Posted by Larry Yang and Angela Ying, Product Managers, Google Play
Subscriptions on Google Play continue to see huge growth, with subscribers growing over 80% year over year. At I/O 2018, we announced several improvements we're making to the user experience to reduce barriers to subscription sign-up, and more tools to let you manage your business the way you want to.
More control for subscribers
While users derive a lot of value from their subscriptions, our research shows their fears of being "trapped" in a subscription without the ability to cancel or worry they'll lose track of how much they're spending create a hindrance to users signing up for your subscription apps. To address these fears, we recently launched a new subscriptions center, a one-stop shop for users to manage their subscriptions on Google Play.
Through the subscriptions center, users can:
- View all of their subscriptions to see details and status
- Manage and update payment methods, including setting up a backup payment method
- Renew a subscription
- Restore a cancelled subscription
- Cancel a subscription
In addition, if a user cancels a subscription, we will now trigger a cancellation survey to give developers feedback as to why the user is cancelling. Currently you can see the data from the cancellation survey by querying our server side API.
The new subscriptions center also has a "Get Started" link in the empty state that lets users discover subscription apps through curated and localized collections.
With the launch of the subscriptions center, we're also launching new deep links you can use to direct your users to manage their subscriptions from your app, over email or via the web. To implement, use the package name and SKU to construct the deep link, and then add the deep link as a button or link from anywhere in your app. View the Android Developers website for more information.
More control for you
In addition to creating a better experience for users, we're also rolling out new tools that give you more flexibility in managing your business. One of the features we've heard requested most is price changes. Coming soon, you can easily ask users to accept a price change via the Google Play Console without having to set up a completely new SKU. Google Play will notify users of the change via emails, push notifications and in-app messaging, and if by renewal date the user hasn't agreed, we'll cancel their subscription. Sign up here if you are interested in participating in the early access program.
Other features we launched at I/O that help you better manage your subscription business include the ability to:
- Upgrade a subscription without changing the user's expiration date
- Issue a partial refund from the Play Console
- Refund specific subscription renewals, not just the latest one
- Use order IDs with the server-side API
- Use the Refund API with the Google Play Developer API
This is in addition to faster test renewals and flexible intro pricing we announced earlier this year.
To easily implement all of these, make sure you are using the Google Play Billing Library, which launched version 1.1 at I/O. The billing library is an abstraction layer on top of the AIDL file, and API updates are automatically picked up when you update your build dependency file the next time you compile your app. Price changes and upgrade/downgrade with the same expiration date are only available through the billing library. This will be the case for future launches as well.
Better for everyone
We strongly believe that by building a great user experience, we build a high quality subscriber base. And by giving you tools and insights to better manage your business, you have the flexibility to do what is best for your business and your customers.
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