It’s done! We have our Hope Coming Soon page up on Steam and are a short few weeks away from release. While it’s a milestone that’s been a long time coming, it’s now that we start to get a sense of how much the game strikes a chord with the Steam audience.
Wish(list)ing our lives away…
In the pre-release phase on Steam, the best indicator of likely sales for a title is the number of wishlists it has received. Anyone can go to your store page, click on the wishlist button, and add to the tiny glimmer of hope (no pun intended) that your game will be a success. After the launch of our Hope Coming Soon page, we pretty quickly got an idea of where those wishlists may come from.
Steam provides data on impressions – the number of times a capsule image of your game has been viewed – and the number of visits to your store home page. The idea being that impressions turn to visits, turn to wishlists, turn to win.
By far the best source of impressions was the Coming Soon list, delivering 30% of total impressions. As soon as a game enters Coming Soon, it is added to this list, so it should give continued impressions until release. However, we found it to be a pretty poor source of actual visits, with just over 1.4% of impressions turning to visits.
Second on the list was direct search results. This is where people have searched for a game, are browsing the results, and Hope has been displayed there. Just under 20% of total impressions came through this channel, and again, we saw a pretty low conversion to visits of 1.3%.
The next four sources brought us around 10% of total impressions each, with varying degrees of success. Individual users Steam home pages (i.e. discovery queue, main cluster, curator recommendations) saw a 9% conversion into visits. Steam curator or other developer home pages saw an 18% conversion to visits. Search suggestions (where Hope has been displayed as an auto-complete option) brought us an 11% conversion to visits, while people browsing results on Steam lists delivered just over a 2% conversion rate.
Overall, while these sources delivered a high number of impressions, they account for only 6% of total store page visits. They also saw higher numbers of impressions in the first few days of Coming Soon, but quickly dropped off over the next few days. It unlikely, therefore, that they’ll be much use over the next few weeks to release.
So where are those elusive store page visits, and hopefully, wishlists, coming from?
Show me the visits!
We’ll it looks like there’s a big bucket of ‘direct navigation’ accounting for 32% of them. These are visits to our store page from a browser, where it’s not possible for Steam to identify the source. Quite a few sites do this automatically when an external link is given. The privacy and security conscious side of me says this is a good thing, while the indie game developer isn’t so sure. I guess what we do know is that these are non Steam sources.
The other great thing about direct navigation is that it appears to be a nice, relatively constant, source of visits. In the last 2 weeks it’s dropped off a little, but it’s still bringing in a nice, steady number of visits every day.
Another biggie on the visit list is personalised discovery queues, at 31% of our visits. So there are people out there with zombie pigeon games in their preferences. Wow. Rule 34 suddenly springs to mind too.
Finally, there are around 20% of visits coming from external sites – including Valve – but also the standard social media crowd.
Sorry, did I nod off there?
Possibly. We looked at these numbers to find out what was driving traffic to our store page. Our take on the above is that while 40% of store page visits may be down to Steam itself (and some pigeon fanciers) the majority is down to your own efforts at building your profile.
For me, this is encouraging, particularly with some of the recent changes Steam has made and their apparent negative effect on indie game developers.
With Hope we started late, but in the past few months we’ve built a website and started posting regularly on social media. We’ll aim to maintain that presence to release and beyond.
Oh, and if you’ve read this far…check out our store page already, will you?