How changes on Google Play will affect ASO optimization

    In mid-March, the Game Developers Conference ( GDC 2019 ) was held, at which Google introduced updates to its Google Play Store. The update is aimed at improving the process of developing applications and games for Android and supporting the overall growth of the mobile games market.

    We went to the conference at AppFollow, listened to the speeches and decided to analyze how these updates will change the ASO optimization for Android and what now needs to be done to be in the top of Google Play.

    I chose the 6 most important innovations in my opinion. About them - under the cut.


    So, 6 changes in the Google Play Store and how they will affect the ASO for Android applications and games:

    1. Application pages are configured separately for different countries.

    On Google Play, you can now create separate application pages for each country.

    How will this affect ASO:

    More features to localize applications. Previously, in ASO optimization, only one language could be used without country division. Now Google Play allows you to customize metadata based on the traditions and preferences of each particular country.

    For example, to attract attention and increase conversion to the installation, now you can use different screenshots for Arabic-speaking users who live in Saudi Arabia or the UAE:


    2. Pre-registration has become available to everyone.

    Four years ago, Google announced the launch of pre-registration for applications and games, but until March 2019, it was available only to a limited circle of developers. Such registration was aimed at gathering an audience and fostering interest in the application or game: users could register on the application or game page and on day X they received a push notification with a suggestion to install.

    How will this affect ASO:

    Using pre-registration, you can increase the number of installations on the first day (D1 installs) and get a quick feedback to fix possible bugs and add feature requests to your backlog. According to a Google report, pre-registration games had higher installations on the 1st and 7th days than games without it, and the conversion to installation was 38% higher.


    Google recommends launching a separate beta campaign in another country to test the product before release. By the way, do not forget to track the responses to the beta version of your application and respond to them. To optimize your work and save time, set up feedback in Slack, Zendesk, Helpshift, or Discord. In addition, you can respond to reviews directly in these services. Read more about this integration here .

    3. 2 new metrics for analysis of conversion to installation and retention

    The effectiveness of A / B tests on Google Play can now be assessed by two new metrics: the number of users who first installed the application, and the first day retention rate (first-time installers and D1 retained users). The reports of these indicators are updated every hour and come to your mail several times a day.

    How will this affect ASO:

    More accurate results of A / B tests and, as a result, more experiments with the application page, better understanding of users and increased conversion. New metrics will show which test attracted the right users and which can be stopped. This will help the application or game to rise higher in search queries and get into the lists of recommended applications.


    4. New application size

    Google Play has increased the size of the application for downloading without Wi-Fi: now instead of 100MB it is 150 MB (as in the App Store). In addition, with the support of the Android App Bundle of Unity and Cocos Creator game engines, the size of applications becomes smaller.

    How will this affect ASO:

    Increased installation conversions at the expense of users who download applications and games on the go. Google said that developers who use the App Bundle have an increase in installations of up to 19%. In addition, the percentage of deletions is reduced, as applications and games cease to take up so much space.

    5. Innovations Google Play Instant

    Introduced in 2018, Google Play Instant gives you the opportunity to try the application or game without installing or buying. In 2019, for example, collections of applications and games from Google Play Instant were added. And with the Google Play Instant plugin for Cocos and Unity, you can develop and run the application in a few hours.

    How will this affect ASO:

    Increasing active users by quickly familiarizing yourself with the demo version of the product without installing or buying. In addition, retention and the amount of time spent by the user in the application or game will increase, and the number of deletions will decrease: only those users who really need them will download or buy them.
    By the way, Google recommends disabling ads for demos so as not to spoil the user experience.

    According to Google, "emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia and Turkey are particularly susceptible to games in the Instant format and make up more than half of all sessions in this format." So be sure to consider creating an Instant version of the game or application if you intend to launch in these countries.

    6. Google Stadia

    New cloud gaming streaming service that will give access to games from any device. The company promises smooth interaction of the game with the user anywhere in the world on any device, including YouTube, while the quality of the graphics is 4K at a frame rate of 60 Hz. You will no longer need to download updates or buy any devices - everything is done for you.

    How will this affect ASO:

    Stadia is a new channel for distributing games and attracting new users. For example, they can start playing by simply switching to a game from an ad on YouTube without installing or buying a console. Unfortunately, nothing is said about how the pages with games in the store will look like, but it seems that all the metadata will remain in the same place, so ASO optimization will still have to be done.

    It's funny, by the way, that just 2 days after GDC 2019, Apple showed its service for Arcade mobile, desktop and online games , and after them Snap announced the launch of its gaming platform. Although, looking at Newzoo's forecast , which states that the gaming market will reach $ 137.9 billion this year and the mobile sector will generate 50% of revenue, we can expect more mobile games and the development of this market. So build the right ASO strategy, experiment and conduct different A / B tests, keep track of the constantly changing rules of Apple and Google and stay in the first positions of the Top Charts. And if you need help with ASO, increasing the conversion to installation, localization or improving the rating of the application, then come to us at AppFollow, we can do it all and more.

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