steam page optimization, how to sell on steam

Maximizing Your Game’s Success on Steam: A Comprehensive Guide to Optimization and Understanding User Behavior

In today’s digital era, the gaming industry has significantly evolved, transforming the way games are marketed and sold. Steam, the ultimate online gaming platform, is a major player that cannot be overlooked when considering game distribution. However, with the high volume of games available on Steam, standing out and attracting the attention of potential players can be a daunting challenge. As a game developer or marketer, understanding the nuances of Steam and the shopping behaviors of its users can be the key to your game’s success.

In this comprehensive guide, we delve deep into the intricacies of marketing your game effectively on Steam. We’ll explore how to optimize your Steam page for maximum impact, discuss the crucial role of social proof, and reveal valuable insights about how users shop for games on the platform. Whether you’re launching your first game or looking to boost the performance of an existing one, this guide offers essential strategies to help you navigate the dynamic Steam marketplace. Join us on this journey and unlock the potential of your game’s success.

Understanding the Steam User Interface and Shopping Behaviors

Before we get into the art of crafting an appealing Steam page, it is important to understand the platform’s interface, how users navigate it, and what influences their shopping behaviors.

How Users Navigate the Steam Platform

Steam users have numerous avenues to discover new games:

  • Curators are influential figures whose game recommendations carry weight for their followers.
  • The Steam Queue generates personalized game suggestions based on users’ preferences and previous activity.
  • Tags allow users to explore games by genre, theme, or gameplay mechanics.
  • The Wishlist is a feature where users save games they’re interested in, often to wait for sales or updates.
  • Recommendations by Friends are trusted and influential in a user’s decision-making process.

Understanding these navigation tools and leveraging them can greatly improve your game’s visibility on the platform.

User Shopping Behavior

To tailor your marketing strategy to your audience, you need to understand their behavior. Most Steam users are price-sensitive and typically prefer to buy games on sale or through bundles. Social proof plays a significant role, with users often relying on reviews and recommendations from friends when deciding to purchase a game. And while users may wishlist a game due to a variety of influences (like social media, streamers, or friends), the conversion to a purchase often depends on a sale or recommendation.

Now that we have a basic understanding of the Steam user interface and shopping behaviors, let’s dive into optimizing your Steam page.

Crafting an Effective Steam Page

Creating an enticing and informative Steam page is crucial to captivate potential players and ultimately convert them into buyers.

Title and Short Description

Ensure your game’s title is clear and easy to understand. The short description, which is prominently displayed on your game’s Steam page, should succinctly convey what your game is about and why it’s worth playing. Avoid over-complicating it; simplicity can be far more impactful.

Capsule Images

Capsule images are your game’s visual identity on the platform. They should be eye-catching and clearly represent the nature and theme of your game. Remember, your capsule image could be the first interaction a potential player has with your game, so make it count!

Long Description

This is where you can provide more detailed information about your game. While it’s important to be comprehensive, keep it structured and easy to read. Include key gameplay features, the storyline, and any unique selling points. Use paragraphs and bullet points for clarity and readability.

Videos and Screenshots

Visual content is incredibly powerful in selling the experience of your game. Include a captivating trailer that shows off the best aspects of your gameplay. Screenshots should also represent the game’s actual content and graphics.

Social Proof

User reviews significantly influence purchasing decisions. Encourage players to leave reviews and ensure you manage and respond to them, especially the negative ones, as it shows you value player feedback.

Promotions and Bundles

Remember that Steam users are price-sensitive. Regular promotions and sales can be effective in driving purchases. Inclusion in bundles can also increase the visibility and desirability of your game.

Having an optimized Steam page is vital, but to take your game’s success further, you need to invest in word-of-mouth marketing, as we’ll explore in the next section.

Essential Foundations: Understanding Your Steam Page

Before we delve into the specifics of creating a compelling and captivating Steam page, it’s important to grasp the structure of a Steam page, what each element is designed to achieve, and the role they play in engaging and converting visitors.

Anatomy of a Steam Page

Every Steam page consists of several key components, each with a specific function and impact on the user experience. Let’s go through each one:

1. The Game Title: This is not just the name of your game, but the first impression a potential player gets. It should be clear, memorable, and give a hint of what the game is about.

2. Capsule Images: These images are often the first visual interaction a potential player has with your game. They’re prominently displayed on the Steam store, and they need to be eye-catching, engaging, and representative of your game’s theme and style.

3. Short Description: Positioned next to the capsule images, the short description serves as a quick elevator pitch of your game. It should concisely explain what your game is about and why it stands out.

4. Long Description: Here’s where you can really sell your game. This section allows you to expand upon the key features, gameplay mechanics, and storylines, providing a deeper insight into what players can expect from your game.

5. Videos and Screenshots: Multimedia content is a powerful tool in communicating the feel and experience of your game. A well-made trailer and a collection of engaging screenshots can sell the experience more effectively than words alone.

6. User Reviews: These are testimonials from players who’ve experienced your game. They provide social proof, an influential factor in a potential player’s decision-making process.

7. Promotions and Bundles: Offering your game at a discounted price or as part of a bundle can significantly influence purchase decisions, given that many Steam users are price-sensitive.

Understanding the function of each element on your Steam page and how they collectively influence potential players is the first step in creating an effective Steam page. In the following sections, we’ll discuss how to leverage these components to enhance your game’s appeal, visibility, and sales on the Steam platform.

The Science of Steam Page Conversion: Understanding User Behaviour

Understanding user behaviour and motivation is crucial to optimizing your Steam page for better conversion rates. The key is to empathize with your potential players, understand their mindset, and adjust your strategies to cater to their needs.

Steam Users Shopping Behavior

1. Browsing Habits: Most Steam users don’t spend a lot of time on a single page. They tend to skim through, making quick decisions based on the information that immediately catches their eye. This highlights the importance of compelling visuals and concise, engaging descriptions.

2. Wishlists and Purchases: Users wishlist games they are interested in but not ready to purchase right away. They might buy these games later during sales or when they’ve cleared their current gaming backlog. Understand that being wishlisted is a positive sign of interest, and conversion into a purchase may take time.

3. Influence of Reviews: Reviews, particularly negative ones, play a significant role in decision-making. While it’s not possible to please everyone, it’s important to address common complaints in negative reviews to improve your game.

4. Role of Discounts and Bundles: Steam users are typically price-sensitive, often waiting for sales to make their purchases. Offering discounts or including your game in a bundle can significantly increase its appeal.

The Impact of Social Influence

1. Role of Friends: Friends can significantly influence game purchases. If a user sees their friends playing a game, they are more likely to consider buying it themselves. This showcases the importance of promoting social engagement and shareability in your game.

2. Streamers and Social Media: Streamers and social media do play a role in spreading awareness about your game, but their direct impact on sales might not be substantial. However, they can be influential in getting your game wishlisted.

By understanding the behavior and mindset of Steam users, you can optimize your Steam page to cater to these preferences and tendencies, increasing the likelihood of your game being noticed, wishlisted, and eventually purchased.

Optimizing Your Steam Page: Best Practices and Strategies

Crafting an appealing Steam page is an art, but there are certain best practices and strategies that can guide you to achieve better results. Based on user behaviour and preferences, here are the key points to keep in mind:

Mastering the Basics

1. Choosing the Right Capsule Images: The capsule image is often the first thing users see when they come across your game. It’s essential to make sure it accurately represents your game, is visually appealing, and conforms to the standards of your genre.

2. Creating an Engaging Trailer: The trailer is the next most important aspect. It should be short, engaging, and precisely depict what users can expect from your game.

3. Crafting an Appealing Description: The description should be concise, engaging, and informative. Avoid unnecessary jargon and focus on what makes your game unique.

4. Leveraging Tags Effectively: Tags are critical to help users discover your game based on their preferences. Choose tags that accurately represent your game’s features and gameplay.

Advanced Strategies

1. Importance of Reviews: Reviews are crucial for the decision-making process. Encourage your players to leave reviews, and make sure to address and resolve any common issues pointed out in negative reviews.

2. Implementing Frequent Sales: Sales are significant drivers for purchases. Implement a strategy where your game goes on sale frequently to capitalize on the price-sensitive nature of many Steam users.

3. Bundling Your Game: Including your game in bundles can significantly increase its exposure and sales, particularly among price-sensitive users.

4. Encouraging Word-of-Mouth Marketing: Encourage your players to recommend your game to their friends. Consider strategies such as bundling two keys to promote sharing among friends.

By implementing these best practices and strategies, you can optimize your Steam page to appeal to your potential players, increase visibility, and ultimately drive more sales.

The Power of Social Influence and Community

Understanding the power of social influence and the role of the community is crucial in understanding the buying behavior of Steam users. Here are the major insights:

Influence of Friends in Game Purchasing Decisions

1. The Power of Recommendations: Friends play a significant role in influencing game purchasing decisions. Many users reported buying games because of a friend’s recommendation. It is essential to tap into this dynamic by encouraging your players to share and recommend your game to their friends.

2. Sharing is Caring: Some users reported buying games for their friends or playing games that were gifted to them. Consider strategies that encourage this kind of sharing and gifting, as it can help spread your game to new users.

Social Media Influence

1. Twitter, Discord, and Reddit: Though social media platforms like Twitter, Discord, and Reddit were mentioned less frequently as direct sources of game discovery, they still play a role. These platforms can help create buzz and awareness around your game, and can be useful for reaching out to potential players.

2. The Role of Streamers: Streamers can have an impact on game purchases, though this influence may primarily manifest in wishlisting rather than direct purchases. Incorporating strategies to engage with streamers and influencers could help create visibility for your game.

In the context of Steam, community and social influence are powerful forces. Harnessing these effectively can help your game reach more users and increase its popularity and sales.

The Role of Pricing and Sales

Diving into the influence of pricing and sales on consumer behavior presents insightful revelations. Gamers, as with other consumers, are heavily influenced by discounts and bundles. Here’s what we’ve learned:

Purchasing at Full Price

1. Buyer Behavior: An intriguing finding is that gamers often refrain from buying games at their full price. They tend to wait, demonstrating patience, until the game is offered at a discount or during a sale event.

The Power of Sales

1. Recurring Sales: Regularly placing your game on sale may be a beneficial strategy. It maintains your game’s visibility among potential buyers and can act as a trigger for those who’ve wishlisted your game to finally make a purchase.

2. Conversion Catalyst: Sales also play a crucial role in converting wishlisted games into actual purchases. It appears that users often wishlist a game with the expectation of a future sale.

Bundle Attraction

1. Bundle Benefits: Game bundles, like Humble Bundle, are incredibly popular among gamers. A considerable number of gamers purchase their games through these bundles. Participating in such bundles can increase your game’s exposure and potentially drive up sales.

To conclude, the pricing strategy and sales frequency can significantly impact your game’s success. Regular sales and bundle participation can boost your game’s visibility and sales. The ultimate aim should be to make your game accessible to as many players as possible, increasing its chances of success.

The Influence of Social Media, Streaming, and Word-of-Mouth

As game developers, it’s essential to understand how gamers discover new games and what influences their purchasing decisions. Social media, streaming platforms, and word-of-mouth recommendations play substantial roles in this aspect.

Social Media

1. Limited Impact: Despite the prevalence of social media, its influence on game purchases is relatively limited. Surprisingly, many gamers do not rely on platforms like Twitter or Reddit to discover or decide on buying games.

2. Wishlisting Influence: That said, social media can still play a role in “wishlisting” behavior. Some gamers do discover games on platforms like Twitter and Reddit, leading them to wishlist these games for potential future purchase.

Streaming Platforms

1. Discoverability: Streaming platforms can have some influence on the discoverability of games. People may wishlist a game after seeing a streamer play it. However, the conversion of these wishlists into purchases is low.


1. The Power of Friends: Word-of-mouth, especially from friends, carries substantial weight. Friends’ recommendations can lead to both wishlist additions and actual purchases. In some instances, purchases driven by friend recommendations accounted for a significant percentage of all game acquisitions.

2. Making Your Game Shareable: This influence underscores the need to make your game shareable. Consider strategies to facilitate word-of-mouth marketing, such as including extra game keys in purchases for sharing with friends.

In summary, while social media and streaming platforms can contribute to game discovery, their influence on purchase decisions appears limited. The real power lies in word-of-mouth recommendations, emphasizing the importance of making your game easy to share and recommend.

The Value of Discounts and Bundles

Price and perceived value significantly influence the purchasing behavior of gamers. This section explores these aspects and their impact on game buying decisions.

The Power of Discounts

1. Full Price Resistance: Gamers are usually resistant to buying games at full price. In a consumer behavior observation, no participant purchased a game at full price, preferring to wait for sales.

2. Visibility Through Sales: Regular sales not only provide gamers with a perceived value proposition but also maintain the visibility and “mindfulness” of your game in the market.


1. High Conversion Rate: Bundles had the highest conversion rate to actual purchases. Bundles provide gamers with perceived value, leading to high rates of purchases.

2. Value Proposition: While the revenue from each sale in a bundle may be less, the overall volume can make up for the lower per-unit price.

In summary, frequent sales and inclusion in bundles are two effective strategies for promoting game purchases. They both cater to the customer’s desire for value and can significantly boost visibility and sales volume.

Strategies for Boosting Game Sales: Emphasizing Social Influence and Focusing on Quality

Based on the insights obtained, this section explores the strategies that can help boost the sales and popularity of your game.

Word-of-Mouth Marketing: The Power of Friends

1. High Impact on Purchasing Decision: One of the standout findings from the observations was the significant influence friends had on the purchasing decisions of gamers.

2. Incentivizing Recommendations: To capitalize on this, consider ways to incentivize your current players to recommend your game to their friends. This could include reward systems, referral bonuses, or even the bundling of two game keys for sharing.

Quality Over Everything

1. Importance of a Good Game: Despite the strategies mentioned above, the quality of your game is still paramount. A poorly made game will not be recommended by players to their friends, nor will it gain positive attention or longevity.

2. User Experience: Ensure your game provides a positive user experience. This involves intuitive controls, engaging gameplay, captivating storytelling, and minimal bugs or glitches.

In conclusion, while it’s essential to understand and implement strategies such as optimizing your Steam page and pricing strategies, the quality of your game is still the most significant determinant of its success. An engaging, well-made game will naturally attract players and encourage word-of-mouth recommendations, ensuring its longevity in the gaming market.

Conclusion: Remember, Your Store Page Is Not Your Art

In this last section, I would recap the main points made throughout the post and leave the readers with some key takeaways:

1. Separating the Art from the Business: An important mindset for game developers to adopt is that their store page is a tool for selling their art; it is not the art itself. It is crucial to make the distinction between the game (the art) and the means of selling it (the store page).

2. An Ongoing Journey: Understanding and optimizing the game selling process is an ongoing journey. The gaming industry, players’ tastes, and digital platforms are always evolving, and developers should be ready to adapt accordingly.

3. Understand Your Audience: At the end of the day, having a deeper understanding of your audience is key. From their shopping habits to their preferences, every piece of information is crucial in fine-tuning your approach to ensure your game finds its way into their library.

4. Building Empathy: Lastly, keep in mind the concept of ‘sonder’ – each negative review or vote might be from someone having a bad day. Treat each player as an individual with their own life and experiences, and work on building empathy with them. After all, they are the ones you’re creating these experiences for.

With these insights and strategies at your disposal, you’re now equipped to successfully navigate the Steam platform and get your game into the hands of eager players. Happy gaming!

Wyatt Mayham

Wyatt founded TwitchMetrics in 2016 and shares his knowledge about the business elements of the livestreaming and gaming world. With more than 10 years’ experience collaborating with gaming studios, developers, and agencies, he’s adept at increasing their game revenues through strategic partnerships with creators and PR and marketing strategies.