Developer Surveys: Incentives and Best Practices

A Developer Surveys question was asked by an attendee at my recent DevRelate webinar, “Developer Relations Best Practices and Tools of the Trade“. My question is, how do you get people to answer your surveys? What groups of developers are you targeting and how do you do it?

Developers to Target for a Survey

What groups of developers should you target? The answer to this question depends on what your product, platform and service you are providing and the developers you are looking to target. Are you looking for open source developers, enterprise developers, ISVs, OEMs, hobbyists, etc? Is there a specific global region or country list where you want to survey developers. Looking at the Evans Data global development research reports and developer panel you’ll see the developer segment list as: Commercial (ISVs), Custom (SI/VAR), In-house Corporate, Scientific, OEM and Other. For job titles you’ll see: Programmers/Software Developers, Software Architects, Systems Analysts, Project or Product Managers, CIOs, CTOs, MIS Management, and Others.

Developer Surveys

The Developer Panel That Evans Data Uses for Surveys

When conducting demand-side primary research it becomes important to recruit the participants (or samples) from sources that are as unbiased as possible. During the years that EDC has been recruiting developers to participate in surveys this ideal has continuously been foremost in our efforts. Consequently, though we have used over 100 different individual sources for recruiting,the following principles are strictly adhered to and consistently applied:

  • No vendor lists have ever been used in EDC subscription surveys and none have ever been added to the panel
  • No platform-specific lists have ever been used in any EDC general subscription surveys and none have ever been added to the general panel
  • No language-specific lists have ever been used in any EDC subscriptions surveys and none have ever been added to the panel

In this way we provide the most eclectic and unbiased sample available anywhere. With thousands of developers chosen in a deliberately unbiased way from a wide variety of neutral lists, our data truly provides in-depth looks at representative samples of the developer population.

You can learn more about the Evans Data Developer Panel on the Panel Profile page. You can find out more about Evans Data’s Research and Developer Panel at “DevRelate Webinar Replay: Driving Your Business Success via Developer Research“. Note: you need to join the DevRelate program (membership is free) to watch the webinar replay and download the slides!

Incentives to Get More Responses for your Developer Surveys

There are several ways to provide incentives for developers to answer surveys (my answers are not meant to be a single choice, you could use a combination of incentives).

  1. Offer incentives – for completely/correctly/seriously filled out surveys provide points to show badges/ranking for survey takers (points can be accumulated to purchase gifts and other items), cash (check), gift cards/certificate, physical prizes, free download of a report, eBook or tool. Mailing cash/prize incentives costs more money but might be worth the cost for really important surveys.
  2. Levels of incentives – Have a certain incentive if the devleoper takes the survey right away, have lesser points/prizes if you have to remind the developer.
  3. Offer to share the results (anonymized) with all survey takers.
  4. On the survey – get right to the questions without a lot of introduction info or marketing
  5. Offer a free or discount on your product/service for developers who take your survey
  6. Offer to make a donation to a charity (old programmers home?) in the name of the developers who fill out your surveys

Developer Survey Best Practices

Here are a few best practices that we use at Evans Data.

  1. Include a space in the survey where the developer can nominate another developer to join your developer survey membership. This will get you additional current and future survey takers.
  2. Make sure your surveys are not too long. At Evans Data we’ve found the sweet spot for survey duration to be 10-15 minutes regardless of the number or complexity of the questions.
  3. Mix up the types of answers – Yes/No, Multi-Choice, Fill In, Forced Ranking, One per column, One per row, etc. This helps ensure that survey respondents don’t go quickly through the questions and choose patterns of answers to fill out the survey and get the incentive.
  4. Include qualifying questions up front in your survey to make sure the survey is filled out by the right target audience.
  5. Between Evans Data surveys, we put up a series of single cool/interesting polling questions to keep our developer panel active and engaged. We give panel members the results in real time. We also create infographics for some of the quick polls for panel members to see.
  6. For categorical, Yes/No, True.False and choose from a list based question with answers, randomize the answer choices.

There are many articles written by survey tool vendors giving guidance about best practices. Go to their sites for additional information or use Google search for survey tools and best practices.

What do you use for your Developer Relations Surveys?

Send me an email if you use specific survey tools and services. If you have your own best practices that work for your incentives and best practices, pass them along and I will use them in future blog posts and webinars.

David I Facebook Avatar

David Intersimone “David I”
Vice President of Developer Communities
Evans Data Corporation
Skype: davidi99
Twitter: @davidi99


Happy New Year 2017 and it’s CES 2017 this Week – Autonomous Cars, IoT, Gadget Apocalypse?

Happy New Year 2017! I hope everyone survived the holidays. I am back in the office and starting off an exciting new year. It’s CES 2017 later this week. I can’t wait to actually hear about the actual announcements (instead of the speculations) of new consumer technologies that will appear this year. At the same time, its exciting to hear that CES will showcase news about AI, Machine Learning, Smart Cars, Autonomous Vehicles, IoT, VR, Personal Robots, 8K displays, Voice Assistants, Home Automation, Drones, and more.

CES 2017 – What to Expect

The top tech news sites have multiple articles with pre-announcements and previews of what to expect this week in Las Vegas. Last year at CES 2016, Faraday Future gave a glimpse at their concept electric car. This year, they will live stream the unveiling of the actual car on Tuesday, January 3 at 6pm PST. They even have a countdown timer on their home page at

FaradayFuture-FFZero1 CES 2017

Here are links to a few of the CES 2017 previews and news articles that I’ve been reading.

Home Automation in my Christmas Stocking

My Christmas stocking was filled with home automation IoT devices including an Amazon Echo Dot, Switchmate Smart Light Switch and a Wemo Switch. I’ve set up the Echo Dot to control my Nest Thermostat – “Alexa, set Family Room temperature to 72 degrees”. I am working to get the other devices installed and connected to the Echo Dot and also explore SDKs for building additional integrations. The good news for developers and developer programs, there are lots of Voice Control APIs available to connect different devices together in your home and office.

For connected devices and developer evangelism, Evans Data has its Internet of Things vertical research service and annual Tactical Developer Marketing research report series (Developer Marketing Patterns and Developer Relations Programs).

The Gadget Apocalypse?

Back in early December, Farhad Manjoo wrote an article in the New York Times Personal Tech section, “The Gadget Apocalypse is Upon Us“. In his article he mentions the problems at GoPro and Pebble being acquired by FitBit. He also talks about the fall of other companies, the start/stop of Kickstarter projects and that with SmartPhones and software there may not be a need for as many gadgets and wearables.

VentureBeat has a recent article that mentions Manjoo’s article and points to the CES 2017 show’s vendors announcing and demoing 20,000 consumer products. VentureBeat: CES 2017: 20,000 consumer electronics products will be launched despite “gadget apocalypse”. As always, there are some CES products that never see the light of day or take a few years to appear as products (note by mention of Faraday Future above). I did like how VentureBeat talked with Shawn Dubravac, chief economist of the Consumer Technology Association, to provide some perspective about the CES show and product announcements: “… Dubravac flat-out disagrees… But beyond that, even if software has become more critical, we still have seen major companies like Google and Amazon and Snap pushing into the hardware space. Content and software remain tightly linked to the success of any hardware. It may be true, as Manjoo argues, that it’s hard to be a company whose sole focus is hardware, but that’s always been true, Dubravac points out.”

If your company has CES 2017 announcements, let me know.

I will be watching for CES 2017 announcements, both as a tech fanatic and also as a developer. If you see any news or hear of new developer capabilities in CES 2017 announcements let me know.

David I - Developer Relations Conference

David Intersimone “David I”
Vice President of Developer Communities
Evans Data Corporation
Skype: davidi99
Twitter: @davidi99



DevRelate Webinars December 13 & 15: Driving Your Business Success via Developer Research

Every now and then we get asked about the relevancy of market research in the technology sector. Why is developer research important? Who should care about it and isn’t it enough to just ask the developers down the hall in our own company what they think? Whether your company is a software provider with heavy development tools investments or a shoe company that publishes APIs and wants developers to adopt them, you need to know what developers are doing now, and maybe more importantly what they intend to do in the future.

Developers are the bellwether for the industry. If you have any direct interaction with developers you need to know what languages, platforms and tools they use now and what they plan to use in the future so that the APIs, platforms, tools etc. you create will be the ones that are adopted.

You should also want to know what their pain points are now and what they wish for in the future, as addressing those issues presents an opportunity. All primary research is valuable, but when you’re talking about a technology landscape that changes as fast as this one does, developer research is critical.

How Evans Data’s Developer Research Process and Data can Drive Your Business Success

In this DevRelate Webinar, Michael Rasalan (Evans Data’s Director of Research) and David I (Evans Data VP of Developer Communities) will take a look behind the scenes about the primary developer research, reporting and program benchmarking that we do for technology companies. We will discuss some of the key technology trends that developers tell us they are focused on. We’ll also talk about how product, marketing, business and developer evangelism team members can use primary developer research to drive business success.


1) The Evans Data Developer Panel
2) Aspects of Syndicated Research vs Custom Research
3) Data Points Gathered from the Developer Panel members
4) A Developer Program Benchmarking example
5) Q&A


  • Tuesday, December 13, 2016 – 7am PST (3pm GMT/4pm CET)
  • Thursday, December 15, 2016 – 7am PST (3pm GMT/4pm CET), 10am PST (6pm GMT / 7pm CET)

This webinar is offered six times on December 13 and 15. Select the date and time that works best for you. Use the pull down date/time box on the GoToWebinar registration page to select the session you want to attend.

Register Now:



Michael Rasalan, Director of Research, Evans Data Corporation

David Intersimone “David I”, Vice President of Developer Communities, Evans Data Corporation

Michael Rasalan - Developer Research  David I - Developer Research


Who Should Attend

  • Managers & Directors of Developer Programs
  • Technology & Developer Evangelists
  • Business Development Managers & Directors
  • Product Marketing Managers & Directors
  • Marketing Managers
  • Product Managers
  • Research Managers
  • Corporate Communications Managers
  • Heads of Developer Marketing
  • ANYONE who deals with developers!


The webinar is free for all attendees. Register Now:


David Intersimone “David I”
Vice President of Developer Communities
Evans Data Corporation
Skype: davidi99
Twitter: @davidi99

The Evans Data Ecosystem for Developers and Developer Relations

As one of the new team members here at Evans Data Corporation (EDC), I needed to learn about our ecosystem of sites related to developers, developer research, developer relations professionals and development tools. I’m using this blog post to bring everyone up to date on the aspects of software development and developer research that are at the focus of Evans Data’s expertise and execution. If you care about software development, developers, APIs, development technologies, marketing to developers, selling to developers, becoming a better developer and sharing your favorite best practices and experiences with tools and technologies, check out the following web sites, tools and events that are part of the Evans Data ecosystem.

The Evans Data Ecosystem

Developer Research

Evans Data Corporation creates market research, market intelligence, and strategic planning in the software development industry. The market intelligence research is focused on all areas of development from software to hardware to mobility. Developers present a highly focused, highly technical and very influential segment of the software industry, and the need to keep a finger on the pulse of the development community is well understood by many manufacturers. Because of the nature of development and the quickly changing technologies that form their world, traditional market research and consulting services seldom achieve adequate results. Evans Data has in-depth and focused experience working with high-tech professionals, and specializes in conducting market research in the IT and development community. We are experts in analyzing technology trends and attitudes. We know how to speak the language and ask the right questions and more importantly, we can understand the answers.

Evans Data EcoSystem

Each bi-annual multi-client subscription includes:

  • Executive Summary
  • Results of two complete surveys done twice during the year – full reporting with color graphs, detailed tables and commentary.
  • PDF file of complete report and full rights to distribute anywhere within your company, anywhere in the world
  • Invitation to provide questions or content topics and shape the content of upcoming surveys

Companies that purchase a subscription receive a substantial discount (40 percent off the second volume) and also receive a number of additional benefits – which include, but are not limited to, the following: custom webinars, ability to influence follow on surveys and analyst support. Read more information about subscription holder benefits.

You can track the research reports release schedule for 2016 at


Strategic research reports include:


Tactical research reports include:


Vertical research reports include:


Internet of Things


Custom research reports can also be conducted to your specifications. Before you commit to a major marketing campaign or a continuing product line strategy, wouldn’t you like to know how you’re plan will be received by real developers? The only way to be sure is to conduct quantifiable research with a significant number of programmers. Interviews are based on statistically significant sized samples within the time frame you need. Reports give thorough analysis to all questions and an overall summary.

Analytics Console

The Evans Data Analytics Console is a revolutionary breakthrough in data delivery. Providing seamless self-service developer intelligence on hundreds of software development subjects stemming from our semi-annual Global Development Survey. This user friendly Data Analytics Console allows you to dynamically view virtually limitless charts focused on developer demographics, firmographics, technology adoption and trends. With 26 built-in filters and on the fly data drill down, you can effortlessly dive deeper into particular data sets and instantly extract the developer insights most valuable to you.

Read more about the Evans Data Analytics Console

Watch a short Analytics Console demonstration video.

Developer Relations Conference

The Evans Data Developer Relations Conference (DRC) is an event unlike any other. Developer relations experts from leading companies in the software, telecom and web markets come together to discuss best practices and reveal the techniques behind their success! During the conference attendees hear keynote presentations from top industry leaders. Breakout sessions are presented by developer professionals from leading software, hardware, platform and services companies. During the two day conference you’ll have ample time to network with other developer relations professionals.

The breakout sessions cover all aspects of developer relations, ranging from the business side (program ROI, the connection between developer programs and company revenue, budgeting for/costs of developer programs, how to get an organization’s commitment of internal resources, etc.) to the marketing side (techniques for recruitment, awareness tactics, community loyalty building programs, legal/privacy and global privacy considerations, conducting a privacy audit, internationalizing a US-based developer program, etc), to the technical side (tools used, technology platform leveraged, APIs supported, etc) and much more. Whether you are starting a new developer relations program or building on a current one, you deserve all of the help you can get – and this is the place to get it!

On the Sunday before the two day conference we hold a developer relations Boot Camp that provides a solid foundation on which you can build or enhance your developer program. Concentrated sessions in this one-day instructional program provide the insight and actionable information you can use to build your brand and establish strong relationships with your developer community. The Boot Camp also includes careful consideration regarding the reasons why developers seek out and contribute to developer programs, the most effective means of reaching out to them, and how you can leverage social media to greatest effect.

Evans Data 12th annual Developer Relations Conference 2016 site –

Save the dates for the 13th annual Evans Data Developer Relations Conference, Palo Alto, CA, USA – March 26-28, 2017.

DevRelate – Community for Developer Relations Professionals

DevRelate is the online academy and community center for developer relations professionals. At DevRelate you will learn the basics and explore advanced techniques for creating and growing a developer program through online courses that are based on over 15 years of developer research. We also provide additional resources that are geared towards advanced practitioners such as assessments, workshops, and consultations to take your program to the next level. Our insights stem from our vast experience and the direct input from a global panel of software developers about what works for them and what doesn’t.

Join for free, learn developer outreach best practices and collaborate with a global network of developer relations professionals. Once you join, you’ll have access to the member directory, certification exams, blog posts, articles, interviews with Developer Relations professionals, Evans Data Developer Relations Conference presentations, resource links and more.

DevRelate also offers program assessment and workshops by one of the top Developer Relations professionals in the industry. During David I’s forty-three years as a developer, development manager, developer community executive and chief evangelist, he has created a thriving global developer community, thousands of articles, videos and blog posts. View more information about our Developer Program Advisory Workshops and Assessments here.

Finally, the In-Depth Individual Developer Program Assessment is geared towards serious practitioners and provides an assessment of your company’s current (or planned) developer relations program with ideas for improvements and enhancements based on your industry, product, service or platform. Working with your staff, the assessment will do a deep dive into your company, product or services, current or planned developer program features and how well they mesh together.

DevNet – Evans Data Developer Panel

When conducting demand-side primary research it becomes important to recruit the participants (or samples) from sources that are as unbiased as possible. During the years that EDC has been recruiting developers to participate in surveys this ideal has continuously been foremost in our efforts. Consequently, though we have used over 100 different individual sources for recruiting, In this way we provide the most eclectic and unbiased sample available anywhere. With thousands of developers chosen in a deliberately unbiased way from a wide variety of neutral lists, our data truly provides in-depth looks at representative samples of the developer population. The EDC panel of developers includes about 75,000 professional developers in over 80 countries.

You can register to qualify as a developer panel member. As a developer panelist you will: 1. Have your voice heard on hot topics, innovative technologies and key initiatives, 2. Receive points for every validated survey submission, 3. Redeem award points for valuable prizes.

Read more about the Developer Panel.

Register to qualify as a developer panel member.

DevMetric – Reviews of Development Tools by Developers

The DevMetric site allows developers to give their reviews of development tools, libraries and frameworks. Members can browse through categories of developer tools give recommendations for those tools you like and reasons for why you dislike a tool, library or framework. Developers can submit new tool entries and give ratings for all of the listed developer tools. On the site you can view the top rated tools (overall and by category). You can also see the most recent tools added to DevMetric and add your ratings, post comments, and tell others whether a review was helpful or not.

I have never met a developer who doesn’t have an opinion about the tools they use. Developers love to share information, tips and critiques with other programmers. Do you want to Rate and Review your developer tools? Register here!