Many Android developers want to see their apps and games featured on Google Play. The exposure isn’t just good for bragging rights but also for your bottom line.
Have an iOS or Mac App? Check out our guide for Getting features on the App Store
What Kind of Apps Does Google Feature?
Google likes apps that know how to be successful and run like a business by featuring them. Doing this gives Android users access to apps that are already proven they may have not seen, and rewards developers who fine-tuned their apps.
We recently looked at 7,000+ apps and games featured on Google Play and uncovered trends showing that featured apps are established and successful.
Here’s everything you can do to get your app featured on Google Play:
Build Your App to Google’s Standards
Google Play editors look for apps that are built with specific things in mind to feature. Remember, Google focuses on business performance, so set yourself up for success by following these tips when building your app:
Build an experience, not just a feature. Google rewards apps that run like a business, and you can't build a real business on a feature. Make sure your app offers a complete solution with a set of features that cater to your audience's needs.
A good way to tell what users want is to read the reviews they leave for your app as well as for your competitors, looking for feature requests and suggestions.
Make sure your app is crash free on popular devices. Google pays a lot of attention to crash rates. In fact, crash rates influence category and keyword ranks on Google Play, so it's very important to test your app well. Android runs on a variety of devices ranging in specs and capabilities, so make sure to test your app on the most popular ones in the countries you are targeting.
Firebase offers an affordable on-device testing service so you can easily see how well your app runs across Android devices. It's pretty easy to use and can make the difference between getting featured and not.
Increase your retention rate. In addition to your crash rate, Google also looks at how often your app is downloaded and then deleted. This is called retention and you should pay close attention to yours because it's also a factor in rankings. A low retention rate means that users aren't finding what they're looking for and are continuing their search for a replacement. Not good.
One reason for low retention is a confusing/misleading store page that sets the wrong expectation. Fix that by optimizing your page to focus on what your app does best. This will reduce confusion and increase retention.
Take advantage of Android's latest additions. Google's putting a lot of effort into growing Android, adding features such as dark mode, AR, and tighter privacy. Taking advantage of these features, if relevant for your app, is a great way to show Google your commitment to Android and get closer to a feature.
Localize your app into major languages. 99% of apps that are currently featured on Google Play are localized into at least one other language, suggesting that apps that have a wider global reach are more likely to get featured. Start by localizing your app into the languages spoken by the countries that download your app most.
Pick an Attractive revenue model. Most apps on Google Play are free, and featured apps are no exception. Right now just 6% of all featured apps and games are not free, so if your app is not free you may want to experiment with freemium or ad-based revenue models.
Check off everything on Google’s Launch Checklist. Google put together a list of tasks to ensure are done correctly before launching your app. The list, which counts 22 steps, includes things from setting up your Google Play account to submission and promotion. It's pretty easy to get through and ensure everything is checked off.
Is Your App Featured Now?
Easily check if you app is (or was) featured on Google Play.
Get Aggressive About Growing Downloads
Getting featured is a great way to get more downloads by having your app in front of the entire audience of Google Play. But to get there you'll need to have a high number of downloads to start with. Here's what you can do to grow your downloads:
Use App Store Optimization (ASO) to grow downloads organically. App Store Optimization is the most effective way to get more downloads without having to pay for ads. Using keyword optimization, metadata optimization, and iterative testing you'll get your app to show up in more search results and also improve the conversion rate of your page, turning more impressions into downloads.
Learn more: The App Store Optimization Checklist
Leverage paid ads to get even more downloads. Another way to get more downloads is to leverage paid ads. While not the most cost-efficient way, when used correctly and through relevant ad networks, paid ads can help you kickstart your user acquisition, increasing your category and search ranks, which will contribute to your organic growth in the long term.
Finding the best ad networks to work with could be challenging. Here's a hack to help with that: Look for ad networks that are installed in the most apps in the categories you'd like to target. More installs means more apps that can display your app. Use the Top SDKs list for your category to see the top ad networks.
Learn from Google’s Playbook. To help developers succeed, Google creates content about app development, marketing, and promotion in the form of an Android app. Download it.
Reply to reviews. Reviews play an important role in a user's decision to download an app. In addition to that, reviews have evolved over the years to become a support channel for apps. From bug reports to feature suggestions, users are going to Google Play to communicate with developers. By replying to reviews you're helping your users and also showing potential ones that you've got their back, increasing your chances of getting the download.
Learn more: Tips to Make Replying to Reviews Less Daunting.
Get on Editors’ Radar
Google’s editors scour the web, not just the store, to find interesting apps to feature. Here’s what you can do to get your app in front of them:
Pitch your app to journalists at relevant news outlets and blogs. Google’s editors follow the news more religiously than most, so getting your app mentioned by news outlets and blogs is a sure-fire way to get in front of them.
Pitching your app can get tricky, but the most important thing you can do is pitch to the right people. Find journalists that cover the area your app is in and tend to talk about topics that are relevant for your app.
Start by befriending them, not pitching them on your app. A good way to befriend a journalist is to help them. Websites like HARO make connecting journalists and sources easy and this one's totally free.
Reach out to relevant influencers. Every niche has a set of individuals who are popular and who the rest look to when it comes to learning about new things. Find the ones relevant to your industry and let them know about your app. If they like it, they’ll use it and mention it to their followers.
Promote your app on social media. Leveraging Facebook Groups, subreddits, forums, and other groups that are relevant to your apps is a great way to spread the word and find a very targeted audience that could turn into loyal supporters who will continue to spread the word even farther.
Talk to Google
Once you’ve built a great app, optimized its performance, and leveraged ASO, PR, and other promotion strategies to get real growth, you can sit and wait for Google’s editors to come knocking. Or...
You can ask Google to consider promoting your app. If you're an indie game developer you can use this form to submit your game for consideration. Alternatively, if you are not an indie or have an app and not a game your next best option is to befriend Google Play's editors directly and pitch them your app.
While you may not have an easy-to-submit application for that, you can start by looking for a Local Solutions Manager on LinkedIn and introduce yourself. A delicate but persistent approach will provide the best chance at getting them to listen to you.
Getting featured by Google is a great way to expand your audience and gain credibility, but it’s not a way to springboard your new app to new heights. That’s an important thing to keep in mind.
Google’s focus on performance means that each one of the tips in our guide won’t just increase your chances of getting featured but will also increase your downloads and your bottom line.
Have you gotten featured on Google Play before? Is there a tip you can add? Tweet @appfigures and let us know.