Whether you are an app developer, owner, or marketer, you know that listing your app in the Google Play Store is like reaching the middle of a game. You still have to complete the remaining half. In the context of your apps, it means you need to ensure they are optimized for search and visibility and are also efficiently marketed.
To achieve this, you need to master the Google Play Console. As an app developer, you know that every Android app must be submitted to the Google Play Store through Google Play Console. It is more than just a platform to publish apps; you can use it to your advantage by analyzing customer data and ensuring your app reaches the target audience.
So, let’s dive deeper into understanding how you can use the Play Store Google Console to successfully market your app.
What does Google Play Console entail?
Google Play Console is essentially a web-based platform that app marketers and developers can use to manage their apps on the Google Play Store. This platform consists of a variety of tools and features that enable you to upload and publish your apps along with tracking and monitoring their performance, engagement, reviews, feedback, and more.
You can use this data and analysis platform to make your decisions on how to market or enhance your app. The Console provides the data directly from Google, making it a reliable source. Therefore, there are two primary target users of the Console:
- App developers who aim to develop, publish, and monitor the technical performance of their apps using different key performance indicators (KPIs).
- App marketers who want to work on Google Play Store optimization, improve conversion rates, and monitor the store performance of the apps.
The Google Play Console serves as an essential tool for any app marketer who wants to succeed on the Google Play Store. You can leverage it to assess key performance metrics and implement strategies to boost the ranking of your app in search results.
How to Use Google Play Console?
If you have an Android app you need to understand the correct process of using the Google Play Developer Console to gain the maximum audience for your app. The biggest advantage is that you don’t need technical knowledge or coding skills to use it.
Anyone can create an account, upload their app, and monitor its performance. However, you need to have a clear understanding of how each section works so that you can use it to your advantage.
Here’s a glimpse at the six key parts of the Google Play Console:
- Main dashboard
- Release management
- Grow section
- Quality section
- Monetize menu
- Policy and programs
Steps to Set Up Your Google Play Console Account
To use this platform, you need to set up a Google Play Console developer account. Follow the step-by-step process to create your profile:
Step 1: Go to the website of Google Play Console and click “Get Started.” Make sure you are signed in using your Google account. If you don’t have an account, create a new one.
Step 2: Agree to the terms and conditions and pay the one-time registration fee, if applicable.
Step 3: Fill in your developer profile details including your company name, contact details as well as payment preferences.
Step 4: Once your account is set up, you can access your Play Console account. You will be taken to the console’s dashboard where you can see the overview of your apps, performance metrics, and other sections of the Console.
Steps to Upload and Publish Your App on Google Play Console
Now that you have created your account, it’s time to publish your first app. Follow the below steps to upload and publish your app on the Google Play Console:
Step 1: To set up your first app, click the “Create Application” button on the dashboard and follow the prompts to provide information about your app.
Step 2: Select the default language for your app and provide its title.
Step 2: Fill in the store listing details. This includes your app description, screenshots, and promotional graphics.
Step 3: Choose the appropriate category and content rating for your app.
Step 4: Upload the APK file containing the code that runs the app. You also need to upload any additional files or resources relevant to your app.
Step 5: Set the pricing and distribution option for your app
After the last step, review your app details and submit to the Play Store. The Google Play team will submit your app for review. This process typically takes between a few hours to a few days, depending on the complexity of your app or any potential issues that may require resolving.
While your app is being reviewed, you can start working on the app optimization process for visibility and search in the Play Store listing. Use relevant keywords, curate compelling titles and descriptions, and use engaging screenshots and videos to highlight your app’s features and benefits.
After your app is approved, published, and optimized for search and visibility, you can start monitoring its performance metrics along with engaging with users through the aid of reviews and feedback.
How to Manage Your App on Google Play Console?
When you log in to your Google Play Console account and select your app, you get to see the main dashboard. Here, you can see your inbox messages, and an overview of your statistics, along with the left sidebar with other options.
- Main Dashboard
The main dashboard provides you with the entire overview of your app’s performance, health, and technical stability. It consists of your KPIs, store listing performances, Android vitals data, ratings, reviews overview, pre-launch services, app size, and so on. As a developer or marketer, you need to have an adequate knowledge of these aspects to utilize them to the fullest.
The left sidebar also comprises the Statistics tab where you can check the data of your app’s performance. It provides you with a report that you can export within the screen, display up to two data points, and even compare the performance with the past period.
In this section, you can also find information on performance data for your app including users, devices and install details, engagement rate, ratings, quality, monetization, pre-registration, as well as store listing performance. Filter the different sections according to your goals and preferences to understand your app statistics.
Pay close attention to user acquisition and loss, device acquisition and loss along user engagement which comprises evaluating your daily active users (DAU), monthly active users (MAU), and monthly returning users.
If you select “Users,” “Devices,” or “Store listing performance” categories, you can also segment the data for “all, new and returning users.” Once you select the categories that you want to check, you can add additional segmentation layers that can be viewed by country or region, Android version, device, device type, language, app version, and carrier.
You can also compare your apps with other apps of the same category using the “Compare to Peers” tab. Here, you can get details on growth and conversion rates. Inside the peer group, you can use store listing acquisition rates, audience growth rate or loss change, user engagement, and monetization value.
Furthermore, you can evaluate peer groups in two ways. The first way is to identify primary peer groups to compare your app’s performance against apps with similar characteristics like genre, size, and user ratings. The second way is to compare your app’s performance against a larger set of apps in the same category.
Do not become overwhelmed with the number of options and different categories in this section. Focus on the KPIs that you think are the most relevant for your app and make data-driven decisions accordingly.
- Publishing Overview
This section provides an overview of all the changes made to your app. It allows you to control the timing of certain changes that you send for review or publication. Here, you can check the changes that have been made, are in review, or are ready to be published.
If you want more control over the changes, you can turn on Managed publishing. This allows you to decide when exactly the changes should be published. If you keep this option off, then the approved changes will get published immediately.
What is Release Management?
The Release section is mostly important for app developers. The Google Play Console helps you monitor the availability of your app across different tracks like Production, Testing, and more. This section helps you to view the countries where each of your tracks is live and select individual releases from where you can find out more details.
Here are the most common functions that you can explore in the Release section.
- Release Overview
This tab provides you with an overview of all the releases across different tracks, including the current and previous releases.
In this tab, you can view the final version of your app that is released to the public along with countries, and regions where your app is currently available. Marketers should be aware of this version as it’s the one users will install and use.
The Testing tab shows you the different testing types such as open, internal, and closed testing. You can use this tab to test out your app before releasing it to the public. This step can help you make the necessary adjustments to your app as per the feedback.
This tab also comprises the Pre-registration function which you can use to increase your app’s visibility.
By setting up pre-registration, your app will be listed on the Google Play Online Store before its launch. After launching, the pre-registered users will receive a notification to download your app and even get an automatic installation on eligible devices.
You can set up this process by uploading up to 20 app bundles to specific devices that users can use to pre-register in the “Supported devices” tab. Then, go to the “Countries/regions” tab to manage the locations where your app will be available for pre-registration.
Encourage users to pre-register your app by offering them rewards in the form of free in-app products or services. This is a simple yet effective way to motivate new users and ensure continued engagement with your app.
- Reach and Device Overview
In this section, you can get information regarding compatible devices for your app along with the geographical availability across various countries. You can also get user and issue distribution reports that display the install base by the Play Console Android version. It compares the top three based on your app versions and your peer’s median.
- App Bundle Explorer
This tab is essentially helpful as it provides you the scope to manage all assets of your app in one place. Although this section is mainly targeted at developers, marketers can also benefit by gaining insights into the technical aspects and structural framework of your app.
The Setup tab consists of crucial app settings. Here, you will have the settings to maintain your app integrity, internal app sharing, and advanced configuration options like influence app available and indexing.
Although app marketers and app store optimization (ASO) experts do not use the Release section that much, it helps in gaining plentiful app insights. They can also get updates about the app crash rates and use the pre-registration subsection to create excitement about your app before its release. You can leverage this feature to generate signups with paid ads to boost your app downloads.
How to Use the Grow Section?
The Grow section focuses on two important sub-sections, your store presence and its performance. If you manage a game app, you will get to see a third subsection called the Play Game Services.
The Store Presence section comprises of five main sub-sections:
- Main Store Listing
If you are an app marketer, the “Main Store Listing” tab is one of the most important tabs in the Google Play Console. Everything that your app’s users see in the Play Store is editable in this subsection, from metadata to creative assets.
You can fine-tune your app assets by modifying or changing the short and full descriptions of your apps as well as your app graphics. You can also upload your app store assets like app icons, feature graphics, phone and tablet screenshots, and app videos. All these factors impact the Google Play app ranking and elevate your ASO process.
- Custom Store Listing
With Custom store listings, you can create customized pages for different countries, including pre-registration campaigns. You can create up to 50 custom store listings with dedicated analytics and deep links. This allows you to reach out to more audiences.
For instance, you have an app that offers shopping discounts in India and Vietnam. Now, each country has stores with different types of discounts. However, if your users in Vietnam have the Indian language set as their primary one on their Android device, they will see the discounts redeemable only in India.
You can solve this problem by creating a custom store listing specifically for the Indian-speaking audience that lives in Vietnam. This listing for the Vietnamese audience should include metadata and images about the stores in Vietnam.
The custom store listings have the same fields as regular store listings. Therefore, you can provide specific markets with the same quality of details and showcase specific app features to a specific audience.
- Store Listing Experiments
This tab allows you to run A/B tests on your main app store listing. App marketers can find this feature handy as it provides accurate test results, and the data comes directly from the Google Play Store. You can test attributes, including short and full app descriptions, app icons, screenshots, feature graphics, and promo videos.
Here, app publishers can also view the results more quickly for most experiments. It provides marketers with transparency and control of how long each experiment should take. You can focus on several aspects of your experiments by identifying the first-time installers or the retained-first installers.
You can also choose to analyze the data according to the minimum detectable effect, audience percentage, and more. Therefore, this subsection provides you with a comprehensive understanding of what works best for your Play Store listing.
- Store Settings
For a successful ASO, optimizing your app’s store setting is critical. You can choose if you are listing an app or a game under the Settings tab. Make sure to select the right category and tags that are relevant to your app as they impact your app visibility and discoverability.
- Translation Service
In this section, you will find two options- paid human translation or machine translation. Utilize these options effectively to localize your app and make it accessible to users all over the world. In 2023, Google Translate announced a new model that offers machine translation for ten languages in the Play Console. You can use this feature to connect with potential audiences in their native language.
You can also use the free machine translation service to translate your app strings, store listings, and even in-app products. However, it is always recommended to use an agency or company specialized in app localizations to ensure your app’s visibility is truly maximized.
The Store performance section consists of two main subsections- Store analysis and Conversion analysis. App marketers and developers can use this section to regularly check the data on their store, listing visitors, acquisitions, and conversion rates across different dimensions.
- Store Analysis
In this subsection, you can view and compare your overall store listing performance across various metrics. For instance, you can analyze store listing acquisitions by traffic source which includes Google Play search, Google Play explore, or third-party referrals. You can even view and compare your store listing acquisitions to previous periods.
Another metric is to evaluate your listing performance with respect to your visitors, user acquisitions, and conversation rates. The store listing acquisitions are further presented in separate tables with the breakdown per country, app install states, languages, search terms, and more. Here, you get a quality overview of the most important categories and their performance, along with detailed insights to check the conversion.
- Conversion Analysis
Conversion analysis allows you to configure your reports so that they make sense. This tab is considered extremely crucial for ASO and you can customize the store listing conversion analysis report.
You can do so by selecting one metric which can be an app install state, country/region, language, search term, store listing, traffic source, UTM campaign, or UTM source. The biggest advantage of this section is that you can get the data in a graphical or tabular format, making it easy to identify areas of Google Play Console Play Store listing.
The data from this analysis can help you identify the area where you are falling short. You can use this to optimize your app store listing accordingly so that it positively impacts your app’s Play Store ranking.
Another important tab in the Grow section is the Deep links. This tool allows you to oversee the effectiveness of deep like, verify supported domains, audit your app’s manifest, and even track usage by individual users. You can monitor deep link activities to enhance our app’s overall user experience by detecting any potential issues that might have been hindering it.
How to Use the Quality Section?
The Quality section consists of two important sections- Ratings and reviews followed by Android vitals.
Ratings and Reviews
As an app marketer, your goal should be to maximize the potential of customer ratings and reviews to ensure your app is well received. This algorithm directly impacts your app’s performance and therefore, is of critical importance.
Users can rate their app experience from 1 star to 5 stars. This helps other users to make informed decisions about installing the app. In this section, you can view your rating report which consists of rating analysis by country, app versions, and similar apps on Google Play.
You can also measure rating performance over time, see the rating distribution of your app, and even get a detailed breakdown of your average ratings by language, app version, Android version, country/region, device, and form factor (tablet or phone). Explore each of these factors with respect to the highest and lowest ratings for a specific period, average rating, and rating share.
Therefore, use this report to analyze how your app’s rating influences other KPIs. This can help you plan the resources for countries where you need to improve your ratings. Think of innovative tactics and strategies to improve your app ratings to boost its app store performance.
Reviews are another key factor that impacts how your app performs in the app store. In the Review report, you can check all the reviews that your users leave and directly reply to them.
Google Play Console provides you with different filters according to the Android app version and Apple Store App version. You can further filter the report with respect to different benchmarks like developer Play Console account, design, monetization, speed, stability, and uninstalls, among others.
Furthermore, you can also use filters like country/region, device language, model, and type followed by rating, reply state, review highlight, and topics based on Google’s segmentation based on keywords.
To improve your reviews, you need to address them on time and show users that their comments are appreciated. Based on the reviews, you can modify or improve your app so that it gets better reviews. In case your app doesn’t have many reviews, you want to make sure that store listing visitors don’t see the bad reviews upon landing on your app page.
- Review Analysis
This report provides you with additional information on the words and topics used by your users in the app reviews. Based on this report, you can also identify which reviews you have replied to and which you have not. You can find the common user feedback under “Topics” with an estimated positive or negative impact on your app’s rating.
Use this report to gain insight into each rating functional area in the Benchmark report. You can also compare each functional area of your app’s performance with your app’s category peers and work on improving the areas that can positively impact your reviews.
- Testing Feedback
Here, you can observe the reviews that your internal testers have left. If you work with these testers and rely on their information, then this section would be instrumental.
If you want to monitor and improve your app’s technical quality and discoverability, then you need to focus on Android Vitals. This data gives you a detailed overview of the core vital metrics which can indicate the areas that need improvement.
Google Play’s algorithm takes Android Vitals into account and can penalize apps by lowering their exposure in the Play Store. The penalization process is especially true during the app updates due to which ASO teams should consider these vitals consistently.
- Android Vitals Overview
This report offers an insightful view of your app’s technical quality and discoverability. This report provides you with personalized recommendations based on your app’s potential issues, such as the slow start-up process on certain devices.
Additionally, this report provides you with Core Vitals which is an essential metric that directly influences user experience. This consists of the User-perceived ANR (Application Not Responding) rate and the User-perceived crash rate. Keeping these rates low is important for any app. By doing so, you can keep your app’s performance above the acceptable threshold level established by Google.
You can also view the breakdown of different metrics that fall under each vital such as stability, start-up and loading times, rendering, battery, and permissions.
The Performance section only pertains to games and does not apply to other app types. If you are using the Android Performance Tuner (APT) integration, this section covers insights about potential issues with your game. It also informs you how you can prioritize these issues and resolve them.
- Crashes and ANRs
In this section, you can monitor app crashes and errors caused due to unresponsive applications (ANR). These issues can be sorted by type and you can also filter them based on different parameters like Android version, region, device, and more.
If you observe a variety of issues in your app, this can significantly impact your app’s performance in the Google Play Store. You need to regularly monitor these metrics and implement necessary measures to lower these rates.
- App Size
Optimize your app’s size to reduce the rate of uninstalls. This report can help you compare your app’s download size to similar apps on Google Play. Using this information, you can further optimize your app’s size based on your most recent release.
How to Use the Monetize Menu?
The Monetize section consists of all the financial aspects of your app. It comprises three main sections- Products, Promo codes, and Financial reports.
Under this tab, you can find App Pricing where you can adjust the price of your paid app and manage its sales. Here, you can set up one-time in-app products for sales. These products can be virtual goods or other products.
You will also find details on your app’s subscription which can be a recurring in-app service like a monthly subscription option or a recurring login bonus for a mobile game.
In this section, you can also do Price Experiments. This allows you to analyze and optimize your pricing strategy by testing different price variants for in-app products. You can perform A/B testing to tailor the prices according to your local markets to attract new users and retain your old customers.
- Promo Codes
In the Promo Codes tab, you can create two different types of code. The first one is a free one-time offer for products whereas the second way is offering subscription trials to a limited number of users. When users use the promo codes in your app or Google Play Store, they can use the item or enjoy a free trial.
It is important to note that one-time use codes can only be redeemed once. On the other hand, you have the flexibility to create custom codes that can be redeemed multiple times, up to a predefined limit. Custom codes are exclusively for subscriptions and can only be used by users who haven’t subscribed before.
By using promo codes, you can encourage users to actively interact with your app and promote your products.
- Financial Reports
The financial reports tab helps you observe the financial performance of your app. However, to access this data, you need to set up your Google Payments merchant account.
In this section, you can get an overview of your app’s revenue generation across different product types. It also provides you with insights into the distribution of purchases between new and returning buyers which further helps you manage your monetization strategy.
With this report, you can assess your subscription performance as well and understand how you are generating revenue from each subscription tier. Track retention trends using the billing reports and dashboards.
One of the important subsections of this tab is the revenue section which offers insights into your products. Here, you can understand your revenue better, orders, and refunds across different products. You also get insight into your buyers and average revenue per paying user (ARPPU). This helps you to assess the revenue generated from your users. You can further filter this data according to product, country, or device to monitor the trends.
The conversions subsection provides you insights into the spending habits of your users. This helps you understand how your app conversions are happening and provides insights into the spend-per-buyer metric for a certain period.
The final section of the Monetize section offers you the settings to configure your subscriptions, receive real-time notifications, and manage app licensing. In this section, you have the option to enable or disable users to pause their subscriptions, except for free trial or annual subscriptions.
Note that you can also configure your Google Play Billing settings through the Google Play Billing Library. This can help in efficiently managing developer notifications and licensing in real time. Alternatively, if you are using a different billing system, you can use this section to set it up.
Policy and Programs of Google Play Console
The last part of the Google Console Play Store includes managing compliance with the Google Play Developer Program Policies.
- Policy Status
In this tab, you can review your policy status and make sure your app complies with the established policies. This includes avoiding restricted content and avoiding illegal activities and impersonations. You should frequently check this tab to ensure you are updated about your compliance status.
Along with that, you need to declare your app’s content. In the Actioned tab, you need to provide Google with certain information before you release your app. This includes information about data safety, ads in your app, app access instructions, content rating received from official rating authorities, details about your target audience, and more.
You can check if any options require updating in the “Need attention” section. Providing all the necessary information helps your app to launch on time without any limitations.
Lastly, the final tab of this section applies to apps that are designed for children. If your app fits the criteria, then you can apply to participate in the Google Play’s Teacher Approved program. This can help you stand apart from your competitors and even get showcased in the “Kids” category on Google Play.
How to Leverage Google Play Console for App Marketing and Promotion?
The Google Play Console provides you with a wide range of marketing and promotional tools. Use this to attract users and increase the downloads or install rates of your app. You can use the following strategies to elevate your app downloads:
- Craft Compelling Screenshots and Videos
Use pictures and videos to provide users with a glimpse of your app’s features and benefits. Visual content can amplify the role of attracting users since it showcases how your app functions. This strategy has the potential to convince your users to download and use your app.
- Run App Install Campaigns
You can run app install campaigns using Google Ads to reach a wider audience base. Simply set a budget, target specific user demographics, and monitor the performance of your ads to ensure maximum impact.
- Use the “Store Listing Experiments” Feature
Utilize this feature to test different variations of your app store listing. By doing so, you can gather relevant data and identify which elements perform best. Make informed decisions according to the data and optimize your app’s visibility.
Troubleshooting Common Issues in Google Play Console
While the Google Play Store Console is a powerful tool, you can come face to face with certain challenges. Follow the below steps to ensure your app does not face similar issues.
- App Rejection
If your app gets rejected during the review process, carefully evaluate the reason behind the rejection. Address the issues and violations and make the necessary changes before submitting your app for review.
- Low Visibility or Downloads
If your app is not receiving enough visibility or downloads, you may consider revisiting your app store listing. Consider optimizing it for better discoverability. Experiment with various ASO strategies and marketing techniques to enhance the performance of your app which can directly impact the download rates.
- Crashes and Bugs
If your app is experiencing crashes or bugs, thoroughly analyze the crash reports. Focus on the user feedback to identify the root cause of the issue. Based on this, fix the issues and release the updated version of your app to provide a seamless user experience.
Thus, Google Play Console is a powerful marketing tool that offers you a comprehensive app performance analysis on the Google Play Store. You can use the wealth of information and data to efficiently manage and upgrade your app for better performance and user experience.
It is highly recommended to keep your eyes on the Grow section and ensure your metadata and creative assets are optimized as well as localized. You should also use the Conversion analysis section to evaluate the key metrics that are the most important for your app.
Use the Play Console to gain insightful information, conduct A/B testing, and leverage other options to enhance your marketing efforts. Make use of the multiple KPIs and statistics and keep your app updated, ensuring app success.