Guide for Publishing an App on Google Play | Guide for Startups & App Owners
This guide is here for you to let you know the aspects you should keep in mind before publishing your app on Google Play Store. Learn the technical requirements, store settings, content policies, targeting, metadata preparation, and a lot more through this one Guide and have a successful app publishing.
There are numerous apps now available in the Google Play store. It is one of the largest platforms for app distribution, promotion, and selling with around 3 million apps on its platform.
It is very exciting to launch your app on Google play, with all the excitement some crucial responsibilities also come, which influence the app’s success. Will the app be popular or not, whether people would install it or not?
These questions bother every app owner and therefore we are here to help you with all that. So let’s understand the ins and outs of app publishing.
1. Before you Start
API Target level
All the new Android applications are required to meet the targeted API. The API target level cannot be too low. It is also known as the target SDK version, it is a number indicating the latest Android version.
If there is a mismatch between the user’s device version and the target level of the app, then some compatibility behavior may occur. In changes in the subsequent versions, you may expect improvised security by introducing new permissions and restrictions.
Already published app versions should not break after such changes. Currently, the minimum target API level for new apps is 29(Android P) and it will be increased to 30(Android R) in the beginning of August 2021.
Increasing the target API level is not just entering a number in the configuration file but a very time-consuming process when you have an existing codebase. And, not only the application source code itself but the 3rd party libraries may also be affected. That’s why maintenance of apps on a regular basis reduces the technical burden.
From August 2021, new apps would have to use the App Bundle(AAB). It is a format useful only for uploading to the Google Play Store. For example, assets for mismatched screen density will not be shipped resulting in a smaller app size and comparatively faster installation.
APK files won’t be accepted and supported, they are superseded by Play Asset Delivery.
In most apps, the AAB format can be used.
Your android application is required to comply with the terms of services of the Google Play store and the US’s laws in order to have legal distribution rights.
You can find information about restricted content, forbidden malware or spam, and intellectual property in the Development Policy Center. Learn from the interactive videos there about legal requirements.
You also need to have a knowledge of services export laws as your app is needed to comply with the US export laws since Google Play Store servers are located in the USA. If your application uses cryptography then you need to take special care.
Read about export compliance in the play store and the US Bureau of Industry and Security’s official website.
Keep in mind that your app also needs to be compliant with local laws in the customers’ countries. The most widely known are the GDPR laws found in EU/EEA countries. These are known to be enforced as, for example, Italian authorities fined Facebook £8.9m for misleading users of its app.
2. The Metadata
After making your application compliant with legal and technical requirements let us move to proper publication.
The main elements in store listing are:
App name – up to 50 characters
Short description – up to 80 characters
Full description – up to 4,000 characters
These are compulsory text fields and can be localized. You can utilize customized listings to provide the same set of texts. You require to follow the metadata requirements apart from marketing.
Avoid making visual distractions and using words that are copyrighted. Also, check permissions regarding restricted content and intellectual property.
And also, keep in mind SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Use only words that are related to the app otherwise, it will cause trouble to users in searching the application.
In the initial stage of app planning, you have to choose whether your is free or paid. That setting can be changed anytime from paid to free but not the other way around.
An app set as free on the market in the initial stage cannot be given price subsequently.
Some countries do not provide payment receiving options from users, so keep that in mind. And a free app can still use in-app purchases.
There are value limits that are different for each supported currency. It is not possible to achieve equal to absolute value, therefore keep the amount close to the upper or lower limit.
These are promotional aspects of your app. They help users in getting a better idea of your app and attractive graphic assets help in increased installs and downloads. You can use Youtube videos and screenshots for this purpose.
By the default settings of the play store, the application may be promoted externally too. If you do no want external marketing then you can change the setting in the Play Store console, the changes will take up to 60 days.
The assets need to be in compliance with the Developer Program Policies. Also, they must follow intellectual property rules and should not include forbidden elements.
For store listing, the required resolution is – 512×512 px. The app icon usually looks like the launcher icon which you are required to already have.
Use the Android Asset Studio to generate all the icons.
Present key points with the help of a feature graphic.
The minimum amount of screenshots of your app should be at least 2. Use different resolutions according to the devices.
It is an optional but recommended step. Helps you greatly with the promotion of the features inside.
Select an appropriate category for your app to enable users in finding it easily. Like Shopping, Finance, Books, etc.
Also, add your contact details to provide support for users. Usually, email is required and can be different from the owner’s Google account address and optionally you can add a contact number and link to the website.
3. Content policy
You are required to provide several pieces of information about the content in your app to Google. Such as Age restrictions and several others on the list –
Your declaration is needed whether your app contains advertisements or not. Not just banners, but sponsored articles are also considered as ads.
You are required to publish instructions for reviewers if parts of your app are restricted by geolocation or any sign-up requirements.
Your app is required to have IARC ratings. A questionnaire would be filled by you and accordingly, authorities will provide your application ratings. These ratings are mainly used by parents.
When you choose your targeted age group(s) you need to answer some questions. The younger your age group will include the more questions you would need to answer.
If you have a news app then you are required to follow the news policy. If in an application there is a claim regarding the relationship with the publisher, the fact will be reviewed.
Due to various factors like licensing, copyright, or other legal agreements you would need to limit your app’s availability. You can adjust restrictions according to a particular country.
The configurations can be done separately depending upon the application.
The term ‘country’ here means the one used with the Google Play user account. The user’s actual location and that of the application may vary.
Device related restrictions
Some devices follow different policies and don’t allow the application to work. To overcome this problem you can exclude such problematic devices using the device catalog.
To use the in-app purchases option or if you want to sell your application then you need to set up a payment profile.
You can optionally set up the developer page. It will be used as a common page for apps published from the same developer’s account.
5. Technical settings
Now comes the technical settings that you need to keep in mind while publishing your app on Google Play.
It is a unique identity for every app on the Play store. The app ID is visible to the users in the links. And once an app is uploaded to the store an ID is reserved for the application and no one else can use it. It also can’t be modified therefore choose your ID wisely.
To make any app installable it is required to be signed, and since it is a broad topic a separate article would be needed to describe it completely.
Few options that are provided by the store are- let the store generate a signing key for you, use the same key, or provide a new key which you will be required to generate before.
The finishing touches
So till now, we have covered almost everything that you need to consider while publishing your app.
But before publishing your app for the public, test it within some restricted user group.
Google automatically checks all the app versions you publish. It helps you in identifying potential issues.
How to publish an app on Google Play Article Wind Up-
Here we have covered almost all the essential points that you should keep in mind while publishing your own application. It is not hard science but some key points are there that you should know.
And if you face any difficulties regarding that then we are here for you to help you out. Contact us for any app-related services and consultancies and we will be happy to take the weight off your shoulders.