Key Changes Google I/O 2019 Made to Play Store App Marketing

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Google has announced a number of new developments to the existing Play Store to enhance developers’ user experiences. Two of the more prominent enhancements made include its App Download Size Compression and its Peer Group Benchmarks.

App Download Size Compression

App Download Size has always been a major concern for developers. Google heard the developers’ concerns and have developed solutions in the Android Vitals to assist in managing App Download Size.

What’s New About the Updated Android Vitals?

  1. The new Android Vitals will allow developers to see their app’s download size and their app size right after an install. Furthermore, it will also show the app size over time and will provide developers with information on how to further reduce it.
  2. The dynamic feature is being released from beta thus, allowing developers to have more customized delivery options.
    1. Developers can now deliver features on demand allowing people to install certain features only when they need that feature. This function will help apps decrease their download size dramatically.   
    2. Users can now download their apps conditionally. Sometimes there are restrictions in-placed by countries, with conditional downloads, users can now install apps without the restricted features. This makes for a more customized users experience and a more compressed app download size.
    3. Google has enabled the Android App Bundle to fully support Instant Apps; enabling developers to build and publish single artifacts to their apps.   
    4. Google has made in-app API updates available this will allow apps automatically update themselves. Users will now always have the latest version of the app without having to leave it to update.

Peer Group Benchmarks in Google Play Store

Analyzing data can be difficult and tedious. Thus, affect not only the performance of an individual app but the entire market as well. Google has received many feedbacks from developers asking to make data analysis and competitor analysis an easier task. This year at the Google I/O 2019, a solution was finally released.

What is Google Play Store’s Peer Group Benchmarks?

Peer Group Benchmark is a feature that allows developers to group 12 relevant apps (including their own) in one portfolio to make data analysis easier. Developers will then analyze their ratings and Android Vitals to their competitor’s benchmarks. Furthermore, to support the developers in obtaining better data, Google will also be releasing semi-private information that was unavailable before. With these new updates and features, developers can now focus on investing their resources on differentiating themselves from their competitors. Peer Group Benchmark will allow developers to not only better position themselves in the Play Store but also create a more competitive environment within the market.

How Does it Work?

  1. Each portfolio must have a minimum of 8 app (including your own).
  2. Developers must be willing to share their own data to take advantage of this feature. If they are not willing to share their data, their ability to use the benchmark will be disabled.
  3. To eliminate developers from taking advantages of their competitor information without giving up their own, Google makes sure that once developers have opted in, their information will be available for 1 month.
  4. Developers may only switch apps within their portfolio 3 times a month.
  5. Developers may not solely select apps from one developer.



As more apps enter the Google Play Store, Google has noticed an unfair advantage towards the older apps since they would have more reviews and ratings. Therefore, Google set out to make some updates to its existing rating and review system.

What are the Updates for Google Play Store Ratings and Reviews?

  1. The first change is to update the current app rating criteria. As noted above, older apps often have an advantage in the market since they have more reviews and ratings. Google plans to eliminate this unfair advantage by proportioning the reviews and ratings by recency; the more recent reviews will be heavier weighed. This update will ensure a more equal platform for apps and a more accurate rating experience for users.  
  2. The second change is updating the core metric data. The updated metric data is much broader and accurate. When there is an irregularity in your app download activities, the page will tell you what happened, why it happened and was the event positive or negative.
  3. Google has also allowed developers to see their daily rating average as well as their selected peer group rating average. This feature will allow developers to have a better idea as to how to improve their apps and what the industry benchmark should be.
  4. Studies have shown that users react more positively when developers reply to their reviews. On average, apps that reply to reviews have a 0.7 increase in star-ratings than those who do not (Google). Google has incorporated a ‘one text smart response’ system to the Google Play Store. This system will allow developers to reply to users with one simple click.


Every month, over 2 billion users are exploring the Play Store and discovering new apps. With a more and more saturated app market, Google wants to help developers better capture their audience. Therefore, at the Google I/O 2019, it improved upon optimizing developers’ store listings, driving games discovery, and improving monetization.

Store Listing

Google has now launched Custom Listing Pages to help target different listings to different audience groups. These audiences can be segregated (e.g. by country or age) allowing developers to provide more tailored platforms rather than just one general listing. The Custom Listings can also target depending on current users, potential users, or ex-users. Furthermore, Google has announced general availability for pre-registration support. Pre-registration will allow apps to build hype and provide pre-registration in-app gifts to users. Research shows that users that are given a reward are 20% more likely to be retained by day 3 (Google).

Google Instant Play

Google now provides instant play to users. This entails that users do not need to download the app to experience its features. Instead, users are given a trial period to sample the app’s attributes. This is an especially important update for paid apps since it will provide users more incentive to test the app before making an informed decision.


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Written by Susanna Wang


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