How to Create Promo Codes for Android Apps

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Maria

Google Play Developer Console offers you a number of tools that help you grow your app business. Promotions are one of them. By using these, you can launch effective acquisition campaigns (and significantly increase your installs metric), partner programs or simply use these codes as incentives (as “thank you” or “sorry” gestures). But before launching such campaigns, you should be aware of how it works and consider the limitations of the promo codes. So, let’s dive into the technical side. 

Prerequisites

To start with promotional codes, you should integrate the Google Play Billing Library into your app. Keep in mind that promotion redemptions can happen outside of your app or even when the app hasn’t been installed yet. It means that your app must handle purchases with promo codes correctly regardless of the app state.

Cookie Run Kingdom redeem flow: user should paste the promo code on the coupon page and then claim the reward within the app

Types of promo codes

There are two types of promo codes available in Google Play: one-time and custom codes. The main difference is that one-time codes are automatically generated unique codes that could be used only once by a single person. The custom codes could be named universally (for instance, by name of the event where you promote your app) and used multiple times by multiple users according to your predefined limit. Custom codes are available only for subscriptions.

Promo code types comparison:

Promotion types / Feature One-time codesCustom codes
User redemption flowIn your app 
In the Play store
In your app
Product typeSubscriptions
In-app Products
Paid app
Subscriptions 
UsersNew subscribers 
Existing users
New subscribers 
Redemption limit
(Find more info in the ‘Review promo code limits and availability’ Google guide)
Only onceMultiple times: between 2,000 and 99,999

Promo codes limitations for subscriptions and non-subscription promotions:

Type of promotionOne-time codes Custom codes
Subscription promotions10,000 promo codes per quarter per subscription product2,000 promo codes as a limit and 99,999 as a max
Non-subscription promotions Up to 500 promo codes per quarterNot available

Once you create a promotion, you can’t change the number of promo codes in that promotion or switch promo codes to a different type. But promo codes created for subscription promotions do not count towards your limit for non-subscription promotions, and vice versa. With that in mind, define your strategy wisely.

How to create promo codes for your app

1. Open the ‘Promo codes’ tab within Google Play Developer console.

Navigate to Google Play Developer Console and select the ‘All apps’ tab from the menu on the left. Then, select your app from the list. Select the ‘Monetize -> ‘Promo codes tab in the left menu bar.

Click the Create promo code’ button.

2. Specify the details of the promotion.

  • Name identifies the promo code in Google Play Console. Visible only to you.
  • Start date must be in the future.
  • End date must be within one year of the start date.

3. Choose promotion type.

  • Paid app: Give users a paid app for free with promo code.
  • In-app product: For non-subscription promotion link an existing in-app product from a drop-down list.
  • Subscription: For subscription promotion specify an existing subscription and duration of the trial period. Note: If a customer uses a promo code for a subscription that has already a free trial, the promo code will override the original free trial length.

4. Create one-time promo code.

In the group box ‘Code type’, choose ‘One-time codes’. Enter the number of promo codes to be created. 

Click on the ‘Save’ button at the right bottom of the page. It’ll open a popup window that notifies you to implement the billing library in your app. Click on ‘Create’ in the window:

After that, you’ll be able to download promo codes as a CSV file:

That’s it! Now you can share these unique numbers via emails or personal event invitations, or simply share them with your support team so they can engage with your users more effectively.  

4.1. Create custom promo code.

Enter a unique (per app) custom code using numbers (0-9), lowercase (a-z) and uppercase (A-Z). Also, specify the number of code redemptions:

Click on the ‘Save’ button at the right bottom of the page. It’ll open a popup window that notifies you to implement the billing library in your app. Click on ‘Create’ in the window. This mechanic is widely used during events, summits, for influencer marketing. 

User redemption flow

Once we set up everything on the Google Developers Console side, let’s take a look at this process from the users’ standpoint. In the examples below, we’ll explore promotional codes for subscriptions.

In-app redemption flow

The user can redeem a promo code as part of the normal purchase flow. Instead of purchasing the product, the user enters the code and gets the product, like a usual in-app purchase.

1. Start the purchase flow for the product for which you created a promotion.

2. Specify the Google payment method as ‘Reedem code’:

3. Enter the promo code and select ‘Redeem’:

4. If the promo code was entered correctly, a window will appear with the subscription details and the trial duration. User needs to click on ‘Continue’.

5. The purchase window should open. User should click ‘Subscribe’ there.

Google Play redemption flow

A user can also redeem a promo code in Google Play:

1. Open the Google Play app.

2. Open the menu by clicking the three lines in the left upper corner.

3. Scroll down and select ‘Redeem’.

4. Enter the promo code and click ‘Redeem’:

5. If the promo code was entered correctly, a window will appear with the subscription details and the trial duration. User needs to click ‘Continue’

6. The purchase window should open. User should click ‘Subscribe’ there.

To save the user from having to enter a promo code, you can generate a URL with it. Share the URL that directs the user to Google Play Store.

URL has the following format: https://play.google.com/redeem?code=promo_code

Accelerate your app promotion strategy with promo codes

Promo codes are a universal tool for user acquisition and engagement that allows you to launch campaigns even with a limited budget. This is a great tool to increase the number of installs, but to convert these users to subscribers, provide them with great onboarding, and give them their “Aha!” moments as soon as possible.

Promo codes are also a great tool for user engagement and receiving reviews — just send your users a notification with the unique code at the right time and gift them access to the new experience. To find out how to create custom push notifications on Android, read this article.

So there are so many things you should test. To see how your campaigns affect your subscription revenue, use Qonversion analytics tools. Try even more strategies with A/B testing and Automation. And if you still have any questions — we’d be happy to hear from you!