Why Tags Matter: How to Use Steam Tags for Marketing Success

Do tags on Steam matter for marketing? Here’s the truth, tags on Steam help potential customers find your indie game amongst the millions of other titles on the platform. Without the right tags, your game is unlikely to be seen by its target audience, or not. So it’s essential to choose them carefully. Luckily you found this guide on how to use steam tags for marketing success!

First, let’s start at the beginning; what are Steam tags?

What are tags?

Tags are keywords that describe your game and help it be found by potential customers searching for games like yours. Each game on Steam must have at least 5 tags but no more than 20. You should aim to use as many relevant tags as possible to ensure that your game appears when people search for games like yours.

How do tags work on Steam?

The Steam platform uses the tags to help users discover relevant games when they:

  • Browse genres & categories
  • Search with tags
  • Explore tag-driven recommendations
  • Utilize tag-driven dynamic Collections in the Library and more

Games tags don’t need to match the users’ search exactly because Steam’s algorithms know how tags relate. For example, take the following three tags: RTS, Real-Time, and Strategy. If a game is tagged RTS but not Real-Time and Strategy, Steam knows to include games tagged with RTS along with “Real-Time” and “Strategy”.

Do tags on Steam matter for marketing?

Steam tags alone won’t make your game successful, but doing a poor job of choosing tags will harm your marketing efforts by making your game hard to find. The fundamental purpose of a tag is to help people find your game by describing it accurately. But not all tags are created equally.

Most Popular Steam Tags 2023 via Indie DB
Most popular tags on Steam in 2023 via Indie DB

As of writing, there are 442 different tags to choose from on Steam. Since 2012 the platform has regularly added new tags to help better categorize games. As you can see from the above screenshot, the most popular tag is Indie, with over 69 thousand titles in this category. The full list of tags is available to browse on both Steam and Indie DB.

Tips For Choosing the Best Tags For Your Game

With such a large list of tags to choose from, it can feel intimidating to choose the right tags for your game. So, here are some top tips for choosing the best tags for your project.

Avoid Saturated Tags

Steam has a list of top-level category tags that include items such as Indie, Action, and Adventure. The trouble is that you’re game is unlikely to rise to the top of these categories because they’re so popular. Additionally, I’d argue that the Indie tag has no value since it tells us nothing of substance about a game, and indies make most games released on Steam anyway.

Here’s a complete list of the Top-level Genres tags from Steam:

Top-level Genres tags on Steam

Take the time to dive deeper into the tags steam makes available and find a sub-Genera, that makes sense for your game. For example, if you have an Action game with adventure or RPG elements, it would make sense to nitch down and choose the Action-Adventure or Action-RPG tags.

Choose Descriptive & Low Competition Tags

In addition to avoiding saturated tags, it’s also important to choose descriptive tags with low competition. A low competition tag is a tag that’s used by fewer games. Descriptive tags help potential customers understand what your game is about and whether it is relevant to their interests. Low competition tags are tags that are used by fewer games, which can help your game stand out. But don’t be tempted to include tags that are not relevant to your game just because it’s low competition.

Avoid Tags That Can Repulse Users

Certain tags can have negative connotations. For example, tags like “blood” or “gore” may attract some players looking for FPS or horror games, but they may also repulse other players looking for something a bit lighter, such as an arcade-style shooter. Generally, it’s best to avoid using tags unless it’s a core part of your game.

Avoid Random Low-Value Tags

It’s tempting to use a long list of tags to use all 20 slots available, but don’t throw in random or low-value tags that don’t accurately describe your game, just to make up the numbers. For example, adding tags like “casual,” “atmospheric,” “colourful,” or “cinematic” may not provide much value in terms of helping potential customers discover your game. These types of tags don’t provide much value for users as they don’t give them any insight into your game.

Review Your Steam Tags Regularly

To ensure that your tags are benefiting your game in search and accurately reflecting the content and themes of your game, it’s important to review your tags regularly. This can help you identify any outdated or irrelevant tags that may be harming your discoverability, as well as any new or emerging tags that could be beneficial to your game. To help with this process, you can use the Steam Tag Wizard to get recommendations for tags based on your game’s title, description, and genre. By regularly reviewing your tags and making data-driven decisions about which tags to use, you can optimize your tags for maximum discoverability and help potential customers find your game.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, Steam tags matter for marketing because they help you attract the right audience and differentiate your game. If you’re not using tags to your advantage, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to boost your game’s visibility on the platform.

Differentiate your game with tags by including unique or niche tags that accurately describe your game and its features. This will help potential customers quickly understand your game and why it’s worth their time.

Finally, don’t forget to monitor the tags people use to find your game. By understanding how tags work, you can use them to your advantage and ensure that your game is seen by the people who are most likely to enjoy it.

Aron Marriott-Smith

Aron is a hobbyist indie game developer. Before building this website, Aron spent many years helping businesses market their products and services.

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