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How we increased our wishlists by 158% in 6 days, how direct traffic beats stream traffic by almost 100% and how Linux is leading the wishlist game! Conversion rates, estimates and cute gis all included!

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Hello dream-fulfilling Giants!

It's been almost a week since the previous post were we setup our targets for the Space Mercs steam launch on July 31st! If you haven't read it, I recommend giving it a quick scan so you'll know what I'm talking about here. We're going to look at our KPI's (Wishlists, traffic, impressions and store visits), see how we generated them (articles, interviews, tweets) and setup a plan for next week!

Let me start this post by saying THANK YOU! In a single week we almost managed to get 50% of the way towards our launch targets! And with about a month and a half to go things are looking really nice. So take a moment to give yourself a pat on the back because it's you guys who made it possible. Here's a wip gif from the Campaign and Loadout screen that I've been working on (6 mb, might take a few seconds to load). You deserve it.


Now, let's look at our KPI's.

Week in review: Results

Last week we were sitting at 189 wishlists. Using the formulas discussed, at that point in time, we were looking at 567$ in revenue on launch with about 100 copies sold. We went further and estimated that we would be increasing at wishlist count by 4 wishlists / day leading to a total of 446 wishlists and assumed we will bank about 1338$ on release while selling 223 units.

So what's body count at now? Well:

  • Wishlists: 489
  • Estimated week 1 net revenue: 1467$
  • Estimated copies to be sold: 244
  • Estimated year 1 net revenue: 7335$

Safe to say we've blown pass our estimated target for launch in the worst case scenario! This past week in review looks like this:

On average, we increased our daily wishlist count by 50 wishlists leading to a total 300 wishlists in 6 days or, better said, a 158% increase in just 6 days. Can I cry now, because I feel like crying.


Let's look over the data we have from Steam. We're going to go into a bit more details like: Steam traffic, impressions, visits, CTR and conversion rates - with all the data being supplied by the Steam Dashboard Itself.

First off, this is how Steam itself helped us this week. The following screenshot is from the dashboard and shows the amount of Impressions and Visits our steam store page got from Steam. CTR is the conversion rate between how many times our game capsule (little image with the game's name) was displayed on the store and how many people clicked it to get to the game's page (where they can wishlist it):


Our game capsule was displayed 15,386 times on the store page (note that this doesn't mean that people actually saw it. It counts the number of times it was loaded). People clicked it about 1,188 times to access the Space Mercs store page. That's a 7.72% conversion rate.

Now, let's look at the total amount of traffic we had in this period:


Woah! External traffic (brought in by our marketing efforts) accounts for almost twice as many visits to the game's page. Our marketing efforts to steam's promotion efforts is literary 1.8:1, aka almost double. So much for just release on steam and the store is going to promote you. Impressions in this case accounts for how many times the steam widget was displayed on an external website, while visits is how many people reached the game's page in total. Our CTR is above the roof but mostly because we've directly linked people to the page.

So what can we learn from this? Well, steam has a lot more reach and visibility than anything I've done before but targeted traffic trumps it. With a only 7% conversion rate from the impressions steam gave the game I can only take a single conclusion: My capsule (image for the game) sucks really, really hard! I need to step up my steam capsule game a ton.

On the bright side, our marketing push for this week blew us past our worst case expectations and moved us into the "we might make it" territory. But this doesn't mean we have to stop here. Let's go into even more detail by looking at all the traffic combined and spit our our visits to wishlist conversion rate:


In total we received about 3,454 visits to the game's page this week with 300 people adding the game to their wishlist. This gives us a 3,435/300 aka 11.5 visit to wishlist conversion rate. Out of 10 people visiting the game's store page, 1 will wishlist it. How many wishlists we got from steam vs from direct traffic we will never know, but it's safe to say that we're performing better than I initially expected! Now let's look at who the people who wishlisted our game are or, at the very least, what operating system they are using.


Ogh this is a sight to see for me! Linux is leading the known platform-specific wishlist race with 147 additions. Aka a 1.6:1 ratio Linux-to-Windows. The nerd inside of me is extremely happy because, even if the data will change as we near release, it shows that there's a market out there. For small indies, like me, looking for low-volume sales Linux is a boon that they should not overlook.

If you're an indie dev looking at this and thinking "agh cool, yeah I'll target Linux" listen closely to the following: Test your Linux build, at the very least every week. Test the linux build after every middleware your integrate. Make sure it runs well on Linux and do not skip your QA process. If you're using Unity, Linux is a one-click export but that's only if you're just using Unity and nothing else. A ton of developers wait till the very last moment to do a linux build and discover too late that they can't do it, or it doesn't work. I'll go into more details about this process in the future.

Results Recap - and how we managed to achieve them

In the period between June 10th and June 16th we:

  • Increased our wishlist count by 158%
    • 300 new wishlists
  • Manage to direct 3434 people to our store page
    • 1188 visits being from steam
    • 2246 from our direct marketing efforts
  • Achieved a wishlist to visit conversion rate of 11.5%

It's been an amazing week for us and it went better than expected! We achieved the results above from (but not limited to) the following sources:

  • An amazing article from the beloved Gaming on Linux website! They covered our new trailer, screenshots and improvements from the public demo - viewed more than 7000 times. As always, lots of love towards Liam and the Gaming on Linux staff - they do amazing work promoting Linux games! You can read the article here.
  • An article from Hardcore Gamer, by James Cunningham, that covers the same topic as GoL! No views data available but it certainly had an impact! Thank you James, I mean it. Article here.
  • Linux Game Consortium who covered the launch date, trailer on both LGC and Linux Game News! Thanks a ton - you have been added to my press list!
  • A /r/linux_gaming post that leads to the GoL article which got more than 160 upvotes!
  • Our new youtube trailer which is sitting at about 859 views! View it here.
  • A viral imgur post we made on monday that brought in about 85 wishlists.
  • Some of my twitter tweets linking to the store page that got a couple thousand impressions and a few tens of link clicks. Not much but they count! Example 1, example 2, example 3.

Going forward - goals, marketing efforts, Beta 6

This week has come and gone very fast. I haven't managed to get Beta 6 out to my discord community yet! I've finished integrating the new cockpit into the game and empowered it with a ton of features - from bullet tracking, to a targeting system and more. We're also overhauling the game's UI from a screen overlay to being built into the actual space ship! Right now I'm trying to finish the Loadout screen so I can call the game campaign feature complete before I move onto finishing the content (missions, weapons, ship upgrades).

In terms of wishlist expectations we're still targeting at least 1000 wishlists before launch. We're 48.9% of the way there but that's the minimum amount required for the game's launch to have any chance of allowing me to make another game this year. It's either that or I have to get another job doing Free2Play stuff while using evil, anti consumer, tactics!

We're going to stick to our worst case scenario expectations of about 4 wishlists per day and hope we will never drop that low. At the current rate we are going at we need about 13 wishlists / day leading up to the launch on July 31st in order to achieve our target. Going by our worst case expectations of 4 wishlists / day, we're looking at 641 wishlists on launch.

You can help us out in quite a few ways:

  • The easiest way is to go to our store page and wishlist the game, so you'll be notified when it comes out.
  • Another way is to spread awareness of our marketing efforts, for two reasons:
    • First one is that it's going to help other developers estimate their launch performances
      • Improve their marketing efforts
      • Adjust their expectations
    • Second one is that it's also going to help boost the awareness of the game to people inside the industry. This doesn't mean just game developers, but also editors and writers. They might not want to write about the game by itself but they might find an angle about Steam's state and the game could get some more awareness because of that!
  • In order to help spread awareness about this you can link people to this blog post, the original one or the live data tracking document itself.
  • Third options to become our patrons. For as little as 1$ a month you can help us reach a steady revenue stream. We're up to 50$ a month right now and, long term, it helps a ton.
  • Forth option is to follow me on twitter and re-tweet my stuff! It's going to increase my reach and hopefully help get some more people to notice the game!

And with this we conclude this week's marketing efforts and results! I really do hope next week's post will be even bigger and more cheerful! I'm forever grateful to my lovely giants for helping me get here! I am extremely aware that, if it wasn't for you guys, our worst case scenario would have become true!

THANK YOU,

Giants!

Comments
DevHour_Games
DevHour_Games

This has been a fantastic read, especially as an new indie company that just released their first game! We took a very difficult route in my opinion by releasing a niche puzzle game; "DEPIXTION - A Colorful New Take on the Picross Formula"

Our main issue seems to be getting someone with a large enough following to talk about our game.

We had an incredible opportunity to get our game on display at E3, so we of course took it. We made some pretty awesome industry connections, and everyone who played the game adored it!

But, to our disappointment, our positioning at the convention did not really allow for a large amount of press, so we really didn't get much traction prior to launch, which we may have rushed in to so we can take advantage of the E3 hype.

Since our launch (6/17/19), we have been trying to get the game in front of both Steam Curators and Gaming Review sites, and it's proving to be a little tough, but we still have very high hopes, and an excellent road map ahead of us. Hopefully we can see some of the success that you had here :)

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BeardedGiant Author
BeardedGiant

Did not a get a notification for this message, so very sorry for the late reply!

Yep, nowadays, it's all about getting more and more people to wishlist the game so you get more e-mails sent out and more eyes on the game on launch.

This, from my experience, causes a cascade effect that boosts you more and more in visibility. So in short, your entire efforts need to be to bring traffic to the steam page before launch so you can convert them into wishlist.

Your E3 experience is a winner tho', as the connections made there will come in handy for the future! It's a longtime investment!

Best of luck guys!

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