The new Google Play Console Beta (2020) and what it means for ASO

The Google Play Console is now sharing more data with developers that’ll help ASO, UA, and Growth teams get more visibility into their performance. Let's analyze this move.

Oops, [the Google Play Console (GCP) team, headed by Tom Grinsted], did it again. 

After years of mobile marketing teams around the world desperately trying to gain more visibility into their acquisition performance, the GCP team has released a new and long-anticipated update.

Allow me to cover the main changes and how it helps ASO and mobile growth teams shed light on the performance of their Google Play listing with this new data.

There’s a lot going on, but I’m going to focus on the two major updates for now:

The snazzy UI upgrade, and the new and improved acquisition report. 

(Oops, I think I’m in love.)

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Change 1: A new UI and better navigation

The Console has received a general facelift and now has all information sorted by function and domain in different tabs.

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The main tabs are Release, Grow, Quality, and Monetize. 

Growth teams can now find all acquisition reports and data grouped under Grow. You wouldn’t want to ignore the Quality section as that contains the important Android Vitals report that shows you your crash rates and App Not Responding (ANR) event rates. Google Play previously mentioned that the performance of your app can hurt your discoverability and, more specifically, your keyword and chart rankings. We’ve seen some fantastic versions fall short due to spikes of ‘bad behavior’ in Vitals.

Change 2: New acquisition report with new filtering and segmentation capabilities

This update really is the holy grail for ASO and growth teams.

2.1 Goodbye first-time installs, hello store listing acquisitions

The acquisition report no longer includes the first-time installs metric and has been replaced with Store Listing Acquisitions

The definition of store listing acquisitions? Any install that came through your Google Play product page from a user that did not have the app installed on any of their devices at that point in time. This includes new users that have never installed your app as well as returning users that previously installed and then uninstalled it. This is different from first-time installs that only included new users. It basically shows you only the users that had the potential to convert. 

To see installs that didn’t convert on the Store Listing Page (for example through clicking the small install button directly from a Google Play ad), you can visit the Statistics section and look at the installs metric. 

Let’s take a look at Google’s definition of the metrics. 

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How will this affect you? You’ll probably see an increase in installs within the console as returning users are included in the count now (in the classic Console they didn’t qualify as a first-time install). 

2.2 Filtering new and returning users

You can still view users that installed your app for the very first time by filtering new and returning users within the report. 

This will allow you to gauge your success with re-engaging users that churned as well as your ability to grow your user base with completely new users.

By filtering Store Listing Acquisitions to New you will be able to see a new metric that correlates with the previously available first-time installs metrics. 

Conversion Rates

Therefore, by default, the acquisition report counts installs that occurred only after a user visited your full Google Play listing page. 

This excludes any installs that happened in any other way, or in the words of Google: 

The acquisition report focuses on your store listing conversion and does not include visitors or acquisitions from other surfaces on Google Play (such as editorial content) or acquisitions recorded by Google Play that happen through other mechanisms (such as back-up and restore).

Note: To see installs driven from across Google Play and the Google network that do not come from the store listing, for example, Backup, Google Search, or peer-to-peer (P2P), go to the Statistics page.

You’ll be able to see conversion rates in an easy way within the report:

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How will this affect you? You’ll probably see an increase in installs and visitors as it now counts returning users as well. 

2.3 Filtering for countries as well as traffic source

One of the most anticipated features is country filters that now allow you to see your performance in different countries segmented to the source that drives users to your store listing page.

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You can now break down traffic sources as well as geo/device language to gauge your search vs. explore performance across countries within the acquisition report.

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How will this affect you? Now you can actually truly measure the impact of your search vs explore funnels especially in relation to version releases or other critical events

2.4 Filters for search terms

Another innovation as Google opens up country filters: You can now also add a filter to understand your performance and conversion rates per keyword for Google Search in specific countries (as opposed to the previously available list across all geos). Finally giving you a way to analyze this important data on a country-by-country level.

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This gives you a new way to measure your store listing conversion rates per keyword for new and returning users. 

How will this affect you? This will help you to understand exactly where your store listing is underperforming within Google Play search in its ability to convert. Does your messaging and creative assets adequately convert traffic that comes in from your most strategic keywords? This data can help you figure out where your messaging is lacking and run creative asset tests that will help you improve your CVR. 

2.5 Benchmarks

The GPC is also expected to add benchmark data into the acquisition report although it will remain to be seen if it’ll be available across all segmentations (countries, language, new vs returning, search terms). 

Conclusion and what it means for ASO

Overall, we can see that the Google Play Console is sharing more data with developers that’ll help ASO, UA, and growth teams gain more visibility into their performance. More importantly, this additional data will result in better decision-making as you’ll be able to gauge how your marketing efforts are affecting your acquisition (especially organic acquisition) in a much more granular and accurate way.

  • Understand the impact of your marketing efforts (both paid and organic) on your growth of returning users, new users, and your traffic source mix by country. 
  • Understand the impact of your store listing creative assets on your conversion rates for new and returning users by country and traffic source (explore vs. search). 
  • Have a better understanding of your keyword efforts. Are you ranking for a keyword and bringing in significant traffic to your page but failing to convert said traffic into installs? Now you can gain that understanding and act on it by testing and optimizing your messaging. 
  • Track conversion rates more accurately, per source and per country, to know where you need to make improvements. Understanding exactly where you’re behind on CVR and why it will help you focus your ASO creative optimization efforts where it matters the most. 

Finally, it’s important to note that this is a beta and some features may change in future releases.

We’ll keep covering changes and let you know as and when they happen. If you want to make sure you get these updates, sign up for our newsletter below.

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You can read the full announcement here and explore it on the Google Play Console page as well as watching the announcement video.

Jonathan Fishman
About Jonathan Fishman
Jonathan is Storemaven's Director of Marketing. Before joining Storemaven he spent ten years commanding tanks, working on Wall St., consulting high-growth companies, and exploring Black Rock City. In his spare time, he likes building things from wood, writing, and listening to Frank Zappa.