Actioncy: Tapping into Steam’s game-changing data

Guest Author
Actioncy: Tapping into Steam’s game-changing data
Actioncy's director Christian-Peter Heimbach

While Steam provides developers and publishers with relatively easy access to sales analytics independently, these insights aren’t enough to ensure marketing budgets are spent effectively. It’s clear there’s a huge opportunity for developers to market their games with pinpoint precision. With no signs of the platform slowing down, how can we bridge this gap, become front of mind and most importantly convert that mind share into sales? In response to this, we have developed a Steam Audience and Sentiment Report to help developers get to know their audiences a lot better.

Our research shows that Steam offers highly beneficial insights for developers — it’s just that accessing them can be tricky. But using Steam’s Developer API, our reports tap into a game-changing amount of data that, when used wisely, can provide the pivotal insights that convert to success.

For any given Steam ID, you can see each player’s games library, the total time spent playing each title; from point of purchase and a more detailed breakdown of activity in the last 14 days. This is possible as Steam’s default is that players make their libraries public, making 90 per cent of players’ data obtainable. You will need to make sure your EULA makes it clear to the player what their data is being used for. Once that’s done, the data can be made actionable for publishing and marketing.

"Our research shows that Steam offers highly beneficial insights for developers — it’s just that accessing them can be tricky."

Christian-Peter Heimbach, Actioncy

In the first instance, it’s crucial to compare segments built with your own data (e.g. a player reaching a certain level or having recommended it or not) with the information derived from Steam’s supplied data (e.g. percentiles of time played). Using this, you can compare game ownership between player segments and begin to identify patterns. Our report’s insights allow clients to tailor their communication strategy and marketing budget on facts rather than assumptions.

It is important to look at this data relatively, as Valve’s top games DOTA 2 and CS:GO will dominate your findings. With this, you might discover that your most engaged players opt for fantasy or sci-fi themes more frequently than the average gamer in addition to knowing their genre preferences such as MOBA or FPS.

Based on these insights you may opt to modify your campaign and highlight the story more prominently than gameplay mechanics or vice versa, not only saving you money that would otherwise be lost on audiences you’d struggle to engage but also creating deeper interest from consumers, pushing them closer to a point of purchase. The next level in this is using programmatic media audience builders to learn more about demographics and media preferences beyond video games.

We find that this data is regularly revealing, and often surprising, enabling clients to hugely increase the effectiveness of their campaigns. By partnering with PlayerXP, we can also glean AI sentiment data from reviews and help developers understand what it is that players love or love to hate most about their games. 

Christian-Peter Heimbach is director of Actioncy, which is developing a marketing planning framework to increase the efficiency of marketing campaign planning and deliverables tracking. Previously at Warner Bros and NCSoft, he also provides consulting for games marketing operations.