How to upload apps to the Google Play Store

Nail your app launch with this 9-step guide…

Neetu Mogha

Tech Lead at Builder.ai
· 9 minute read
Uploading an app on Google play store

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Congratulations on creating an app! Now it's time to share it with the world. And where better to publish it than Google Play Store, the home of 3.5 million apps?

In this blog, we’ll walk you through every step you need to follow in detail so you can successfully launch your app to the world’s largest mobile app store.

After that, we’ll reveal a cheat code that saves you a ton of admin in the process, helping you launch faster while staying in line with industry best practices.

A small heads up before we start:

If you have anything pending, say testing your app, checking compatibility with other devices or getting your signing certificate, you should resolve this before starting this process.

But if you have everything checked off, then it's time to get started. Keep scrolling 👇or use the menu to the right to flick through!

Step 1 - Create your Google developer account

Google play console screen to create a developer account

Before diving into the uploading process, you need to register a Google developer account. This is pretty straightforward but crucial, as without it, you can't publish your app on Google Play.

You can easily sign-up using your current Google Account or create a new developer account just for your app. It’s worth noting that you can easily transfer your app to any of your accounts if required.

You need to pay $25 as a one-time registration fee, add personal information like the developer name, contact email, website URL and sign the Google Play Developer distribution agreement. There’s nothing complicated here; just follow the instructions and you're good!

Step 2 - Add a merchant account

If you have an app monetisation strategy like pay-per-download (PPD) or in-app purchases (IAP), you need to have a payments profile, also known as a Google Merchant account. This helps you track app sales, analyse reports and manage your monthly payouts.

To create one, you simply need to:

  1. Sign in to Play Console using your developer account
  2. In the menu, click on Reports and select Financial Reports
  3. Click on “Set up a merchant account now”
  4. Fill out your business details
  5. Click Submit

Your merchant profile automatically links to your developer account, so no worries there.

Step 3 - Review Google Play Store policies and guidelines

Assuming you’ve thoroughly tested your app on various Android devices and optimised its performance and responsiveness, it's time to ensure your app features align with Google Developer Policies.

These policies explicitly explain how your app needs to be developed and updated to keep Google Play Store's quality standards intact.

Read the information carefully and ensure your app complies with the policies and guidelines, covering design, functionality, content, monetisation, promotion, privacy and legal requirements.

Step 4 - Create your app on the Google Console

Google Play console screen to create an app

Once you’ve set up your merchant account, you can finally create your app in the Developer Account.

Here's how it's done:

  1. Select “All Applications” from the Menu
  2. Click on “Create Application”
  3. Choose the default language setting from the drop-down menu
  4. Enter the title of your application in not more than 30 characters
  5. Click on “Create”

The title of your app is shown on Google Play after it's been published. You can always change the title of your app later, so there is not much to worry about here.

After the app is created, you'll head to the store entry page to fill out the store listing details.

Step 5 - Prepare store listing

In this step, you need to prepare your app's store listing. As these are the details that will be shown to your customers, it is recommended to consult with your branding team to create the right app profile.

You can either fill it in one go or revisit it later to complete it by saving the draft, but one thing’s for sure:

You need to be mindful of app store optimisation. This is similar to search engine optimisation (SEO) and ensures that your customers can both discover your app and are encouraged to download it.

The information required for the store listing is as follows:

  • Choose an appropriate and memorable tile (50 characters), short description (80 characters) and full description (4000 characters)
  • Add your app screenshots, icons, images, videos and other graphical elements
  • Add translation of your app's information into other languages
  • From the drop-down menu, choose your app's category and type
  • Add your contact information like, email, phone number and website
  • Add the link to your privacy policy that discloses how your app collects, shares and uses the data

Step 6 - Upload Android Package Kit (APK)

Google Play console screen to upload a APK file

Until now, you’ve been laying the groundwork for your app, and now it's time to upload your APK file. APK is the file format Android uses for storing, distributing and installing apps on Android mobile devices.

Your APK can be uploaded simply by dragging and dropping the file into the box or browsing the file from your computer.

Here's how it goes:

  1. Click on “Release Management” from the menu on the left side
  2. Click “App Releases”
  3. Select the type of release. You can choose between an internal, closed, open, or production test

Top tip

If you’re simply planning to test your app right now, then stick to internal, closed and open tests. But if your app is thoroughly tested and you wish to introduce it to the masses, select the production test.

Step 7 - Add content rating

Google Play console screen to get content rating

As an app developer, you need to self assess your app and select an age rating appropriate to your target audience.

To make sure you have all bases covered, click on “Store Presence” from the left menu. Here, you need to fill out the content rating questionnaire. Make sure you only enter the correct information, or it can lead to suspension or removal of your application from the Google Play Store.

Step 8 - Review app pricing and availability

Google Play console screen to review your app pricing

As we come to the last few steps from publishing your app, you need to make decisions about your app's pricing and distribution model.

Notably, when it comes to monetisation, Google lets your paid app become free later, but a free app can't become paid later. This is why you need to understand your pricing model before it goes live on the Google Play Store.

Here, you also need to choose the countries where your app will be available. If your app is specific to a particular geography, then you can mark specific countries; otherwise, select all countries for your app distribution.

Step 9 - Configure, test and publish

Now, things are getting exciting! But before you select ”Confirm Rollout,” you need to make sure that you've taken care of everything. This includes:

  • Double checking the store listing, pricing and availability, and content rating sections are check-marked green
  • Ensuring all in-app purchases are functioning properly
  • Testing purchase flows, subscriptions and restore options
  • Verifying that users receive the expected content and features after they make a purchase
  • Ensuring your app complies with legal requirements like privacy policy and data collection
  • Verifying your app doesn't include any prohibited content or violate intellectual property rights

When you have all that worked out, click “Review” and see if any issues or warnings might have passed under the radar. If not, then finally, you can select “Confirm Rollout”. Pressing it sends your app for review and after 4-5 days, your app gets published to all target countries on Google Play.

What to do after submitting your app?

Now you’ve submitted your app to Google Play Store, it’s time to build out your marketing function and decide on a plan to maintain and optimise your app.

The former will allow your business to start generating leads and driving app revenue, ensuring you make the most of your investment. Meanwhile, the latter will ensure your app can cope with emerging business needs while keeping customer data secure.

Here’s everything you need to know:

1 - Build out your marketing function

Once you have launched your app, building out your marketing should be your top priority. It’s because your app isn’t going to download itself into your customer's phones. You need to go out and increase awareness of your target audience. A sound marketing function will help increase visibility, generate leads and ultimately drive sales.

Here are some of the steps you need to take once you have rolled out your app:

  1. Assess your marketing activity - understand which strategies, channels and campaigns already perform well for your business and outline where you need to plug gaps
  2. Set up a Google business listing - enhances your online visibility and makes it easier for customers to find and connect with your business
  3. Set up reporting - tools like Google Analytics help you to measure the performance of your marketing effort and better understand your target users’ behaviour
  4. Automate CRM integration - effectively track and score leads to optimise conversion rates
  5. Create an SEO strategy - use content marketing to build topical authority within your niche and rank on page one of the search engine results page (SERP)
  6. Run PPC and paid social media campaigns - find and convert customers with buying intent on search engines and on social media platforms using a range of textual and visual media
  7. Create a social media calendar - engage with potential customers on social media by scheduling regular text, image, video and audio posts
  8. Start email marketing - craft personalised email campaigns to inform your target audience about your new app's features and exclusive benefits
  9. Establish a relationship with media - use press releases to help create buzz around your app and build awareness of it beyond your usual audience

With your app launch, you need to go all out, guns blazing. Your marketing function should be highly focused and well-developed because it not only helps you increase app downloads but is essential for the growth and success of your business.

2 - Maintain and optimise your app

Launching your app isn’t your final destination. Because if you want to secure long-term success, it must always be in tip-top shape.

Because of this, you need to start an ongoing process of maintaining and optimising your app. This will ensure it runs smoothly and continues to add value to your customers.

Here are the steps you can take to achieve this:

  1. Fix bugs - release updates to fix bugs and improve performance
  2. Monitor performance - continuously monitor your app's performance, like loading speed, battery usage, smooth functioning across devices, etc.
  3. Add new features - keep your app updated by adding new features, exclusive benefits and following new industry trends.
  4. Analyse user feedback - seek and analyse user feedback and address their concerns to enhance usability.
  5. Improve security measures - prevent your app from potential security threats and user data leakage by taking active security measures.

Investing in app maintenance will help you achieve all of these outcomes, ensuring users can perform the actions they want to in your app and that revenue from in-app purchases keeps flowing into your account.

How to upload apps to Google Play Store (the easy way)

Launching an app to Google Play Store is a huge milestone for your business. But, like everything in the app development process, nothing is quite as straightforward as it seems.

That’s why, when you make an app with Builder.ai, you get step-by-step support, helping you to follow best practices when uploading your app.

This means you can stop fiddling around with cumbersome admin and start generating revenue from your app as soon as possible.

We also help you market and maintain your Android app to ensure long-term success. To learn more, check out Studio One 👈

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Neetu Mogha

Tech Lead at Builder.ai

Neetu Mogha is a Tech Lead at Builder.ai where she applies 10+ years of management experience to guide the software development team. Neetu has a BTech in Computer Science from Hemchandracharya North Gujarat University.

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