Google Play App Developers Get Updates and Resources

April 09, 2020

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Google Play app developers have had concerns and questions regarding how the Play Store will respond to current events, and Google has answered. A new announcement from Google Play provides an update on app review times, user reviews, guidelines and more to help developers prepare their apps for the Play Store.

Play Store Guidelines & Review Time

One of the guidelines Google Play is updating involves app review and approval. In order to avoid spreading medical misinformation, Google Play is tightening its review guidelines. The store will only approve apps that reference certain medical terms in their store listing “if the app is published, commissioned, or authorized by an official government entity or public health organization.” This includes references in the title, description, release notes and screenshots.

Additionally, such apps cannot be monetized, including through in-app donations, products or ads.

Google previously announced that Google Play app reviews may take longer in the coming days due to reduced staff. Developers may have to wait up to seven days or longer before their apps are approved. Google’s new announcement includes assurances that the “most important updates [will] reach users quickly,” so apps deemed critical will receive prioritized review. This includes apps from or commissioned by official government entities and public health organizations.

Developers concerned about the timing for their updates or releases should submit for review early and use timed publishing to control when the app or update goes live. Apps should consistently update to refresh their keywords and run A/B tests, so a delayed update can set one back. It’s advised to be prepared and schedule updates early.

User Reviews

Reputation management is an important part of App Store Optimization. User reviews can influence how well an app ranks in the store as well as user conversions, as 59% of app users check the reviews for an app before installing. If an app receives a negative review that is not relevant to the app or is otherwise inappropriate, it could still have consequences for the app.

To combat this, Google’s announcement assures developers that the company has expanded its ability to assess and remove inappropriate reviews. Developers can flag reviews containing inappropriate content, and if it violates the Comment Posting Policy, it will be removed.

Subscriptions & Play Pass

The Google Play Pass subscription service provides users with unlimited access to a selection of premium apps and games without ads, fees or in-app purchases. Google is extending the Play Pass free trials from 2 weeks to 30 days. For developers with apps partnered with Play Pass, this provides extra time to reach users while they’re trying the selection of Play Pass-supported apps.

If the users stay subscribed to Play Pass after their free trial ends, the app developers will continue to profit from their share of Play Pass income as normal. If the user ends their free trial, the apps may still provide enough of a benefit for them to continue using the app and its paid features.

Subscription apps are also receiving additional advice for supporting their business and users. Developers whose businesses have been impacted by recent events can use deferred billing and subscription pauses to help retain users who might be unable to pay or use their services for the time being. Developers can also offer price changes and refunds through Google Play Billing to assist users. This can assist with user retention, which has an impact on how well an app ranks in the Play Store.

Overall

These announcements and adjustments are important for Google Play app developers to know. Update releases, reviews and retention can all have an influence on how an app ranks in the Play Store, making them important for App Store Optimization. Developers should be aware of any changes and plan accordingly, whether for submitting updates or handling user reviews.

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

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