Cell phone with Google Play next to productivity icons
Cell phone with Google Play next to productivity icons

Tips to make 2020 your best year yet on Google Play

Start the new year right with best practices to grow your business, release with confidence, and access valuable insights in the Play Console.

Posted by Linda Bao, Product Marketing Manager for the Google Play Console

Happy New Year! Ready to make 2020 your best year yet? Get off to a strong start with these tips and best practices for making your app or game an even bigger success on Google Play this year.

  1. Resolve to improve your app’s performance and quality

Review your Android vitals dashboard to see how your app is performing on core vitals metrics including crash rate, ANR rate, excessive wakeups, and stuck partial wake locks in the background. The Play Console can even send you an email when we detect a sudden spike in a vital. To get these notifications, select Notification settings near the top right of the Overview page.

To see how you measure up to others in your category, create a custom peer group. The benchmark data here can help you decide whether you should invest more in fixing performance issues or app size. Once you’ve assessed your metrics, you can follow these best practices to improve your app quality and boost discoverability.

Left hand holding a cell phone with icons in the background
Left hand holding a cell phone with icons in the background

2. Modernize distribution with the Android App Bundle
Switch to the Android App Bundle to help simplify your releases, shrink your download size, and ready your app or game for next-generation delivery features. Replacing the monolithic APK, the app bundle is foundational to our vision for modern app and game distribution. Over 360K apps and games have made the switch, with an average size savings of 20% compared to a universal APK. Want to know how much you could save? See what has the biggest effect on your app’s download size and compare your size against peers with the app size report.

3. Give your store listing a spring cleaning
Make sure your store listing is up to date with your latest product information and our suggested guidelines:

  • Check that your app icon is following the new specifications.
  • For videos, we recommend that you show the in-app or in-game experience, focusing on the core features and content in the first 30 seconds. We also suggest landscape orientation over portrait orientation.
  • Turn off monetization for your video and set the privacy setting to public or unlisted.
  • Make sure your feature graphic conveys the app or game experience and avoid prominent branding or app icons. Keep your focal point towards the center of the graphic and maintain a 15% buffer from all four edges.
  • For games, make sure you provide three or more 16:9 screenshots and a video — you’ll be eligible to be featured in larger collection formats, which can increase your conversion rate.

Feeling ambitious? You can also create custom store listings and run A/B tests on your store listing to optimize your content.

4. Take a lower-risk, higher-reward approach to your releases this year
Use one or all of our tools to help you release with confidence:

Man on the left smiling at his phone. Woman on the right is upset with her phone.
Man on the left smiling at his phone. Woman on the right is upset with her phone.

5. Make time to check your reviews and reply to your users
Have you checked in with your users lately? Take a look at your recent reviews and ratings in the Play Console to uncover themes, see what features have the greatest impact on your reviews, and more.

Don’t forget to respond to your reviews, as users appreciate making a personal connection. Your response can have a big effect on how they feel about your app. In fact, we’ve seen users update their rating by +0.7 stars on average when developers respond to their feedback. To help you get started, we provide suggested replies for reviews in English based on the content of the feedback.

6. Big launch coming up this year? Build excitement with pre-registration
If you’re planning to release a new app or game soon, consider creating a pre-registration campaign. Turning on pre-registration will make your Play store listing discoverable before you launch, allowing users to sign up to be notified once your app is live. It’s a great way to drive awareness and build anticipation for a bigger, more successful launch. You can even incentivize users with pre-registration rewards.

7. Keep your SDKs up to date
SDK developers work hard to keep their products current with the latest policy changes and security fixes, so make sure to update your app’s SDKs regularly — especially for SDKs in data-heavy categories like analytics or advertising. This is also a good time to double-check that your SDK uses HTTPS for default communication to backend servers.

8. Take a free training on store listing optimization (or sustainable growth, or monetization best practices, or…)
Want to push yourself even further this year? Sharpen your skills — or learn a brand-new one — with the Academy for App Success. Our free training platform for Android developers just celebrated its one-year anniversary, and to celebrate, we added even more bite-sized courses on everything from Android App Bundles to data analysis to policy. Take a look and see what’s new!

9. Keep the lines of communication open
Last but not least, take a second to make sure your primary account email address is up to date. That’s where we’ll send important emails about your account and updates to Google Play, so be sure it’s an inbox you check regularly.

We hope these tips and best practices help you meaningfully grow your business this year. Got any suggestions of your own? We always love to hear your feedback and ideas, so please let us know. Here’s to a great 2020 with Google Play!

Do you have thoughts on Google Play Console? Let us know in the comments below or tweet using #AskPlayDev and we’ll reply from @GooglePlayDev, where we regularly share news and tips on how to be successful on Google Play.

Google Play Apps & Games

Tips, trends, and industry thoughts for app and game…

Google Play Apps & Games Team

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Google Play Apps & Games

Tips, trends, and industry thoughts for app and game developers building businesses on Google Play.

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