Steamworks Development SteamworksDev
Steamworks Development SteamworksDev
October 11, 2012
ABOUT Steamworks Development

Official Group for Steamworks Development Support

NOTE: This group is restricted and visible only to accounts with Steamworks access. Announcements however are public.

This community of Steamworks developers is intended for sharing information regarding Steam and Steamworks development.

Please use the Discussions to ask Steam and Steamworks related questions. You'll also find FAQs and responses to other common questions in there.

And we'll post announcements for relevant updates and changes involving Steamworks SDK.

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Biggest Topics From Our Conversations with Devs at GDC 2023
Store visibility and marketing

Store visibility:
Visibility in the Steam store is a continuous balancing act between making sure customers are seeing games they’re interested in while also surfacing new games to help them find their audience. From Early Access to Full Release, we’ve outlined some key points in our Visibility Documentation.

Official Steam sales:
In addition to our four major seasonal sales, we've been running more regular themed sales and developers were curious about our approach. We look at these events as a way to celebrate different tags and genres in a way that makes the broader Steam platform feel like a smaller gaming community. That means it can be an opportunity for developers to market their game to a more concentrated audience, while giving Steam users a way to more easily discover games they love. That’s why you’ll notice a wider range than ever before of themed events throughout the year in addition to our major seasonal sales.

We’ve posted the full list of events for 2023, including the major seasonal sales, themed/tag sales, and Steam Next Fest.

Best practices for marketing:
We heard from a lot of developers looking for guidance on best-practices for building and communicating with an audience for their game. Though there is no one “right” way to use the platform to build your audience, (each developer and game is different), we intentionally make a wide range of tools available for you to leverage based on your goals. You’ll find some guidance in our general marketing documentation.

While there, you can read through different bullet points that offer guidance through more specific marketing goals: From how to use the Events and Announcements tools, to communicating through wishlists, and more. We also have a page dedicated to outlining overall best practices.

Google Analytics & UTM
Google is planning on sunsetting Universal Analytics in July, so quite a few developers had questions about what kind of traffic reporting system Steam will adopt in its place. We weren't ready to announce our plans during GDC, but we have just done so earlier this week. You can read details here in our post: The future of traffic reporting on Steam.

A number of developers had questions about best ways to make use of the various playtesting features that Steam offers. We created Steam Playtest to make it easier for devs to get direct feedback for their game, and it could be a great option for you to help you test your game. Steam Playtest is a free, low-risk way to get playtesting data from your game without having to stress out about Steam keys, user reviews, or wishlists. For more details, check out the Steam Playtest Documentation.

Steam Deck
We held a couple of sessions specifically to cover questions about Steam Deck, including best practices in preparing a game to run well on Steam Deck. Most of what was covered is pretty well documented in our Steam Deck Documentation.

...and more!
We heard from developers on a huge variety of topics – too great to capture here. But here is a quick rundown of some of the other common topics and where you can learn more about each:

What events are you attending next?
We're considering attending a few upcoming events in person and would like to know if you plan to attend any of the same events. Or, if you're interested in joining for a virtual Q&A session at some point.

Please take our quick survey to let us know if you're interested in chatting with us.

Thanks again to everyone who came out to our event at GDC. As always, feedback from developers is what helps us continue our work to make Steam even better, and we hope our discussions there (and here!) are helpful to you as well.

The future of traffic reporting on Steam Lets dig into some details:

Player Privacy First
All the tools and features that we discuss here are built with player privacy in mind; Steam will continue to not share personally identifiable information. This approach to privacy means that some trade-offs have been made along the way that limits how specific some reporting can be. In most cases, it simply means that any traffic sources that are below a threshold of volume will get reported as "other". We intentionally don't collect or store demographic information about users such as age, gender, or race.

If you're interested in more about our privacy policies, please see our Privacy Policy Agreement.

Updates to Store & Steam Platform Traffic Reporting
The Steamworks back-end already provides detailed reports on traffic within Steam as well as from external sources so you can tell a good deal about how players are finding their way to your store page. For more on the existing traffic reports, please see Store and Platform Traffic Reporting Documentation.

But, through feedback we’ve gathered from game developers, we know these reports don’t include all the information that would be useful in understanding the whole picture of traffic to your store page.

Here are a few of the key planned updates based on the most-requested additions:
  • Geographic breakdown - Traffic reporting will soon include regional breakdowns for the visitors to your store page. This can be most useful when considering the languages you might support in your game or where you might need to locate servers for a multi-player game.
  • Better Identification of external sources - Developers have asked to know more about which websites are sending traffic to their store pages. So we'll be expanding the presentation of external traffic sources to detail more common domains.

Updates to Steam's UTM System
UTM helps developers measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns by providing aggregated data on user conversion. Learn more about UTM by checking out the UTM Documentation.

Here are the key updates coming to the UTM system:
  • Increased tracking percentage - We've been working on better tracking the cases when a player has followed a UTM link from a website and then subsequently hopped to their Steam desktop client to complete the transaction. This conversion data will be reported in aggregate without disclosing any further personal information.
  • One-Day Conversion Tracking - We're working through some technical issues that were previously limiting our conversion tracking to update on a slower cadence. Soon you'll be able to see UTM campaigns start reporting conversions within 24 hours. Our conversion window then lasts for 3 days, so you may see the traffic and number of conversions increase when looking at stats from previous days.
  • Geographic breakdown - Traffic reporting will soon include regional breakdowns for the visitors to your store page. This can be most useful when considering the languages you might support in your game or where you might need to locate servers for a multi-player game.
  • Visitor device category - We'll be reporting the split of device types (just "mobile" vs "desktop") for each campaign so you can generally tell how your audience is learning about your game.
  • New vs Returning users - We'll be breaking out stats so you can tell what percentage of visits are from new players just learning about your game versus returning players that already know about your game.

Ending Steam Support For Google Analytics
As of this coming July, Google will no longer operate Universal Analytics (UA), which is a third-party traffic reporting system that we've had available for measuring traffic sources to Steam store pages. Their announced replacement will be a system called Google Analytics 4 (GA4). You can read Google's help article about the topic[].

As time has gone on we’ve come to realize that Google’s tracking solutions don't align well with our approach to customer privacy, and so with the migration to GA4 we’ve made the decision to end our support of Google's analytics systems on Steam. Instead, we're focused on building the most useful parts of aggregated reporting into Steam itself, as described above.

If you are currently making use of UA, you will find that as of July 1st, your Google Analytics reporting will no longer be getting data from Steam.

Your Feedback Is Important
We've been talking with a lot of game developers about the traffic reporting features they would most like to see Steam support built-in. If you've got feedback, questions, or suggestions, let us know in the comments or in the Steamworks Developer forums.

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October 11, 2012