Earlier this month Google announced the launch of in-app promotions, letting app publishers set up coupon code campaigns directly from the Google Play Developer's Console. While Apple has offered promo codes for paid apps for awhile, Google is the first to support promo codes for in-app purchases. This is great news for magazine app publishers since the promo codes can be used to give single issues away for free - a much welcomed tool for acquiring new app users and increasing circulation.
Sampling - or giving away free issues - has always been a great way to reach new readers. By sampling the digital edition, not only are you promoting your digital magazine and subscriptions, but you're also getting people to download your app, giving you the unique ability to market directly to them in the future via push notifications.
Ways to use promo codes
An app publisher can create up to 500 promo codes per quarter, which can be distributed in many different ways to engage new users. For example, you can distribute codes via direct mail, email, text/SMS or social media campaigns, or even at business events. You can even set up a push notification campaign to distribute codes to users who a have downloaded your app (organically or via your paid acquisition campaigns) but have not yet purchased a single issue.
Publishers can use all 500 promo codes to promote a single issue, or they can split them across different issues (ie. 250 for September issue, 250 for October issue). The important this to remember is that you only have 500 promo codes per quarter - and if you don't use them, you lose them.
How users redeem promo codes
Promo codes can easily be redeemed in one of the following two ways:
- The user can enter the promo code as part of the app's ordinary purchase flow. Instead of paying for the issue, the user enters the code, and they receive the issue just like they would for an ordinary in-app purchase.
- The user can redeem the code in the Google Play Store app. Once the user enters the code, the Play Store prompts the user to open the app (if they have the latest version installed) or to download or update it. Again, the user gets the issue just as if they paid full price for it.
If you're Paperlit customer, you're app is set up to start using promo codes and users can redeem their codes directly in the purchase flow:
How to set up a promotion
Here are the basic steps, from Google, for setting up a new promotion:
- Go to your Google Play Developer Console.
- Select your app.
- Select Promotions > Add new promotion.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to name your promotion, set up start and end dates, select your promotion type and enter the number of promo codes you want to create.
- To turn the promotion on during the start and end dates that you entered, set the status to On.
- Select Create.
- Wait several seconds and select Download Codes.
- Your codes will download to a CSV file. To share with users, you can print the codes or send a deep link allowing users to redeem the codes via email or a notification within your app.
You can also manage active, expired and paused promotions from your Google Play Developer Console.
Will you be using Google Play promo codes? Let us know how you're maximizing promo codes in the comments below