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Survey Insights: DevRel Metrics That Matter

Photo by Mitchel Boot on Unsplash

As the practice of Developer Relations (DevRel) grows, the importance of effective metrics is magnified. This blog delves into the metrics landscape highlighted in the 10th Annual State of Developer Relations Report, which serves as a comprehensive guide for practitioners. The report offers insights into key performance indicators (KPIs) and best practices for measuring and showcasing the value of DevRel initiatives. In the ever-changing tech industry, it's essential for DevRel programs to consistently align goals and metrics to ensure long-term success, despite market changes.

Articulating the impact of your work is vital. It’s something you want to own rather than have imposed on you. Run towards metrics and crave accountability.

The Metrics Landscape

Metrics are crucial for DevRel's success, and the importance of tracking progress is evident in the diagram below. Notably, the decline in 'we don't measure' from 14% in 2022 to 9% in 2023 suggests a growing emphasis on metrics. The positive trend continues with a diverse set of metrics spanning the journey, primarily in Engagement, reflecting a shift away from vanity metrics.

The State of Developer Relations Report 2023 highlights Active Users (45.1%), Content Engagement (39.6%), Developer Satisfaction (Net Promoter Score at 22.2%), and Site Visits (15.3%), underscoring this strategic shift. Including measurable indicators in Retention showcases DevRel's maturity, moving beyond the initial stages to consider the entire customer journey.

Challenges for Developer Relations

As seen in the chart below, the 10th Annual State of Developer Relations Report highlighted key challenges faced by practitioners, with a significant emphasis on measurement (67.3%), awareness of the role's impact (59.2%), and burnout/mental health issues (40.1%). Effective metric implementation and measuring the right aspects can address many of these challenges, creating a more resilient and impactful developer relations environment.

Measuring and Monitoring Goals and Activities

Now that you've checked out the numbers and understand how important they are, let's dig in. Making sure you measure and keep tabs on your goals and activities is crucial for running a successful DevRel program. The tricky part comes when programs aren't sure what to measure, how to measure it, or aren't using the right metrics effectively. Let's tackle these challenges head-on to ensure you're on the path to DevRel success.

Metrics Hierarchy and Clarity

Creating effective DevRel program metrics requires alignment and clarity. Alignment involves aligning company-level goals with program goals and metrics, ensuring everyone is working towards the same objectives. Clarity involves defining metrics with specific elements such as the end goal, target number, time frame, and data source.

Understanding the Metrics Hierarchy

The alignment of DevRel program metrics with the four objectives of Awareness, Activation, Engagement, and Retention highlights the correlation between the Dev Journey and Dev Objectives, as depicted in the chart above, showcasing the evolving focus of developer programs over the years.

  • Program Goals answer the "Why?" of your existence.

  • Activity Metrics represent the "How?" – the tactics of your strategy.

  • Community Metrics measure the health of your community and its interaction with your program.

An example program metric aligned with a corporate goal is 300 million API requests per day (product usage metric) to become the market-leading payments API. This metric aligns with the DevRel objective of Engagement and Retention, has a defined time frame, and uses product reporting as the data source.

Metrics Overview: Activity vs Community

Activity metrics focus on the "how" by tracking day-to-day tactics and their performance. This includes monitoring search engine ranking, social media follows, paid advertising effectiveness, newsletter engagement, blog post-performance, event attendance, quick start guide utilization, and more. These metrics offer insights at a granular level, contributing valuable data to the broader program-level metrics.

On the other hand, community metrics delve into the size and depth of your community using a combination of quantitative and qualitative data. Quantitative indicators involve metrics like Stack Overflow mentions, GitHub project starts, and community-driven responses to questions. Meanwhile, qualitative data from surveys uncovers insights into product reviews, sentiment analysis, and tool usage. This dual approach ensures a nuanced understanding of your community's dynamics, providing a well-rounded perspective on its growth and engagement.

Assessing Your Metrics

Assessing metrics involves asking these critical questions:

  • "So what?" to determine the meaning and relevance of the metric.

  • "What do I adjust?" to ensure actionable insights.

Metrics should be tested and adjusted regularly for program improvement.

Testing Your Metrics and Conversion Metrics

Testing metrics is crucial to finding the most effective ones. Use time-based cohorts and monitoring progress through the Developer Journey's stage gates, along with split testing, to help refine and optimize metrics. Reviewing conversion metrics between the DevRel objectives provides valuable insights into program effectiveness.

Data Sources and Challenges

Determining metrics relies on data sources such as CRM, product analytics software, web analytics tools, and survey tools. Challenges may arise in obtaining specific data, and the usability of analytics tools is vital for effective reporting.

Reporting Your Metrics

To report metrics effectively, understand your audience. Emphasize top-line metrics aligned with corporate and program goals. Include supporting activity and community metrics for a comprehensive view. Provide transparent, easily accessible reports illustrating the DevRel program's impact.

Dispel the myth that DevRel is hard to measure; instead, embrace targets and avoid unnecessary metric complexity for successful accountability.

DevRel practitioners must leverage metrics strategically. Aligning goals with company objectives, mastering metrics, and transparently showcasing program impact enables DevRel teams to position themselves as crucial contributors, elevating their reputation as drivers of substantial business value.

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