Google Play Store finally adds support for app promo codes

The Google Play Store is finally catching up to Apple by offering a critical promotional tool for developers: app promo codes.

This allows devs to give out a code that’s then redeemed in the Play Store for free downloads or in-app upgrades. According to the developer console help page, devs are allowed a total of 500 promo codes per quarter. The 500-code limit includes any combination of app giveaways or in-app promos, though unused codes don’t carry over to the next quarter.  

Google offered up a few suggestions for how the codes could be put to use:

  • 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.

There’s a little more legwork to perform if you are thinking of giving away in-app content with a promo code, which is explained in a Google help page.

Why this matters: This feature is long overdue, considering it’s been available for iOS and Mac developers for years. This will greatly simplify the process of sending out apps to the media or fans to try out the latest creation. Previous to this, developers had to work out their own system for promotional in-app upgrades or hand out the APK to get others to try out their app.

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