Tag Archives: subscriptions

New features to acquire and retain subscribers

Posted by Angela Ying, Product Manager, Google Play

Subscription continues to be one of the fastest growing business models for apps in Google Play. As your subscription business evolves and becomes more sophisticated, our platform continues to evolve to better support your needs. Today we’re excited to tell you more about the new subscription capabilities we announced at the Android 11 Beta Launch, including promotional codes to help you access new subscribers, new opportunities to remind users of your value and win back churned users. Many of these capabilities are built on top of the Play Billing Library version 3.

In addition to the new capabilities, we are also making improvements to our existing platform. Over the past few years, we have launched many features, such as account hold, restore, and pause, which have been highly effective in reducing your voluntary and involuntary churn. We want to ensure that everyone can take advantage of them, which is why we are planning on changing the default settings for these features from optional to either mandatory or on by default starting on November 1, 2020. Additional details on these features and implementation requirements can be found at the end of this post.

Here’s everything that is changing about the subscriptions platform:

Subscriptions platform

More targeted promotions

Promotions and deals are an important way to grow your business to acquire new customers. That’s why over the last year, we have invested in new promotional code capabilities for subscriptions that you can use to send promotions to a more targeted set of users.

Last year at I/O 2019, we launched subscription one-time promotion codes, unique alphanumeric codes that can be distributed to individual users for redemption. Now, we have launched a new frictionless redemption flow which allows users to easily redeem the code, purchase the subscription, and install the app in the Play store in a few simple steps. This greatly simplifies the user experience by reducing the friction users go through to use your code. Since this subscription is started outside of your app, it is only available to developers who are using Billing Library 2.0 or higher.

example mobile displays
In addition to one-time codes, we are excited to officially announce the launch of custom codes (also known as vanity codes), which can be redeemed by multiple users and can be used for marketing campaigns to drive acquisitions. For example, you can post custom codes in advertisements or in social promotions to creatively engage with potential new users. Users can redeem a custom code in your app by entering it in their payment methods when purchasing a subscription.

Remind users of the value of your subscription

Retaining your subscribers is crucial for the long-term health of your subscriptions business. The reason why users stay subscribed is because they perceive ongoing value from your subscription service. To help you communicate this value, we recently launched a module that will remind users of the benefits gained from a subscription when they go to cancel. To take advantage of this module, add a short list of up to 4 subscriber benefits in the Google Play Console.

Win back churned subscribers

If users do churn from their subscription, we want to make it easy for them to restart it whenever they want. To help you do this, we have launched the ability for users to resubscribe to recently expired subscriptions directly from the Google Play subscriptions center. You can enable your SKUs for resubscribe in the Google Play Console. Since this subscription is started outside of your app, it is only available to developers who are using Billing Library version 2 or higher.

Price decreases without opt-ins

Finally, we’ve heard your feedback that requiring users to opt in to subscription price decreases was too restrictive. We are happy to announce that subscription price decreases will no longer require users to take action to opt in to keep their subscription. Users will be notified of an upcoming price decrease and be able to see the upcoming change in the Google Play subscriptions center.

Updated platform retention settings

Over the past few years, our platform has made strides in helping you keep your subscribers, through features aimed at decreasing both voluntary churn and involuntary churn (churn due to payment failure). For example, account hold has helped developers achieve 8% lower involuntary churn and 35% higher payment decline recovery rate compared to developers without account hold. Although these features are effective, retention may not be something that you are thinking about when starting out for the first time.

That’s why we are announcing updated defaults for several subscriptions features that have been up until now optional, which will take effect on November 1, 2020.

  • Account hold and restore will both be mandatory for all developers.
    • Account hold is a state the user enters after a renewal fails due to a payment issue. During account hold, the user loses access to the subscription while Google notifies the user and retries the payment method. Learn how to integrate account hold
    • Restore enables users to resume auto-renewals after they have cancelled the subscription but before the subscription expires. Learn how to integrate restore
  • Pause and resubscribe will be turned on by default for all developers with subscriptions enabled. You can opt-out of either feature in Google Play Console at any time, in case you are unable to implement the changes by November.
    • Pause enables users to pause their subscription for up to 3 months. At the end of the pause period, the subscription will auto-resume. Pause requires Account Hold to be enabled. You can disable the feature by selecting “Disabled” next to Pause in the subscription settings of the Play console. Learn how to integrate pause
    • Resubscribe enables users to resubscribe to a churned subscription within 12 months of subscription expiry. This feature is only available to apps that support Billing Library versions 2.0 and above. You can disable the feature by changing the setting to “Disabled” for each subscription product in the Play console. Learn how to integrate resubscribe

You may have to make modifications to your app or your server to handle these new features. Specifically, your app should:

  • Recognize when a user loses access to the subscription and when the user regains it later
    • If your app relies on the Billing Library and not the Google Play Developer API Purchases.subscriptions to maintain the latest state of your subscriber, then your app should automatically be able to handle this.
    • However, if you rely on the Google Play Developer API, which is common for developers whose subscription is accessible across multiple platforms such as web, it is important that you always have the latest status of the subscriber in your server.
    • To ensure you always have the latest subscriber status, we strongly recommend implementing Real-Time Developer Notifications. Learn more.
  • Gracefully handle out of app purchases (Billing Library 2.0+ only)
    • When a user opens the app after resubscribing, make sure you acknowledge the purchase and show an in-app message recognizing the new purchase. Check out our best practices for handling out of app purchases.

Although not every feature will require you to make engineering changes, we highly recommend that you test each feature before November 1. To make the transition easier, Google has enabled Account Hold, Pause, Restore, and Resubscribe for all license test accounts. Learn more about testing for subscriptions.





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New features to acquire and retain subscribers

Posted by Angela Ying, Product Manager, Google Play

Subscription continues to be one of the fastest growing business models for apps in Google Play. As your subscription business evolves and becomes more sophisticated, our platform continues to evolve to better support your needs. Today we’re excited to tell you more about the new subscription capabilities we announced at the Android 11 Beta Launch, including promotional codes to help you access new subscribers, new opportunities to remind users of your value and win back churned users. Many of these capabilities are built on top of the Play Billing Library version 3.

In addition to the new capabilities, we are also making improvements to our existing platform. Over the past few years, we have launched many features, such as account hold, restore, and pause, which have been highly effective in reducing your voluntary and involuntary churn. We want to ensure that everyone can take advantage of them, which is why we are planning on changing the default settings for these features from optional to either mandatory or on by default starting on November 1, 2020. Additional details on these features and implementation requirements can be found at the end of this post.

Here’s everything that is changing about the subscriptions platform:

Subscriptions platform

More targeted promotions

Promotions and deals are an important way to grow your business to acquire new customers. That’s why over the last year, we have invested in new promotional code capabilities for subscriptions that you can use to send promotions to a more targeted set of users.

Last year at I/O 2019, we launched subscription one-time promotion codes, unique alphanumeric codes that can be distributed to individual users for redemption. Now, we have launched a new frictionless redemption flow which allows users to easily redeem the code, purchase the subscription, and install the app in the Play store in a few simple steps. This greatly simplifies the user experience by reducing the friction users go through to use your code. Since this subscription is started outside of your app, it is only available to developers who are using Billing Library 2.0 or higher.

example mobile displays
In addition to one-time codes, we are excited to officially announce the launch of custom codes (also known as vanity codes), which can be redeemed by multiple users and can be used for marketing campaigns to drive acquisitions. For example, you can post custom codes in advertisements or in social promotions to creatively engage with potential new users. Users can redeem a custom code in your app by entering it in their payment methods when purchasing a subscription.

Remind users of the value of your subscription

Retaining your subscribers is crucial for the long-term health of your subscriptions business. The reason why users stay subscribed is because they perceive ongoing value from your subscription service. To help you communicate this value, we recently launched a module that will remind users of the benefits gained from a subscription when they go to cancel. To take advantage of this module, add a short list of up to 4 subscriber benefits in the Google Play Console.

Win back churned subscribers

If users do churn from their subscription, we want to make it easy for them to restart it whenever they want. To help you do this, we have launched the ability for users to resubscribe to recently expired subscriptions directly from the Google Play subscriptions center. You can enable your SKUs for resubscribe in the Google Play Console. Since this subscription is started outside of your app, it is only available to developers who are using Billing Library version 2 or higher.

Price decreases without opt-ins

Finally, we’ve heard your feedback that requiring users to opt in to subscription price decreases was too restrictive. We are happy to announce that subscription price decreases will no longer require users to take action to opt in to keep their subscription. Users will be notified of an upcoming price decrease and be able to see the upcoming change in the Google Play subscriptions center.

Updated platform retention settings

Over the past few years, our platform has made strides in helping you keep your subscribers, through features aimed at decreasing both voluntary churn and involuntary churn (churn due to payment failure). For example, account hold has helped developers achieve 8% lower involuntary churn and 35% higher payment decline recovery rate compared to developers without account hold. Although these features are effective, retention may not be something that you are thinking about when starting out for the first time.

That’s why we are announcing updated defaults for several subscriptions features that have been up until now optional, which will take effect on November 1, 2020.

  • Account hold and restore will both be mandatory for all developers.
    • Account hold is a state the user enters after a renewal fails due to a payment issue. During account hold, the user loses access to the subscription while Google notifies the user and retries the payment method. Learn how to integrate account hold
    • Restore enables users to resume auto-renewals after they have cancelled the subscription but before the subscription expires. Learn how to integrate restore
  • Pause and resubscribe will be turned on by default for all developers with subscriptions enabled. You can opt-out of either feature in Google Play Console at any time, in case you are unable to implement the changes by November.
    • Pause enables users to pause their subscription for up to 3 months. At the end of the pause period, the subscription will auto-resume. Pause requires Account Hold to be enabled. You can disable the feature by selecting “Disabled” next to Pause in the subscription settings of the Play console. Learn how to integrate pause
    • Resubscribe enables users to resubscribe to a churned subscription within 12 months of subscription expiry. This feature is only available to apps that support Billing Library versions 2.0 and above. You can disable the feature by changing the setting to “Disabled” for each subscription product in the Play console. Learn how to integrate resubscribe

You may have to make modifications to your app or your server to handle these new features. Specifically, your app should:

  • Recognize when a user loses access to the subscription and when the user regains it later
    • If your app relies on the Billing Library and not the Google Play Developer API Purchases.subscriptions to maintain the latest state of your subscriber, then your app should automatically be able to handle this.
    • However, if you rely on the Google Play Developer API, which is common for developers whose subscription is accessible across multiple platforms such as web, it is important that you always have the latest status of the subscriber in your server.
    • To ensure you always have the latest subscriber status, we strongly recommend implementing Real-Time Developer Notifications. Learn more.
  • Gracefully handle out of app purchases (Billing Library 2.0+ only)
    • When a user opens the app after resubscribing, make sure you acknowledge the purchase and show an in-app message recognizing the new purchase. Check out our best practices for handling out of app purchases.

Although not every feature will require you to make engineering changes, we highly recommend that you test each feature before November 1. To make the transition easier, Google has enabled Account Hold, Pause, Restore, and Resubscribe for all license test accounts. Learn more about testing for subscriptions.





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Building user trust through more transparent subscriptions

Posted by Angela Ying, Product Manager, Google Play

For many developers, subscriptions are an important part of your business. Google Play has continued to support the growth of subscription offerings through developer tools such as new insights in the Google Play Console, and an improved user experience, including the subscriptions center, where users can easily manage all of their subscriptions. Part of improving the subscription user experience comes from fostering a trustworthy platform for subscribers; making sure they feel fully informed when they purchase in-app subscriptions.

To continue to build this trust, we announced an updated subscriptions policy today, as part of a broader policy update to build user trust and enhance user safety across Google Play. This new policy requires you to be transparent about your subscription offering, to ensure every user evaluating your service has an informed choice.

When users lose trust in your app due to unclear subscription offers, they unsubscribe and often leave negative reviews, ultimately hurting your business. On the other hand, a clear and compelling offer gives users all the information they need to make a decision, increasing their trust in your service and hopefully encouraging them to stick around for a long time.

Complying with our subscriptions policy

App with clear offer terms, billing frequency, and price. App with hidden terms, unclear billing frequency and price.

The goal of this policy update is to ensure users understand the subscription offer, the terms of free trials and introductory offers, and how to manage their subscription, including cancellation. You can read the full policy and see examples of best practices and common violations in the Policy Center, but the most important thing is to make sure you are clear about your subscription offering within your app. Consider the following best practices:

Be explicit about your subscription terms, such as:

  • Whether a subscription is required to use all or parts of the app. If a subscription is not required, users should be able to easily dismiss your subscription offer.
  • Cost of your subscription
  • Frequency of your billing cycle.

If you offer free trials and introductory offers, clearly and accurately tell users:

  • Duration
  • Pricing
  • What is included with free trial or introductory offer
  • When a free trial will convert to a paid subscription
  • How a user can cancel if they do not want to convert to a paid subscription.

Ensure your app clearly discloses how a subscriber can cancel and/or manage a subscription.

You have until June 16, 2020 to bring your existing apps into compliance with this policy.

A better user experience without additional development work for you

In conjunction with these policy updates, we’ve made several platform-level product changes to help increase user trust and build user confidence in subscribing.

  • We made improvements to the checkout cart to increase transparency and improve the user experience.
  • We now email users a reminder before their free trial or intro price ends.
  • We now email users subscribed to 3-month, 6-month or annual plans a reminder when their renewal is coming up.
  • We notify active subscribers who uninstall the app that uninstalling does not automatically unsubscribe them from the service.

We believe that although these changes may lead to fewer conversions or more subscription cancelations in the short term, they will also result in higher quality, more committed subscribers with lower refund and chargeback rates. Overall, this should result in a more stable recurring revenue.

Resources to help

We want to help you do the right thing for your subscribers, so we’ve created this checklist, video and training in Google Play’s Academy for App Success to use as a reference when you’re making any necessary app updates.

Thank you for continuing to partner with us to make Google Play a trustworthy platform for you and your users. Not only can we work together to create great experiences for users, but we can continue to grow subscription businesses as well.

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Unveiling expert insights in our new podcast series: Apps, Games, & Insights

Posted by Lily Sheringham, Global Marketing, Platforms & Ecosystems

This is a cross-post from The Google Keyword blog.

Apps, Games, & Insights illustrated banner with gaming imagery.

Today we’re launching the Apps, Games, & Insights podcast series, bringing together insights, stories, and learnings from industry experts, on some of today's hottest topics surrounding mobile, apps and games businesses, and the wider industry.

Listen to the podcast here!

The series has eight episodes which aim to challenge, provoke thought, and enlighten listeners - from designers and developers, through to product managers and marketers, and those interested in the apps and games industry.

The podcast is hosted by Googlers Tamzin Taylor, who heads up Apps & Games Business Development for Google Play in Western Europe, and Dirk Primbs, who leads the Ecosystem Developer Relations team in EMEA. Together, they have many years of experience working with partners to assist with Android development, mobile, app, game, and business growth. Every week they will be joined by different guests for each of the episodes.

Sneak peek at what’s coming up

Kicking off the series are Judy Chen and Sarah Fuchs from Crowdstar, the developers of Covet Fashion and Design Home. They join us for episode 1 to discuss how to build a long-term games business by taking a holistic approach to the game, its players, and the people who create the game.

Ever wonder if it's worth selling your app or game business, and if so how to approach it? It's not all about pocketing the cash and walking away. For episode 2, game mergers and acquisitions expert Chris Petrovic from Zynga will talk about how acquisition can free developers to focus on what they love: creating great apps and games.

The popularity of subscriptions continues to grow, with developers who used subscriptions earning 4X more in 2018, than in 2016. Holly Ackerman and David Berlin, from the sports streaming platform DAZN, join us for episode 3 to provide some fascinating insights into how they have grown their subscription business in this industry.

Whether you are a startup in search of funding or an established business looking to accelerate your investment, venture capital can often be a good source of funds. In episode 4, venture capital expert Matteo Vallone from Cherry Ventures offers insights into the investment process and how to maximize your appeal to investors.

For episode 5, we have what is possibly one of the biggest topics in mobile and throughout the tech industry: privacy. Bruce Gustafson, CEO of Developers Alliance brings us up to speed on trust and safety, platform value, respecting the user, and ultimately building privacy friendly apps and games.

Successful game developers put players front and center of everything they do. When over 270 million people have played your games, you must be doing something right. Ben Clarke, Senior Global Marketing Director at Jagex, joins us for episode 6 to discuss some of the innovative approaches to player engagement and retention taken in their RuneScape games.

Figuring out how to make your app or game accessible to all can often be a challenge, sometimes both from an organizational and technical perspective. However, many developers have made accessibility a core part of their app development process and company culture. For episode 7, we’re joined by Ceri Lindsay and Rosalind Whittam from the BBC to discover how they address accessibility.

Today, Android is not just about smartphones, Android apps and games can run on a range of devices with larger screens, such as Chromebooks. At the same time, mature mobile game franchises are looking for opportunities beyond mobile. In our final episode 8, we’ll be joined by Maximiliano Rodriguez of Gameloft to talk about the challenge of taking games to big screens and new platforms.

We hope you’ll join us over the next eight weeks to dive deeper and hear what our thought leader guests have to say on each topic.

How to stay tuned in

To listen to our first podcast and find out more about what’s coming, check out our new Apps, Games, & Insights podcast homepage.

Listen to our first episode here, or on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, Google Podcasts, Deezer, iHeartRadio, and also on LibSyn. Keep an eye out on @GooglePlayDev and @AndroidDev on Twitter where we will be announcing the launch of the new episodes each week.

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Optimize your subscriptions with new insights in the Play Console

Posted by Daniel Schramm, Product Manager, Google Play

Since launching on Google Play nearly 7 years ago, subscriptions have proven to be an essential element in creating sustainable mobile app businesses; 89 of the top 100 highest grossing apps on Google Play in the US now provide subscription products. As the market matures, it is becoming increasingly important for subscription developers to optimize both subscriber conversion and retention in order to maintain growth. To help you do that, we're rolling out new insights available directly in the Play Console.

Subscription retention report

Example subscription retention report data in the Play Console. Source: Google Internal Data.

The recently updated subscription retention report shows how well you are retaining subscribers, along with how well subscribers convert from free trial, introductory price, and first to second payment.

You can configure two cohorts based on SKU, country, and subscription start date. This is particularly useful for evaluating the success of A/B tests; for example, to determine if changing the duration of a free trial has an impact on free trial conversion.

Example free trial conversion data in the Play Console. Source: Google Internal Data.

Cancellation survey results

Retaining your existing subscribers is just as important as acquiring new subscribers, so we have updated the subscription cancellations report to give more insight into voluntary and involuntary cancellations.

The launch of the subscriptions center last year introduced a cancellation survey allowing users to give developers feedback as to why they were cancelling, with results available through the Google Play Developer API. To make these results easier to access and monitor, we now surface daily aggregates directly within the Play Console, along with the ability to download written responses in a CSV.

Example cancellation survey responses in the Play Console. Source: Google Internal Data.

Recover more users

Involuntary cancellations, which occur when a user's form of payment fails, account for over a third of all cancellations. The new recovery performance cards in the cancellation report helps you understand how effectively you are recovering users with grace period and account hold, and the day the subscriptions were recovered to help you evaluate the effectiveness of recovery messaging.

Example account hold performance recovery card in the Play Console. Source: Google Internal Data.

Make sure you've set up grace periods and account hold for your apps! We've seen that developers who use both grace period and account hold see more than a 3x increase in decline recovery rate from 10% to 33%. Discover more information on grace period and account hold.

You can find the subscription retention and cancellation reports linked from the bottom of the Subscriptions page, in the Financial reports section of the Play Console. If you don't have access to financial reporting, ask your developer account owner for permission to view financial data.

Example account hold performance recovery card in the Play Console. Source: Google Internal Data.

We hope this new reporting gives you new insights to optimize your subscription business, and we look forward to sharing more with you at Google I/O in May.

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Wrapping up for 2018 with Google Play and Android

Posted by Patricia Correa, Platforms & Ecosystems

Earlier this year we highlighted some of Google Play's milestones and commitments in supporting the 1M+ developers on the Play Store, as well as those of you working on Android apps and games and looking to launch and grow your business on our platforms. We have been inspired and humbled by the achievements of app and game developers, building experiences that delight and help people everywhere, as some stories highlighted in #IMakeApps.

We continue to focus on helping you grow thriving businesses and building tools and resources to help you reach and engage more users in more places, whilst ensuring a safe and secure ecosystem. Looking to 2019, we are excited about all the things to come and seeing more developers adopt new features and update to Android P.

In the meantime let's share some of the 2018 highlights on Google Play and Android:

Building for the future

Along with Android P we have continued to help the Android developer ecosystem, launching Android Jetpack, the latest Android Studio, and Kotlin support. Developers are also now able to add rich and dynamic UI templates with Slices in places such as Google Search and Assistant, APIs for new screens support, and much more. Discover the latest from Android 9, API Level 28.

Smaller apps have higher conversion rates and our research shows that a large app size is a key driver of uninstalls. At I/O we launched a new publishing format, the Android App Bundle, helping developers to deliver smaller and more efficient apps with a simplified release process, and with features on demand - saving on average 35% in download size! On devices using Android M and above, app bundles can reduce app size even further, by automatically supporting uncompressed native libraries, thereby eliminating duplication on devices.

You can build app bundles in the Android Studio 3.2 stable release and in Unity 2018.3 beta, and upload larger bundles with installed APK sizes of up to 500MB without using expansion files, through an early access feature soon to be available to all developers.

Richer experiences and discovery

Discovery of your apps and games is important, so we launched Google Play Instant and increased the size limit to 10MB to enable TRY NOW on the Play Store, and removed the URL requirement for Instant apps. Android Studio 3.3 beta release, lets you publish a single app bundle and classify it or a particular module to be instant enabled (without maintaining separate code).

For game developers, Unity introduced the Google Play Instant plug-in and instant app support is built into the new Cocos Creator. Our app pre-registration program, has seen nearly 250 million app pre-registrations, helping drive app downloads through richer discovery.

Optimizing for quality and performance

Android vitals are now more actionable, with a dashboard highlighting core vitals, peer benchmarks, start-up time and permission denials vitals, anomaly detection and alerts, and linking pre-launch reports - all so that you can better optimize and prioritize issues for improved quality and performance.

There are more opportunities to get feedback and fix issues before launch. The Google Play Console expanded the functionality of automated device testing with a pre-launch report for games, and the launch of the internal and closed test tracks lets you push your app to up to 100 internal testers, before releasing them to production.

Insights for your business, now and in the long term

Metrics are critical to optimize your business and we've added new customizable tools in the Play Console, with downloadable reports to help you evaluate core metrics. Including cumulative data, 30-day rolling averages, and roll-ups for different time periods to better match the cadence of your business.

You can now configure the statistics report to show how your instant apps are performing, analyze different dimensions and identify how many install the final app on their device. The acquisition report shows users discovery journey through to conversion - with average revenue per user and retention benchmarks against similar apps. You can also find the best performing search terms for your store listing with organic breakdown - helping to optimize efforts to grow and retain a valuable audience.

Increasingly developers are adopting subscriptions as their core monetization model. The dedicated new subscriptions center means you can easily change subscription prices, offer partial refunds for in-app products and subscriptions, and also make plan changes in Play Billing Library version 1.2. Learn how to keep subscribers engaged; users can pause plans, giving you more control with order management and the cancellation survey.

Discover how to use all the new features and best practices on the Academy for App Success, our interactive free e-learning platform, offering bite-sized courses that help you make the most of Play Console and improve your app quality.

Make sure you follow @googleplaydev and sign up to our newsletter to stay ahead of all our updates in 2019! We hope these features and tools will enable us to continue a successful partnership with you in the New Year - follow our countdown for a daily highlight. From all of us at Google Play - happy holidays.

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Grow and optimize your subscriptions with new Google Play features

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:

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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Build a subscriptions business on Google Play with these new features and best practices

Posted by Tom Grinsted, Product Manager

Subscriptions can be a sustainable source of revenue, allowing you to invest in your long-term business growth with confidence. Subscription apps are growing rapidly on Google Play; the number of subscribers doubled in the last year and spend on subscriptions has increased 10-times over the past three years. To help the growing number of subscription businesses we're seeing, we introduced the subscriptions dashboard in the Google Play Console at I/O 2017. Today, we're adding three new subscription reports covering acquisition, retention, and cancellations to help you understand your data and make informed business decisions. Find information below on the new features, our updated best practices to help you grow your subscriptions business, and stories from other developers succeeding on Google Play.

New subscription reports now available in the Google Play Console

Three new subscription reports in the Google Play Console

The acquisition report enables you to evaluate different acquisition channels, including Adwords and UTM-tagged campaigns. This can help you identify which channels and campaigns are the most successful in acquiring new subscribers.

The retention report displays the lifetime retention of a customized cohort of your subscribers. It allows you to easily compare different subscription products, plots key events such as the end of a free trial, and provides forecasts to enable you to make decisions faster.

Finally, the cancellations report. This detailed cancellation data shows when a user cancels, either voluntarily (such as when they choose to cancel) or involuntarily (for example, when there is payment failure). You can also see whether the cancellation was accompanied by the person uninstalling.

We're continually working to improve the Google Play Console. If you have ideas or feedback on how we can improve the subscriptions features, please let us know.

Take advantage of the new Google Play Billing Library

To benefit from these features, you need to be using Google Play Billing as the payment method for subscriptions in your app. Implementing Play Billing is easy with the new Google Play Billing Library. We've also updated Play Billing so the billing permission will be enforced when the buyer tries to initiate a purchase rather than when you publish your app. This means you can publish a single APK in both Play Billing supported and non-supported countries (rather than maintaining a separate APK that does not use the Billing permission for non-supported countries). Remember to check first if billing is supported before trying to offer any in-app purchases.

Become a 'subscriptions first' company and succeed on Google Play

As developers become more sophisticated with their subscriptions offerings on Google Play, our most successful partners have learned a lot about what does and doesn't work well. Niko Schröer, a partner manager with expert knowledge of subscription apps, has a new post on Medium to help you become a successful subscriptions company. In the post, you'll find a link to our detailed user research on Android subscribers [PDF] published in June 2017, which offers helpful insights into what users look for in a subscription product. We've also published some new best practices on subscriptions, which you can read along with other tips to succeed on Google Play in the Playbook app.

How other developers are succeeding with subscriptions on Play

Viki, a Singapore based video app, uses subscriptions to build a sustainable and predictable revenue stream, allowing them to invest in original content and provide better premium experiences for their users. Total revenue from subscriptions grew over 200% over the year, and by 700% in emerging markets like the Middle East and Latin America. Watch Alex Chan, Senior VP of Product and Engineering at Viki, tell the story.

The developer of Anghami, a popular music service in the Middle East and North Africa, increased the number of subscribers in their app with user interface experiments and introductory pricing. During one promotional period, Anghami used introductory pricing to increase new sign-ups by 400% compared to their average daily sign-ups. Find out more about how Anghami achieves subscription success.

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Make more money with subscriptions on Google Play

Posted by George Audi, Tom Grinsted and Larry Yang, Google Play

The subscription business model is one of the best ways to make more regular, reliable, and recurring revenue on Android and Google Play. In fact, both developers and users love subscription apps so much that we’ve seen a 10X growth in consumer spend over the past three years and double the number of active subscribers in the past year. Thousands of developers are offering subscriptions through Google Play and are already seeing success with our billing platform. That’s why we’ve been working hard to help you take advantage of this opportunity and give you greater insights into your business and Android users.

New features to help your subscriptions business thrive

You've got a high-performing product with fantastic features and compelling content, but your business can't succeed without acquiring new users. In addition to free trials, intro pricing, flexible billing periods, and more, we recently launched the ability to pay for subscriptions with Google Play balance. Although people have already been using gift cards to pay for Play content in over 20 countries, the use of gift cards to pay for subscriptions in regions where cash is a popular form of payment, such as Latin America, has resulted in as high as a 15% increase in subscription spend.

But it's not just about acquiring new customers, it's about retaining the ones you have. That's why we are introducing account hold, where we work with you to block access to your content or service if a user's form of payment fails. This directly links a payment failure to the user losing access to your content and/or premium features, which is enough to get them to go and choose a new form of payment. When Keepsafe–the developer of Keepsafe Photo Vault, a photo locker for private pictures and videos with over 50M downloads–integrated account hold, their renewal rate on Android increased by 25%. We have over a dozen developers in early access today, and we will be announcing public availability at the end of June.

We know data is vital to running your business, so we're excited to announce a new subscriptions dashboard in the Play Console, and a new report on Android app subscribers.

The dashboard brings together subscription data like new subscribers, cancellations, and total subscribers. It also displays daily and 30-day rolling revenue data, and highlights your top-performing products. This will give visibility into your subscription products and users and will help guide your business decisions.

Insights to help you grow your subscriptions business

In addition to products and features, understanding people's needs is core to building a successful subscription business. We talked to 2,000 Android app subscribers in the US and UK and asked them how and why they use the apps they do. The results shared in 'Subscription apps on Google Play: User insights to help developers win' report highlight some of the opportunities for you to grow your subscriptions user base, set pricing strategies and learn to keep your users engaged, including:

  • Use free trials to acquire users. 78% of users start with a free version of an app, and many cite a discount or end of a free trial as a reason to pay.
  • Keep your content appealing and updated to get and keep users paying. It's the most important driver in converting users from free to paid users, as well as keeping users engaged and retained.
  • There is a huge opportunity to make money from subscriptions. While pricing elasticity varies by category, few users cite price as a reason to churn from a paid subscription and 64% either budget on a per app basis or not at all (as opposed to budgeting across all app subscriptions).
To find out more about your growing your subscription business with Google Play, watch our I/O session, download the research report (PDF), and get started with subscriptions with Google Play In-app Billing.

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