How to publish an Android app on Google Play Store

Application development is just the beginning of a very exciting journey. The very first publishing of an Android app can be a bit intimidating, as you might not be aware of all aspects of releasing your product on Google Play. All the preparations for the Android app release and publication ought to be started in advance and to not be postponed until the last day. 

In order to make this process easier, Fingers Media have created a comprehensive step-by-step guide, explaining how to publish a mobile app on Google Play from the very beginning.

 

 

Things to consider when releasing a mobile app on Google Play

 

Google Play Store is a beneficial platform that can help app developers sell, distibute and promote their digital products. Each developer is usually provided with a set of helpful tools for detailed analytics and market trends analysis. A wide array of useful tools and features makes Google Play Store one of the top places to sell and distribute your product for all Android users.

Upon publishing your new mobile app on Google Play, there are a few crucial aspects to take into consideration:

  • Prepare necessary promotional materials to be able to attract users, reach the maximum number of downloads and collect positive feedback. It may include high-quality screenshots, videos, and a brief description that will introduce your product.

  • Define target users and devices. Google Play Store allows app developers to target a particular group of consumers based on their location. Furthermore, app developers can choose the language as well as set the specific app pricing for each country separately. Google Play Store tools also make it possible to save the product as a draft, so it can be published any time later.

  • Check the settings in advance. All the settings ought to be correctly configured before the app is published for the public.

If you would like to upload an app on your own, you will definitely find this launch checklist helpful.

So, how to release your digital product according to the Google Play Store policy?

 

 

Step One: Google Developer Account

 

It is impossible to publish any digital product on Google Play Store without having signed up to Google Play Console.

In case you already have an account on Google, you can use it but it’s highly recommended to create a new one for business purposes. It can be either a private or corporate account. It is also possible to transfer the mobile app between the accounts if necessary. Upon the signing up process, it is obligatory to thoroughly read the distribution agreement provided by Google Play Store, which should be signed by the account creator. 

Afterwards, adding personal information and paying a registration fee ($25) are required to successfully complete the first mobile app release step. The users usually wait for 2 days to be approved by Google. Any personal information can be edited later once your account has been finally approved.

 

Google Developer Account

 

 

Step Two: Google Merchant Account

 

If you are planning on distributing a paid mobile app, or your app has in-app purchases, creating a Google Merchant Account is mandatory. It provides all the necessary tools for app sales management, monthly payouts services, and detailed sales reports. All the accounts in Google are automatically linked to each other so after having created a Google Merchant account, it will be connected to your main Google profile shortly afterwards.

 

Google Merchant Account

 

 

Step Three: EULA and other essential documents

 

End User License Agreement, Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policy, as well as other important documents ought to be prepared in advance during the mobile app development. You can search for examples of similar apps’ documents, or consult a lawyer to help create your own from scratch.

First of all, what is EULA? The End User License Agreement is considered an agreement between you, as a developer of a particular product, and the user who downloads your app. EULA includes the following information:

  • What app users are allowed and not allowed to do upon using the downloaded mobile app.

  • Information regarding licensing fees.

  • The list of restrictions applied to a certain product released on Google Play Store.

Upon creating Terms and Conditions, you are to describe all the services you offer as a software developer and owner. Even though creating Terms and Conditions is not obligatory and not required by Google Play, it is still highly recommended to do so in order to provide the full documentation package. 

If your app is going to collect users’ personal data, you have to indicate it and add Privacy Policy where you guarantee to not take advantage of this data. When adding Privacy Policy, it is needed to include the following information:

  • The presence of specific content, as well as age restriction.

  • Registered company location.

  • Users’ personal data that is collected when using the mobile app.

  • All the app features, as well as whether they are free or paid.

  • Current terms of app subscription.

  • The official legislation that applies when regulating disputes.

  • Users residence and location.

Afterwards, the app owner can proceed to the next step.

 

 

Step Four: Google Developer Policies

 

Google Developer Policies describe how each app needs to be updated, developed, distributed, and supported in terms of being released on Google Play Store. Each mobile app that is to be published on Google Play ought to meet certain criteria, supporting the highest standards of the store’s quality.

In case the digital product does not pass certain Google Developer Policies criteria, it may be blocked, and even removed from the store. In order to avoid that, pay attention to the following policy chapters:

  • Restricted content.

  • Store listing and promotion.

  • Intellectual property (IP).

  • Privacy, deception and device abuse.

  • Spam and minimum functionality

  • Monetization and ads.

Since Google tends to change its policy chapters, it is vital that you remain updated by checking out Google Developer Policies from time to time.

 

Google Developer Policy

 

 

Step Five: Technical requirements

 

After having completed all the software checks, there remain a few crucial technical requirements left before uploading your app file. These are:

  • Bundle ID (unique app ID). The Android app package name represents the application ID. Each mobile app available on Google Play Store features a unique bundle identifier that cannot be changed after the app release. Remember that there are no apps marked with the same bundle ID.

  • Digital signature. Each app ought to be digitally signed with the certificate of a developer. It is done in terms of identifying the mobile app owner and is usually generated only once, meaning that for each digital product to be released you have to provide a digital certificate individually.

  • Mobile app size. Google Play Store usually sets the limit of the file allowed to be uploaded. The app size depends on the user’s Android version. The maximum size is 100 MB, however, it would be better if it's less than 50 MB, then more users would have a chance to try your app.

  • File format. Pay attention to the format of the file you are going to publish. It can be either .aab (app bundle) or .apk (Android application package).

Once you have created the file, you become closer to releasing your mobile digital product on Google Play Store.

 

 

Step Six: Creating an app on your Google Developer Account

 

Use your Google Developer Account to create a new app to be published:

  • Tap the ‘All applications’ tab in the user’s menu.

  • Click the ‘Create application’ button.

  • Select the default language of the to-be-released digital product from the list of available ones.

  • Create an app description, giving brief details about your software. Keep in mind that this can be changed any time later.

  • Click the ‘Create’ button to proceed.

The rest of the data regarding your mobile app is added later.

 

 

Step Seven: Store listing and the importance of App Store Optimization (ASO)

 

In terms of providing your users with essential app information, you need to prepare the store listing. It is also useful for App Store Optimization, which helps to attract more potential consumers. What does store listing include?

 

  • A digital product description that should include an app title, a brief software description, as well as a full description. Using keywords is encouraged.

 

  • Images and screenshots. You can publish from 2 to 8 screenshots, representing your mobile app.

- JPEG or 24-bit PNG (no alpha)

- from 320px to 3840 px

- the ratio should not be more than 2:1

 

Here is an example of our work for client's product Mona:

 

Mona Screenshots Google Play

 

  • Icon. Upload an icon according to the Google requirements.

- 512px x 512px

- 32-bit PNG (with alpha)

- Maximum size: 1024KB

 

  • Feature graphic. This is not mandatory but is helpful for marketing purposes.

- JPEG or 24-bit PNG (no alpha)

- 1024px x 500px

 

  • Promo video. In case you have created a promo video, it’s possible to add a YouTube link.

 

  • Adding tags. Those are keywords that will help Android users discover your mobile app. Unfortunately, it is impossible to add custom tags.

 

  • Supported languages. If your digital product is available in many different languages, make sure to mention all of them in terms of targeting a particular group of users.

 

  • App type and category. Select the type, then category to define the product you are to offer.

 

Type and category Google Play

 

  • Contact information. Provide your website address, e-mail, and other contact details so that the users can get in touch with you easily.

 

  • Privacy Policy. Google Play Store requires adding the link to the Privacy Policy you have created in one of the previous steps.

 

All the settings can be saved as a draft and completed later.

 

 

Step Eight: Content rating questionnaire

 

Not passing a rating questionnaire can lead to mobile app removal from Google Play Store. Furthermore, it can be marked as an unrated app. Provide accurate information and details regarding your digital product in the settings. Any incorrect information can lead to the app removal from your account.

 

Content Rating Questionnaire

 

 

Step Nine: Pricing and distribution

 

The pricing and distribution section is the next section that requires providing certain app details, such as:

  • If there is any specific content not suitable for people of a certain age range.

  • Whether the digital product contains any ads.

  • Android devices compatibility.

  • If the mobile app is free or paid, as well as if there are any paid features included.

  • Availability of the digital product. Make sure to choose the countries where the app is available for download.

The paid app can be changed to a free app later but not vice versa. You will have to create a paid app from scratch, following the previously mentioned steps.

 

 

Step Ten: Uploading your APK file

 

Upon app upload, the user is provided three different options:

  • Alpha. By choosing this option, you upload a digital product that may not be available to everyone on Google Play Store. This option means limited product testing, meaning that you are the one who can invite someone to download your software and test it.

  • Production.

  • Beta. Anyone can download your mobile app as a testing program, leave a comment and send their feedback to the product developer. It will help you to add the finishing touches and fix all the potential bugs that occur while using the mobile app.

You can switch to Production type any time later after having improved your product once again.

After choosing the release type, upload the app file. Tap the Review button so as to send your digital product to the review. It takes up to 7 days to pass the Google review and get your mobile app finally published on Google Play.

 

 

Final words

 

Application release is a very demanding process where every single step ought to be planned in advance. Correct app publishing, as well as targeting certain market and users require thorough analysis, but performed in the correct way leads to success! 

However, you can always delegate work to professionals, who will give you peace of mind. If you have more questions about mobile app development and publishing, our team is happy to help you and answer all of them!

Drop us a message and we will get back to you with a free consultation. 

 

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