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October 11, 2012
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Traffic Reports Update: Improving Accuracy and Categorization
Improved Categorization
Today's update also cleans up and properly categorizes a number of traffic sources that developers found confusing and/or were simply lumped together in incomprehensible categories.

The most notable changes are:
  • Age Gates - Games with Age-Gates were previously seeing traffic through the age gate listed as either "Age Check" or "(other pages)." From May 1 onward, this traffic will now be attributed to the original source that led the customer to the age gates.

  • Library and Friends & Chat - We also added two new categories under "Steam Platform Traffic" to show more detail for the traffic within the Steam client. From May 1 onward, traffic through the game's library details page, Steam friends list, and links shared in Steam Chat will now be properly shown under the more specific sections of either "Library" or "Friends & Chat." Traffic previous to May 1 will still be grouped under "Steam Client."

  • Discovery Queue - Traffic (including historical data) from the Discovery Queue has moved into a top-level entry in the list of traffic sources. Previously, visits to a store page from the Discovery Queue were spread out under multiple sections such as "Other Product Pages," "Home Page," and "Your Discovery Queue Page."

  • More Like This - Traffic (including historical data) from the "More Like This" section has also been moved into its own top-level entry in the list of traffic sources. This traffic was previously buried under the "Other Product Pages" category.

Bug Fixes & Data Cleanup
When working on cleaning up the categories, we identified two sources of spurious data, resulting in page view events that were not actually the result of a customer viewing a game page.

Before we get into the details of those issues and how they affect the page view numbers, it’s important to note that when we reference “page views,” we are specifically referring to views of a game’s store page. Conversely, when we say “impressions” we are referring to every other type of impression on Steam (front page capsules, tags, pop up messages, etc.).

While some of the fixes made in this update will cause a reduction in reported page views, the resulting reported page view numbers are now a more accurate representation of how many customers are visiting a game’s store page. Meanwhile, we did not find any inaccuracies with reported impressions, so those are not affected.

Here’s more detail on those issues and the resulting effects:
  • Games in a Franchise - A bug in our storefront web code was causing over reporting on store pages that feature the "Check out the entire [Game] franchise on Steam" button. Essentially, each time a page featuring a Franchise button with no associated image was viewed it was counted twice, with the erroneous second view being attributed to "(other pages)" in traffic reports. As a result of this change, store pages that have a franchise button but do not have an image uploaded to it will see fewer page visits reported, namely from "(other pages)" after May 1.

  • Bot Traffic – Some of the fixes we've made over the last year to ensure we reliably record navigation tracking exposed a non-zero amount of bot traffic. These might be search bots (such as Google's indexing service), link lookup bots used when sharing links on social media, or third-party sites that crawl the steam storefront. For most titles, or as an average, we estimate that bot traffic is currently accounting for around 6% of all reported page views. For games with lower overall traffic, the bot traffic may account for a greater share of overall traffic (and vice versa for games with exceptional traffic). To expose this, we are now displaying bot traffic in a separate bucket so developers can see the specific effects of this change. Bot traffic was most frequently counted in these buckets: "Direct Navigation," "Browse Search Results," and "More Like This." As such, these sources are most likely to see a drop in reported page views, with the reduced page views now being identified as "Bot Traffic." Traffic sources that require a logged-in user like "Discovery Queue" are largely unaffected.

As we mentioned earlier, as a result of these two fixes many games will see a drop in reported page views as of May 1st. However total impressions for a title, as well as actions like Wishlisting and purchasing is unaffected.

About Traffic Reports
With a dynamic store that is personalized for each player, we know that the question “where is my game appearing?” could potentially be unclear to developers. So, in 2014 we rolled out Steam traffic tracking and reporting dashboard for each game so developers could see exactly where and how many times their game appears to potential customers throughout Steam. Developers may find this tracking by visiting their game's landing page in Steamworks, clicking on "Marketing & Visibility" and then selecting the "Store & Steam Platform Traffic Breakdown" tab.

We hope you find these new categories useful for understanding how the Steam store and platform are working to surface your game and where players are discovering and engaging with your game. If there is more data you would find useful in these reports, please let us know in the comments.

- The Steam Team

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October 11, 2012