Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Fun with stats: Buy Pages

So welcome to another exciting episode of ‘fun  with stats’ with your host cliff harris.

Lets examine some stats for changes that are under analysis (using random sampling) with the buy page of a fictional pc political strategy game. Lets assume it sells for $20 to make things simple, and to take into account occasional discounts.

Lets also imagine (theoretically) that the game sells on portals which take a 30% cut and that it has a direct sell option which (theoretically) takes a 10% cut. So a portal sale earns $14 and a direct one earns $18.

The raw before and after the change stats are heavily skewed due to traffic variations, but basically we have this:

3rd October onwards (old buy page)

Direct buy button clicks 427
Buy page hits 3203.
Portal buy button clicks 152
direct sales share = 13.3%

8th October onwards (changed buy page)

Direct buy button clicks 194
Buy page hits 451.
Portal buy button clicks 23
direct sales share = 43%

So far, all this does is say that the percentage of buyers who choose the direct option has gone up. Because we get email details + a higher percentage of the sale, then we can assume this is a boost for us, but it’s not ‘free money’ We are not getting new sales, just converting portal sales to direct ones. So the difference is really only to be found in that 20% difference. To work out the actual difference we need to guess total portal and direct theoretical (assuming all clicks are sales, they really aren’t…) income, and compensate for traffic variation…

3rd October onwards (old buy page)

Portal income $2,128
Direct Income $7,686
Income per visitor from portals: $0.66
Income per visitor from direct: $2.39
Income per visitor overall: $3.06

8th October onwards (changed buy page)

Portal income $308
Direct Income $3,492
Income per visitor from portals: $0.68
Income per visitor from direct: $7.74
Income per visitor overall: $8.42

Holy crap. Have I done this right? And this is with A/B testing so actually only HALF the visitors are getting the new buy page, so the effect is actually double this. Assuming my maths is correct, the percentage of people who visit my site and THEN buy on a portal is actually fairly low, meaning that encouraging them to buy direct (but still having multiple portal options displayed) seems to have very little downside. The income from portals actually even rose very slightly $0.66 to $0.68, which is a statistical irrelevance. That change from $3.06 to $8 is not though. It’s real.

So obviously I need a lot MORE data to prove I’m right, so I’m going to leave my experiment running a few more days. I have some D3 ads running now which will drive in a bit more traffic which will help. You can’t really extrapolate anything from under 1,000 clicks on anything. But it looks promising.


What this means is that getting someone to my buy page now earns $8 not $3. Now as it happens, the actual; abandonment rate is fairly high, because many people see the price (only on the buy page..) and then don’t buy, but there is value there in the stored intent and later discount-purchases, or second-thoughts and return buyers. Lets assume an abandonment rate of 80%. That makes a visitor now worth $1.68 rather than $0.61. The problem is not everyone gets to the buy page, home page to buy page hits happen at  35% so real values are old system-> $0.21 per visitor, new system -> $0.59.

The difference between the viability of an ad campaign or PR campaign targeting $0.21 and $0.59 per visitor is huge. It’s hard getting $0.20 CPC. It’s easy to get $0.50 CPC.

This is why I care about this stuff. Plus I’m a stats head and I enjoy it :D


6 thoughts on Fun with stats: Buy Pages

  1. That’s a massive increase for income per visitor! What are the differences between versions A and B which make such an impact? I tried proxy servers in different countries to get a glimpse on both versions of the site (in case of A/B tests based on IP). Also did not help, the D3 site always looks the same.

    Therefore, what’s the secret of this income boost?

    BTW: the GSB image below the two BUY buttons on is broken.

  2. Yes that’s got me curious too, how are you diverting traffic from the portals to your own page?
    Were you originally sending traffic from your own advertising to the portals?

    Without knowing which portal you mean, I would hazard a guess that the visitor gets bombarded with various competing games as soon as they land there which could account for a poor conversion rate?

    Finally, have you considered an exit pop up lightbox on the buy page to get people who are bouncing on to your mailing list?

  3. I’m not getting any traffic *from* the portals, just less of it goes from my buy page to there.
    I’m using google analytics to do this, and its basically two radically different buy buttons, with the newer buy button emphasizing that it comes with a steam key and all 3 formats.

  4. Thanks Cliff

    D’oh! Sorry I had worded that poorly, I meant more like “how are you sure that the traffic would normally go to the portals” but you’ve answered my question anyway thanks
    Also I’ve looked at your D3, sorry I mean fictional political strategy game, buy page compared to the old one and realised what you meant by the different options now ;-)

    That’s the problem with catching up via mobile on the train, I sometimes miss important details ;-)

    Incidentally my first impressions don’t immediately “get” that you mean free steam keys what I see when entering the page is a bunch of logos and then the buy button catches my eye.
    Only from reading the text do I understand that you mean DRM free.

    Ok, I’m just a single visitor, not statistically important, and probably not your average gamer but I’d be curious to know if just having a big centred buy button without the “logo + logo” icons makes any difference to your stats.

    I’m a bit of a stat head too, I can get terribly lost in google analytics for hours if I’m not careful ;-)

    Great job though, I hope it continues and thanks for the insight to your day to day business!

  5. Perhaps this study doesn’t involve GSB but if it does: Back when I last looked at it (a while), buying GSB+ every DLC(incl. online), was more than just few percent to buy direct. Given that was half of the reason I didn’t buy it (I think this is 3rd time I mention that on these comments), that “could” have an effect.

    Studies into behavioral financing show that people care a lot more about difference between say $12 and $15 than $130000 and $129000.

    It’s looks insane and if money is flowing in more than going out, one may not pay big attention to that with all other things to worry about, but as volumes are being talked about, as your numbers show, this kind of things matter.

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