We've been hard at work expanding Steam’s Events and Announcements system to enable integrated, eye-catching communications with your players. In the course of developing, launching, updating, and operating your game, you probably have interesting news to share, or moments you want players to be a part of. To that end, we’ve enriched your outreach tools, providing a centralized place to describe events about your game, and enhanced how those events can be surfaced to your audience.An example of an event detail page
Before you post an event or announcement, make sure the account you're going to post from meets the criteria below. Also, keep in mind that the account posting will be shown as the author, along with any public-facing parts of that profile (e.g., avatar, name, comments).
- Make sure the account is a member of your publisher group with partner access to the product in question. More information on how to set up users and privileges can be found here.
- Alternatively, admins and officers of the product's associated Steam Community hub are allowed to post announcements by default. Group permissions can also be changed to control who can post announcements.
- You'll need to make sure that your individual Steam account is not 'limited'. If your own account is limited, you won't be able to create community groups or request to join an existing group. Click here for details on limited accounts.
Where are announcements shown?
Depending on the type of announcement you create, it will be visible through the following channels:
- Store page - The last two announcements tied to a product are featured below the associated DLC section on the product's store page.
- Community hub - From the associated community hub, announcements will be featured in the main feed, as well as exclusively from the News tab.
- Steam Library detail page - With the new Steam Library (coming September 17th), your game's improved Library page will show the recent events and announcements you've posted. Additionally, you can provide a spotlight image to visually call out the event on your page.
- Steam Library home page - Also as part of the Steam Library update, your events and announcements can surface at the top of your players' Library homepage.
- Activity feed - All users who are following a product will receive its announcements in their activity feeds.
- Workshop hub - Tagging an announcement as 'Workshop' will cause it to show on your product's workshop hub.
- RSS feed - Steam automatically generate an RSS feed for each game, which you can use to post announcements to your own site, social media, or elsewhere. The URL format looks like this: https://steamcommunity.com/games/489830/rss
Creating New Events
To create a new event or announcement, you can follow the same paths you're accustomed to:
- From your app landing page in Steamworks, click your Hub Admin panel:
To create a new event, you'll first be asked to select a category and sub-category. This is important for a few reasons:
- This categorization will not only impact where and how the event shows up, but also help players understand the event’s functional context. Not every type of event needs to be presented in the same way to players, so we’ve designed the system to accommodate everything from small patch notes to the biggest update of the year.
- Some types of events (such as livestreams or in-game discounts) have end dates, so selecting that type of event will allow you to specify when the promotion ends, and prompt the event to stop appearing.
We know that many events will fall into multiple categories at the same time. Just try to pick the category that best matches the primary elements of your event.
To help understand the impact different categories have on where and how an event appears, you'll see a preview of the event's visibility when you mouse over each sub-category.
Once you've picked a category, you'll find a robust set of tools to create and customize your event. This includes a new type of header image at the top of your event (which gets used in a few other places), and a snappy preview mode that lets you quickly switch between editing and previewing your event detail page.
- Upload and embed images - You can upload images to be hosted on our servers, or you can link to images you have hosted elsewhere. JPGs, PNGs, and animated GIFs are the formats to use. Images included in the body of your event will appear as max of 800px wide.
- Embed YouTube videos - You can insert one or more YouTube videos and specify how you'd like them to be presented on the page.
- Automatic link widgets - When you include a link to specific websites, the page will automatically turn them into a preview of that link. Valid links include:
- YouTube videos
- Steam Workshop files or other shared files on Steam such as screenshots, guides, or artwork
- Twitter posts
- Links to another game's Steam store page
- Rich text formatting options - Section headers, tables, and lists are always solid choices.
- Start and End Dates - You'll notice that some events have both a start and end date. This allows us to properly archive certain kinds of events after their time has elapsed. For example, if you post an event about a limited-time offer for in-game items, you would want that event to be archived once your promotion is over so players aren't confused or dissatisfied when they assume the promotion is still happening.
- Staging events ahead of time - You'll notice visibility settings that allow you to stage an event in advance, and not have it appear until the date of the event arrives (or some other specific date you want it to appear).
- HTML importing - If you prefer to use HTML, or have an existing HTML version of an announcement, you can use the HTML import option. This will convert your existing document to use bbcode, which is supported by our announcement system.
While you are preparing an event, you can hit 'Save' any time at the bottom of the event editor to save your work in progress. This is saved as a draft until you go through the 'Publish' steps to make your event live on Steam.
Events and Announcements supports full localization of all text fields and images. You can provide translated versions of your post and images, and Steam will display the right version to each user based on their language. If a particular language is not provided, Steam will fall back to showing the English version to that player.
Your complete set of localizations can be uploaded via CSV for streamlined importing. Please see the CSV export options at the top of each event for proper formatting.
Once you are happy with your event page, you can hit the big 'Publish' button to make your event publicly visible. This will allow the event to start showing up to players based on the visibility settings you have chosen. It can appear immediately to make an upcoming event visible to players, or only when the event begins, or on a specific date you want it to become visible.
Editing an Event
You can make edits to your event at any time if you need to adjust the contents. Note that once you have published an event, any subsequent changes you save may appear immediately to players (still dependent on visibility settings you specified).
Some things to note:
- Start dates - We have a few rules around start dates to ensure notifications and visibility don’t conflict and create logical contradictions in the code:
- You cannot publish an event with the start time set in the past.
- You cannot move a start time that has already passed, as this would cause multiple notifications that may annoy Steam users.
- We don't use the start time of an event to determine whether a user has seen the event in various places on Steam, rather we use the first time the event is visible as the post-time. This post-time will be used by Steam algorithms to determine whether a Steam customer has "seen" the event or not.
- Moving the start time of an event might confuse customers, as calendar entries a player manually creates or downloads may become out-of-sync with the actual event.
- End dates - you can always edit the end date on an active event to end it immediately, or conversely, extend the event.
Deleting an event
In a worst-case scenario, you can delete an event. The delete button is in the upper-right corner of the blue bar you see while editing an event.
Developer usage rules
Events and announcements are powerful tools to reach players in your community in new ways. There are a few scenarios where we don’t see customer benefit from using events and announcements.
- Using inappropriate content - Content in the event should be appropriate relative to the settings for your product. In other words, if your product is marketed as all-ages, don't include sexual or violent content in the announcement. Furthermore, all announcement assets should be safe for work.
- Promoting unrelated products - If an event or announcement is primarily about a product other than the one you are posting from, you should make sure it is marked as a Cross Promotion.
- Promoting other versions of the product - Events and announcements about other versions of your product should only be made when the product is similar in functionality to the Steam version (eg. no advertising a better version that is available elsewhere). In all cases, these should be tagged as Cross Promotions, unless that other version of the product makes the Steam version better (eg. release of cross platform saves between multiple versions of your product).
- Miscategorizing events - In general, you should pay close attention to the category selection when creating an event/announcement. This setting controls visibility to ensure that the correct audience is seeing the content they would expect.
Announcements are a powerful tool to communicate with anyone using your product. They can also help you reach new players. Like any tool, following best practices will help you get the most out of it.Click here
to see examples of how events and announcements appear in the Steam store, community, and library.
- Have a goal
Having a clear goal in mind will help you to create meaningful and important announcements, and inform your measurement of their effectiveness. Take time to consider whether an announcement is the best way to accomplish your goal. For example, if the goal of an announcement is to reduce player confusion over an in-game feature, try instead to address the root of the confusion in-game.
- Listen to your players
Listen to your community and organize all of their feedback before communicating. Consider how different player types will interpret your announcements. Pay close attention to what elements of your announcements create interest and quality feedback, so that you can repeat those elements in future posts.
- Treat announcements as an extension of your product
So you've decided to create a product for public consumption. As such, respect and prioritize how you talk about your game as highly as the nuts-and-bolts programming. Communications deserve the same creative energy as in-game design. Work collaboratively when writing announcements - everyone working on the product should have input into what you are communicating to players.
- Pair announcements with updates
Product updates are a prime use case for announcements. If you are posting an announcement about one of your bigger game updates, you can also use an Update Visibility Round.
You can read more about how to create successful product updates here.
- Reward your players
Your team is constantly listening to players - use that to your advantage by rewarding fans and generating further interest. Some rewards to keep in mind:
- Highlighting fan art and screenshots submitted by your fans.
- Referencing your community's memes.
- Teasing future content (this is also a great way to generate feedback and excitement before you actually work on the update).
- Balance outreach like you'd balance your game
When announcements are used properly, players anticipate hearing about your product. Part of this anticipation is created by having an exciting product, but communicating selectively also plays an important role.
It may be tempting to post a lot of announcements and be involved in every discussion. If you don't have a reason to post an announcement, don't post one - constant communication just to fill space risks player fatigue. Instead, take a step back and listen.