Google Play Console: The Ultimate Guide for Android Developers & Marketers [2020 Update]

UPDATE: Soon we are updating this post with the newest Google Play Console, launched on November 2020.

Today we are diving right into the Google Play Console, the place where the adventure of launching Android apps and games for developers / marketers on the Play Store begins…

This guide aims to show the elements that the developer console provide that can be really helpful for Analytics and Google Play ASO in 2020. Google shares lots of valuable insights that sometimes tend to be overlooked. If you’d like to learn more about the console, keep on reading!

Google Play Console logo

Google Play Console Guide by TheTool (2020)

1. Google Play Console (AKA Developer Console) general overview

The first thing we see when we launch the console is a general overview that shows us all the applications we have launched or we have in beta:

Google Play Console Overview

In this dashboard you can view a list of the apps / games that you have developed, and the insights provided are: number of installs, rating, date of update and the status (which can be draft, ready to publish, pending publication, published, rejected or suspended). If we click on an app, we can see the performance of the main KPIs:

Google Play Console Dashboard

Related | Android game development tools

These insights can be explored further with the complete report. However, at first sight, we can check the number of installs by user as well as the uninstalls, the average rating and the Crashes & ANRs (Apps Not Responding). Another aspect of the new insights, announced during the Google I/O, is the new report on app size. Google is focusing on this aspect to help you to keep your application optimized at all times by showing you its size and its evolution through time.

Google Play Console App Size

2. Statistics & Analytics on Google Play Console (AKA Play Dev Console)

If we move on to the statistics section in the Google Console Play, there’s a lot of information to explore there. We’ll try to break it down to the main aspects that we can check when configuring a report:

  • Users: we can filter the information by installs and uninstalls by user, so we can check the number of times that a unique user has installed or uninstalled an app or game on one or more devices for the first time.
  • Device: the console gives us many insights regarding the device:
    • Installs on active devices, which are the number of Android devices that have been online during the last 30 days that have the app or game installed
    • Installs, uninstalls, and upgrades by device
    • Install, uninstall and update events, or how many times the app has been installed, uninstalled or updated on a device (it includes reinstalls)
    • Ratings. It’s possible to divide them by average rating (the average this app has received across all ratings) and the new cumulative average rating (which takes into account the most recent ratings)
  • Quality: this segment also provides significant information in terms of crashes, ANRs, download size and app size on device (at install time), which are all important to ensure the quality of an application.
  • Pre-registration: it allows us to check the number of pre-registered users, the total of pre-registered users (which shows the number of pre-registered users at the end of each day), conversion to check how many of those pre-registered users actually installed the app, and cumulative conversions, which shows the total number of pre-registered users that installed the app within 14 days after it was released.

Google Play Console Configuration Report

Once we select the parameters we’d like to analyze, we’ll be able to see a chart like this one:

Google Play Console Statistics Chart
Example of a chart on installs on active devices by Android version

Furthermore, we’d be able to compare the performance of the KPI selected with how it performed on other Android versions, which is quite interesting.

3. Android vitals

Android vitals is a program designed to help developers understand and analyze Android app performance. Here’s a video that explains how it works:

This section shares insights on ANRs and crashes, app size and deobfuscation files. We are focusing on the size report as it is a new one that is really interesting. It lets you monitor your app’s size, compare it to peers and track its evolution through time:

Google Play Console App Size Report

It is crucial to check on your Android vitals as they have a DIRECT impact on Store visibility. The less ARNs, crashes, errores, etc… The better!

4. Release Management

The release management section in Google Developer Console allows you to monitor the current version of your app, as well as to compare it with past versions. Here you’ll be able to check the number of installs this version has got, the number of crashes, the number of crashes per 1000 devices and the average rating. It also provides you with charts of these metrics to see their evolution through time.

Google Play Console Release Management Dashboard

Then, of course, we have more detailed information regarding the release. On “app releases” you can check the version on which you are working, an open track for beta testing and a closed track for alpha testing. Moreover, you’ll be able to make your app eligible for pre-registration and the number of countries on which it will be available. It also includes translation service if you’d like to purchase translations for your application.

Another interesting section is “Android Instant Apps”, which are apps (usually games) that you can try on the Google Play Store without installing them. Here you’ll be able to manage your instant app’s APKs, review release history, and rollout your instant app to production, pre-release or development.

Android Instant App: Final Fantasy XV

5. Store presence

Store presence is one of the most important sections for App Store Optimization, as it’s where you can write and publish your store listing. Write the title, short and full description and introduce the graphic assets. You can also select the category, and keep in mind that you’ll have to fill in a questionnaire that will allow Google to categorize the content rating. BTW, in order to prepare the “perfect listing” you should run a keyword research to find the app keywords that can bring traffic and downloads.

Another interesting subsection on Store Presence is Store Listing Experiments. Here you’ll be able to A/B test the visual assets and text elements of the listing by submitting two different versions that will be displayed to a segmented audience. It will become helpful to determine which elements are performing better. You can also create custom store listings to target a segment of your audience.

Google Play Console Store Listing Experiments

We also have the pricing&distribution section, on which we can choose our app to be free or paid. Here we’ll also select the countries on which it is available, and if it contains ads. It’s also interesting that we can make our product available for Wear OS, Android TV or Android Auto, as well as checking the content guidelines.

Last but not least, if your application has in-app products or subscriptions, you can also manage them from the Store Presence section.

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6. User Acquisition (Analytics)

On the User Acquisition reports, it’s possible to measure the number of users your app or game gets by acquisition channel or country; this is one of the main ASO KPIs. You can select a period of time and compare the number of visitors with the first-time installers, and then check the retention between the first day and the 30th day:

Google Play Console Acquisition Channel Report

Lastly, you can check the acquisition channels: organic (divided by search and explore), Google Ads campaigns, Tracked channels, Google Search and Third-party referrers.

Google Play Console Acquisition Channel

Another interesting feature is the possibility to manage your Google Ad campaigns from here:

Google Play Console Google Ads Campaigns

Remember you can always integrate your Google Play developer account into TheTool to have more and better data and analytics.

7. User Feedback

The last section to analyze on Google Play Console is User Feedback. Here you’ll be able to handle your ratings and reviews. Google introduced a new feature called peer groups that allows you to compare your performance with a group of apps that are similar to yours. As we can see in the following chart, you can check your average rating, the number of ratings that you’ve received, and compare it to your peers. You’ll also be able to select the period of time: daily, weekly or monthly.

Google Play Console User Feedback Ratings

Regarding reviews, you can handle them in the subsection “reviews”, and you can filter them by ratings, OS version, language, and topic. Keep in mind that’s very important to reply to your users in order to turn negative feedbacks into positive!

Google Play Console Reviews

Wrapping up: Google Play Console – The Ultimate Guide for Android Developers & Marketers 2020

Google Play Console provides you with many valuable insights for both marketers and developers, and it is being improved each year. It’s not only the place to add keywords… Here’s a list of the sections available and how to work with them in order to improve your App Store Optimization strategy. However, the possibilities and the data that it has to offer are really huge, so we strongly recommend you to test them out to see which insights are more valuable for you. That way you’ll always keep your app optimized, which will bring you more downloads in 2020. Anyway, don’t forget you will need to use tools to improve your ASO; working only with the dev. console is not enough.

Did you enjoy this post? If you feel like there’s a section that deserves a further explanation or need help with anything related to Play Console, don’t hesitate to ask for it. Leave your opinion in the comments.

We will keep on updating this guide on a regular basis. Stay tuned.

We have also published an App Store Connect guide

Maud Panier
Maud Panier
Content & Social Media Manager at TheTool. I enjoy traveling, sports and I'm always willing to discover new things and face new challenges.

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