A Google Play algorithm reveal

There’s an interesting Google Play video in the 2016 I/O. It covers a lot of thing about how a developer should use Google Play. But the the most juicy part is the last part, some reveal about how Google Play algorithm works. They usually so secretive about that.

So I’m just gonna list some of the parts that is already familiar for most Android dev. And dive a little deeper for the juicy part.

  • Use staged rollout to update your apps. It will save you a lot of pain
  • If you have lots of update (apk, description, screenshoot, etc) use timed publishing. It will batch all of the changes and publish it at the same time when you click the publish now button.
  • Use alpha and beta channel to test your app and understand your market.

New Stuff

  • It will be easier for user to join beta testing. It will be available from store listing page in Google play and Early access section for early adopter
  • The beta tester can give feedback through the comment like regular review. But it will be private so other user won’t see
  • User review enhancement. You can see some of it in my previous post
  • There will be Play Console mobile app. You can download it from here
  • User acquirement report enhancement
  • Multiple concurrent localized experiment (up to 5)
  • Price template for managing the price of your app & IAP easier
  • Country specific rounding price

Best Practice For Experimenting

Here’s the best practice for experimenting with your Google Play icon, description, video, screen shoot order. If you do it right, you can gain a significant install raise.

  • Conduct testing based on hypothesis
  • Test one thing at a time
  • Run long enough for statistical significance
  • Pay attention to the result banner
  • Minor tweak can be inconclusive, be bold
  • Iterate

Go Global

Global apps grow 2.4x faster than localized market app. If you planning to go global here’s some tip

  • Use the google play tools above and experiment to understand your growth market
  • Localize != Translate. There’s lots of other things that you can do to make your app fit the local market.
  • Test & Iterate


This is the most juicy part. This is how discovery works on Google Play. This is very important! Because no matter how good your apps, it’s useless if the user can’t find it.

The top 3 ways of user to find app in google play is

  1. Play Search
  2. Recommendations
  3. Top Charts

50% play search is for app title. So it’s important to name your app simple and unique enough so it won’t be confused with similarly named app.

Large part of search is also based on categories and keywords. So it’s important to put your app in the correct category and be thorough with the description of your app. Make sure it contains all the right keyword.

And also ads, ads works for play search :D

Google play will recommend a user by some of this key components:

  • Metadata
  • App quality
  • User store activity
  • Web knowledge

Top chart key components are:

  • Install
  • Revenue
  • Time since published

Here’s how the chart algorithm works:

  1. Top Free/Paid

Based primarily on install of the last 7 days, Generated daily

2. Top New Free/Paid

Same as Top Free/Paid but bias to new app that has been launched in Google Play for the last 30 days.

3. Trending

App that move faster than google play prediction in the previous 30 days

4. Top Grossing

Same as Top Free/Paid but based on revenue, not install

5. Featuring

Featuring can be manually curated or automatically. The key component for featuring is quality and trending.

For the whole video session, you can watch it here:


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