We recently talked you through how to publish your app to Apple’s App Store. Usually, apps are optimized for both platforms, but since each app store has its own rules, we decided to make another guide on how to submit your Android app to Google Play.
You already know what to do before publishing your mobile app – UX strategy, wireframes, development, testing – and testing again. After all that is done, it’s time to upload your app to Google Play and share it with your target audience. Below is a run-down of each of the 8 essential steps to follow in this process; you can jump to any section you’d like.
Summary – 8 Steps to Follow to Upload Your App to Google Play
- Create an Android Developer account
- Set up a merchant account on Google Play
- Create your Android app
- Optimize your Play Store app listing page
- Create the release file for your Android app
- Rate your Android app
- Choose the pricing & distribution
- Publish your Android app!
1. Create an Android Developer account
To make sure your cool mobile app will be reached by thousands of users on Google Play, the first thing you need to do before submitting is to create a Google Play Developer account.
Note: to submit anything to Google Play, you have to pay a $25 one-time fee.
To set your Google Play account, all you have to do is:
- Go to https://play.google.com/apps/publish/signup/
- Click “Create an Account”
- Fill out the form and click “Next step”
- Go back to the Google Play Developer Console
- Click the Google Play Developer distribution agreement and continue to payment
- Enter your payment information
- You will receive an email from Google where it notifies you that your account is ready to be activated – this process can take up to a week
- Activate the account.
2. Set up a merchant account on Google Play
In case you are planning to create a freemium or a paid app, all you have to do is create a payment profile by setting up a merchant account. Here’s how it’s done:
- Go to your Google Developer Account
- Click Settings -> Account Details
- Click “Set up a merchant account”. You will be redirected shortly to the payments center, to set up your payment profile. Make sure you have your business information available.
- Enter your legal business name – this information will be on the receipts and be also shown to your customers
- Enter the contact of an authorized representative from your company
- Enter your business location – the official address that appears on your legal documents
- Add your business phone number
- enter your business website
- the category of your product
- customer support email
- the business/product name that will appear on their statements
Now it’s time to go to the next step – optimizing your app listing.
3. Create your Android app
To go on with the app optimization, all you need to do now is to create an app. Here’s how to do it:
- You go to “all applications” tab in the menu
- Press “create application”
- Select the default language
- Type in a title – it will show on Google Play after you published it, but don’t worry. It can always be changed afterward.
- Click on create
When you click the last button, you will be taken to the store entry page, where you will fill out the details for your app’s store listing.
4. Optimize your Play Store app listing page
Before you can publish your app, you have to add a few details about it. These details will appear on Google Play and will be available for your potential customers. The good part is that before you submit your app, you can always edit the details in case you missed something.
The required information for store listing is divided into several categories, such as:
App details: title, short description, full description
- Title – the title of the application
- Short description – a description no longer than 80 characters. Think about it as your Unique Selling Proposition
- Full Description – here you can write the full story behind your app, and you have 1,400 characters available to do it.
Make sure you write the description and the title while having the user in mind. Also, focus on using the right keywords for your app, but don’t overdo it. If your app comes across as spammy or promotional, you can risk getting suspended from the Play Store.
Graphic assets: Icon, Images
To convince users and to showcase your app’s features and functionalities, it is highly recommended to add graphics assets.
Some of them are mandatory, such as icons and screenshots of the app. Make sure your graphics are relevant to the app, since they will be shown on your store across all tracks.
To find out more about the sizes of each image, check out this Play Console Q&A.
Enter the email address or other contact details so that customers can contact you regarding the app. Aside from email, you can add multiple channels, such as website and phone number, but the first is mandatory.
When you finish with the store optimization, save it as a draft. You can always edit it before you submit it to the store.
Thinking of creating your own Android mobile app?
5. Create the release file for your Android app
After you’re done with setting up the terrain for your app, you have reached the final step – the upload of your release file.
There are two main methods for uploading a build of your app to the Play Store:
- The standard APK format
- The newer and recommended App Bundle format.
In order to reach them, you have to open Android Studio, go to Build -> Build Bundle(s) / APK(s) and choose one of the aforementioned options.
APK stands for Android Package Kit and it’s the storage format that keeps all of your app’s elements in one place, once you have created them in Android Studio.
The App Bundle is a new build format that promises a smaller download footprint for the end-users and provides other interesting tools for developers, like Play Store signing.
Now, to upload your product, you go to the Google Play Console to the app you have created before, then you navigate to “Release Management” -> “App releases”.
What’s great at this point is that you can choose several options for release, such as:
- Internal test track – closed testing
- Alpha & Beta testing – for launching applications in Alpha and Beta
- Production release
As the name implies, the first two types of releases allow your app to be tested by a select amount of users. However, the latter will become accessible to everyone in the countries you choose to share it.
When you pick an option, all you have to do is to click “manage” on one of the tracks, and after it opens, you click “create release.” Follow the on-screen instructions and add the APK files or the app bundle file and the description of your release. When you’re done, press Save.
6. Rate your Android App
It’s highly recommended to assign a rating to your app. Otherwise, it will be listed as “Unrated” and there are high chances to have it removed from Google Play.
To rate the app, all you need to do is to fill out a rating questionnaire. It can be accessed when you select your app in the Play Console, by going to “Store presence” and to “Content Rating.”
Pay attention and make sure you enter accurate information, since the misrepresentation of your app’s content can lead to banning or complete removal from the Play Store.
7. Choose the pricing & distribution
After you finish rating the content, you have to choose whether your app will be free to use or you want to monetize it. Now you can also choose the countries where you want your app to be available.
What is important about this step is that you can always change a paid app to a free app, but the reverse doesn’t work. To change the app from free to paid, you have to create a new one.
8. Publish your Android app
You have finally reached the final step – the release. This implies reviewing everything you have done until now, to make sure everything will run smoothly. So, before you publish, make sure that the following items have a green checkmark next to them:
- The store listing
- The content rating
When you’re sure, select your app, go to “Release Management” -> “App releases”. Press “Edit Release” and review it.
Then, click on “Review” and you will be taken at the “Review and rollout release” screen. If there are any issues or warnings you missed, this is your last call to look over them.
If you’re releasing an update to an existing app, you have the opportunity to roll out your app to a percentage of your user base. This can be used as a tool for early feedback about build stability. The rollout percentage can be increased at any time after the initial release. When everything is done, select “Confirm rollout”.
Congrats! Your app will now be published to all users in your target countries on Google Play.
And this is how you add your app to Google Play. It might seem complicated, but if you follow each of these steps and take your time reviewing and testing your app details carefully, you should be able to upload your app to Google Play successfully. Now it’s time for your users to discover and enjoy your app!
Ready to develop your next top-notch Android product?