Google Play Promo Codes are here… FINALLY!
The most common complaint among Android developers was the lack of promo codes for Google Play. Apple/iOS had that for years, where devs could share promo codes to offer discounts/apps for free, but Google dragged their feet over and over. Well, to my surprise I admit, Google started rolling out Promotions (beginning January 15, 2016), a new way for devs to create promo codes and share those with followers.
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Using Promo Codes to promote apps & games
Promo codes are useful as a promotion tool for devs, and for users, well, who doesn’t like to receive something free? Here are just a few ideas on how devs can use promo codes to improve their app visibility:
- Editor rewards. First of all, you can have a mention on your website that any editor (i.e. for an app review site) can receive free promo codes that either unlock certain IAPs or even make the app free (if it’s usually paid). This is an incentive for them to do a review, as until now the only way was for them to purchase the app and devs to offer a refund.
- 3rd party giveaways. Second, devs can now contact popular Android sites and offer them the possibility to organize giveaways/contests where the prize is… you guessed, promo codes for their own app/game. While this certainly helps bigger players in the market, those already have publicity and will be reluctant in organizing giveaways, thus leaving more room for the mid-little fellows. Thus don’t be shy, no matter how big the app review site is you can send them a request to ask if they’d be willing to host a giveaway – be sure to be generous, depending on the size of the site, and offer from a dozen to hundreds of promo codes.
- Social contests & giveaways. Organize giveaways via your social accounts. Just fire-up a tweet saying that the first XX re-tweets will get a free promo code. Or organize one on Facebook by the same principles (re-share to participate, or add a comment). The idea here is to spread the news about your app/game via your users’ channels and get more exposure. Don’t be afraid of giving out too many promo codes, once users start interacting with your app/game if they find it useful/entertaining they will get hooked – a strong community is a good launch track for your future projects. No one says you have to limit yourself to your own social accounts, there are dozens (if not hundreds) of Google+ communities, Facebook groups, etc. where you can throw in some promo codes. Remember, everyone likes free stuff.
- Contact app review sites. You can email 3rd party app review sites and offer them promo codes to organize giveaways/contests on their own sites or via their social channels. Make sure you mention in the subject of the email “Promo code included” to lure editors into opening that email. Even if you’re simply contacting them for an app review request, this would be recommended.
Redeeming Promo Codes
So how easy it is for an user to redeem a promo code? Well, if you go through the “classic” steps users should first go to their Google Play accounts, click on the Redeem button, enter the code in the field and then click on Redeem.
Once they do that, if the promo code is valid another window will pop-up with the app/game that’s being redeemed with an Install button.
That’s 4 steps to redeem the code and honestly it’s a bit too much. But there’s a better way to redeem codes. You can post a link that once users click will show directly the app/game that needs to be installed with the promo code applied. All you have to do is write-up that link you share in this format:
This way you make it dead easy for users to install an app/game. Just a click on a link and voila, promo code is applied.
Promo Code Limitations
First of all, as a developer you must write your app/game to support promo codes. There are some technical do-s, but basically you must implement in-app promotions in your app and call a “getpurchases()” function everytime it starts or resumes. But you can have fun reading about it directly via the source: In-app Promotions
There are some limitations for the number/applicability of the promo codes:
- 500 per quarter. As a dev you can only share 500 promo codes per quarter, which means 1500 in total per year. If you don’t use all of them in a quarter, they don’t add up for the next so you’ll lose access to them. That’s quite enough if you ask me and be sure to use them all up, share those everywhere. BREAK THE INTERNET!
- Expirations. You create a promotion that contains a certain number of promo codes. Once you created that promotion, you cannot change the number of promo codes in it. Promo codes in the promotion can be redeemable for up to 1 year, but you can set any particular expiration date for the promo codes.
- No subscriptions. The promo codes cannot be used for in-app subscriptions, only for regular in-app purchases or unlocking a paid app completely.
Another quick tutorial on how to handle the promotions and what limitations you have is mentioned here: Create Google Promotions
This new feature is going to be updated for sure, but for now if you are a developer feel free to share your promo codes in the comments below or the list above. You can also share promo codes if you’re a simple user that discovered them somewhere.
UPDATE: Have you always wanted to develop Android apps but never had the chance to start with Android development? It’s never too late, here is a list of the most popular 30 Android development books for beginners: