Category: appbundle

I/O 2018: Everything new in the Google Play Console

Android Developers May 8, 2018 appbundle, dynamicdelivery, Featured, GooglePlay, playconsole

Posted by Tian Lim, VP of UX and Product, Google Play

Google Play connects a thriving ecosystem of developers to people using more than 2 billion active Android devices around the world. In fact, more than 94 billion apps were installed from Google Play in the last year alone. We’re continuing to empower Android developers with new features in the Play Console to help you improve your app’s performance and grow your business. And, at Google I/O 2018, we’re introducing our vision for a new Android app model that is modular and dynamic.

Benefit from size savings with the Android App Bundle

The Android App Bundle is Android’s new publishing format, with which you can more easily deliver a great experience in a smaller app size, and optimize for the wide variety of Android devices and form factors available. The app bundle includes all your app’s compiled code and resources, but defers APK generation and signing to Google Play. You no longer have to build, sign, and manage multiple APKs.

Google Play’s new app serving model, called Dynamic Delivery, uses your app bundle to generate and serve optimized APKs for each user’s device configuration. This means people download only the code and resources they need to run your app. People see a smaller install size on the Play Store, can install your app more quickly, and save space on their devices.

(Left) An example of all resources being delivered to a device via a legacy APK.
(Right) An example of Dynamic Delivery serving just what’s needed to a device.

With the Android App Bundle, you’re also able to add dynamic feature modules to your app. Through Dynamic Delivery, your users can download your app’s dynamic features on-demand, instead of during the initial install, further reducing your app’s download size. To publish apps with dynamic feature modules, apply to join the beta.

Start using the Android App Bundle in the latest Android Studio canary release. Test your release using the testing tracks in the Play Console before pushing to production. Watch these I/O sessions to hear from the team as they introduce the new app model:

Fix quality and performance issues in your app or game

An internal study Google ran last year found that over 40% of one-star reviews on the Play Store mentioned app stability as an issue. Conversely, people consistently reward the best performing apps with better ratings and reviews, leading to better rankings on Google Play and more installs. Not only that, but people tend to be more engaged and willing to spend more time and money in those apps. To help you understand and fix quality issues we’re improving a number of features in the Google Play Console.

  • Use the new internal test track to push your app to up to 100 internal testers in seconds before you release them to alpha, beta, or production. You can also have multiple closed test tracks for different versions of your app, before pushing them to open betas or production.
  • The pre-launch report summarizes issues found in alpha or beta versions of your app, based on automated testing on popular devices in Firebase Test Lab. There are several new features to help you test the parts of your app or game that crawlers find harder to reach: create demo loops for games written with OpenGL, record scripts in Android Studio for the test crawler to follow, identify deep links, and provide credentials to go behind logins. In addition to reporting crashes, performance and security issues, and taking screenshots of the crawled screens, the report will soon identify accessibility issues you should fix to ensure a positive user experience for the widest audience.
  • Android vitals now analyzes data about startup time and permission denials in addition to battery, rendering, and stability. The revamped dashboard highlights crash rate, ANR rate, excessive wakeups, and stuck wake locks: the core vitals developers should give attention to. All other vitals, when applicable to your type of app or game, should be monitored to ensure they aren’t having a negative effect. You’ll also see anomalies in any vitals, when there’s a sudden change you should be aware of, and benchmarks so that you can compare your app’s performance to that of similar apps. Exhibiting bad behavior in vitals will negatively affect the user experience in your app and is likely to result in bad ratings and poor discoverability on the Play Store.

Watch these I/O sessions where we introduce the new features and share examples of how developers are using them successfully:

Improve your store performance and user acquisition

The Play Console has tools and reports to help your whole team understand and improve your app’s store performance and business metrics. The Play Console’s access management controls were recently improved so you can more easily grant access to your whole team while having granular control over which data and tools they can see and use.

  • The app dashboard has been improved so you can quickly digest need-to-know information and take action. The dashboard now shows more data, is easier to read, and is customizable. This should be your first stop to understand the latest activity around your app or game.
  • You can now configure the statistics report to show you how your instant apps are performing. See how many people are launching your instant app by different dimensions and how many go on to install the full app on their device. All app and game developers can build instant experiences today. Learn more in the instant apps documentation.
  • The acquisition report will start showing you more data about how people find your app and whether they go on to install it and make purchases. You can now see average revenue per user and retention benchmarks, to compare your app’s performance to similar apps, at every state of the acquisition funnel. Organic breakdown, rolling out soon, will separate the number of people who find your store listing by searching the Play Store from those who get there via browsing. You will also be able to see what search terms are driving the most traffic, conversions, and purchases. With these improvements, you can further optimize your efforts to grow and retain a valuable audience.
  • Order management has also been updated to enable you to offer partial refunds for in-app products and subscriptions.

Watch these I/O sessions where we introduce the new features and share examples of how developers are using them successfully:

Grow and optimize your subscriptions business

Subscriptions continue to see huge growth, with subscribers on Google Play growing over 80% year over year. Google Play Billing offers developers useful features to acquire, engage, and retain subscribers, and gives users a consistent and familiar purchase flow. We’re making improvements to help you prepare your subscriptions business for the future and to give users more information on their subscriptions.

  • With the Google Play Billing Library, you can easily integrate new features with minimal coding. Now with newly-released version 1.1, you can upgrade subscriptions without changing the renewal date. Also, you will soon be able to make price changes to existing SKUs.
  • The new subscriptions center on Google Play lets people manage their active subscriptions, including fixing payment issues or restoring canceled subscriptions. You can create deep links so your users can directly access subscription management options on the Play Store. Soon, people who cancel subscriptions will have the option to leave feedback stating why, which you will have access to in the Play Console.
  • Subscription reports in the Play Console have been updated to help you better understand your retention and churn across multiple subscriptions, times, and territories. You can now measure whether features such as free trials, account holds, and grace periods are successful in acquiring and retaining users.

Watch our I/O session where we explain the new features:

Prepare for the upcoming Play requirement for target API level

As we have announced, Google Play will require new apps (from August 2018) and app updates (from November 2018) to target API level 26 or higher. For more information and practical guidance on preparing for the new requirement, watch the I/O session, Migrating your existing app to target Android Oreo and above, and review our migration guide. If you develop an SDK or library that’s used by developers, make sure it’s ready to target Oreo too and sign up to receive news and updates for SDK providers.

Get more resources to help you succeed on Google Play

To find out more about all these new features, learn best practices, understand how other developers are finding success, and hear from the teams building these features, watch the Android & Play sessions at I/O 2018. For more developer resources about how to improve your app’s performance on Google Play, read this guide to the Google Play Console and visit the Android developers website. Finally, to stay up to date, sign up to our newsletter and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Medium where we post regularly.

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