Google Play Console Guide for App Developers
The Google Play Console provides a comprehensive and powerful set of tools to launch and manage successful mobile apps including apps monetizing with in-app subscriptions.
The Play Console is where you are getting some performance data for your apps as well as setting everything related to your in-app purchases including subscriptions.
How do you get started with the Google Play Console? This guide covers creating and managing subscription apps on the Google.
What is Google Play Console?
The Google Play Console is a web-based portal that provides developers with access to various tools and services for managing Android applications. The Console was formerly known as the Android Developer Console.
Some of the features available in the Console include:
- Publishing and managing your apps
- Analyzing app usage and crashes
- Making money with your apps
- Viewing app insights
- Promoting your apps
The Google Play Console is available to all developers, whether they are building free or paid apps. And with the data being driven by Google – the leading global mobile search platform – developers can trust that they are getting accurate, up-to-date information.
How to Create Google Play Console Account
The first step to using the Console is to create a Google Play Developer account. You can do this by going to the Google Play Console sign-up page and completing the process of building your own account.
Step 1: Sign Up for Your Google Play Developer Account
You’ll need to be at least 18 years old to sign up for a Developer account. If you’re not, you can still build apps, but you’ll need to use someone else’s Developer account.
With your Google Account, sign up for the unique developer account you will use with the Google Play Console. Once you sign up, you start managing and publishing your new app on the Play Console immediately.
Step 2: Read and Accept the Google Play Console Developer Distribution Agreement
The next step is to read and accept the Developer Distribution Agreement (DDA). This agreement sets out the terms and conditions for distributing your apps on Google Play. This will ensure that you understand and agree to the rules around publishing apps on Google Play.
Step 3: Pay the $25 Registration Fee
After reading and accepting the DDA, you’ll need to pay a one-time registration fee of $25. You can do this with a credit or debit card, or with a PayPal account. Once you’ve paid the fee, you’re ready to start building your account and publishing your apps!
Step 4: Finish Your Google Play Console Account Set Up
With the fee paid, you can log in and finish setting up your account. You’ll need to provide some basic information about yourself and your company, as well as agree to the Developer Program Policies.
Take note that you will need to provide a legal ID and credit card with your legal name. This is to prevent fraud and abuse on the Google Play Store.
After you finish setting up your account, you’re ready to start using the Google Play Console!
How to Create a Subscription App in Google Play Console
Step 1: Create Your App in the Google Play Console
With your new account in-hand, its time to start publishing your app. The first step is to create your app in the Google Play Console.
To do this, go to the Google Play Developer Console and click on the option to select ‘All apps’. This will open up a new menu, where you can select “Create App”.
To start building your new app, fill in the specific details on the new page. These details are required, so make sure you have that information prepared. Once you are satisfied, click “Create App” to continue.
Step 2: Set Up Your New Google Play App
Once you have created your new app, it’s time to start setting it up in the Console. This is where you will manage all aspects of your app, from uploading it to the store to managing its content and settings.
In all, there are nine different settings you will need to address:
When you create your app, you will need to determine if there are any authentication requirements. If so, provide those details and processes in this screen:
App Content Rating
Every app requires a rating for users. Fortunately, the process includes a fast App Content Rating questionnaire. This will help you to understand what age group your app is suitable for, as well as any content that may be inappropriate.
Your Target Audience and Target Content
Determining your target audience is a crucial step in marketing your app. Knowing who you are building your app for will help you to design it specifically for them and market it in the right places. When you set your target audience and app content settings, you can ensure that your app is reaching the right users in the store.
News apps question
Is your app a news app? Either way, you will need to answer questions here to ensure that your app operates according to the Google Play News policy.
Select Your App Category
Every app will have a corresponding category by which users can search and find it. To make sure your new app is in the right category, select it from this page. You’ll also need to offer your contact information to go with the listing.
Create Your Store Listing
Every great app needs a listing within the store – this way, users can find and learn about your app before downloading it. In this section, complete the form for writing your app’s description within the store. Get creative, as marketing matters in this step!
In this section, you will also be asked to provide the icon that will appear for the app, as well as any app screenshots that will be placed within the listing.
Connect Your Merchant Account for Subscriptions
A hallmark of subscription apps is payment processing. To ensure that you can receive payments for your app, set up a payments profile.
Set Your App’s Price
Once you can get paid for your app, you’ll need to set the pricing. Whether you have a one-time purchase or a subscription cost, you’ll want to set those parameters within the next screen.
Step 3: Create Google Play Subscriptions and In-App Purchases in Google Play Console
One of the best ways to build revenue is with in-app purchases. These one-time or recurring payments occur during the app’s use rather than at download and require a bit more work to set up properly.
First, you’ll want to select your app from the “All Apps” tab in the Google Play Developer Console. Within the list, select the app you will use to create in-app purchases.
Once you select your app, select “Products” from the list of options. In this section, you can select two options – In-app products or Subscriptions.
Creating In-App Products in Google Play Console
First, let’s take a look at how to create in-app products for your app. Select the “In-App Product” tab and select “Create.” You’ll be asked to provide the product’s Product ID, Name, and Description to create the product.
Make sure you choose the correct ID! You will be unable to change this after it has been created.
Once selected, choose the price you will charge and select “Apply Changes.”
When a new product has been created, it will begin its life as “Inactive.” You will need to click “Activate” in order to make the product live for your app.
Creating Google Play Subscriptions in Google Play Console
Now let’s look at the second option – creating subscriptions for your app.
Similar to creating an in-app product, you will want to click the “Create” button from the “Subscriptions” tab. Enter the Product ID and Name for your new subscription. Remember that you will be unable to change it once set!
Once your subscription is created, you will need to configure the settings for it to go live. There are four main settings you will need to set, two of which are optional settings.
The next two steps allow you to create your base plan and any extra offers for your subscription. This will include basic information for your new subscription – including renewal information, base price, any trial information, etc.
Within this section, enter the identifier for your new base plan, and configure the renewal/trial periods. There are other options for tags that interact with the API of the app’s subscription. This is not required for launching the base plan.
Finally, you will want to set the price of your new subscription. Select “Prices” and click the button “Set Prices.” You’ll need to choose the regions of the world where the subscription is available and the price that you will charge.
Within this section, insert the price for the subscription and select “Update” to save your changes.
The base plan will begin in draft status. Select “Activate” to make it available to users within the app.
Once this is complete, your new subscription base plan is ready to be selected by users!
You will now be able to use the subscription within the app. You will also have the opportunity to create discounts, trial periods, and offers for the base plan once it is created.
To create an offer, choose the corresponding base plan and click “Add Offer.”
You’ll need to specify a unique offer identifier as well as the corresponding eligibility criteria for the offer. These options can include instances such as:
- users who never purchased the subscription
- users who have not upgraded from other subscriptions
- any unique, developer-determined offers
You can also select tags for the offer in a similar manner as the base plan.
Create a phase by selecting “Add Phase” within this section.
Within this section, you will be asked to select a unique phase type and duration. You can also choose to customize the discount type and prices. See the example below to see how a 10% discount price is applied for a single week:
Once ready, select “Apply” to save the phase settings. Like other products, the phase will be set as a draft until you “Activate” it.
With all of these steps complete, you will now be ready to use your new app subscriptions! If the option exists, make sure to set the backward-compatible tag for your offer and base plan.
Step 4: Publish Your App with Google Play Console
Now you’ll need to publish your app within the Google Play Console. Select either an in-production, alpha, or beta channel for your app, and submit. There will be a review period before your app goes live, and the paid features will be unavailable.
Step 5: Create a Testing Environment in Google Play Console
It’s essential to create a testing environment for your app that will allow you to work out any bugs with the app itself. You can configure license testing for your developer account within the console. You can then send out a list of accounts that can test your app, including in-app purchases.
How to Manage Subscription App Using Google Play Console
With your new app launched on the Google Play Console, you will have a new world of features at your disposal to monitor its performance. Let’s walk through the different elements you’ll want to use to make sure your app succeeds!
Use The Main Google Play Console Dashboard
As you log into your Google Play Console account, you’ll want to check on the main stats of your new app. Simply log in, select your specific app from within the console’s listing, and you’ll be taken to your app’s dashboard.
Within the dashboard, you’ll see an overview of different stats, messages, and options to dial in for greater details.
The Google Play Console app dashboard overviews your app’s performance, health, and technical stability. Within the console dashboard, you can see:
- KPIs such as new users acquired, revenue, lost users, app crashes, and daily ratings
- Store listing performance including traffic sources, conversion rates, top countries
- Android vitals data
- Ratings and reviews overview
- Pre-launch services
- App size
- Other elements that are relevant to your app
This high-level overview is excellent for seeing changes over time in a variety of areas. However, if you want greater insight into your app’s performance, you’ll want to check the “Statistics” tab.
Track apps statistics in Google Play Console
The Statistics tab looks deeper into the app’s performance using different data points and filters. You can export the report within the screen, display up to two data points, and compare the performance with the past period.
The Statistics tab in Google Play Console.
You can use the following categories/filters for the graphical display:
- Users – installed audience, user acquisition, and user loss
- Devices – install base, device acquisition, device loss, device updates, device loss after the update, install events and uninstall events.
- Engagement – daily active users (DAU), monthly active users (MAU), and monthly returning users
- Ratings – average rating and Google Play rating
- Quality – crashes, ANRs, app download size, app size on the device
- Monetization – daily and monthly buyers, purchases per day and month, gross daily and monthly revenue
- Pre-registration – pre-registered users and conversions
- Store listing performance – acquisitions and visitors
Selecting “Users,” “Devices,” or “Store listing performance” categories allows you to segment the unique data for “all new and returning users.”
Select a segment, and you can then dial into a variety of other layers, such as:
- Country or region
- Android version
- Device type
- App version
The “Statistics” tab will allow you to see how your app is performing within its category and among competitors – an essential step in growing your app’s overall success. Within the statistics dashboard, you can plat different categories.
Inside the peer group, you can use the following categories for the comparison:
- Store listing acquisition rate: all users, new users, and returning users
- Audience: growth rate or user loss change
- Engagement: DAU/MAU, returning users, DAU growth rate, MAU growth rate
- Monetization: revenue per user, purchases per user, buyer ratios, and revenue per purchase
Manage Google Play Console releases
Another important section to check is the “Release” section. This element contains details relevant to app developers and is important for growing and scaling your app.
Within this section, you will find six subsections:
- Releases overview: a general overview of all major data points in this section.
- Production tab: shows releases dashboard, releases, countries, and regions where your app is currently available.
- Testing tab: shows different testing types (open, internal, and closed testing), pre-registration, and pre-launch reports.
- Reach and device overview: to see the growth and reach across different audiences and devices.
- App bundle explorer: for managing all app assets in one place.
- Setup tab: for checking app integrity, internal app sharing, and advanced settings.
These different sections are great for monitoring how your app is performing as it’s used by new and current users. However, there is another critical section that will enable you to unlock the potential of your app – the “Grow” section.
Promote your subscription app with Google Play Console
The “Grow” section gives you access to two different subsections – Store Presence and Store Performance. If you manage a game app, you will also see the third subsection, Play Game Services, but we won’t focus on this section in this guide.
Let’s explore the first significant option, the “Store Presence” tab:
This section allows you to monitor and impact your app’s store performance. Within the section you will find find subsections:
- Main store listing
- Custom store listing
- Store listing experiments
- Store settings
- Translation service
Main Store Listing
The “Main store listing” is one of the most important elements in the Google Play Console for app marketers. Everything your app’s users see in the Play Store is editable in the Main store listing, from metadata to creative assets.
Specifically, the fields you can edit in the Main store listing include:
- App name – maximum 30 characters you can use for it
- Short description – maximum of 80 characters
- Full description – maximum of 4.000 characters
You can also upload your app store assets here:
- App icon
- Feature graphic
- Video (not mandatory)
- Phone screenshots
- Tablet screenshots
Custom Store Listing
Custom store listings allow you to create a customized page for different countries, including pre-registration campaigns. Currently, users can use a total of five custom store listings simultaneously.
How to track Google Play Store App Performance
Going back up a level, let’s look at Store Performance. This section contains two subsections: Store Analysis and Conversion Analysis. These allow app marketers and developers to regularly check any relevant data on the store, listing visitors, and acquisitions, and see conversion rates across different dimensions.
There are many helpful data breakdowns in the Store analysis section:
- Store listing acquisitions by traffic source (Google Play search, Google Play explore, and Third-party referrals) and comparison with the previous period you select.
- Store listing performance, which includes Store listing visitors, store listing acquisitions, and store listing conversion rate.
- Store listing acquisitions data in separate tables with the breakdown per country, language, search term, app install states, UTM sources and campaigns, and the store listing type the user visited.
The Store analysis tab gives you a high-level overview of the most important categories and their performance, but to dig deeper into each category, you need to check the Conversion analysis.
The conversion analysis part allows you to configure your reports to better suite your specific needs. There are overall eight main filters you can use, the same ones you can see under the Store analysis:
- App install state
- Country / region
- Search term
- Store listing
- Traffic source
- UTM campaign
- UTM source
Google Play Subscription Monetization
The monetize section is where you can dig deeper into all things that have to do with the financial aspects of your app.
There are three main reports under the Monetization report – Products, Promo codes, and Financial reports.
The Products tab consists of three subtabs:
- App pricing is where you would set your price if your app is not in the “Free” category in Google Play Store.
- In-app products – you can create a product for sale in your app for a certain amount of money, such as premium content, extra benefits, and other in-app purchases.
- Subscriptions – this option is available if you sell content or services on a recurring or prepaid basis. An example is a news app with gated content that you must pay monthly to access.
The Googe Play Promo Code tab is pretty straightforward – if your app supports in-app purchases, you can give your customers promo codes to motivate them to use one of your offers. Inside the Promo codes tab, you can manage everything around the promotion.
The Financial reports tab lets you get a financial perspective of your business model and check how successful you are in your monetization strategy. Here you can see:
- Total revenue, revenue per user, and the number of buyers
- Strategic guidance, where you try to understand the relationship between your in-app product monetization metrics and identify new opportunities
- Subscriptions and everything related to retention and cancellations
- Deep dive into the revenue and buyers
- Conversion rates of your buyers by cohort
If your app is mainly monetized through in-app purchases, products, or services, the monetization reports should be a part of your weekly reporting routine. Many app marketers will integrate Google Play Console with other external tools to monitor monetization success, but checking the data directly from Google is always a good thing.
We hope that this guide helps you create your Google Play Subscription app in Google Play Console seamlessly.
Qonversion provides a complete infrastructure for in-app purchases and allows you to create and restore purchases, validate receipts, and provide your app with an accurate subscription status without the need to build your own server. It takes 20 minutes to implement SDK.
Qonversion is also a powerful tool for marketing—you can send the data on all your subscription events into 3rd party services like Firebase, Appsflyer, Adjust, Amplitude, and others.
Read this article if you’d like to learn more about how to promote your subscription app with Firebase Integration.