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Google Play Console (Part 2): Store listing

Android Oct 7, 2022

They say that humans are visual creatures. And since a big part of our processing power is committed to processing visual data, how your app "looks" in the store plays a big part in whether the user will click that "Install" button or not.

Play Console provides quite a few powerful tools to create, experiment, and manage the store listing page of your app in the Play Store. All you need to do is learn what capabilities Play Console gives you and use the ones that suit you best. Let's dive into what you can do with store listing pages.

Main store listing

Quite a self-explanatory page. From here you can manage how the store listing page will look for various locales. You can set a different set of data for each locale, and set a default locale for the rest of them that are not explicitly defined.

This is quite a long and tedious page to fill in my opinion. Nevertheless, might be one of the most important ones concerning whether your app gets downloaded or not. So do not rush to fill it out and regularly review and update it. Especially the screenshots section should have special treatment since few people read descriptions. On the other hand, the description is probably how Play Store figures out the relevant keywords for your app, so special care should be placed here as well.

Optimizing the store listing is a subject outside the scope of this article. But there are countless tools out there to consult and help you end up with an optimal store listing page. And Play Console gives you one powerful tool to figure out whether a store listing version works well or not (see experiments).

Custom store listing

I think this tool is aimed at medium-to-big companies that are doing advanced optimization on what listing performs best for each user segment around the world.

You see, here you can specify store listing pages that target specific regions/countries (not just locales), specific install states (such as pre-registration), and even create specific URLs for custom listings (for instance to use in a specific marketing campaign that targets a specific user segment for better conversion, e.g. a marketing campaign for men under 50 will have different screenshots than a marketing campaign for men under 30).

The targeting capabilities offered here are advanced but time-consuming. If your company has the resources to use this tool effectively, then it's pure gold. Otherwise, stick to the main store listing and just provide different translations for your top markets (see translations).

You can have custom store listings with dedicated URLs, useful for targeted marketing campaigns

Store listing experiments

I consider this to be one of the most powerful features of the entire console.

Many descriptions, titles, screenshots, or videos look good. But you don't want you or your team to enjoy those media. You want your potential users to like them and enjoy them so much that they decide to install (and hopefully keep) the app.

This is where the experiments come into play. You can set multiple variances, for 1 or more attributes of your store listing page, and Play Console will tell you which one is performing best! No need to argue with colleagues about which screenshot looks better. Just try it out with an experiment.

A few tips: prefer to test one attribute at a time (e.g. only test screenshots, or only the title, etc). Even though Play Console lets you choose multiple attributes at the same experiment, the basics of a good experiment state that you keep everything constant and change only one thing at a time (there are some exceptions to this rule where testing multiple things is useful - but be sure that it's an exception). As recommended by the console, it's better to always choose the "retained first-time installs" as the target metric since store listings that make users install but not keep the app are not what you want to end up with.

Also, with recent updates on the page, you can now customize the criteria for which the experiment will end and you can specify how "certain" you want to be before calling the experiment finished. These were hardcoded and hidden from the console users beforehand but now there's transparency and more control over when the experiment will end. An estimation of when the experiment will end is now available which is great since beforehand you had no idea if the experiment would take 1 month or 1 year.

The only downside I can see in the experiments feature is that it requires a high number of installs to be meaningful. This means that if you are just getting started and you don't have a significant and constant stream of downloads, you won't find this feature useful. You would first need to get that bulk downloads and then use this feature to optimize.

For less popular apps or apps just starting, the experiments feature might not be useful

Translation service

Last but not least is the translation services. Even though there are quite a few services externally to translate your app's resources, this one integrates with the console and its convenience compares to no other.

With a few clicks, you can request translations to almost every language in the world. Except for the store listing text, you can request translations for the app strings as well as the in-app products.

The difficult part is to identify which languages are worth translating to. If you identify a strong trend of store visits from a particular country/region that speak a specific set of languages, maybe it is worth optimizing by having translations for those languages. On the other hand, randomly choosing languages to translate your app/listing to with the hope that more people speaking that language will download your, might not be a very successful strategy.

This was a long post and I didn't have the chance to cover the store performance section (maybe in a future post). Nevertheless, this post contains more than enough information to get you started with having a successful store listing in Play Store.

Happy editing!

In this series:

Google Play Console: Publishing
In this post series, I plan to go through some of the most interesting features of the Play Console. We will start with the core feature: publishing.
Google Play Console: Reviews and ratings
It’s of extreme importance to monitor the ratings and reviews, reply to user reviews, and take action if something is reported and it’s actionable. Play Console offers more than enough tools to do this.
Google Play Console: Monetization
Every one of your apps will have to think about monetization at some point. But where do you start? Thankfully, if you are a big player or a start-up it doesn’t make much difference in the tools you have to monetize in Play Console.
Google Play Console: Developer pages
In this post, I will attempt to go through some, of what I consider, the most important and useful developer-level pages in the Play Console.


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