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Promoting your indie game on Steam is tough!
In 2015, 2965 games were released on Steam.
2016 saw an increase to 4207 games
The next increase was staggering! In 2017 alone 7,672 games were released on Steam
that's an average of 21 games per day on a 4x increase over the previous year!
So no matter what day you launch your game?
you'll be up against at least 20 other games on your launch day and over a hundred games during your launch week!
In this video we are going to tell you the steps you should follow to get the best chance of breaking through the noise
on an increasingly crowded PC platform.
We are Ask Gamedev, and this is How to get your video game discovered on Steam in 2018
So the first thing you need to know about Steam is that it's a platform predominantly driven by sale periods.
These sales often last many days and can include deep
Discounts on a large portion of the steam catalogue as a developer what you need to know is that the majority of Steam titles see
the bulk of their purchases occurring during these sales periods
so it pays to focus a lot of your promotional efforts on optimizing your steam store page traffic to coincide with these sales periods
Everyone knows the big sales like the steam summer sale and winter sales
There's also the autumn sale the Halloween sale and the lunar sale make sure you plan for each one more important than those sales
Though are the week-long deals
Why?
Well for one while everyone usually
Participates in the major sales only a limited number of Dev's can participate in a week-long deal in a given week
This is because you can only discount your game once every 60 days with the exception of major sales of course
So while you're up against almost everyone during a major sale you can expect to be only up against
250 to 500 other games during a week-long deal if you time your sales and discounts properly
Also, unlike major sales you decide the sale date in the week-long deals
so given the sales
opportunities and the importance of timing your discounts we recommend planning out your whole year to maximize the amount of times you can go on
sale this means predicting when you think major steam sales might occur and
planning your week-long deals so that there is no overlap between a major sale and a week-long deal
Doing a simple search can give you some indication of when steam has had major sales in the past
This is a good starting point for planning your go forward sale calendar
the next key point is to optimize your traffic during these valuable sales periods
During these discount events getting your product listed on the front page of steam or other key screen spots can result in huge traffic
Opportunities steam doesn't share details on how their algorithm works in regards to which titles receive prime placement
But it's fair to say that preference will be given to titles that one convert eyeballs into sales
And then to those sales into positive player reviews
So to prepare for these sales opportunities make sure your steam page shows your game in the best light possible
We recommend doing the following three things
First off go through all of your steam user reviews and forum posts
Make sure comments have been addressed in a way that reflects a high level of customer service
We found that recent negative reviews to your game can have a significant negative effect on how steam places your game within their promotional space
Responding to past reviews or comments shows that you're attentive to your community and it also
Humanizes your studio these comment responses shouldn't take a lot of time and just might convince future responders to avoid saying anything negative
The next thing we recommend is to post an update to your store page show that you're alive
Provide an update on the studio or development or cool things happening in the community around your game
Consider using the game description section the about this game section or the media carousel elements of your store page has places to communicate
What's new and exciting?
Potential buyers are more likely to purchase a game if they know that it's actively supported
Lastly think about releasing new features content or other game updates in advance of the sale so that visitors to your page will know that
Your title is continually being upgraded
Bonus points if a new content can be related to the theme of the sale
Steam often has seasonally themed sales so if you want to capitalize on say the Halloween sale a good idea would be to early some
Sort of Halloween themed content in your game shortly before the sale goes live a new feature may be that one thing that converts someone
from a wish list to a purchase an
Additional but not required strategy is to consider buying promotional ads on different platforms and sending traffic to your steam store page during the sale
There have been some anecdotal reports that steam will provide improved
Placement during sale periods to titles that bring a lot of external traffic to the steam platform
steam store page analytics are quite basic and currently in 2018
You don't have the ability to separate conversions by traffic source, but you may consider sending some additional traffic to your page regardless
Another good strategy. Whether it's in relation to a steam sale
Or just in general is to make sure that your game thumbnail image is optimized this image
Will show in steam promotional placements and search results it may seem like a small thing?
But it's hard for people to find out about your great game if they don't want to click on the thumbnail that will take them
To your store page best practices with thumbnails involved having a clear and legible image that grabs attention
Consider doing some searches on Steam and see what kind of thumbnails stick out and hold your interest
Look at options that stand out from other titles in your space
Unfortunately steam doesn't allow for very advanced A-B testing on their store page so your best bet to get hard A-B data on
Your thumbnail options may be to take out ads on other platforms like Facebook or Google and see what images are better at getting clicks
from a targeted gamer audience
You should be able to get a decent response sample with only spending a small amount of money and knowing what thumbnail resonates is
extremely valuable
next is curator connect if you don't know what Steam curators are check out the curator section on Steam the curators program is basically a
Way for people to make a list of their favorite games and have that selection live on Steam anyone can become a Steam curator
But the top curators are made of top influencers journalists and communities like totalbiscuit
Pc gamer, Jesse Cox, the PC Master a subreddit and rock paper shotgun
Getting your game on one of these curated lists can provide both short-term and long-term benefits in terms of visibility on Steam
So what is curator connect well back in the day there wasn't a way to contact curators directly?
You'd have to dig around find their contact info and pitch them with curator connect
You can send steam keys directly to curators through Steam
Our recommendation is to connect with curators that have a sizable audience and that curate games similar to yours
some curators even focus on a specific genre
Start with them first keep in mind that with curator connect
You can only connect with up to a maximum of 100 curators that number may sound like a lot
But it'll shrink fast use your opportunities wisely
Our next tool is visibility rounds when you have a significant content update
It's a good idea to run a visibility round even better when overlapping with a sale
When you launch a visibility round you'll appear in the recently updated
Section of the steam store and steam will also push additional impressions to players that have your game in their library or wishlist
This can be great for getting lapse players back into your game promoting DLC
You've just launched or converting people who have your game wish listed
Each game gets five visibility rounds so use each one
Wisely the best part is if your game sells well steam gives you additional visibility rounds to use
To use your rounds see the marketing and visibility section of Steamworks
Next let's talk about community coupons
One of the more overlooked tools at your disposal is community coupons
When a player collects a set of steam cards they can craft them into a game badge game badges earn the player items like emoticons
Backgrounds and coupons. coupons earned are for randomly selected titles, but exclude titles that the player already owns
This one is fairly simple to do as no additional art is needed all you have to do is opt in and select the frequency
and discount you can find the opt-in page in the game's dashboard under community, and then general and
Finally wish lists. We've mentioned wish lists when talking about some of the tools earlier
But now we want to talk about building your wish list numbers
Like we mentioned when you do things like go on sale or run a visibility round
Steam targets the people who have your game on their wish list
It's extremely important to build a large wish list when people say start marketing early
They should really be saying start building your wish list numbers early. Not only will this help you with launch
They'll give you a strong indicator of how much people like the game it will also help you with partner and/or publisher talks
imagine going into a negotiation and saying we're one year to launch and we already have 10,000 people that have wish listed our game and
So here are three things that you should be doing pre launch to build your wish list numbers
Number one create your steam page early when you announce make sure you have your steam page ready to go
You can't build a wish list without a steam listing
Number two make sure all of your own channels push people to your steam page with an ask to wish list your game
it should be a pinned post on Facebook and Twitter a regular section in your mailing list and
above the fold on your games website and
Finally make sure all of your pre-launch marketing efforts have a call to action of at our game to your steam wish list
If you're demoing at PAX, if you're launching your first teaser trailer, if you're doing an interview, if you're working with streamers and influencers
All of these initiatives should leave you to asking potential players to please wishlist your game on Steam
Thanks for watching make sure to subscribe if you want to see more game dev content
Do you have a game on Steam?
What tools do you use to help promote your game when you're looking for games to buy on Steam?
How do you usually sort through the thousands of games and find the ones you like let us know in the comments?
We'll be back next week with an all-new ask game dev video
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How to Promote Your Steam Games (in 2018) video game marketing

91 Folder Collection
wei published on December 14, 2018
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