Tag Archives: Google Play

Early Access Apps

Google Play Launches Early Access for Apps

Typically, beta tests of apps are released to a select group before the app becomes fully available. Google Play has allowed developers to release beta versions of their apps before, but is now giving them the chance to release their apps as early access versions for users to install.

Early access apps allow users to install and use an app or mobile game before its full release, as per the app’s instructions. This is separate although not exclusive from beta versions of apps. Beta apps, which Google Play has offered before, are experimental versions of currently released apps, made for testing before being made available to the public.

Early access users may also be automatically enrolled in the beta program for an app once it launches, so there is crossover between the two options. The biggest difference between the two is whether or not the app has been released.

With early access, users can discover something new, although they are still technically participating in an incomplete app. This can benefit developers or brands with an existing userbase- they will be able to tap into these engaged users who will be excited to try an early version of a new app or feature.

Mobile games from well-known developers will particularly benefit from this, as it will not only help find and fix bugs before the game goes live, but it will build buzz around the game among their fans. When the public version does go live, there will already be players ready who have tried the early release version or heard about it from friends that have.

Beta versions, on the other hand, allow dedicated users to test upcoming versions before an update rolls out. While they may not be necessary for minor bug fixes or small new features, it will be a useful tool for testing how well large new updates and features work as well as receiving feedback and determining how well users respond. There have been cases where updates to an app displeased its users to the point where they stopped using it and moved to a competing app – beta versions can help identify pain points that would cause a mass user migration and nip the problem in the bud.

Users can sign up for early access versions of apps from the Google Play Store. Early access apps can be found at the end of the store category list, available in a new dedicated section. This will also help with app discovery, as it places upcoming apps in a new section for users to search through and find apps relevant to their interests in.

Beta versions can be found directly from the app pages. Users can also see what apps offer beta versions by going to “My apps and games” then “Beta” from the menu.

If your app is ready for testing but not ready to support too many users, developers can limit the number of users that can try early access or beta versions of their apps. Not all users will be able to access them, although they can receive notifications if new spaces open up.

After using an early access or beta version, users can provide developers with feedback directly from the app page. Unlike reviews, this feedback will only be available to the developer, so they can identify and fix issues without impacting their ratings or leaving negative reviews for the public. In fact, users with early access or beta versions cannot leave public reviews until they have the publicly released version installed.

For developers looking to get feedback and test their apps or updates before a public release, the early access versions will prove as beneficial as beta versions have. If your app or mobile game needs testing before going live, this could be a good way to receive important user feedback.

Apple VS Google Revenue

Apple App Store vs Google Play: Whose Revenue is Higher?

We’re over half-way through 2018 and revenues are on the rise for the app economy. Between the two app stores, though, which one is seeing higher profits? More importantly, why?

In the first half of the year, Apple’s App Store brought in nearly double the revenue of the Google Play Store, in spite of seeing fewer downloads overall. However, this is not bad news for Google Play by any extent (its own profits remain at a comfortable $11.8 billion), and there are several factors behind this gap.

First and foremost, Android users can get apps from more than just the Google Play Store. While it is the most common storefront, the Samsung Store or Amazon Appstore also sell apps for Android devices, whereas iOS devices can only get their apps off of the Apple App Store.

This discrepancy is particularly noteworthy in certain overseas markets. For instance, there are multiple stores selling Android apps, including Myapp, Huawei App Market and Xiaomi App Store. While Android users there outnumber iOS users significantly, this is not reflected in the Google Play Store’s sales numbers.

Additionally, we need to look at the growth of each store. The app market continues to grow at a steady rate, although Google Play is seeing slightly more, at a 29% growth compared to Apple’s 26%.

Apple’s lead over Google Play has been consistent. In 2017, Apple’s App Store brought in $38.5 billion, compared to Google Play’s $20.1 billion. The factors driving this division have remained mostly unchanged, although both stores are on track to surpass those earnings by the end of 2018.

App profits are in part being driven by subscription-based services, such as Netflix and Pandora. However, mobile games remain responsible for the largest portion of revenue for both app stores, representing 78% of the total spent across the two.

So, what does this mean for developers? Simply put, it’s a good sign for both stores. Profits are on the rise, and what Google Play lacks compared to Apple’s raw numbers, it makes up for in growth. Consumer spending does tend to be higher among iOS users, so if a developer can only make an app for one store, that may be their best choice.

With that said, there is no need to design an app solely for one store. Both App Stores are successful and growing at a fine rate, so app developers can and should develop apps for both. There are numerous tools for developing apps on both platforms, so developers should try to reach a wider audience by releasing across devices.

When releasing apps on either App Store, it is important to remember best practices for both stores. Each store has different requirements for creatives, different ways of storing keywords and different best practices for descriptions. By using a solid App Store Optimization strategy for both stores, developers can ensure they’re getting as much as they can out of this ever-growing industry.

It’s not a matter of Apple versus Google. Each one is seeing tremendous profits, and although Apple’s may be higher, both are strong indicators that the app economy will only continue to grow.

Instant Apps

Instant Apps: What Are They & Will They Benefit Developers?

Have you ever wanted to try an app before downloading it? Developers are constantly looking at new strategies and tools that will help them improve conversion and retention, but many suffer from users that download their app and either open it once and uninstall, or never even open it.

In order to improve conversion rates, Google released Instant Apps, also known as Google Play Instant. This feature, first introduced at Google I/O 2016, allows users to try an app or game before installing it. At the Developer’s Keynote at Google I/O 2018, the tech company announced their latest plans for Instant Apps, and that the feature is now available on 1.2 billion devices worldwide running Android 5.0 or higher.

InstantApps1

The number of apps annually downloaded is steadily increasing, and in 2017 alone, 82 billion apps were downloaded on the Google Play Store. Similarly, the number of developers that reached 1 million installs grew by 35% since 2017. Developers that immediately jumped at the opportunity to utilize Instant Apps are surely a contributing factor to the numbers above, but is there any real promise that they’ll benefit developers in the long-run?

Are They Available to Everyone?

When Google first announced the concept to developers, some questioned whether they could be made for all apps or only a select few. They released the Instant Apps SDK to all developers in May 2017, and gave game developers a gift of a closed beta right before GDC 2018. Six games sported a new “Try Now” button right next to their “Install” button. The placement of “Try Now” is a strategic maneuver to encourage users to demo the game before deciding to download. As of now, Instant Apps are available for all mobile games.

Instant Apps Candy Crush

On May 10th, 2018, Google later stated that they would be integrating ARCore into Instant Apps. The example Google provided was for shopping apps and detailed how users can operate their device’s camera to look at products. Looking at the shoppable item then displays a link to an Instant App that would allow them to purchase items without installing the app.

The possibilities are endless with Instant Apps, especially now that AR will be integrated into the experience. Even though AR will most likely be used through search more often than not, it still shows that Instant Apps are beneficial in other areas other than the Google Play Store to improve app discovery. While Instant Apps seem favorable for users, can they help developers engage a larger audience?

How Will Instant Apps Help Developers?

The concept of Instant Apps is a promising one, and Google has enticed developers with success stories of apps that have already begun utilizing it. Apps like Hollar and Wego have increased their purchase conversion by 20% and 27% respectively thanks to Google Play Instant. Additionally, game developers like King and Hothead Games have also improved their player acquisition by using the Instant App APK.

Google has also been testing Google Play Instant with AdWords. They revealed at their annual conference that their ads have driven 10 billion app installs, and that more users are engaging with playable ads. These examples demonstrate that Instant Apps can help developers increase user engagement and revenue. Given the level of competition on the Google Play Store, it only makes sense for developers to create an Instant App for themselves to boost their bottom line and expand their audience.

Should Developers Make Instant Apps?

Being able to use and play an app or game without installing it sounds beneficial to users because they won’t need to worry about using up precious space on their devices. The concept of Instant Apps is still also increasingly tempting to developers as it can ultimately help to increase user engagement, session duration, conversion rates and more.

Instant Apps are incredibly beneficial to developers and users alike, making it key to success on the ever-growing Google Play Store. If you’re an Android developer, you should consider using Google Play Instant to aid your ASO efforts.

The Impact of the Feature Graphic for Google Play

The Impact of the Feature Graphic for Google Play

Visual assets are an app’s key tool for increasing conversions in the app stores. The icon is the first thing a user sees when browsing through the Google Play Store and screenshots are important to call out the apps core features, but the feature graphic is equally important.

For Google Play, the feature graphic should not be underestimated. While icons initially attract users, the feature graphic is what drives conversion home. Once a potential user lands on the app page, the feature graphic appears at the top of the screen, acting as the banner for the app. Paired with a persuasive description, this is where the developer has the opportunity to convince users to click “Install.”

However, developers should tread the creative process carefully. Curating the perfect collection of visual assets has a direct correlation to good App Store Optimization. To help increase conversions, developers should keep feature graphic best practices in mind.

Simplicity and Clarity
When designing a feature graphic, remember that a user will only spend a matter of seconds interpreting an image. The graphic should provide a clear understanding of what the app does at a glance while catching users’ attention.

Take Poshmark’s feature graphic for example. They manage to keep their feature graphic clean while sprinkling different clothing items around their logo to illustrate a clear retail theme.

Poshmark Developers should identify a clear theme in their feature graphic to ensure that it is digestible. Keep the graphic clean, as a busy or overcrowded image will only distract from its core message. A user should be able to identify the theme and purpose of the app almost instantly when they see the feature graphic.

Logo Treatment
The placement and size of the logo is important. While it may be tempting to place the logo wherever it feels convenient, its placement needs to complement the image. It should not be so large to where it distracts from the artwork, but large enough to be instantly recognizable.

Consider how Dungeon Boss’s logo is positioned in the top center and contrasts against the backgrounds and characters. It doesn’t distract from the character artwork but stands out on its own to create a seamless balance between the two.

Dungeon Boss

Complementary
The purpose of the feature graphic is to complement the icon and screenshots while sending a clear message of the app’s core functionality. It is the combination of visual appeal and information that draws users to the app and gives them a reason to install it, so the graphic must work with the rest of the app page as a whole to work properly.

For instance, Hopper’s feature graphic naturally correlates with their icon by employing a subtle gradient that builds towards the icon’s bright red color. Not only that, the feature graphic is able to tell a bigger story by integrating a clear air travel theme. In Hopper’s case, they also incorporated a call to action, which attributes to conversion as well.

Hopper

When developers design their feature graphic, it is important make it complement the app’s other visual assets. Otherwise, a graphic that may work well on its own will clash and detract from the app as a whole.

Key Takeaways
Feature Graphics in the Google Play Store play a crucial role in converting users. While icons and screenshots lure users to an app’s homepage, the feature graphic helps with that final push to convert them. However, they shouldn’t be overlooked due to their simplicity. Creating the perfect feature graphic entails relaying a clear theme with stunning artwork while still complementing the app’s other creatives.

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Keep in mind that Google is always making changes to the Play Store. Recently, we spotted a new update that might impact the feature graphic.

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Google Play Metadata Rules Updated for Improved User Experience

Google has updated its metadata rules in order to create an improved experience for users. The new rules outline suggestions based on appropriate content, as well as best practices for highlighting your app’s best features in the Google Play store.

Many of the new updates simply reflect what Google has been saying all along – don’t lie about the functionality of your app, don’t stuff unrelated keywords into your description, and don’t use the names of other apps out of context.

In the below screenshot, Google outlines how some developers try to scam their way to rankings by stuffing inappropriate keywords into their app descriptions.

playpolicy-spam01

In case the above points aren’t clear, Google outlines specifically what they are not looking to see in a description:

  1. User testimonials
  2. Excessive details
  3. Misleading references to other apps or products
  4. Further misleading references
  5. Repetitive, excessive, or irrelevant keywords

When writing a Google Play description, it is important that you use keywords that are relevant for your app. Placing those keywords in a Google Play-friendly location of your description, such as at the front of a sentence, can also help you pick up rankings, no keyword-stuffing needed.

Google then goes on to list examples of inappropriate text, images, or videos within your app listing:

  • Imagery or videos with sexually suggestive content. Avoid suggestive imagery containing breasts, buttocks, genitalia or other fetishized anatomy or content, whether illustrated or real.
  • Language inappropriate for a general audience. Avoid profane and vulgar language in your app listing. If it is a critical element of your app, you must censor its presentation within the Store listing.
  • Graphic violence prominently depicted in app icons, promotional images, or videos.
  • Depictions of the illicit usage of drugs. Even EDSA (Educational, Scientific, or Artistic) content must be suitable for all audience within the Store listing.

Finally, Google lists off several best practices to adhere to when crafting your app listing.

  • Highlight what’s great about your app. Share interesting and exciting facts about your app to help users understand what makes you app special.
  • Make sure that your app’s title and description accurately describe your app’s functionality.
  • Avoid using repetitive or unrelated keywords or references.

These are just a few of the tips that Google had in store. To see the rest, head over to their Metadata page.

For the most part, these tips go along with what ASO experts have recommended. Keep the focus on your app, not on testimonials or competing app names, and Google should have no problem with your app’s metadata.