Five ways to level up your Android game
Android builders who wish to have their apps revealed extra successfully in Google Play might be happy to grasp that the curation group at the back of the favored app retailer have mainly the identical objectives in thoughts. A recent video from Koh Kim and Dan Galpin, both who work as developer advocates for Google, talked about several ways that developers can make their apps more accessible and engaging to users, thereby increasing installs, revenue, and authority.
Core app quality guidelines
While there are basic questions that every developer has on their mind, i.e., “how do I get discovered”, “how do I get rid of bad ratings”, “how do I get users to play my games”, etc. these questions tend to miss the fundamental point, which is that at the center of every app, there is a user. Happy, content, engaged users tend to equal more happy, content, engaged users.
There are core app quality guidelines found at developer.android.com that Google Play staffers encourage developers to perfect in their apps. Their testing has found that these simple guidelines are not necessarily always followed by app developers, which can lead in turn to bad reviews from users. A few of the most notorious offenses:
- Notifications: Everyone hates to be spammed. A notification should not be an ad for something else, and it should be wholly controllable by the user. Google Play advises that developers give users precise control as to timing and sounds.
- Privacy settings: Apps in general do not need to know how to change their users’ Wi-Fi settings, receive boot completed notifications, read system logs, directly call phone numbers, read or write their contacts and calendars, or display system level alerts. If your app needs one of these things, you’ll have to be able to justify it to the Google Play review team.
- Audio: Sounds should not play when the user is not engaged within the app. Review teams will catch this and send the app back to the developer.
- Testing in more than one version: Google Play encourages developers to test their apps in the latest version of Android, as well as in Strict Mode.
- Quality graphics: Developers should provide high quality graphics across a wide variety of form factors. Every device that people are using to access Google Play will be tested. In fact, great graphics are one of the highest determining factors that can make or break the decision on whether the Google Play store decides to feature an app. Icons that accurately and engagingly represent what your app is all about are extremely important because of this.
In addition to guidelines like the ones above, Google makes available a “test suite” that developers can use to check their quality assurance compliance. These are actual steps that the QA team at Google will take to review any apps that are submitted, so it’s good practice to know what’s going to be looked at ahead of time. It also increases the probability that Google will feature and review your app if it passes muster the first time.
The Google Play store is curated by actual people, and nothing gets through automatically. Getting featured on the store is definitely a huge boost for any app; for example, one game gave numbers from their feature week of going from a baseline of 500k installs to over three million – in just one week. The game was already highly rated due to an engaging user experience and high quality overall, so this just managed to tip them over the edge into stardom. Featuring can be critical for launches and updates of an app; often increasing downloads ten to twenty times. In fact, sales of Super Hexagon multiplied by four during their Google Play promotion.
However, getting featured is really only the beginning. Once you get featured it can open doors to a lot of other promotions, sort of a snowball effect. The trick is getting to that point, initially. One of the best ways to do that is via Google Play Game Services, which gives developers a jumping-off point to integrate various Google services into their apps. Achievements, leaderboards, cloud saving, real-time multiplayer, and anti-piracy are all here. This is also part of Google+, so it comes with simple secure authentication (this improves registration and sign-in conversions with a fast and secure authentication option for users), interactive posts (helps your users prompt friends to take specific actions in your app from a Google+ post), and app activities (helps you re-engage users when it’s relevant in the future).
Interactive posts can be a huge boost for engagement from within apps, since the user can sign into games with their G+ ID, and developers can create interactive jumping off points from within the actual gameplay – for example, say someone is playing chess and wants to challenge a friend to the game they’re in progress with. Targeted sharing with notifications can be fantastic for user engagement. If the game or app isn’t installed, the user will be brought to the store or the game to install it, and these notifications do show up on every Google property, so it is very pervasive.
A recent survey from Blitz titled “Pulling the Trigger to Purchase” (2011) stated that 95% of 1000 respondents chose videos as the deciding factor that got them to install an app, followed by trailers (94%), visiting the developers’ site (61%), reading expert reviews (68%), and reading premium content (83%). Videos are an incredibly important part of app listings. Google Play encourages app developers to take advantage of the free YouTube API in order to enable users to share actual gameplay videos, as well as market listings:
- YouTube Data API v3: use for resumable uploads from your game to YouTube, RESTful, and Android client library available here: https://code.google.com/p/google-api-java-client).
- YouTube Android Player API: use for high quality video playback in your game, supports Android 2.2 (Froyo) and above, captions/subtitles, seamless full screen transitions and more, small footprint (https://developers.google.com/youtube/android/player/downloads)
As well as, there’s no wish to put a big video at first of a recreation, when customers are going to simply watch it as soon as – they usually are inclined to uninstall massive cumbersome apps that absorb an excessive amount of reminiscence, which that surely would do. As an alternative, the developer can host the intro video on YouTube by way of an API.
Everybody desires to receives a commission. Google Play objectives to make this course of as streamlined as that you can think of, and they have got simplified reasonably a couple of actions that was troublesome to put into effect; as an instance, native merchandise pricing can now inform customers how so much they’re going to be charged prior to taking them to the shop for in-app purchases.
As well as, subscription purchases can add as much as an incredible distinction when finished appropriately. As a substitute of a one-time buy, the person may just come to a decision they’re up for a long run relationship. Each developer has to come to a decision whether or not or now not it is smart for his or her specific app, however it’s a conceivable solution to proceed and deal with that consumer relationship, plus, it’s an effective way to shut the hole between free video games and in-app purchases, whereas offering a technique for builders to create further price.
When a purchaser decides to place their belief in you as a developer and Google Play as an app retailer, it’s extra than simply cash at that time – it’s authority and recognition. So it’s essential to do it proper the primary time.
The worldwide Android market is giant and getting greater, with apps to be had in additional than one hundred thirty nations and rising exponentially, particularly in Asia. Google Play is rising sooner than activated devices with forty eight billion installs, and quite a lot of these are video games. To ensure that video games to achieve success in world markets, apps wish to be on hand in native languages; it simply is sensible and it additionally offers builders with a bigger fan base on the way to reply. For instance, it’s now that you can think of to add localized property (like screenshots, movies, and icons) and alter them by means of area. If customers can be aware extra in regards to the sport, it a great deal improves the prospect that they are going to obtain it. The video equipped a few totally different examples as an instance this:
- Eternity Warriors 2 vs. Blood and Glory Legend: Launched on the comparable time from the identical studio; Eternity used to be localized at launch, whereas the opposite was once handiest to be had in English. This made a giant distinction in Korea, the place the localized recreation racked up thrice as many installs.
- Gameloft: After putting in keep in Asia, they noticed a a hundred ninety% YOY increase. After they began localizing in Korea, that increase elevated by way of 520%, and are actually certainly one of their quickest rising markets.
The Google Play staffers had been fast to show that localization doesn’t essentially simply imply translation; builders have to determine what is sensible with a world target audience, and be delicate to native customs and cultures that may now not work with all apps and video games.
What makes a just right app?
There are such a large amount of components that go into making a “excellent” app: nice snap shots, just right navigation, attractive gameplay, social capabilities, non-intrusive notifications, intuitive billing and/or in-app purchases, and so on. It may be a bit of overwhelming to consider. On the other hand, excellent apps which can be downloaded by using a powerful consumer base continually practice the identical route.