Dev tool Reddit marketing examples

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Funny Reddit ad from Aporia

An ad that doesn't feel like an ad.

I like that this is almost a meme.

But it still explains what the company does.

Love it.

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Great Reddit post and comment from Convex devrel

When you promote your feature/product launch on Reddit, it can easily end up being "not well received" to put it mildly.

I am talking downvotes, negative comments that get upvoted  and break the discussion. Or good old crickets.

But Reddit can also be a fantastic source of audience feedback, peer validation for your product, and some of the most vocal advocates you'll ever find.

I really liked how Tom Redman from Convex directed the discussion in the Reddit thread under their laucn post:

  • Transparent intro: who you are, what you know
  • What you like about the tech: why you think it is valuable to the community
  • Community-focused call to action: helpful, feedback-first (not conversion-first), disarming with "if I can't answer I'll ask"

The launch post itself was great too:

"Open sourcing 200k lines of Convex, a "reactive" database built from scratch in Rust" that linked to the GitHub repo.

Doesn't get much more to the point and devy than that.

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Kftray Reddit ad

Nice Reddit ad from kftray.

This is a simple ad format but lands the message:

  • Clear, transparent "What it is" and "What it does" in the Headline
  • Basic screen share video that shows both the code (terminal) and the  UI (product app)
  • Unblocked comments make it more confident and spark conversation

An interesting fact is that there is no call to action?!

They say "Kftray is an open-source" which is enough for those interested to google "kftray github" or just go to GitHub and find it. And makes the ad less pushy which is a nice touch on Reddit.

But the most important takeaway is this. If the problem is real to the dev audience you target you don't need to go fancy. Just show how you solve it.

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Great all-text reddit ad from Latitude

Fantastic all-text Reddit ad from Latitude.

Dev ads are hard. Promotion on Reddit is harder.  Running a dev ad on Reddit that gets 50 comments and 90 likes is expert-level hard.

But folks from Latitude managed 🔥

They used one of my favorite Reddit ad formats: all text.

Here is what I liked:

  • They start with who you are and what your product is. I love that they put it right in the title. Having open-source in the title helps too, it just makes you more trustworthy by default.
  • They introduce themselves as a technical founder. Makes it more likely to get comments as you are technical, you are a founder, you are a human (not a brand) so you will answer questions.
  • They apologize for the ad. Acknowledging that this is an ad makes people less combative.
  • They explain technically what it is. Use technical terms. It's very dev to dev.
  • They give  devs an easy way to try it. And they chose Github, not their website. That is great. It makes it even more developer-centric. More trustworthy.
  • They ask for feedback and contributions.  Not signups. And the more feedback they get (as comments) the more visible and trustworthy the ad will get.

Great execution. Chapeau bas Latitude.

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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.  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.

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Stack trace ad from Sentry.io

I really like this Reddit ad from Sentry.

Powerful simplicity.

They don't do:

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

They go for:

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

And through simplicity and focus they deliver a message:

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

Good format.

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Great Reddit post format

Nicely done Reddit post that went viral on r/MachineLearning.

Reddit dev communities are notoriously hard to market in.

You need to have something really valuable to say to that dev crowd.

But even if you do, it is so easy to screw it up and get trolled or downvoted for "obvious promo".

I know that from experience. So painful to watch.

This is a really nice example of how to do it right:

  • Start with an interesting, attention-grabbing but not yet a clickbaity title.
  • Say who you are and why you have something (new) and valuable to say here.
  • Go straight to the point, to the (technical) value. I like the obvious numbered list delivery.
  • Drop emojis, bolding, and extensive formatting if you want to "keep it real".
  • Make sentences short. Cut all the fluff. State your opinions and facts "as they are".
  • Do implicit CTA. Drop the explicit one but hint at something that those interested may want.

Try something like that next time you post and see what happens.

Obviously, it is nearly impossible to do when:

  • You have no real experience to share
  • You have nothing really valuable to say
  • You don't have opinions and/or facts on the subject

But then why would you even post something?

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"Did X and all I got is this lousy t-shirt"

This is a solid swag copy template that resonates with devs.

"I did X and all I got was this lousy Y"

Why this works imho is:

  • it is snarky
  • it is a little self-deprecating
  • it brags a bit about the work/expertise

Very solid start if you run out of ideas.

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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. 

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"We blew our budget on X" format

Funny ad, that makes fun of ads.

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

  • docs
  • code examples
  • integration
  • backend
  • UI
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Dev audience research on Reddit

Not sure how to find developers for audience research interviews?

Sometimes all you need is ask.

I really liked what the founders of this startup did:

  • Found relevant subreddits where folks working in MLOps/DevOps and ML are (for example r/mlops)
  • Clearly explained why they wanted it: building a startup and doing exploratory analysis
  • Clearly explained what they wanted: interviews with mlops/devop/data scientists
  • Clearly explained what they will give for it: cash, as simple as that

Sometimes you don't need to overthink it and can just ask.

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Posting entire articles on Reddit

This is a very nteresting approach from PubNub.

They could have published an article on their blog and posted a link to Reddit.

Instead, they just posted an entire article, 3851 words . That post got 360 upvotes and made it to the top of r/rust. Wow.

Never seen anyone do that before but I like this. It could be great:

  • when you want to drive discussion around a topic in the community you care about.
  • Or when you want to rank for a keyword you couldn't possibly rank for on your own (Reddit will index it later at their 95 Domain Authority).  

Some things I also liked:

  • To the point title, and devs really like a real improvement/debugging story
  • The use of emojis in the title grabs attention and stops the scroll. Slightly controversial on Reddit but worth a try.
  • In the feed, it looks like a deep (long) technical post. That intro is also fantastic because it does tell you what they did which suggests there will be more juicy details later. Love that.
  • Shows a sneak peek of a performance comparison chart that you just want to see
  • The post has images, code snippets, sections etc. Like a proper article. Also, you kind of need that at 3851 words ;)

Super interesting approach that I want to test out myself.

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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.

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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.