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Turning to the Play Store, it might appear that Google had a a lot quieter 2021 at first look.


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Nonetheless, Google’s a number of modifications all year long shouldn’t be underestimated, from the enlargement of the LiveOps beta to the impression of recent metadata insurance policies or modifications within the common ranking system:

Google Play LiveOps beta

Whereas in-app occasions made a bigger commotion on iOS, it’s value noting Google Play was the primary of the 2 shops to allow sure app builders to advertise in-app content material with the LiveOps beta. Initially solely accessible to cell video games candidates, Google seems to have began responding to Apple’s launch by permitting extra builders into the closed beta, and updating its coverage round LiveOps to additionally enable apps to promote digital gross sales, which Apple clearly doesn’t enable (in reality, some app builders shared their in-app occasion submissions for Black Friday had been rejected by Apple reviewers on the bottom they weren’t selling any explicit in-app content material however merely providing reductions). Though unclear when Google will make LiveOps accessible to all app builders, these modifications appear already properly underway in 2021.

Play Store metadata coverage updates

In the meantime, probably the most notable change on Google Play in 2021 was a brand new metadata coverage that performed on two particular dimensions:

The discount of Google Play app titles from 50 to 30 characters contributes to the ever-increasing convergence between the App Store and Play Store, and will spotlight Google’s will to power builders to simplify app titles to keep away from false data and likewise facilitate work for its algorithm.

On the similar time, a number of new guidelines surrounding app icons, titles, and quick descriptions (reminiscent of forbidding using sure phrases like “free” or “#1”) are extra clearly focused at stopping builders from utilizing darkish patterns on the expense of shoppers.

Whereas the change is greater than welcomed in precept and a very good factor for ASO, the early implementation confirmed that, in apply, Google’s assessment algorithms don’t distinguish between totally different semantic conditions. As an example, an app utilizing the phrase “hands-free” or “past love” could also be flagged by the algorithm regardless of not utilizing these phrases to advertise a value or declare a specific rank. In consequence, it’s seemingly that ASO practitioners will search for circumvention methods in 2022.

Common ranking system: from world to native

Final however not least, Google’s change in apps’ common ranking system has been a little-commented change that would nonetheless have appreciable impacts. With extra customers declaring they offer honest weight to an app’s common ranking when contemplating whether or not to obtain it, Google’s swap from a worldwide to native common ranking is prone to have each optimistic and detrimental impacts on Play Store conversion.

  • The optimistic facet is that apps are actually extra prone to be rewarded byhigher conversion in the important thing marketsthe place they make investments most of their sources and may (hopefully) get one of the best client satisfaction.

Nonetheless, the detrimental facet is that app launches in new markets can be extra inclined to undergo from points early on, and would require extra time to achieve a very good degree of visibility and conversion. Moreover, a harmful facet impact of this transformation might come from search engine optimization: Apps with a low common ranking in the USA resulting from a restricted presence there might seem to have decrease scores on the internet than on the Play Store, resulting from net crawlers for search engine optimization typically specializing in US pages.