being solved. Additionally, the ad offers a free trial which helps to overcome any objections that somebody who needs sales reports from their Django app might have. ​

Hiring developers

A successful ad aimed at hiring developers on the EthicalAds network

​ This example is based on a successful ad run by an advertiser using EthicalAds exclusively to hire multiple developers for their team. The ad did a number of things right including focusing extremely narrowly on their target audience. When the ad this example is based on first launched, the CTR was 4x better than our average. One possible area for improvement would be to introduce the company's branding to reassure applicants that this is first party recruiting.

Get our stories delivered

Want more advertising updates in your inbox?
Sign up for our newsletter.

Your email, after you confirm it, will be stored with Mailchimp who handles this newsletter