If you’re a developer, you must have thought about how great it would be to get your game featured on Google Play. It is something that can get your game so much more visibility and new players. Plus, it would help with your overall mobile game marketing efforts.
But how do you do it?
Is there some secret formula, a way to beat the algorithm, or a direct line to Google Play editors?
Well, not really.
Nobody can guarantee your game will get featured on Google Play. However, there are some guidelines you can follow to significantly increase those chances. In this article, I’m going to explain all of them.
The Benefits of Getting Your Game Featured on Google Play
- More downloads
- Increased visibility
- A higher number of user reviews and ratings
- More high-quality users
- More engaged users
- Higher revenue
Google Play Lists You Can Get Featured On
Developers, I have great news. There are many different opportunities for you on Google Play. Here are multiple lists you can get your mobile game featured on. Some are curated by real people, while other lists are based on algorithms.
- Top free games and apps
- Top paid games and apps
- Trending games and apps
- Top-grossing games and apps
As Google Play divided games and apps into different categories, these featured lists are present across both. What this means for your game is that once you’re trying to climb the ladder, your only competition is other mobile games. The same rule applies to non-gaming apps.
When a new app appears or gets updated it can get featured in:
- New apps/games published in the last 30 days
- Recently updated apps/games (in the last 30 days)
- Most popular free games and apps in the last thirty days
- Most popular paid games and apps in the last thirty days
Top Games Selected by Google Play Editors
- Featured mobile games
- Google Play staff picks
- Google Play editor’s choice games
- Top developer list
As you can see, there are many lists you can get on, and being featured on any of them will reap positive benefits for your game.
9 Tips to Get Your Game Featured on Google Play
Now let’s get down to business. Here is the best advice to get your mobile game featured on Google Play. All of this is practical and easy to implement.
1. Create a High-Quality Mobile Game
This should go without saying, but if you want to get featured on Google Play, your game needs to be top-notch. Google Play requires that games are engaging, have variety, and provide users with an overall great experience. In other words, if users like it and keep playing it, you’re on the right track.
On the other hand, games that are just straight-up copies of other popular games and bring nothing new to the table are not likely to be featured.
You also need to follow different Google Play guidelines and quality standards. We’re going to talk about some of those later in the article.
2. Make Your Game Android-Friendly
So what do you do if your game has originally been developed for iOS? Can you still get featured on Google Play?
Here’s the good news – yes you absolutely can. However, you need to make your game Android-friendly.
Here’s what that means.
You need to make sure you do everything that’s on Google Play’s launch checklist. The checklist includes things like understanding Developer Program Policies, ensuring your game follows quality guidelines, building your Android App Bundle, etc.
By completing these steps, you make sure everything works perfectly for Android users. It makes sense – Google wants to ensure Android users have the perfect gaming experience.
3. Enhance User Experience and User Interface
It’s no secret Google Play favors games that are not only Android friendly but provide users with a great experience. If you analyze featured games, you’ll notice all have a perfect user interface and remarkable user experience.
You can bet that Google Play won’t feature a game that doesn’t meet those standards. That’s why you need to spend some time on UX and UI. Pay special attention to frustrating issues such as bugs, crashes, or lags.
To make sure your UI and UX are on par with other top-notch Android games, review this guide and this list.
You should also check out Google Play quality standards. There you will find the best practices for improving user experience and user interface of your mobile game.
4. Do Extensive Research on Your Competitors
Another thing you should do is study all the games that are featured on Google Play right now. Okay, maybe not all games, but make sure to check out the top charts.
Download and play a couple of them to see what makes them stand out. Is there something featured games have in common?
Analyze how those games are designed. Inspect how good the user interface is. Is the gameplay extra nice? Also, find out how much revenue the featured games are making. How many installs they got? What about the ratings?
Analyzing each game in this fashion can give you valuable insights into what it takes to get your game featured on Google Play.
For example, at the moment, The Trail is a game that’s featured on Google Play editor’s list. It has more than 5 million installs and a 4.2 rating. The graphics are beautiful, and the game is well designed. Plus, the gameplay is very unique and engaging.
Even though there is no magic formula to get your game featured on Google Play, the information you collect on your competitors will point you in the right direction.
5. Don’t Forget About ASO
As you might expect, ASO is another key factor in getting your game featured on Google Play. So take some time with it and make sure your app store optimization is on point. Also, keep in mind that App Store and Google Play have different standards. That means you shouldn’t optimize both app stores in the same way.
Quick ASO Checklist for Google Play
- Include relevant keywords in your game title, short description, long description and URL
- Use long-tail keywords – they have less competition
- Index your game
- To get a certain keyword indexed by Google Play, it needs to be found 2 to 5 times in the description and once in the title
- Stand out with app icons, screenshots, and videos
- Localize your game
- Encourage users to rate and review your game
If you need a more in-depth ASO guide, check out our Complete Guide to App Store Optimization.
6. Localize Your Game
Google Play is available in 190 countries and used by 2 billion users across the globe. A lot of those people liken to search the Google Play store in their native languages. That means you can’t focus solely on English-speaking users from the West. You also need to take other countries and cultures into consideration.
This is where localization comes in.
If you translate and optimize your mobile game for other countries and languages, you will make it much more accessible. Localization also has the power to boost your game’s Google Play ranking and drive game installs. Plus, you’ll have a better chance to get your game featured on Google Play.
A big part of localization are your listing’s text features. This includes keywords, descriptions, and titles. However, localizing visuals is equally important. You should pay special attention that your visuals match the cultural preferences of people in the region.
To see Google’s localization guide, click here.
7. Get Reviews and Ratings for Your Game
If you look at the list of top Google Play games, it’s safe to assume that reviews and ratings play a big role in getting featured. Both are important because they’re a direct reflection of user satisfaction. Plus, it’s a signal to other users that helps them determine whether to try the game or not.
72% of the apps on Google Play have ratings. What’s even more important is that more than 50% of featured games have at least 4.5 rating. Usually, featured games have more than 50,000 downloads.
So make sure to encourage users to review and rate your mobile game.
However, not all reviews and ratings are positive.
Generally, bad ratings will chase away both users and Google from featuring your game.
Luckily, there are some techniques you can use for improving game ratings and reviews.
The first thing you should consider is when in the game you should try to get a review. Asking for a review after they accomplish something in the game might encourage positive feedback.
Another thing you should do is respond to all reviews, good and bad. According to Appradar, the developers that do this get a +0.7 star increase in their ratings.
The third thing you can do for improving your rating are regular game updates. This shows you actually listen to the users’ comments and suggestions. Not only that but it triggers Google Play to improve your ranking, as it gives more weight to the most recent and improved game versions than the previous ones.
8. Promote Your Mobile Game and Get More Users
Many developers out there still think, “If I just make a high-quality mobile game, it will eventually become successful.” I’m sorry to disappoint you, but that’s far from the truth.
You can make the most perfect game, but if you don’t promote it, there’s little chance it will become popular. That’s just the reality of the mobile game industry.
So instead of resisting, embrace different mobile game marketing strategies. Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to promote your mobile game.
If you’re an indie developer, you might want to check out our guide on indie mobile game marketing. If you’re into unconventional methods, check out our mobile game guerilla marketing tips.
In order to get your game featured on Google Play, having a lot of users helps. So focus on paid user acquisition strategies as well. That means running paid ads for your game on social networks like Facebook and Instagram, and ad networks like Google, Applovin, ironSource, etc. When the number of installs increases, that signifies to Google that gamers like your game, and there’s a good chance you’ll get in on some of the lists.
9. Keep the Users After Installing the Game
After you’ve managed to successfully get new users to install your game you’ll also need to keep as many newly acquired users. This is because user engagement and retention also play a role in getting featured on Google Play. Luckily, this shouldn’t be an issue if you’ve followed all the previous steps we’ve listed.
Additionally, you can work on keeping players engaged by adding new content regularly, updating the game, offering rewards for coming back, etc.
You can also use push notifications to bring back lapsed players. However, make sure not to be too pushy, otherwise, you might get the opposite effect.
10. Keep Your Game Up-to-Date
You should frequently update your game, and here’s why.
Both Google Play and users prefer apps that are commonly updated.
This shows them you’re paying attention to your users’ problems and providing them with solutions.
Besides solving problems, you can seasonally update your game. For example, on holidays like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or Thanksgiving.
The thing is, over the last few years, the Google Play store editors have been trying to make the app store more curated. For this reason, they are featuring apps and games in special lists for different holidays and seasons. If your game makes it to these lists, your game will get extra attention. Being on these lists is an especially big deal because it feels like a recommendation from Google.
Naturally, you should only apply these changes if they make sense for your game and fit your branding.
11. Keep an Eye on Important Metrics
Finally, you should track all Google Play and ASO-related metrics, as they directly impact your chance to get your game featured on Google Play.
Primarily, you should use the Google Play Developer Console. There, you can access user acquisition and retention data for your game, as well as how users find and engage with your app’s store listing. More specifically, you can view the following metrics – store listing visitors, first-time installers, buyers, repeat buyers, and retained installers. When it comes to acquisition channels, you can see whether the installs came from the Play Store, search, or through exploring and browsing categories on Google Play.
Naturally, if you see a spike in your store listing visitors and conversion metrics, there’s a good chance Google Play will feature your game, as it rewards apps that have a lot of visitors and installs.
Additionally, certain ASO tools and platforms can give you data about whether your game is currently featured on Google Play and in which category or country. This is also important to track because it will tell you how successful you are at getting featured on Google Play. And, of course, the more lists, categories, and countries your game is featured in, the better.
Final Thoughts on How to Get Your Game Featured on Google Play
I’m not going to lie to you and say that it’s easy to get your game featured on Google Play. However, it’s not impossible. If you create a high-quality game and apply these tips, you’ll have a pretty good chance of ending up on these important Google Play lists.
So, what are you waiting for?
Get down to business!
If you liked this guide, make sure to leave a comment. If you have any questions about how to get your game featured on Google Play, feel free to contact us!