One of the long missing elements of the Google Play Store has finally been resolved. Unlike the Apple App Store, developers for Android have been unable to this point to offer promo codes for their apps or for in-app purchases. That’s now changing and it is something that should help developers get their app out there in the hands of users and reviewers.
Promo codes let you give content or features away to a limited number of users free of charge. Once you create a promo code, you can distribute it subject to the terms of service. The user enters the promo code in your app or in the Play Store app, and gets the item at no cost. You can use promo codes in many ways to creatively engage with users. For example:
A game could have a special item, such as a character or decoration, that’s only available to players who attend an event. The developer could distribute cards with promo codes at the event, and users would enter their promo code to unlock the item.
An app developer might distribute promo codes at local businesses, to encourage potential users to try the app.
An app developer might give out “friends and family” codes to its employees to share with their friends.
The update was announced on the Google Developer Console and lays out the restrictions on how developers can use the codes, how often they can use them and of course how to implement them into their app.
Instructions on how to create promo codes are also available from Google. The key thing for developers is how the codes can be used. For example, they cannot be used for subscriptions but they can be used for in-app purchases or for the app itself. Further, developers can only use 500 promo codes per app per quarter and those do not roll over if they go unused. Developers can also set a
time limit on when a promo code can be used.
It will be exciting to see how developers implement this and how soon. With a very crowded Google Play Store, new developers can leverage these codes to get their apps into the hands of users and reviewers to get feedback and get reviews. It has worked exceptionally well in the iTunes store and there is no reason it won’t work for Android developers either.