New Google Play Console Update 2020

Matan Offer Matan Offer | 19.8.20

It’s not breaking news that Google Play Console has, for many years, been lacking in insights and usability for developers and app marketers. But, it seems like prayers have finally been answered – GPC has had an update! About time, right? 

Every page on GPC has had an update, aimed at making it more intuitive so that app marketers and developers can really take advantage of its full potential and encourage app growth.  

Previously, there were far too many features with little explanation. It was hard to know where to find what, and to ensure you were leveraging all that was on offer. Now, Google has combated this issue from the ground up. Each key feature comes with an education page to help you understand how best to use it.

Screenshot from Google Play Console

The introduction of new acquisition reports provides more insights than before, but the consolidation of key metrics has us questioning whether ASO marketers really benefit from this update. 

ASO is supposedly winning with the new Google Play Console Beta (2020), but we’re not convinced (for the above reason). Since marketers will have access to a more user-friendly interface, there may be improved performances from many who know how to utilize it well. But stick with us to find out why the update may not prove to be the best all round. 

Google Play Console beta 2020 Comparison: A Table

Google Play Console
Previous
New
Old Acquisition Reports
  • No traffic over time graphs, only discreet periods (daily, monthly, weekly).
  • No performance analysis across multiple dimensions together.
  • Old metric ‘First-Time Installs’.
  • Traffic sources: Play Store (Search and Browse), Google Ads Campaigns, Tracked Channels (UTM), Google Search and External References. Differentiates between Paid and Organic.
  • Installs-per-keyword: Google provided a list of words without data about visits, installs or retention.
  • Acquisition Reports Overhaul
  • View acquisition source trends in a time series graph, can select a particular time period.
  • Advanced filters: filter performance according to traffic source and countries simultaneously.
  • New metric ‘Store Listing Acquisitions’.
  • Traffic sources: Search, Explore and Third-Party References. Combines Paid and Organic (unfortunately).
  • Installs-per-keyword: filters to see which keywords generate traffic according to the download status (both new and recurrent users) or the language/ country.
  • No InboxInbox
  • Find all relevant news in one place, from messages and suggestions to milestones.
  • Static DesignResponsive Design
  • Allows you to use the console on any device, including mobile phone.
  • Confusing NavigationUpdated Navigation
  • Groups related features in one place, e.g. all acquisition set up and reporting tools.
  • Complicated OnboardingImproved Onboarding
  • Every feature has an education page telling you what it is, how it helps and best practices.
  • No Unified SearchConsole Wide Unified Search
  • This will encompass all features, help resources and metric definitions so that you can immediately find the feature you want.
  • Comparing The New vs. The Old GPC. A New UI? Better Navigation? 

    Now, on Google Play Console, all information is organized in different tabs according to domain and function (grouped according to what they help you achieve). There are four main tabs:

    • Release
    • Grow
    • Quality
    • Monetize
    Screenshot from Google Play Console

    By contrast, the old version had a scattered dashboard with seven different tabs that were complicated to navigate. The groupings were less intuitive for finding specific features. The new update makes it way easier for specific teams to find exactly what they’re looking for. 

    So, using the ‘Grow’ section as an example, this includes all of your acquisition data (e.g. setup, reports and optimization) in one place. Here, you can monitor your user acquisitions and optimize your Store Listings. More on that later. 

    Screenshot from Google Play Console

    Inbox

    In the update, Google Play Console will have a new Inbox feature. In it, everything they predict you’ll want or need to know about your app(s) will be collated in one place. Whether it’s an update, a message or a recommendation, you can be assured you’ll never miss it. The old Console had no inbox feature. 

    Screenshot from Google Play Console

    Responsiveness

    The new version is more responsive than the last, allowing you to use it across devices (including mobile phones). Even when you’re travelling you can now always access your GPC, which is important, since sometimes things happen in the app world that require immediate responses or analysis.

    The new design supports right-to-left languages such as Arabic and Hebrew, widening the access for developers and marketers whose native languages were previously not supported.

    New Acquisition Reports? The Ability to Filter? Yes Please!

    Previously, the Acquisition reports, although important for optimization, made it difficult to access certain insights such as performance trends over time and across dimensions like countries. 

    Now, the acquisition reports make trend analysis and the relationships between metrics key focal points. They now include language, store listing and reacquisition. 

    Here, a new metric comes in. You may have noticed that where before there was a metric, “first-time installs”, there is now “Store Listing Acquisitions”. But is this just a name change or a completely different metric altogether?

    Screenshot from Google Play Console
    Metric Change
    First-Time Installs
    Store Listing Acquisitions
    Defined by Google as “Unique users who installed your app “X” days after visiting your app’s store listing on the Play Store app.”Defined by Google as “The number of users who visited your store listing and installed your app, who didn’t have it installed on any other devices at the time. A user who installs your app on multiple devices is only counted once, so this metric is lower than your total number of installs.”

    Within “Store Listing Acquisitions”, both entirely new users who have never before installed your app and users who have returned after priorly uninstalling your app are included. 

    Advanced Filtering

    Advanced filtering allows you to differentiate between first time installers and returning users where the “Store Listing Acquisitions” doesn’t indicate.. 

    Screenshot from Google Play Console

    All you have to do is apply the “New” filter to the “Store Listing Acquisitions” to filter out any returning users, leaving only newly acquired ones, or first-time installers. If you prefer to filter according to region, that’s possible too. 

    Screenshot from Google Play Console

    In the new console, you can view acquisition source trends in a time series graph. It’s super useful for ASO to understand daily trends, especially as user habits change between weekdays and the weekend. The old Console made it particularly difficult to monitor trends over time, despite its importance. 

    Within the “App Install States” section, you can see the number of new and returning acquired users (from the app store listing only) and the percentage difference compared to the previous period. 

    Screenshot from Google Play Console

    The old Console did not allow for performance analysis across multiple dimensions simultaneously, such as acquisition source and country. For example, you can see your performance in different countries divided by the traffic source that sent users to your store listing page, e.g. Google Play Search or Google Play Explore. 

    Screenshot from Google Play Console

    CVR

    The conversion rate is easily accessible in the “Store Listing Acquisition” section. 

    Screenshot from Google Play Console

    The conversion analysis provides access to data that you have the option to apply advanced filters to. Did your latest ASO work prove successful? Tracking the filtered changes over time can give you the answers. 

    There’s also now more concrete evidence that Google pushes CVR as a significant dimension in optimization, making it a key focus. Check it out here:

    Screenshot from Google Play Console

    Play Store Search Traffic Source Now Includes Paid Installs: It’s Not All Fun and Games

    Unfortunately, the mix up of the Acquisition Report has come with the blending of data that makes life harder for ASO analysts. It consolidates all search traffic, showing no differentiation between searching in store or from an ad. UAC placements on Google Play count for the ‘Google Play Search’ traffic source. As a result, marketers won’t know what’s organic and what’s paid.

    Screenshot from Google Play Console

    Why is this important? Well, marketers need to know if the downloads coming in are the result of their paid Search (UAC) campaigns or their Organic promotion efforts, such as ASO. It’s vital to know what’s proving most successful, what needs more work and where your marketing budget should be spent. You can build your marketing strategy with this information in mind.

    To make matters worse, when a UAC campaign is active, only the Google Play placement is counted, meaning even subtracting the whole UAC campaign won’t help you find the answers. 

    Google made the following statement: “We have also expanded the definition of the Google Play search source to include when search automatically shows your app as the best search result prior to the user visiting the search results page

    Users following these search auto-completes will now be attributed to Google Play search, as opposed to Google Play explore.

    In App Store Connect, Apple’s GPC equivalent, you can’t directly differentiate between Paid or Organic acquisition either. However, you can work it out with relative ease through subtraction of one metric from another. It seems like Google has made a move to resemble its Apple counterpart, and not for the better. 

    This lack of differentiation becomes an even bigger problem in Google Play Console than in App Store Connect because Google doesn’t allow you to have keyword targeting in paid campaigns. It’s made automatically by Google, which triggers ads without your control. If the search traffic is paid and not within your control, you don’t know if your efforts bore fruit or not. The only way to know if it’s organic or paid is from the keyword ranking, but this is an indirect parameter. 

    The ultimate goal is to have more downloads from organic searches. But when you don’t know which portion is organic, it’s harder to achieve. 

    Consequently, marketers are likely to see numbers fluctuate when they start using the new console, the result of how users are calculated and not actual growth or shrinking. This is problematic when creating reports and analysing data over a particular time period. 

    What have we at Moburst done about this? We submitted a formal request to the GPC Development team, through the official feedback forms. We hope to hear from them soon. We also encourage YOU, the reader, to do the same. 

    Screenshot from Google Play Console

    Conclusion

    We think that the 2020 updates to the Google Play Console will have a big impact on marketers. As a mobile marketing agency, we’re constantly looking for ways we can improve the experience to optimize apps with the most efficiency for both ourselves and our clients. 

    Naturally, we hold concerns over the consolidation of key metrics that this update has brought with it. At Moburst, we take understanding app performance very seriously (duh), so anything that fogs our ability to understand something poses a problem. It’s vital for any app marketer to be able to understand the difference between their paid and organic search traffic, so we wonder what Google will do to combat this issue. Stick with us as we’ll be sure to update you! 

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