What's changing in the new Google Play Console?
Starting November 2, 2020, Google retired the old Play Console. What does it mean for you? What are the main advantages of the new console, and which KPIs were impacted?
While more than 350,000 users had already switched to the new console in Beta at the end of September, in November 2020 all developers will be automatically redirected to the new Play Console. The new version offers improved features to help you monitor your app’s performance trends over time, measure the impact of your marketing, and identify new opportunities to optimize. Tom Grinsted, Product Manager at Google, declared the new Play Console was designed to be more helpful and aims to allow users to:
- More easily find, discover, and understand important features
- Get new guidance on policy changes, release status, advice, and user feedback
- Better understand performance insights with new acquisition reports
- Inspect each of your app bundles and understand how Google Play optimizes artifacts for your users
- Safely enable everyone on your team to use our features with new user management options.
In this article, we’ll briefly go through some of the main characteristics of the new console and we’ll analyse more in-depth what changed in the acquisition reports.
Key features of the new console
Clearer and user-friendly
The new Google Play Console design is more consistent with other Google products, as it was built with the same UI design system (Google Material), and it’s responsive, meaning it will adapt to any device.
The new navigation organizes features based on your goal. For example, all of your acquisition setup, reporting, and optimization tools are now collected in a single section called “Grow”. In that section, you can find different features such as “Acquisition reporting” to see which sources are driving the highest quality impressions and “Store listing experiment” to optimize your store listing with A/B tests.
Finally, the publishing process has been made easier, with a guided setup that includes best practices to help you get to production effortlessly. “Managed Publishing” replaced “Timed Publishing” and provides more flexibility when publishing changes for an app.
Google Play Console Features are organized by function.
Get your answers efficiently
There is now a clear policy and compliance information. The App content section makes it easier to provide the information Google Play needs to confirm that your apps comply with their policies. Also, a new Inbox collects all important messages or any information you’ll need about your apps and games. Moreover, educational pages have been added so your team will be able to get the most out of the console.
Better, safer team management
Team members are granted access to Play Console’s features with granular permission controls. There is now a clearer differentiation between global and app-level permissions. You might need to set this up correctly if you want to connect your console with AppTweak, as it’s an easy process that has numerous benefits. You’ll just need to make sure a user has access to “app information” and “financial data” (view financial reports, sales reports and orders; view buyer metrics on the user acquisition page), so they’ll be able to see relevant metrics on AppTweak. Check-out the following articles for more information:
Understanding your performance
The acquisition reports help you evaluate the performance of your store listing on Google Play, determine if your marketing campaigns are driving quality visitors that convert, and identify where you are underperforming in comparison to your competitors.
With the new reports, you can analyse performance across multiple dimensions. They focus on trend analyses, understanding relationships between metrics, and they now support expanded dimensions including language, store listing, and reacquisition.
Therefore, the new acquisition report is extremely valuable in many aspects. But what are the exact changes compared to acquisition reports in classic Play Console?
Acquisition reports in new vs old Google Play Console
Visitors, Acquisitions, and conversion rate
According to Google Play Console’s official article, here are the main differences between the old and the new acquisition reports. In the old console, “First-time installers” were the unique users who installed your app “X” days after visiting your app’s store listing on the Play Store app. In the new console, this metric is replaced by “Store listing acquisitions”, which counts acquisitions that happened shortly after visiting the store listing. This shorter attribution window may result in a decrease in acquisitions for some apps. The definitions of the other metrics related to acquisition are the following.
Some metrics have been slightly changed and may produce contradictory effects. The new acquisition report now includes visitors and acquisitions from users who had previously had your app installed, as well as those who have never tried it. Before, those who had downloaded the app once and then removed it were not taken into account. This means the majority of apps will see increases in both visitors and acquisitions.
To understand how you acquire new users, users who currently have your app installed on any of their devices will be filtered out of both the visitors metric, so it only reports on visitors that have the potential to convert. Before, users who had already the app installed were taken into account even if they could not download the app again. This improved filtering may also result in a decrease in visitors for some apps. Therefore, most apps will see an increase in conversion rate.
Traffic sources Acquisitions are now reported as either:
- Google Play search: the number of users who visited your store listing after performing a search on Google Play and then installed your app.
- Google Play explore: users who come from other Google Play pages, no matter how they started their session.
- Third-party referral: all users who come directly to your listing from outside Google Play.
All those metrics are for users who didn’t have installed the app on any other devices at the time. To summarize, have a look at this infographic made by Phiture:
ASO Stack - Old vs New Console
What about acquisitions from ads?
While in the past there was a dedicated section for Google Ads, now acquisitions from ads will be attributed to either Google Play Search, Explore or Third-party referral. This depends on where the user was immediately before they arrived at your store listing. That’s an issue for ASO practitioners because Google Ads does not offer a way to report on installs that happened via Google Play ads. However, as Nadir Garounche explained in this article, there might be a workaround to isolate Play Store Ad installs.
Can I download data from my acquisition reports?
The old acquisition report is inaccessible since November 2, 2020. Exports related to this report are no longer available. It’s not currently possible to download the data from the acquisition report, but Google plans to provide this option in the future.
The new console has many advantages compared to the old one. However, it has become more complex to split the traffic between organic and ads as “Google Play search” entails results from keywords and ads in search results. Furthermore, there will be some discrepancy between the old and the new console due to treating new users differently. Users should make sure they understand what’s behind the metrics they use and how its segmentation works.