Understanding the Google Play Developer Console

Lior Eldan Lior Eldan | 8.9.15

So you follow our App Store Optimization blog posts but aren’t ready to commit to implementing our tips and tricks?  It’s a fair concern, especially when you’re not sure how to find proof that they’re working for your specific app.

The good news is Google has taken the step to address this problem through its Google Play Developer Console (GPDC).  This platform provides not only pretty charts but important insights into important app install metrics. Now, when taken advantage of, you will be able to have a better idea if your ASO methods actually work for your specific app.  In part one of this series, we are going to guide you through the basics of the ‘Statistics’ option that the Google Play Developer Console offers its apps.

Part 1: The Statistics Tab

To begin, find the ‘Statistics’ tab on the left sidebar of the GPDC page.

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You will be presented with a tremendous amount of information and options. There are drop-down menus and toolbar options that are all connected.

On the top left, you’ll find a drop-down tab that presents you with 15 app metrics you can choose from for Google to measure. Below we highlight the important ones.

Capture gpEach metric can be measured by 5 different time slots, all of which are important to analyze.  last month

The Metrics

1) Current Installs by Device.

This is the number of active devices on which the application is currently installed.  Installs are very important for your app, even if your app only makes money from in-app purchases. The more installs your app has, the higher it will rank in the app store. It also goes with saying that installs are also crucial in order to create statistically significant in-app a/b testing.

Notice the lollipops (coincidence) on the line graph? They represent a newly published version of your app. This is very important for ASO, as an extreme dip or rise after a new published version should be noted and analyzed since it might have to do with the new version.  Case in point, you may have noticed that this app has had many recent updated app versions. 

Pro Tip: Unlike the Apple App Store, ASO updates can be made in the Google Play Store without updating the actual app. Con, without this limitation, ASO managers should continuously optimize their app page on the Google Play Store.

2) Daily Installs by Device

This is the number of devices that installed the app for the first time in the past day.

It is much easier to see trends when looking at the ‘daily installs by device’ option.  Additionally, many times you will spot consistent downward trends on specific days. For example, it is quite common for business apps to not have as many active users on the weekends. 

Pro Tip: To avoid skewed data results, we suggest updating your app only during the middle of the week and not right before the weekend.

3) Daily Uninstalls by Device

This is the number of unique devices that uninstalled the app in the past day. Learn more

It is very important to keep a low churn rate. A high churn rate negatively affects the Google Play Store algorithms, thus resulting in lower visibility for your app.

Pro Tip: If there are many uninstalls right after an update, you should make sure that your new description, keywords, or screenshot are not misleading.

4) Daily Upgrades by Device

The number of devices upgraded from an older version to the latest version of the app in the past day.

Pro Tip:  Generally speaking, we do not believe it is extremely relevant for your ASO.

5) Current Installs by User

This is the number of users who currently have the application installed on at least one active device.

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This chart will most likely be very close to the numbers you see for the ‘current installs by device’ metric. If a user has installed your app on more than one device (‘current installs by device’ – ‘current installs by user’) you know that he or she really loves your app.

ASO Tip: It is important to also optimize for tablets and watches!

6) Daily Average Rating

This is the average star rating this app received across all ratings submitted in the past day.

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Ratings are one of the main factors people take into consideration before downloading an app.

ASO Tip: One of the main reasons apps are rated poorly have to do with technical problems or poor timing in asking for in-app reviews. If you see a sudden dip in your ratings, your app may indeed have a bug.

7) Cumulative Average Rating

The average star rating this app received across all ratings submitted up to and including the past day. For each user submitting a rating, we only count their most recent rating of the app.

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The latest numbers you see here correspond with the numbers potential users see on the Google Play Store.

8) Active Users

The total number of users who opened the app at least once in the past day.

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Engagement is just as important, if not more important, than installs.

Pro Tip: Divide the number of ‘active users’ by ‘Current install’ to calculate the percentage of installs that represent active users. Investors love these numbers.

9) New Users

This is the total number of users who opened the app for the first time in the past day..

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Usually, after users install an app they open it. If you notice that they are not, you need to address your user acquisition strategy. For example, users may be installing your app only to receive an award in a game and not because they are actually expecting to use your app.

10) Screens per Session

This is the average number of screen views per session within the past day.

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As mentioned above, user engagement is very important. There is often a high correlation between the quality of a product and the number of screens per session.  These trends should correlate with the ‘daily installs by device’ metric.

That’s a lot of data

The Google Play Developer Console is a great tool because it provides you digestible data.  Now take some time before you move on to part 2 to implement the advanced techniques you learned in this post to improve your app’s ASO.

Part 2:  Android Version and Device

We have just discussed in depth the app metrics you can measure in the Google Play Developer Console (GPDC), but that’s just scratching the surface.  Case in point, in the line chart you’ll find a toolbar with 7 options.

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Each specific option here builds on one of the metrics we took a look at in our first post.
In the screenshot below, the first option ‘Android Version’ is chosen (the charts and numbers change based on the chosen options).

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This is a great page to help you understand your users and therefore cater your app description to the right crowd. We took the liberty to compile the launch dates for each version update to help you see how updated (or far behind) users are. Warning: you may be craving something sweet by the time you’re done reading it.

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Tablets

This option is very important to analyze for ASO, as it tells you how many users are using tablets and lets you know if it’s time to optimize your app-page.

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Country & Language

It is important to know which languages users speak and where the so you can localize your app page appropriately. The app below, for example, is popular in the UK, and among Spanish speakers

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Not to Be Overlooked

On August 26th, 2015 Google announced a new feature to the Google Play Developer Console.

Developers will now get new performance data on how all their user acquisition channels are performing on the User Acquisition tab in the Developer Console. You’ll see how people are finding your Play Store listing, how many install your app, and how many go on to make a purchase.

This announcement is quite exciting for app marketers, and we were excited to start investigating the new data Google provides us with.

Once you enter the Google Play Developer Console, go to the left sidebar and choose the ‘User Acquisition’ option.

Google Play Developer Console - User Acquisition tab

As you can see from the screenshot below, there is a lot less data than the ‘statistics’ tab we featured in part 1 of our series. The bar graph illustrates the data in a beautiful fashion. It is important to note that the app we are highlighting does not have in-app purchases.

Google Play Developer Console - Acquisition Channels

The data is important for two reasons:

1)      It tells you how many users are downloading your app after they view it in the app store.

2)      It lets you know how users got to your app page in the first place.

Conversion Rate

There are many reasons why the app page conversion rate is critical for ASO. Firstly, a bad conversion rate affects the Google Play Store algorithms negatively. In addition, a bad conversion rate hints at problems with your ASO. Luckily, you have the power to fix it! Are your screenshots interesting? Is your description descriptive or just filled with keywords? Remember: the average user makes his decision within 5 seconds from reaching the app page. Make each one count.

Acquisition Channels

As you should know by now, there are many methods of user discoverability. The GPDC tool allows you to determine which method works best. You may be able to recognize that you are not acquiring enough users through the ‘third-party referrer’ channel. If so, it may be time to focus more resources on organic search and ASO, for example. If your app page just had an ASO makeover, make sure to monitor the results to determine how well it worked and what else may need some tweaking.

In Conclusion

You have worked tirelessly on the development of your app and even put effort into getting in discovered on the Google Play Store. Now is the time to maximize creativity and copy on your app page in order to boost your app page conversion rate.  We hope this guide will steer you in the right direction so you can fully take advantage of statistics data. Of course, there is much more data out there which you should also use.  Thankfully, knowing how to put this data to work for you is something we specialize in at Moburst, so if you have any questions don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Comments

One thought on "Understanding the Google Play Developer Console"

  • Great post. Thank you. Would you know if similar to iTunesConnect, analytics data on Google Play Developer Console stats is only opt-in user data? Unlike iTunesConnect (which also provides the opt-in rate), Google Play Console does not make this point clear on its pages. This is critical to estimate the install and usage parameters more accurately.Thank you.S

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