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

Where do the wishlists for my game ACTUALLY come from?

I was this many days old when I discovered this stuff… Anyway, I have been trying to boost sales of Democracy 4, as you do, and thus have been experimenting a lot with the UTM tracking cookie stuff that steam now supports. The results have been mixed, and complex, and not the direct topic of this quick blog post, but one thing did come out of my analysis…

I’ve been tracking a bunch of different ad campaigns I have been running since the 6th april. Lots of spreadsheet crap later, I concluded that I can trace the relative effectiveness of multiple ad campaigns that have led to to be able to vouch for 167 wishlists adds for Democracy 4 during this period. Unfortunately there is a problem with this number:

In that period, Democracy 4 had over 8,000 new wishlists. That means I’m fussing and huffing over a stupid <2% of the total. Why do I give a damn about these -ad-generated wishlists when clearly I am getting so many more from other sources. But where?

The first place to look at is the graph, to see if we had any actual notable spikes in wishlist adds during that period:

Clearly the answer is YES. Around 30th april to the first few days in may there was a big spike in D4 wishlists. Its not earth shattering, but its pretty good. Sadly steam has no way of telling me directly where they came form, unless they came from people using UTM tracked links, which clearly they were not, or I would have spotted them earlier. So I had a hunch this might be youtube related, as I have done some promotion to youtubers lately. I narrowed down a google search for “youtube democracy 4” with a super tight date range, and the top hit was a bunch of lets play videos from a Turkish youtuber. How can I tell if this is the spike?

Well… this is what I learned today. You will not find this information ANYWHERE in the wishlist stats pages for steam. You might imagine if it was anywhere, it would be there…but no. To be fair, its explained in the steam docs, but its hardly intuitive. If you go to the regional sales reports for each app, and look at each country and then expand the little + icon you find it…

So as I understand it, I got a 2,600% increase in the usual number of wishlists per-day from Turkey over that period. Its actually *not a lot* in revenue or wishlist terms, but the percentage difference is pretty eye popping. This is handy because its not just saying I made $x extra revenue thanks to this youtube coverage, but also potentially more due to the wishlisters who would hopefully then buy the game on sale later.

Of course thats interesting…but it begs the question as to how effective is it compared to ads, and if its effective enough, how to encourage it in future. I got about 8,000 wishlists over my examined date range, and 513 seemed to come from this youtube vid. Total Turkish wishlists were 965, so over half of them came because of one youtube vid. That means its DEFINITELY worth trying to repeat that in other countries.

And of course there lies the issue. How to get youtubers to play my game? And not just the wannabes with 5 followers and 2 views per video (1 to check it uploaded, and 1 from your mother). This is the real problem. You can get your game in front of a lot of youtubers with ads on keymailer, but still, thats just a capsule. How to really get across to them that this is a GOOD video for lets plays?

FWIW I think the game is unusually good for youtub,e but especially twitch. You can literally poll your viewers on what laws to pass or spending to cut/increase. What could be better for hilarious results and interaction with your viewers? The trouble is, finding a way to tell that direct to youtubers without just shoveling money at PR companies to pester them for me. I’m still not 100% sure on the ROI there. (its so fuzzy).

Food for thought anyway. BTW if you *do* want a key and have thousands of followers/views, you can see our keymailer link here: