The features described on this page are currently only available to select Play partners.
Program benefits and features for pre-launch confidence
The months leading up to a game’s release are critically important to make it a lasting success. As a Play partner, you now have access to the following benefits to help you launch your game with confidence:
- Get more time to experiment with graphics and text in your store listing before launch with store listing experiments for pre-registration
- Gather user feedback and build excitement before you launch with pre-registration testing
- Generate up to 1 million access codes per game to easily add users to closed tests
Learn more about program benefits
Store listing experiments for pre-registration
Get more time to experiment with graphics and text in your store listing before launch with store listing experiments for pre-registration. With store listing experiments for pre-registration, you can:
- A/B test different icons, videos, screenshots, and descriptions to gain early acquisition insights and find the most effective graphics and localized text
Gather user feedback and build excitement before you launch with pre-registration testing. With pre-registration testing, you can:
- Recruit pre-registered users to join closed tests
- Invite pre-registered users by country and device RAM; invited users get a notification from Google Play to become testers and install the app
- Get your fanbase excited with "sneak peeks" and the chance to provide feedback
You can give testers access to your app by generating and sharing unique access codes for closed test tracks in Play Console. With access codes, you can:
- Create one-time-use codes to allow users to test your game without collecting their email addresses
- Generate up to 1 million codes per game
- Distribute these codes to anyone you choose (social media, loyal users, etc)
- Eliminate the need to handle data retention and personally identifiable information
Recommendations for how to make the most of your program benefits and features
- Store listing experiments can help optimize your store listing on Google Play. Try out different graphics and localized text for your store listing, and see which version performs best to help increase installs and retention. To help your game get discovered, make sure that you’re following best practices for creating a comprehensive store listing.
- Pre-registration continues to be a powerful promotional tool for upcoming games to build excitement and awareness.
- With closed testing, get early feedback from invited users, without impacting your public ratings and reviews.
What are some best practices for store listing experiments?
- Using a default graphics experiment, you can experiment with variants of your app's icon, feature graphic, screenshots, and promo video in your app's default store listing language
- Using a localized experiment, you can experiment with your app's icon, feature graphic, screenshots, promo video, and/or your app's descriptions in up to five languages
Best practices to optimize your store listing with store listing experiments:
- Test one attribute at a time.Get the clearest results by testing one variation at a time, unless you're testing completely different designs against each other. Test similar changes to your icons and feature graphics together, like when comparing the use of characters against objects for a game.
- Test all of your listing's attributes. Start with your app icon, which can have a huge influence on whether users pick your game. After your icon, test your screenshots and short descriptions, because they're visible to users in search results and category lists. Make sure to test the feature graphic as a priority, too, as it has a major presence on your store listing's page.
- Run your experiment for at least 7 days. Running for a week allows you to capture both weekday and weekend behavior, even if you have enough traffic to get meaningful results in a few days.
- Create at least three alternatives for testing graphics and text. For your icon, feature graphic, screenshots, promo video, short description, and full description, test a few different versions to see which performs best, and experiment with the order of screenshots.
Optimize your store listing with experiments
It can be challenging to find the perfect combination of graphics and text to make your store listing appeal to the most users. Let's take a look at how the Play Console store listing experiments feature helps you understand which store listing variant makes the greatest impact on your total installs.
What are some best practices for how to showcase a game with a comprehensive store listing?
Store listing preview assets that showcase your game's features and functionality can help your app attract new users on Google Play. A game's feature graphic, screenshots, short description, and videos are used to highlight and promote your game on Google Play and other Google promotional channels.
Best practices to showcase your game with a comprehensive store listing
Preview video recommendations
A preview video is effective to show the capabilities, look and feel, and experience of your app to potential users for better app discovery and decision making. We highly recommend providing a preview video for games particularly.
- Keep your videos short and concise because only the first 30 seconds autoplays.
- Create a video in landscape orientation rather than a portrait orientation, as your video will show in a landscape video player.
- Consider using copy to give the user context if the video is muted (for example, when autoplayed)
- View more recommendations, see examples and learn how to Showcase your app or game with a preview video.
Use screenshots to convey capabilities, the look and feel, and the experience of your app to potential users for better app discovery.
- Use captured footage of the app or game itself. Don't include people interacting with the device (for example, fingers tapping on the device), unless the core gameplay or app usage is off-device.
- Some sections of Google Play show groups of recommended apps and games in a large format using screenshots. To be eligible for recommendations, provide at least three 16:9 landscape screenshots (minimum 1920x1080px) or three 9:16 portrait screenshots (minimum 1080x1920px) that depict the in-game experience.
- Add taglines only if necessary to convey the key characteristics of the app or game. Avoid adding any form of call-to-action, for example, "Download now," "Install now," "Play now," or "Try now."
- View more recommendations, see examples and learn how to Tell your app or game story with screenshots.
Your feature graphic is a powerful tool to convey app or game experiences and attract new users.
- Use graphics that convey app or game experiences, and highlight the core value proposition, relevant context, or story-telling elements if needed.
- Consider using more vibrant colors in your graphics to build interest and excitement, and avoid using pure white or dark gray. These colors can blend in with the Play Store background.
- Use a similar or complementary color theme and style in the feature graphic, app icon, and in the app itself, so users can immediately associate them with your app and brand. Optimize for branding elements that serve as an extension of your app icon.
- View more recommendations, see examples and learn how to Select a feature graphic.
Your app icon is used in various locations on Google Play, including your store listing, search results, and top charts.
- Consider your brand identity. Use design elements that complement or can carry through other graphics in your store listing. Size and place elements appropriately to engage user interest, and allow for scale. Google Play provides keyline templates to support appropriate sizing and placement.
- To comply with Developer Program Policies, avoid text or graphic elements that promote deals or indicate ranking.
- If possible, pick a background color that's appropriate for your brand and doesn't include any transparency. Transparent assets will display the background color of Google Play UI.
- View more recommendations, see examples and learn how to Select an icon for your app or game.
Google Play Store Listing certificate study guide
Your app's store listing is the first opportunity you have to make a lasting impression with users and a key to app discovery.
What are some best practices for pre-registration?
With pre-registration, your store listing is published before your game is launched to production so that users can register their interest. When your game launches, pre-registered users receive a notification to download your game and your game is installed automatically on eligible devices.
Best practices for pre-registration:
- Offer rewards for pre-registration. With pre-registration rewards, you can give users a managed product (such as an in-game item or special character) for free after they pre-register for your app or game. Rewards can help drive interest, installs, day-1 conversions.
- Localize graphics and content to drive higher conversions. For example, translate taglines into the local languages where your game will be released.
- Keep track of how much time your campaign has left in each country or region where you've made pre-registration available. If you haven't launched within 90 days in any of these countries, your pre-registration campaign will be terminated in all countries and new pre-registration campaigns can't be started.
- Make your app eligible for auto install so users can opt-in to have Play deliver your app to their device automatically on launch day.
- Consider app campaigns for pre-registration to capture people’s interest and generate an early install base for your app or game before a launch.
Maximize pre-launch momentum with pre-registration
Before you launch a new game or app, it's important to build excitement and awareness about your new titles. Pre-launch marketing is increasingly popular for major game launches on mobile. To help developers capitalize on this momentum, pre-registration on Google Play lets developers capture consumer demand from pre-launch marketing and activate it at launch.
What are some best practices for running closed tests?
Running a closed test with pre-registered users allows you to fix any technical or user experience issues with minimal user impact, so you can launch the best version of your game on Google Play.
Best practices for closed tests
- Collect feedback from testers. Testers can also provide you with private feedback through Google Play. Feedback during open or closed testing is only visible to you and won't affect your public rating. You can also provide a feedback URL or email address to be shown to users on your tester opt-in page.
- Reply to testers who provide feedback. Replying to reviews engages your users and makes them feel valued, helping to build loyalty. When you respond to negative feedback, indicate how and when you'll address the feedback, where possible.
- Create additional closed test tracks if needed. In some cases, you may need additional closed test tracks. For example, you might have different development teams that need to address bugs across different features.
- Opt in to the to discover any issues found in your closed testing track. Stability and performance issues, device performance issues, and large app sizes can all impact the success of a game launch. You can customize your tests to make your pre-launch report more comprehensive and relevant to your game. If yourgame requires further specialized testing, you can consider using Firebase Test Lab
Test your app or game
Testing can be a valuable step for your app, whether you have a production app and are preparing an update, or you have a new app and are looking to gather pre-launch feedback. You'll learn about the different test methodologies, which test is right for you, and how to run and evaluate an automated pre-launch report for your app.