After developing the Android application, the next step is to launch it to users. Google Play is the biggest platform for the promotion of Android apps. Distribution of the app into Google Play allows you to reach more than 1 billion active Android users! In this blog post, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of submission of mobile applications into Google Play.
Step 1. Create Google Developers Account
Before publishing an app on Google Play, you need to create a Google Developer account. After that, you will be able to upload the app to Google Play Store and manage it. You can use your existing Google account to sign up or create a special one.
Google Play required a one-time registration fee of $25. But keep in mind that you will be able to publish apps for free without limitations after paying this fee. Google may request you to provide a valid ID. Bear in mind, that if the system will be unable to verify your identity, the registration fee will not be refunded.
In order to create the account, you will be prompt to fill the list of fields, such as your “Developer name” which will be visible for users, country, and so on. You are able to add additional information in the “Account settings” later. It may take up to 48 hours for the registration approval.
Step 2. Create Google Merchant Account (optional)
Whether your application provides in-app purchases or has a fixed download price, you need to create a Google Merchant account. This account allows you to manage app sales, see financial reports and monthly payouts. Perform the following steps to create the Merchant account:
- Sign in to your Google Developer account
- Click on “Reports” -> “Financial Reports”
- Fill out required business information: legal business name, legal business address and website, primary contact, category of the products sold, customer support email address, etc.
After the Merchant account will be created, it will be automatically linked to your Developer account.
Step 3. Submission of Application
Pay attention to the following requirements before submitting your app to Google Play. New applications have to meet the target API level requirements. It has to be equal or higher than required. The target API level (or target SDK version) is a number indicating the most recent and actual Android version an app is designed to. The current required target API level is 30.
Also, keep in mind that bumping target API level is not only number changing, it can be a very time-consuming process for the existing codebase, 3rd party libraries can also be affected. Another important thing is to use Android App Bundles instead of APKs. It is required starting from August 2021. APK file uploads won’t be accepted.
Let’s start the Android app submission process. Follow these steps:
- Go to the “All Apps” tab and click on “Create app”
- Fill in the “App Name”
- Select the default language for your app
- Choose the type - Application or Game
- Select if the app is free or paid
- Click the “Create app” button
You will be redirected to the Dashboard screen after you have created the application, where you have to fill out the data required for App Store Listing.
Step 4. Store Listing
You need to prepare an app store listing before you publish an app to Google Play. It contains information needed for app optimization. Turn your attention to this section as it will affect the promotion of your application among users.
Store listing includes the following sections:
- Title - the app name
- Short description - it should represent a brief summary of app functionality. The primary goal is to convince users to download the app. We recommend mentioning the benefits that users can get from the app, and don’t forget about keywords
- Full description - users will see it when expanding the short description. Here you can write more detailed information about your app
- App icon - it will be shown on the Google Play app page and on the user's device. Adding an app icon is required before submitting an app to Play Store, and should be 512 px by 512 px up to 1MB
- Feature graphic - used on Google Play Store app’s page to effectively present app benefits. Your feature graphic must be a PNG or JPEG format, up to 1MB, and 1,024 px by 500 px
- Video - you can also add a YouTube link with your app promo video that is optional
Additionally, you can provide users with the translations of the information in the store listing, particularly, localized images and screenshots. Users then will be able to view automated translations of your app’s information.
The drop-down menu will prompt you to you choose the most appropriate type of application. You also can add up to 5 optional tags to help users recognize your app better and faster. Don’t forget to leave your contact information for customer support. It could be your email that is compulsory, website, as well as a phone number.
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Step 5. Content Rating
Providing content rating will be the next step regarding how to submit an app to Google Play. Answer 6 questions to verify that your app complies with Google Play policies.
- Content ratings - it’s important to answer the content rating questionnaire to avoid your app being labeled as Unrated (which may result in app removal). You can find this option in the left-side navigation
- Ads - declare whether your app contains advertisements. Sponsored articles also qualify as ads, along with interstitials, banners, and pop-up ads
- App access - if any part of your app is restricted eg. by geolocation, membership, or signing-in requirement, you have to provide the instructions for reviewers
- News apps - provide information to let Google Play reviewers whether your app is a news app, as this helps to ensure transparency
Step 6. Price and Distribution
You can choose whether your app is free or paid on the Pricing tab. If you plan to make your app paid, you can select the price and the pricing template there. You can change your app from paid to free at any time, but not vice versa. You can define a list of specific countries you want to distribute your app in, as well as a list of Android devices and programs(this is optional).
Step 7. Android App Bundle Uploading
Now you have to upload an app to Google Play for review. Check that your app ID is unique and prepare a release build. Then click on the “Release” tab (on the side menu) and on “Production”. Define the sort of first app release - test (internal, open, or closed) or a production release. Decide and click on “Create new Release”.
Decide whether to use the Google Play app signing or manually sign release build. Then upload your signed Android App Bundle by clicking on the “Upload button”. Fill in “Release name” for better release management in the future. Then click on “Review release” to submit your Android app for review.
Step 8. App Publication
App release needs only some final steps. Go to the “Releases Overview” page. Then open your chosen release details page. Click on the “Releases” tab and then “Edit”. Make sure the sections from steps 4-6 of your app are verified before reviewing and rollout your release.
Click on “Save” and then “Review release”. On the “Review and rollout” screen there may be some issues or warnings, pay attention to resolve them. When you are ready to submit an app to Google Play Store, click on “Start rollout to production”.
Good work! Your app has been sent to Google for review. It may take several hours up to 7 working days to pass the approval process. After beating this stage we recommend you focus on building the promotion strategy in order to engage more and more users. Don’t stop improving and fixing your app to always provide the best user experience.
Launching App into Google Play: FAQ
How long does it take to publish an app into Google Play?
App review time is not fixed. It may take from several hours to seven working days.
How much does it cost to publish an app into Google Play?
You need to pay a one-time registration fee of $25. Then you will be able to publish apps for free.
What are common reasons for the rejection of an app in Google Play?
Non-compliance with Google’s Privacy And Security Policy, inappropriate content presence (violence, gambling, harassment, etc.), violation of user-created content guidelines, errors in app metadata, lack of repetitive content and functionality, Unnecessary data collection (f.e. Unreasonable use of background location).