Every May Google host Google I/O where they present updates of Android devices, the full Android ecosystem and, of course, Google Play Store. So, what's new in Google Play Store that every ASO specialist, marketer, and mobile product owner should know.
Reduced app sizes
Google Play keeps on working on reducing app sizes by all means. After the announcement of Google Play Instant in 2018, its major update in March 2019, Google introduced 2 new features:
- Possibility to install features when you need them and/in the background, so when you install an Android app its size will be reduced.
- Control over what app features are available in what countries and for which devices. So with this update downloading apps without Wi-Fi will be even faster and easier.
Option to choose users who will receive app updates
Public access to in-app installs API that allows developers to update apps in two modes:
- Mandatory app update, when the app won’t be available anymore without the update
- Optional app update, when a user can choose to or not install the latest app version without losing access to the previous one.
This will help you improve user experience and also control what user segments will use what app version and features.
Unique messaging for different user cohorts
Google Play also introduced new features to increase mobile app user retention, engagement, and re-engagement: a custom app listing for different users. The new feature enables app owners to use different messages in metadata and visual assets for groups of users who have never installed your app, have your app and had the app but uninstalled it.
Combine it with different app pages for different countries and you will get a unique messaging for each user cohort which will lead to an increase of conversion rate to views and installs. ASO for Google Play Store made super easy ;)
App rating and reviews changes
Finally, Android app rating will be recalculated with recent reviews getting more weight. This update will be seen in August only, so until then we will have to stick to the old way.
Besides that, Google Play brings in suggested replies to the Android app reviews. Now, app owners will be shown 3 review suggestions to choose from or to ignore and send a custom respond.
We still don’t know how exactly suggestions will look like, but hopefully not like robot-generated phrases. Each user who left a review deserves to get a personalized reply and each complaint has to be taken seriously. If you don’t know how to reply to app reviews, here is a guide for every app stage.
“When developers respond to more than 100,000 reviews in the Play Console, their app rating changes by +0.7 stars on average.”
Improved app analysis
Google released several metrics for you to get a better understanding of your app performance against similar apps.
Core metric refresh to help analyze all those crucial app metrics — user acquisition, churn, user retention, and acquisition channels — better. Data will be gathered over different periods from hours to quarters, so nearly real-time. This way analysis of ASO experiments, launches and other events and how they affect your app performance will be as easy as 1-2-3.
More precise app analytics and app performance benchmark
Google Play makes it available to choose from 8 up to 12 apps, add them to your peer group and compare crucial app data such as the crash rate or app rating, app size over time and more. In addition to that, there will appear curated peerset of 100 apps chosen by Google for you to compare your growth, install and uninstall rates and other app performance metrics to your competitors.
What about mobile games?
Announced at GDC19, pre-registration now comes with custom listing pages for pre-registration and pre-registration rewards for you to increase D1 installs by gathering even more users before the launch.
And the last but not the least, it seems that more updates for a faster and flawless paid user acquisition are coming soon:
Subscribe and install features that allow users to add subscription from the Play Store rather than from within the app, is available for early access. Also, discount offers for when a user is in the cancellation flow and promo codes redemption when a user is in the subscription flow.