Google Play Introduces Premium Subscription Service

August 2nd, 2019

Google Play Introduces Premium Subscription Service
David Quinn

by David Quinn

VP of Strategy & Partnerships at Gummicube, Inc.

Google Play is preparing to launch a new subscription service, which will provide users with access to premium Android apps and all in-app purchases for a monthly fee. While the Play Pass service is still underway, it may create future opportunities for app developers to reach new audiences when supported with App Store Optimization.

Play Pass

Play Pass is an upcoming subscription service for Google Play. According to early information, it will provide access to “hundreds of premium apps and games without ads, download fees or in-app purchases” for $5 a month. Screenshots show it will support mobile games like “Stardew Valley” and “Marvel Pinball,” along with apps such as premium music players and fitness trackers.

While the idea of subscription-based mobile gaming sounds similar to Apple’s Arcade, there are a few key differences. First is that Play Pass provides access to more than just games, as it will encompass apps from a variety of categories.

Additionally, it features apps that are already available on the store, instead of Apple Arcade's new games designed specifically for the subscription service. In other words, developers can continue to sell their apps on the Play Store as normal or make them available as part of Play Pass.

What Developers Should Consider

While Google has confirmed that it is testing the Play Pass service, it is not yet known when it will go live. Developers have time to weigh their options and perform market research.

As Android users tend to spend less overall than iOS users, for both in-app purchases and on paid apps in general, a subscription option may encourage users to install an app. If users avoided an app due to its cost, they may want to get it if they can do so without needing to spend on the purchase or micro-transactions. At the same time, if an app profits heavily from micro-transactions, the developers will want to weigh the potential gains or losses from users accessing everything for a subscription fee.

Additionally, further research will be required to see the impact Play Pass’s launch has on an app’s optimization.

Play Pass and ASO

Once Play Pass becomes available, developers will want to pay attention to how it impacts competitor apps' keyword and category rankings. These changes can influence a developer’s decisions regarding Play Pass and how their apps are optimized.

It is possible that apps available through Play Pass will be able to reach a new audience. Users may subscribe to Play Pass and seek other apps they can get with it, even if they previously avoided paid apps. In such cases, developers will want to call out all the features users with Play Pass can access without paying extra, such as premium content and purchasable items.

However, that could also vary depending on the kind of app – users of fitness apps may have very different app subscription habits than mobile game users. Developers should run tests and research in their markets to determine the most effective strategy.

When Play Pass rolls out, App Store Optimization software can help identify its impact. If apps available through the subscription see an increase in keyword rankings due to their Play Pass accessibility, ASO software can identify the increases and track the changes to see if they last.

Being available through Play Pass alone does not guarantee an increase in downloads, but apps can utilize their creative sets and descriptions to emphasize the benefits of subscribing. This will also require competitor research and analysis with App Store Optimization software. ASO software can help developers see what creative sets competitors are using or have used to see identify what they’re testing.

Developers will need to run Google Play Experiments to determine if calling out Play Pass can lead to higher conversions; this must be tested and measured after Play Pass launches.

Researching competitor trends and changes is important for creating an effective App Store Optimization strategy. Play Pass may shake up how certain premium apps rank and convert, but ASO software can help optimize an app whether the developer decides to make it available through Play Pass or not.

Want more information regarding App Store Optimization? Contact Gummicube and we’ll help get your strategy started.

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