How to Find The Best Emerging Placements For Designer Marketing

Portrait of Lara Zakarian
by Lara Zakarian
Jul 19, 2017
Designer drawing next to magazines. Find emerging placements beyond print.

Designer marketing is a crowded space. More brands than ever are fighting for space on Facebook and open exchanges, leading to expensive rates and forgettable ads.

Gaining the upper hand means leveraging emerging placements that reach designers. Because they’re lesser known, these placements usually offer better rates and higher share of voice to advertisers.

But marketers often find it hard to spot these placements, which can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. That's why I've outlined how marketers can find the best emerging placements that reach designers across four marketing channels.


Podcast ads are usually associated with companies like MailChimp and Squarespace, but this platform isn't exclusive to brands with big marketing budgets.

The trick is finding emerging podcasts that speak to target audiences. Marketers can get the most value for their budget by focusing on smaller podcasts that target a specific audience instead of chasing popular but less focused ones.

There are tons of medium to small podcasts catering to UX designers, graphic designers, illustrators, and more. For example, graphic designers might tune into The Deep End Design, UX designers might listen to ShopTalk, UI designers might subscribe to The Hacking UI Podcast, and more general design audiences might be fans of Obsessed With Design.

Keeping track of the thousands of podcasts geared towards designers is tough. Use these tips to spot new opportunities:

P.S. Before you run podcast ads, read our article on writing the perfect sponsored message.

Social Communities

It can be tempting to think that social advertising begins and ends with Facebook and Instagram. But marketers advertising to designers should explore other platforms that offer strong audience targeting with deeper reach into design communities.

Pinterest is a strong performer for marketers targeting designers online. The social network’s native ads can be optimized to create brand awareness, boost engagement, drive website traffic, or increase app installs. Marketers can target audiences from its self-serve tool by choosing the design category or subcategories such as graphic design, web design, and branding.

Dribbble offers another option to reach design communities. The website is a popular destination for designers looking to build portfolios, find inspiration, stay on top of design trends, and connect with other designers. Marketers can run native campaigns across the entire website, reaching millions of creative professionals in a single campaign.


Email advertising is a big opportunity for marketers because it offers direct access to audiences' inboxes. Like podcasts, there are plenty of smaller newsletters that cater to designer audiences and are looking for the right advertisers.

Newsletter marketing takes many forms including sponsored content, sponsored editions, and dedicated emails. Prices vary depending on the mailing list size and type of ad, and not all newsletters offer all formats.

To find emerging opportunities quickly, use Syndicate’s curated design newsletter tool. Marketers can find and buy placements ranging from the Dribbble Newsletter with 180,000 subscribers to UX Design Weekly with 19,000.

“Newsletter sponsorship can give brands an edge when reaching design audiences,” says Matt Nemeth, Digital Marketing Director at Brandcast. As the leading code-free web design platform, Brandcast knows a thing or two about reaching designers online.

“Our team is always looking for new ways to introduce designers to Brandcast and show them how it can improve their workflow,” said Matt Nemeth. “Newsletter marketing has exceeded our expectations because it gives us a direct opportunity to connect with this audience in engaging, uncluttered environments.”

Blogs & Websites

Design blogs and websites come online every day as designers seek new places to showcase their work, write about the industry, and share inspirational content.

Marketers should consider running display advertising or sponsored content on publisher websites before they hit the mainstream. Direct campaigns offer reach into design audiences without concerns about brand safety or bad user experience. Plus, marketers get good karma from supporting independent publishers.

It’s difficult to find emerging websites before competitors do. Use these strategies to stay ahead:

  • Set up Google alerts for keywords related to audiences to see which websites are producing high-quality, relevant content. Make sure the source is set to blogs.
  • Do a quick Google search for a piece of content that your target designer community would find especially useful. Looking through the first few pages of results will give you a list of websites creating content for your audience.
  • Use Twitter advanced search to narrow down tweets using keywords or hashtags that are relevant to audiences. People love sharing links, so pay attention to domains.
  • Take advantage of advertising networks that curate the best independent publishers so you don’t have to. For example, Carbon Ads makes it easy to run native ad campaigns across hundreds of websites targeting designer audiences.

Opportunity is everywhere

Emerging placements help brands deepen reach into design communities while sidestepping competitors online.

Marketers can opt for fresh formats like podcasts or explore new opportunities in entrenched spaces such as social, email, and blogs. Regardless of the channel, emerging placements offer marketers more audience attention and respect, which translates to stronger campaign performance.