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

More messing with marketing stats

Its very frustrating to not know if your ads work. I also know that you can never truly correlate these things, but I guess I enjoy trying. With that in mind lets look at 8 days of Production Line sales and marketing

Sales Marketing Net profit
$1,140.00 $351.94 $389.06
$1,283.00 $306.24 $527.71
$1,453.00 $362.78 $581.67
$999.00 $583.09 $66.26
$934.00 $0.00 $607.10
$796.00 $0.00 $517.40
$916.00 $0.00 $595.40
s$936.00 $0.00 $608.40

There are taxes, distributors cuts etc which explains the lower amount you see as net profit. In any case, is there *any* correlation here? A fairly crude approximation shows average profit when I have no marketing running is $582 versus $391 when I’m running ads. Yikes. Obviously its not that simple. Firstly the ads could be adding to my wishlists and thus further sales. Or I could be generating more facebook likes. Its so complex.

if I look at visits to the steam store page for production line and add that in I get this:

Sales Marketing Net profit visits
$1,140.00 $351.94 $389.06 357
$1,283.00 $306.24 $527.71 295
$1,453.00 $362.78 $581.67 342
$999.00 $583.09 $66.26 515
$934.00 $0.00 $607.10 122
$796.00 $0.00 $517.40 86
$916.00 $0.00 $595.40 96
$936.00 $0.00 $608.40 122

Which suggests that I am at least successfully driving traffic with the ads. However, the percentage of visits to the store page that come from external sites over that period is only 22%. In other words, I really should be scaling any boost in sales (if there was one) by 0.22 anyway. I can see that I’ve managed to peak that share of visits from external sites to 38% on the 7th August, at a cost of about $480. Hmmm

So what can be learned?

a) My suspicion that direct attribution of ads->sales is difficult to correlate certainly seems true.

b) You can probably double your visits to your steam store page for about $600/day.

You really can’t learn much from 8 days data. I’m trying to resist the temptation to advertise more for a few more days so I have a better dataset (I have ad-spending data going back about 30 days before I stopped).

I have a suspicion that the cost to generate enough ‘loss-leading’ traffic to push the games popularity up to the point where it gets noticed by steams algorithms and thus starts to generate sales from within steam at a higher rate is quite high.  I’m digging into the stats of all of my games to try and work out how many extra sales I need to push PL into the top 10 ‘topsellers’ among indie strategy games…


Yup, this is all very small fry. I’m trying to find a winning strategy before I start shovelling wheelbarrows full of marketing dollars at it :D

5 thoughts on More messing with marketing stats

  1. I understand why getting on wishlists (mostly steam) would be valuable – they’ll get an auto generated email everytime you go on sale.

    But why is pushing facebook likes desirable? Does it help discovery on facebook?

    1. Purely because it becomes easier to re-message those same people later with news of updates, discounts and so on, concerning the game. It also means you can easily target their friends with ads.

      1. Boosting posts on Facebook is quite expensive.
        Maybe it will be cheaper to generate AdWords to Facebook post and hoping that people will Like it this way? Almost everyone is logged on Facebook all the time anyway.

  2. You should also A/B test some different ads. It could just be that your current ad is bad and people expect your game to be different that the ad leads them to believe; thus resulting in poor conversion rates.

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