What does it take to publish an app on the Google Play Store? How much time do you need to complete this process? And what materials do you have to prepare?
Let us help you out. With this guide, the app release process should be nice and easy. You’ll also get to know what our team can help you with, so the launch will take less time.
Who’s involved in the process of distributing the app?
First, you should know who must book some time on tasks concerning the release. The product owner and the development team are mainly responsible for adding the app to the store. Nevertheless, some specialists from the client’s team also must be involved in this process. You might need to work with a graphic designer, a copywriter, and someone from the legal team. Their job is to prepare the materials that Google Play demands.
How to upload an app to Google Play Store?
Step 1. Prepare the required materials
It’s best to have some of the materials ready before you start the uploading procedure. This way, you only add them at a proper moment to the Google Play Console. What exactly do you need?
- Length: max. 50 characters
- The structure should be a combination of your app’s name and some keywords that tell users what your product offers. We suggest using ASO-optimized phrases that will help you rank higher on the app store search results.
- There’s a possibility to add a localized version of the name for every language.
- If you’re not sure what title to use, just type its initial version – you can change it later.
- Length: max. 80 characters
- It’s the description users see right after opening your app’s page. It plays an important role in their decision-making process.
- This text should briefly inform users about the functionalities the app offers and the benefits they can expect. The additional information should appear in the full description that shows up after expanding.
- Length: max. 4000 characters
- Delve into details about your app. Make sure to add some information about the essential features and everything that makes the app useful and unique. You can write it down as a bullet list to make the description easy to read.
- Put some keywords in the text to optimize its position in search results. Place these phrases naturally in the text, preferably in the first part.
- Icon size: 512px x 512px
- Max. file size: 1MB
- Format: PNG or JPG (32-bit)
More information regarding the usage of shadows, text, keylines, and many other elements can be found on the website dedicated to Android developers.
At Holdapp, we can help you with these preparations. Our designer will create the icon file in a proper format, so you can check this task off your list.
Other visual assets
- Upload other visual elements, such as a feature graphic and screenshots (phone, tablet, and optionally, Chromebook).
- Optionally, you can add a link to a YouTube video. Remember that in this material, you cannot use a call to action.
- The purpose is to attract users with aesthetic designs. Just like a description, visual assets play a vital role in encouraging users to install the app.
- Present the important elements of the product that interest users the most. Focus on the biggest value it gives to people.
- Avoid too many details and add as little text as possible. Find out more tips in the official content guidelines.
- Feature graphic: dimensions 1024px by 500px (JPEG or 24-bit PNG)
- Phone screenshots: dimensions from 320px to 3840px (JPEG or 24-bit PNG), from 2 to 8 images; one screenshot can have max. 8MB; aspect ratio is 16:9 or 9:16
- 7-inch tablet screenshots: max. 8 screenshots in PNG or JPEG; one screenshot can have max. 8MB; aspect ratio is 16:9 or 9:1; each side of the screenshot must be between 320 px and 3840 px
- 10-inch tablet screenshots: max. 8 screenshots in PNG or JPEG; one screenshot can have max. 8MB; aspect ratio is 16:9 or 9:16; each side of the screenshot must be between 1080 px and 7680 px
There are quite a lot of requirements regarding the visual assets. So, to save you some time, our designer can prepare these materials. We’ll make sure that the graphics will meet the store’s conditions and present your product in a good light.
Translations and localized content
- You can add a language version for every market. Even visual elements can be localized, not only text. Remember that users see the content in a language they have set on their devices.
- If you don’t provide the translation of visual assets, users will see them in the language set as default. They can also display the automated translation prepared via Google Translate.
- If you share such data with third parties, this document must inform users about it.
Once the materials described above are ready, move on to the next stage – add the app to the platform and set it up.
Step 2. Create a Google Play Developer Account
Uploading the app to the Google Play Store is only possible when you have a developer account. To create one, you need to use your Google Account. It gives you access to the Play Console and allows you to add the app and share it with others.
Creating a Google Play Developer account isn’t free. You need to pay $25 the registration fee. The good news is that you don’t have to do it again to launch the app – it’s a one-time payment. Also, it’s important to know that it takes up to 48 hours before the account gets verified and active.
Step 3. Create your app
Go to Google Play Console and open the All apps tab. Then click Create app. You’ll be asked to add the app’s name and contact email. It’s a good practice to add a link to your website, too.
It is also necessary to select:
- The default language of the app
- Type of the product: an app or a game
- Access model: free or paid
After accepting the required declarations, you can finally focus on setting up the app.
Step 4. Fill out the required info
In the next phase, all you have to do is follow the tasks your dashboard shows you. The list starts with the App content page. This is where you add the information regarding policies and regulations, including:
- Declaration concerning containing ads
- Access to the app (whether some parts of it are available after the authentication)
- The target group’s age (there are additional requirements for apps for children)
- Usage of sensitive permissions – you need to fill out a form and provide the information on whether you plan to store the data and how you intend to process it.
At this stage, your app is unrated, so it cannot be published in the store. Luckily, you can quickly change that. Fill out a questionnaire available on the App content page (the Target audience and content section). As a result, you should receive ratings from the entitled institutions.
Once all this information is provided, it’s time to add the visual resources, such as images with screenshots or video – the ones you’ve prepared in advance. Your contact details are important, too. The email address is obligatory, but you can also add a link to your website (which is recommended) and even a telephone number.
Category and tags
Google Play asks you to choose the category of your app and some tags related to it. Their goal is to indicate what kind of app you offer, so there is no doubt about what to expect.
- First, you select the main category (e.g., Beauty, Entertainment, Events, Lifestyle, Shopping, Sports, etc.). Based on this, you can see the proposed tags.
- You can choose a maximum of 5 tags.
- These tags are predefined, which means that you cannot add tags outside of the list provided by Google Store.
- You can make use of the suggested tags or search for more options if you find these recommendations unfit.
- Although you can later remove the tags and add new ones, it is not recommended unless you make significant changes in the app (concerning the content or functionalities).
- See the exemplary tags.
Step 5. Sending the app bundle to the review
Note: This part of the process is usually conducted by the software developers. They build the app bundle, sign it, and upload it to the platform.
What is the app bundle?
Your app is delivered to the Google Play platform in the form of the Android App Bundle. This format offers many benefits. The size of the app is significantly smaller, and the process of its launch is facilitated. How?
After you upload the bundle to Google Play, the platform processes it and generates various versions of your app (so-called APKs). These files work on differently configured devices. So, you don’t have to prepare all these versions on your own. When a user chooses to download the app, only the version adjusted to their device will be transferred. The system also allows you to easily manage different versions in Play Console’s explorer.
You don’t have to worry about creating the Android App Bundle. Our software developers will take care of this. Then, they will add it to internal testing or the full review.
What is the app review?
You can launch your app on one condition – that it positively passes Google’s review. It verifies if the app meets all the requirements that the store has. If it doesn’t, you’ll be informed of what needs to be corrected. Keep in mind that this process can take from a few hours to a couple of days.
Step 6. Tests (optional)
What if you choose to run some internal tests instead of getting straight to the full review? In this case, you can begin with testing the app on a small number of people (max. 20). Technically, the app is published on the store but it is hidden from users. Only those with the special link can find and download it. After the internal tests, the app must go through a full review.
Closed alpha and beta tests
Google Play Store can publish the app automatically after a positive review and make it visible to everyone. This option is recommended when you’re sure your app is ready for the launch. But what if it’s not? Start closed alpha and then beta tests. The alpha tests are the first version of the tested app, and the beta is the second one. In the case of closed tests, Google publishes the app but in a semi-visible way. As a result, everyone can find the app on the store, but only selected people can download it.
To run both the internal and closed tests prepare a list of people who should be enabled to install the app. We need to know their email adresses. Then, we can add it to the platform and generate links with access to the app.
After this stage, you can commence open testing and let even more users try out the app. This time there is no limit to the number of people who can download it and share their feedback (in a private mode). Unlike in the previous types of tests, you don’t have to register these users.
Step 7. Managed app release (optional)
The default option is to launch the app automatically after the review. But in certain cases, it’s best to choose managed publishing. It gives you more control over the entire process.
When should you choose managed publishing?
- You need to update the app in a precisely selected moment due to, for example, marketing purposes.
- Your developer account is brand new and you’ve never used it to add an app. In this case, managed publishing can be useful because the review would probably take more time. This way, you avoid a situation when the app gets published at a random moment and you are not well prepared for it.
- When you want to be up to date with the latest changes to the app and quickly verify the review status on your Google Play Console account.
Keep in mind that managed publishing doesn’t apply when it comes to internal testing. Testers get access to the newly added version right after it appears on the test track.
Final thoughts on submitting the app to Google Play Store
With every new build, you must go through this process again – with only slight changes. You need to update the description, create the app bundles, and test the product.
With so many steps, limitations, and guidelines, it might seem challenging to publish an app on Google Play Store. But if you work with a team experienced in mobile app releases, this process won’t take you long. And you will have more time to focus on tasks related directly to growing your business.
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