At Google’s I/O Developer Conference, the company rolled out a series of updates for Android app developers who publish to Google Play. Among these were two significant changes to its Google Play app market, custom store listings and in-app events, which follow updates Apple made to its own App Store last year. last.
Google had been offering A/B testing for product page improvements since 2015, a feature that lets developers see which text and graphics would convert users best.
Apple then adopted a similar feature when, at last year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, it introduced Product Page Optimization designed to help developers try out different screenshots, videos, and even icons. to try to appeal to different types of users. Developers could segment a certain percentage of App Store traffic to these cohorts to see which product pages perform best before deciding which page should be their default page.
Last year, Apple also announced a related feature called Custom Product Pages that allows developers to create different product pages to highlight different app features, each with its own unique URL to use in product channels. external marketing.
Now, Google is following suit and essentially doing the same thing with custom store listings.
Instead of just testing different product pages, Android app developers will be able to create up to 50 custom store listings for their apps. Each page will have its own analytics and deep links available. Notably, that’s more ads than Apple’s solution offerings, which are currently pegged at 35 per app. Google explains that developers can use this feature to display different lists to users based on their origin. For example, a developer with a recipe finder app could target ad campaigns to US users based on US holidays, featuring recipes for Thanksgiving or the 4th of July. But it might target users in other markets at different times with recipes tied to their own cultural traditions.
Last year, Apple also introduced an App Store feature, In-App Events, to allow developers to promote real-time events happening within their apps, such as special events or even just seasonal offers. .
Google Play is also rolling out its own version of this feature.
With the launch of what it calls “LiveOps”, developers will be able to submit content to feature on the Play Store, including major updates for their app or game, in-app events and offers. for a limited period.
Google says LiveOps can attract 5% more 28-day active users to the apps and generate 4% more revenue for those who use the feature compared to those who don’t. The feature is currently in an invite-only beta testing phase.
While these changes were the highlights of those designed to help developers target, acquire, and re-engage their users, Google also announced a few other notable updates to Google Play.
The company said the Play Store will be updated to help people find the best apps optimized for tablets with new big-screen focused editorial content and a separate review and rating system for big-screen apps. Google Play will also be updated later this year to look better on tablets and foldable devices.
For developers, Google has also launched the Google Play SDK Index which lists over 100 popular SDKs and the app permissions they use, so developers can determine if they are following Google Play policies and help fill in their app’s privacy labels.
The company has announced that it will soon launch a new Play Console page dedicated to deep linking to put all the information and tools for deep linking in one place. It has also improved its Store Listing Experiments (aka A/B testing) feature to allow developers to see their results faster, with more transparency and control so they can better understand how long each experiment may need to run. be executed.
And beyond that, it rolled out features focused on improving app quality, including a new Developer Reporting API to access Android Vitals metrics and issue data outside of the Play Console; support for visualization of vital data at the national level; and Google said it allows Vitals to be viewed alongside Firebase Crashlytics. It updated the Play Console by adding revenue and revenue growth metrics to reach and devices and revamping its device catalog to include install data and filters by new device attributes like shared libraries. He said it’s now easier to test apps on different form factors, including Android Auto and soon, Wear OS.
Play App Signing has been updated to use Google Cloud Key Management and the ability for any app to perform app signing key rotation in the event of a crash or as a security best practice from from the Play Console.
And finally, Google’s in-app updates API will now tell users if an update is available within 15 minutes instead of 24 hours.