Google Play Promotional Content (LiveOps): Best Practices
The dynamics of the mobile industry are ever-changing. What started as a term to describe a way to patch and fix bugs has now evolved into a way to boost awareness of your in-app events, offers, and major updates to targeted users and countries across the Play Store. Promotional content (previously LiveOps) on Google Play helps improve engagement, monetization, and the lifetime value of a user. In fact, Google states that apps running promotional content during the closed beta registered an average of 5% more active users and 4% higher revenue than apps that had not. For both apps and games, promotional content is a way to keep things fresh, unique, and exciting for users and promises to play a key role in ASO moving forward.
What is Google Play promotional content?
Promotional content (LiveOps) on Google Play is in-app content, major updates, or limited-time events in your app/game that you can showcase to users across Google Play to boost user engagement, stimulate sales, and reduce player churn.
These events help you to engage with users outside of your app and drive them to open or reinstall your app or take advantage of offers, such as discounts or special deals for new buyers. Running high-quality and frequent promotional content is an important signal to Google Play that you invest in your app. It may make you eligible for further featuring across Google Play.
Promotional content, that can appear in the Games tab, Events tab, store listing page, or in search results, is a feature still in beta and only available to selected developers. The feature allows approved developers to promote different in-app events, embed a deep link within the event, and receive a boost in visibility across the Play Store from both new and returning users.
Differences between promotional content & in-app events
Google Play promotional content and iOS in-app events share a lot of similarities in terms of the ability to reach new users, re-engage current users, and promote new app content across both stores without an app update. Both promotional content and in-app events help developers:
- Target the right audience (based on country/region or user eligibility)
- Increase app visibility across the stores
- Increase search visibility; like in-app events, promotional content can also appear in the search results on Google Play
With these similarities, there are still some key technical differences between promotional content and in-app events when it comes to metadata, creatives, and event details:
|Event Detail||Google Play Promotional Content||iOS In-App Events|
|Event name||N/A||30-character limit (indexed)|
|Tagline / short description||80-character limit||50-character limit (indexed)|
|Long description||500-character limit||120-character limit (not indexed)|
|Images||Primary: 1920×1080 px, 16:9 aspect ratio; Square: 1080×1080 px, 1:1 aspect ratio||Event card: 1920×1080 px, 16:9 aspect ratio; Event detail page: 1080×1920 px, 9:16 aspect ratio|
|Videos||YouTube URL with video monetization turned off||Supported extensions: .mov, .m4v, .mp4, no longer than 30 seconds|
|Badges / event types||Offer, time-limited event, major update||Challenge, competition, live event, major update, new season, premier, special event|
|Number of events||No maximum limit||Maximum of 5 live events at one time|
|Maximum duration||4 weeks||31 days|
One other key difference is that promotional content includes the “Offer” event type, which allows developers to grant discounts, deals, or free rewards as part of promotional content. These offers can appear under their own separate “Offers” tab on Google Play, a feature that is currently lacking in Apple’s in-app events.
Types of promotional content and when to use it
Selecting the correct type of promotional content is part of Google’s official content guidelines. So when planning for promotional content, it is important you understand the different types of promotional content and use cases. Miscategorizing your promotional content may cause Google to limit its reach and impact. Here are the different types of promotional content that can be featured on Google Play:
In-app content discounts, value-add bonuses, rewards or subscription trials your users might be interested in.
- Discounts: Discounts that can be applied to individual items, categories, or your entire store. You can offer a percentage discount or a flat-rate discount. For example, you could offer “20% off your first order” or “$5 off all shoes.”
- Value-adds: Value-adds are incremental value-adds or bundles. For example, you could offer “50 gems for the price of 20,” “5 lives included with any purchase,” “Starter pack bundle for $4.99, normally worth $20.”
- $0 items or free rewards: You can offer $0 items, such as claiming a limited-time costume for playing this weekend. This is a great way to get people to try your product or service before they commit to paying for it.
- Subscription trials: Subscription trials are a great way to get people to sign up for a subscription service. You can offer a free trial period or a discounted introductory price. For example, you could offer a free 7-day trial of your subscription service or 50% off your first month’s subscription.
Non-offer, time-limited moments happening in your app or game such as real-time events, competitions, and special events. Types of time-limited events are as follows:
- Competitions & challenges: These events allow users to compete for rewards and rankings, or achieve a specific goal. For example, you could host a contest for the best user-generated content or a tournament to determine the best player in your game.
- Real-time: Occuring in real time, all users can experience them simultaneously. For example, you could host a live streaming of a sporting event or award show.
- Special: These events don’t fit into the other categories. For example, you could host a crossover event with another game or app, or release a limited-time item or feature.
These updates include significant new features or content. For example, a major update for a game might add a new game mode or a new level.
- Features & announcements: These updates include new capabilities or functionality, as well as major announcements. For example, significant updates with new capabilities can include “Now with multiplayer mode” or “New video editing tools available.”
- Content: Include new content either newly created or newly available within the app. For example, an update for a streaming app might add new movies or TV shows; or a gaming app may add new levels, characters, or battle passes.
- Pre-registration update: Sent to users who have pre-registered for a game. They inform users of new content, instant app demos, milestone rewards progress, or global release announcements.
How to implement promotional content for your mobile game
Promotional content is especially important for mobile games that rely on retention rates and in-app purchases to become profitable. Large audiences, who are active and engaged, monetize these games exclusively. Therefore, it is important to come up with creative ways to keep your app or game fresh, new, and exciting through promotional content. Here are a few ways in which you can implement promotional content for your mobile game:
The simplest promotional content tactic is to run a special sale for a holiday, as holidays offer the opportunity to try interesting things and provide set dates to plan for. Using promotional content to create special limited-time offers during holiday events is a quick way to test the waters on how users will react.
For games, competition can drive high engagement and incentives to monetize. If you are a fighting game or RPG, consider holding a community-wide tournament where players can compete for spots on a leaderboard and the winner can get access to a highly coveted reward. However, be cautious not to create a “pay-to-win” feel.
Challenges are more lightweight and easier to execute in games than tournaments, but may not drive as high of an impact as competitive events. Resembling limited-time achievements, challenges encourage users to be active and complete activities to achieve a goal before the event ends, such as teaming up and going on raids with other players.
One way to improve retention is to make available special offers for long-time players and VIPs. Create a limited-time bundle that gives VIPs a new game setting to play against one another, along with some exclusive content for purchasers of the bundle. These bundles also contain items that players can collect over longer periods of time. These can be used to redeem rewards after collecting a certain amount. It can help build loyalty and create repetitive behavioral patterns tied to engagement.
Requirements for promotional content on Google Play
There are specific requirements for your promotional content to be approved by Google. Submissions that fail to comply with these requirements and recommendations may not be shown to users:
1. When submitting your promotional content, make sure that your promotional content contains all critical information about your moment. Add:
- Clear and concise explanation of what the offering is in the tagline
- An explanation of what the user benefit is and/or selling points are in the description, and
- Directions on how users can participate in an event, use a new feature, access new content, or redeem an offer
2. Promotional content must be new and noteworthy user-facing updates, events, or offers within your Android app or game. It should not be submitted to promote general service descriptions and evergreen/routine events.
3. Promotional content events must be applicable to all users. If an event is only available to users who meet a minimum level requirement, you must clearly describe this requirement. The one exception to this rule is “new user” offers, which can be targeted at new users using the eligibility criteria provided.
4. Promotional content must run in-app at the same time, as the in-app or in-game events are scheduled. Failure to comply may result in a warning or the removal of promotional content in the Play Console for 30 days, after which you can request to be re-enrolled in the program. You can edit or cancel promotional content events in Play Console if necessary.
5. Users must readily find the submitted promotional content information upon opening the app or game.
6. Your submission cannot contain inappropriate text, images, or videos, such as third-party trademarked characters or logos used without proper permission.
7. Promotional content events must be consistent across tagline, description, image, and video. For example, if a tagline calls out “80% discount,” but the description mentions “buy 2, get 1 free offer,” then it will confuse users.
8. When submitting promotional content, be mindful that your submission will be shown to users who may not be familiar with your app/game or the specific event.
9. Promotional content events should not reuse duplicate or very similar assets from other promotional content submissions. Each image, tagline, description, and video must be unique and specific to the promotional content event. Do not reuse the same assets across multiple promotional content submissions, even if they were previously submitted for a different app or game. Minor changes within visual or text are also considered ineligible.
10. To provide a quality user experience, Google requires that all promotional content event submissions meet high editorial standards. Promotional content needs to be clear and professional in appearance, and must lead users to in-app content that is relevant, useful, and easy to interact with. The following restrictions apply:
- Text that does not use commonly accepted spelling or grammar is not allowed
- Text that is incomprehensible or doesn’t make sense is not allowed
- Images should not look overly stretched or distorted
11. Don’t submit more than one promotional content at the same moment, or the same content repeatedly. If a single promotional content submission is targeting multiple regions, localize your submission into different languages, so you can reach users in different countries, similar to custom store listings.
- Select Manage translations > Manage your own translations, and then select the additional languages you’d like to provide for this event.
12. Enter a date that is more than 24 hours in the future, so that Google can review and make sure that your event is eligible for promotion.
Promotional content examples in practice
With the mobile landscape getting extremely competitive, let’s take a look at how some apps and games are currently using promotional content today.
With AppTweak, you can detect promotional content for any app and its competitor. In our ASO Report section, we noticed strong promotional content (LiveOps card) in DoorDash’s current “Offer”:
DoorDash is currently running promotional content to promote its “Summer of DashPass” event. Both the tagline and description use the full available character count and clearly explain the details of the event and promotional offer. Also, DoorDash is using a unique creative made specifically for this event with the name of the event and additional, high-level information.
Another example of strong promotional content is the event for Pokémon UNITE.
Pokémon UNITE is currently running an event celebrating the game’s first anniversary. The event tagline and description use most of the available characters and detail all the different components of the event, including a new game mode, special sale, and ongoing challenge. Pokémon UNITE is also using a unique image made for its first-anniversary celebration.
An example of promotional content that could be improved is illustrated by Call of Duty Mobile’s event:
The event tagline and description are only utilizing less than 10% of the available character count and do not provide much information about the details of the event. Also, the event type has been listed as an “Offer,” but it is unclear as to the kind of offers the game provides to players. Furthermore, the creative used for the promotional content appears to be a generic image and is not specific to this event. Call of Duty Mobile is also currently running other promotional content with cards containing similar metadata.
How to set up promotional content on Google Play
You can create promotional content at any time, but remember to submit within 14 days of the event start date. It can take up to 4 days to approve your event, so plan to submit your event at least a few days prior to the start date to ensure it goes live on time.
To create a promotional content event or offer in the Google Play Console:
- Go to the promotional content page (Grow > Store presence > promotional content).
- Click on “Create Event.”
- Add the following information:
- Event name: An internal event name only displayed in the Play Console.
- Event type: Choose an event type (see types of promotional content above).
- Offer type: If your event is an offer, specify what type of offer it is. This allows Google Play to display offers correctly, helps quicken the review process, and enables users to see offers of similar types.
- Countries/regions: One or more countries/regions that will display this event.
- Start/End date and time.
- Priority: If you have multiple events for your app or game, this selection determines which event will be shown first.
- User eligibility: If your event is an offer, you can select which users are eligible to see it.
- Provide your event’s text and graphical assets
- Tagline (required)
- Description (required)
- Primary Image (required)
- Square Image (required)
- Video (highly recommended)
- Click “Submit event” to publish it on Google Play. You can click “Save” as a draft to save your work without submitting to Google Play.
💡Important: You can’t edit your event after you submit it, so make sure everything is correct before submitting.
With the mobile industry continuing to evolve, promotional content will become more sophisticated with more apps and games implementing them. The biggest differentiator will be the creativity of those creating these events, offers, and challenges, and how they resonate with users.
Promotional content can contribute to short-term spikes in revenue. However, when executed properly, this feature can also help retain and engage users to create long-term lifetime value. When planning for promotional content for your app or game, remember that you should not be aiming for quantity but rather community and data-driven, personal, and impactful quality.