How Search Insights Can Help Games Stores Beat Competitors
When it comes to buying PC games your audience has many options, but making sure your store is their first choice is becoming more difficult. So how is it that you can have the edge over your competitors? Let’s explore how search insights can inform content creation to grow your community and engage with them further to put your games store ahead of the competition.
We know brands who actively invest in building communities develop a stronger relationship with their audience. Fostering that community means adhering to their needs and ensuring your content is present and accounted for when they come searching for it. Although it’s not the only way to achieve this, using search insights to understand what your audience is looking for and how they’re coming to look for it is a different way to increase your awareness, bring current audiences further into the fold and attract new audiences.
I’m not going to share some SEO tactics with you for your gaming platform, but I am going to tease you with one example that could see your traffic increase exponentially. SEO once simply meant ensuring your content was at the top of a Google search engine results page (SERPs), but Google isn’t the only player in this game anymore.
Ready Player Two: YouTube.
Setting The Scene
Steam has long held the title for PC gamers as the “Ultimate Online Game Platform,” but new players have entered the game and others are gaining traction. Now not only are these platforms competing with each other (e.g. Steam vs. Epic Games Store), they’re also competing with discounted game stores such as G2A and the exclusivity studio owned stores (e.g. Ubisoft Uplay) can provide.
There’s two sides to this: 1) While the battlefield has opened up considerably, there are still barriers to making your store the number one choice and 2) if you are the number one choice, how do you stay ahead of the competition?
Currently these platforms are competing based on fees for developers, price of games for customers and exclusive deals - none of which are sustainable should new players continue to enter their domain.
Think Like A Retailer
Games stores are retail businesses with a gamer audience. Like retail, they’re competing on price and exclusivity, which is not always the most sustainable option. All games thrive off a relationship with their community; we would know, we help build and engage with them for many of our clients (check out how we did that for Supercell). But it’s not just gaming where building a community helps brands to thrive.
While a different industry entirely, brands like Sephora (bear with me, the link will become evident), who similarly to Games Stores sell a variety of different products from different brands, capitalise on expertise. Not only do they have a community powered Beauty Talk platform, they also make a series of video content inspired by their audiences wants and needs. For example, a holiday gift guide, tutorials for beginners or products for different skin types etc. - the list is endless. Sephora provide answers to their audiences’ questions within their own ecosystem.
Sephora videos all link to the products they describe within the description section of their videos and provide added value to their customers. Additionally, they generate heaps of new data and insight from this audience to inform future marketing activities.
This can all be possible for Games Stores too.
But Why Bother For Gaming?
Why not sit back and allow content creators or studios to do their own marketing and then reap the benefits from distribution? Why bother? Well, this is the same question you could ask Sephora. Why invest in creating your own content when a thousand beauty bloggers could talk about your content and send traffic your way?
It comes down to short term vs. long term ROI. It definitely is plausible to continue paying creators to raise awareness of your content, in fact we recommend it. However, in the long-term the benefits of creating your own community, in addition to working with creators cannot be underestimated from both a financial and marketing perspective.
Creators and users have a lot of choice when deciding where to buy these products from. With the increasing number of games stores entering the market, this is likely to be the case for the gaming industry too. And you can’t be sure that your platform will be their first or even second choice.
This reliance on content creators to develop these videos and then direct the traffic to your games store or really hope that someone picks your games store over another is costly. It could also be more costly in the future if you’re somewhat held to ransom by creators who have their pick of which games store to send their engaged community to.
What Is The Opportunity?
There is an opportunity for games stores to have a say in how they cater to their community by creating their own video content. Using search insights to determine what their users are looking for the most and use their own expertise and data to provide the answers. By doing so, not only will they increase the size of their audience but also start to establish a firmer community and have access to all the insights that this brings.
In the US for just 100 game titles, there are over 100,000 monthly searches for people looking for similar game types, all with video results in the search engine results pages (SERPs). In addition to this there are over 5,000 monthly searches alone for the term best survival games or best strategy games that all result in video results.
Benchmarks suggest a 31% CTR for videos in SERPs, which imply 32,500 visits to your video content. These keywords have a high intent to purchase (or at least explore further). Based on some of our clients’ YouTube card CTR with a similar intent, we’ll suggest using an estimate of a 20% CTR from the video to your games store. This results in 6,500 high intent, potentially converting users from one video each month.
Say, only 25% of them end up buying the game that’s approximately 1,625 sales from one video in a month. If we took an average price of $30 per game (somewhere in between an indie or a triple A title cost), that’s potentially $48,750 dollars from video content alone in the US per month.
And that's just traffic coming from Google, it doesn't include those who search directly into YouTube.
We tend to look at Steam as the gold label; they’ve got discovery at the forefront of their mind. There is every type of game category under the sun for users to browse on their website. But, why is it then when I search for games like minecraft or survival games for PC that Valve’s (Steam) YouTube channel is nowhere to be seen?
Currently dominating the top spots for those videos are brands such as Logitech who are not directing any traffic to any game stores or other content creators who are more interested in bringing more people into their community rather than sending traffic to gaming platforms.
Competing on price and exclusivity cannot be sustained as new players enter the game store arena. Focusing on addressing all touchpoints of your Fan’s Ecosystems will see you as their go-to resource, rather than what’s the best offer at the time.
There’s a lot that search insights can teach you about your audience and inform your content strategy to ultimately grow and nurture your community more. This isn’t the only role of SEO for your games store but rather one example. There are hundreds of thousands of searches that require a different kind of response that competitors could be outranking you for, resulting in another missed opportunity to connect with your fans.
A solid SEO strategy can increase your ROI, the level of engagement on your site, how to structure your site and features to include on your product pages that will ensure users are getting everything they want from you and don’t need to go looking elsewhere.