Red Flags that Google Looks for During the Play Store App Review Process

Google Play Store App

Are you looking to publish your app in Google’s Play Store? If you’re like millions of other businesses, then you probably are. Play Store approval is a game changer for a business, whether online or physical. Google’s reputation and app discovery traffic numbers make publishing an app there a no-brainer.

However, Google’s reputation and traffic numbers are also what make receiving a Play Store approval so challenging. The app review process for the Google Play Store is intricate and doesn’t have fixed guidelines.

Despite this, Google’s public comments and a review of apps that face removal from the Play Store can help us infer a few red flags you must watch out for when developing for Android devices. Here they are, in order of importance.

Flawed Functions

An app’s function is one of the most fundamental elements that Google’s gatekeepers review. Note that we’re talking about function, not just functionality. Your app could have impressive features, but if it doesn’t serve your users a function or utility, you’ll likely face rejection.

This red flag is in place to prevent joke or nonfunctional apps from infiltrating the Play Store. While a few novelty apps went viral in the Play Store’s early days, Google wants to make the Play Store a useful resource for people, not a place to have a laugh.

Your app’s reason to exist must be abundantly clear. Review why you’re creating your app and how your users will benefit from it. If it’s too similar to an existing popular app, work to differentiate it. For instance, all dating apps do the same thing, but each one offers a unique twist.

Differentiate your app and offer great UX. These two factors will help you more than anything else.

Poor Performance

While fancy UI is a great thing in an app, you don’t want to implement it at the cost of performance. Poor performance is a glaring red flag across each Google property, whether search or the Play Store.

Test and retest your app’s performance. Verify its functionality on different devices and platforms. For instance, have you fully optimized your app for mobile connections? What about screens with different dimensions? Rejected apps often neglect tab menus, and this creates a poor experience for users. Prioritize cross-platform functionality, just as you would with your website.

One way of prioritizing performance is to stress test your app.

Verify whether it downloads properly and that your signup process works. Failure to work after downloading is a huge red flag, so prevent this during the testing stage.

Prioritize performance during your development cycles and you’ll have no problems receiving Play Store approval.

Too Many Ads

Of course you want to monetize your app, and Google accommodates plenty of monetization avenues. However, don’t run away with monetization. Paid ads are a great way to create a new revenue stream from your app, but they can also damage UX.

Review the impact ads have on navigation and UX when testing your app. For instance, forcing users to click on an ad to access functionality is a red flag that will get you the boot on the Play Store. Other examples include incessant ads after clicks, a high frequency of ads playing all the time, or ads blocking important information in your app.

If you are looking to go down the ad route, strike a balance between monetization and UX.

Also read: 10 Best Customer Feedback Tools and Software

Place ads at the bottom of the screen or have them load only after your users click some buttons. For example, gaming apps might play video ads for up to 10 seconds before giving users access to free games.

These apps perform very well, as evidenced by app download lists. Striking a balance is the key so make sure your UX holds across platforms. An unobtrusive ad on a smartphone might appear very differently on a tablet, for instance.

The bottom line is that while Google Play allows you plenty of monetization opportunities, do not abuse them.

Affiliate Apps

Paid ads are a popular monetization tactic that Google tolerates. One tactic it does not tolerate is creating apps that exist to solely drive affiliate traffic.

This is a huge red flag because of the large number of people who abused this guideline in the Play Store’s early days.

Here’s how it worked: A publisher would create a basic app with two or three screens and embed unclearly labeled affiliate links throughout. Then users would click on those links, instantly earning the publisher a commission.

Many modern Android apps still use this tactic, but the ones that do it well – and in a manner that complies with the Play Store’s requirements – back it up with extensive functionality.

So while you can use apps to drive affiliate traffic, you can’t use them solely for that purpose. If your app offers users plenty of utility and has a clear function, you won’t have issues driving affiliate traffic from it.

Play Store Approval Is Critical

Securing Play Store approval by sailing through the app review process is critical for your business. Follow these tips and you’ll have no problem avoiding the usual red flags that Google looks for.

Written by
Isla Genesis

Isla Genesis is social media manager of The Tech Trend. She did MBA in marketing and leveraging social media. Isla is also a passionate, writing a upcoming book on marketing stats, travel lover and photographer.

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