15 December 2016

Tips to be better found and discovered on Google Play

Posted by Andrew Ahn, Product Manager, Google Play

We're constantly working on ways to make Google Play a great place for users to discover apps and games they'll love. We know this is crucial to most developers ongoing success. There are steps you can take to ensure your app is primed for success – that's why we're sharing a reminder of some of our top tips for getting your app discovered on Google Play.

Build for quality

First, build for quality. Android users expect high-quality apps. App quality directly influences the long-term success of your app - in terms of installs, user rating and reviews, engagement, and user retention. These are some of the factors that go into our search and discovery systems that help discern what apps to recommend and surface across our Google Play experiences. When building your app, check against the quality criteria, and use what you need from the material design guidelines to make sure you are delivering a highly usable experience. Also, be sure to test your app for functional quality. Opt-in to the pre-launch report for your alpha and beta apps in the Google Play Developer Console and you'll receive a report for each APK showing how it performs on real devices. This will help you identify crashes and other issues before you release your app.


Example: Designing for high usability through Google Material Design.

Request only the permissions you need

Second, be considerate on which permission settings to enable for your app. We see that there are some apps that ask for very sensitive permissions, even when the app doesn't use them. (For example, a camera app asking for read and write permissions to call logs.) Excessive app permissions may dissuade users from installing your app. In fact, one study, in which users were shown two unbranded apps with similar ratings that had the same functionality but different sets of permission requests, showed that users were, on average, 3 times more likely to install the app with fewer permissions requests. And a similar study showed that users are 1.7 times more likely, on average, to select the application with fewer permission requests. The rule of thumb is to enable permissions that are only essential to your app. Read the best practices for app permissions.


Chart: Distribution of permission groups use across Arcade Games category.
If you're building an arcade game, you many only need a very few permission settings, if any.

Listen and respond to your users

Lastly, be attentive to user feedback. It's ultimately the users who drive our search and discovery systems. When you hear user feedback about bugs or other issues, we recommend engaging with the feedback and, if needed, updating your app in a timely manner. Having an up-to-date app that reflects your user's feedback can help you gain more installs, engagement, and higher ratings. Beta testing is a good way to get feedback from real users before launch. You can also check the ratings and reviews section of the Developer Console to see an analysis of what users are saying about your app and how that is affecting your rating compared to similar apps.

Review benchmarks in the Developer Console uses machine learning to give you insights about what users are saying about your app and how it affects your rating.

Google Play strives to help users find and discover the most safe, high quality, useful, and relevant apps. Building apps that put user's interest first will help you be successful in Google Play. For more tips and best practices for building a successful app business on Google Play, get the Playbook for Developers app.

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