App quality is the foundation of everything we do at Google Play. Android users expect a great experience from the apps and games they download, so we’re making higher-quality titles more visible on the Play Store, as well as steering users away from lower-quality ones. Some apps and games that don’t meet our quality bar will be excluded from prominent discovery surfaces such as recommendations, while others may display a warning on their store listing to set appropriate user expectations.
One of the most important ways to boost your app quality and attract more users is to focus on technical quality. In this post, we’ll explain how Google Play is evolving its definition of technical quality to be more aligned to user experience, and introduce new features in Android vitals to help you monitor and act on technical issues or opportunities.
1. Aligning our definition of technical quality with user experience
Android vitals is your one-stop destination for monitoring technical quality on Google Play, including stability and performance metrics from the field. The most important metrics are called core vitals, and they affect the visibility of your app on Google Play.
[UPDATED] Core vitals metrics
Moving forward, we’re replacing the existing core vitals metrics with new, more user-focused metrics. We believe these metrics are a better reflection of user experience, and we’ve seen a stronger correlation with uninstalls.
[CONTINUED] Overall bad behavior threshold
To improve quality across the board, we will continue to enforce an overall bad behavior threshold. The overall threshold will use the new metrics, but remain unchanged at 1.09% for user-perceived crash rate, and 0.47% for user-perceived ANR rate. To maximize your title’s visibility on Google Play, it’s important to stay below these thresholds.
[NEW] Quality bar per phone model
Technical quality can vary across devices. For example, an app can be stable and smooth on one phone model, but not another. To account for this, we are introducing a new bad behavior threshold that is evaluated per phone model (e.g. Pixel 6). At launch, this threshold will be set to 8% for both user-perceived crash rate and user-perceived ANR rate.
|GOOGLE PLAY’S APP QUALITY BAR
To maximize visibility on Google Play, keep your app below these thresholds.
|Core vital||Overall (across all devices)||Per phone model|
|User-perceived crash rate||1.09%||8%|
|User-perceived ANR rate||0.47%||8%|
If your title exceeds the device bad behavior threshold on any core vital for a given phone model, then Google Play may reduce the visibility of your title for users on that phone model. For example, we may exclude the title from some discovery surfaces, and in some cases, we will show a warning on your store listing to indicate to users that your app may not work properly on their phone. The Play Store will start applying store listing warnings on November 30, 2022.
|Users may see a store listing warning if a title has a user-perceived crash rate or user-perceived ANR rate above 8% on their phone model starting November 30, 2022. Note that the warning text is subject to change.|
2. New tools to help you monitor and act on technical issues
To help you meet these new quality guidelines, we’ve launched a number of new features in Android vitals to make it easier to monitor and act on any issues.
Monitor the new user-perceived crash and ANR rate metrics in Play Console, or using the API
The new metrics are available in Play Console in Android vitals, and also in the Play Developer Reporting API. The existing metrics remain available for context.
Stay on top of overall and per-phone model technical quality with Android vitals
You can monitor how your title is doing against overall bad behavior thresholds in Android vitals. In addition, Android vitals will warn you if you are exceeding the per-phone model threshold. It will also tell you which phones, and how many users, are affected.
Prioritize and address overall and per-phone model technical quality issues with new features in Android vitals
To understand the causes of technical quality issues on your user-perceived crash and ANR rates, look at the underlying crash and ANR clusters that contribute to these rates. You can view these in the Crashes and ANRs page in Android vitals – both overall, or on for any specific phone model. Address the issues affecting most users first to reduce your issue rate more quickly.
Sometimes, specific aspects of device hardware or software can contribute to your issue rates. To help you catch and resolve those issues, we’ve launched a new feature in Android vitals that will notify you if we find any potential associations. You can also explore associations yourself on the Reach and devices overview page.
|Android vitals will alert you of issues potentially associated with device hardware or software.|
When prioritizing per-phone model quality issues to tackle, take into account both existing users, and the opportunity cost or impact on new users. To help you do this, we have launched one-click access to consolidated device information in Play Console, including install base, revenue, ratings and reviews. This information is displayed in a side panel so you don’t have to leave the page that you’re on.
|A new side panel in Play Console provides consolidated device information in context.|
3. What to do now
Ensure the relevant people have access to Android vitals. The new quality metrics are live in Android vitals, and any overall or per-phone technical quality issues will be shown there. We recommend that you review Android vitals regularly in Play Console, or that you integrate with the Play Developer Reporting API to incorporate data directly into your own workflows. For more information, check out the Android developer site.
Although we’re starting at 8%, we’d like developers to aim for per-phone stability metrics that are no worse than 2%. With that in mind, you should expect the per phone model threshold to become lower in the first half of 2023. In the future, we may also extend our quality bar to include new metrics that reflect other important aspects of the user experience. We will provide you with advance notice of any changes.
Users expect great experiences on their devices, and developers who deliver on their expectations will achieve greater success on Google Play. While these updates were designed to help both users and developers to avoid the worst experiences, our long-term focus is to increase the number of great user experiences. To do this requires investment in other aspects of technical quality beyond crashes and ANRs, as well as investment in non-technical aspects of quality. Keep an eye out for more on this topic in the coming months.
By Lauren Mytton, Group Product Manager, Google Play
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