You may have seen earlier this month that Google started testing a few new sale features on the Play Store. Select developers were able to set sale prices that showed up on the purchase button, and (finally) paid listings could be temporarily free. Now, that functionality is official. There's a support page with all the relevant details developers can check out.

There are a few important things to know before you go setting apps to free all willy-nilly. The new sale system is found under Pricing and Distribution in the dev console. When setting a sale, you can choose between one and eight days. Each app can only be placed on sale once every 30 days—i.e. there must be a 30-day gap between the end of on sale the start of the next. Developers have always been able to change their pricing before, but these tools include proper support in the way prices are displayed in the Play Store.

Paid apps and games can be made free, but this will impact your stats. Free downloads don't show up in the console as buyers and the app won't be listed on any top paid lists during the sale. From our testing, the game that was on sale for free a few weeks ago is still installable for those who picked it up at the time. That means temporarily free apps and games should remain accessible on your devices after the price goes back up.

Create sales for paid apps

You can create a sale to offer your paid apps at a discounted price. When users view your app on the Play Store, they'll see both the sale price and the original price.

Set up a sale

  1. Go to your Google Play Developer Console.
  2. Select an app.
  3. Select Pricing & Distribution > Create sale.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to name your sale and set up the start and end date. The sale name will only be seen within your Developer Console and won't be visible to users.
  5. Select Create sale price.
    • To offer your app for a discounted price: Enter your sale price (in the default currency). We'll use the price that you enter as the base for calculating market-specific prices.
    • To offer your app for £0 temporarily: Select the button next to '£0 sale'. Keep in mind, a £0 sale is temporary and is not the same as permanently offering your app for free.
  6. By default, all tick boxes will be selected and the sale will be offered globally. If needed, use the tick boxes to select specific countries where you want to offer the sale.
  7. Select Schedule sale. Your sale will begin according to the start date that you entered during step 4.
Guidelines & requirements
Availability & pricing
  • Currently, sales can be created only for paid apps (not subscriptions or in-app products).
  • Your app's sales price must represent at least a 30% discount on the full price (in every impacted country). With the exception of a £0 sale, all sale prices must adhere to the accepted price ranges.
  • To create or edit a sale, your app must be published.

Important for £0 sales: A £0 sale is temporary and is not the same as permanently offering your app for free. Creating a £0 sale does not impact your ability to charge for the app in the future. If you create a £0 sale, your app won't be featured on any paid Top Charts during the time the sale is live.

£0 sales don't count as purchases. As a result, the number of buyers in your reports may drop during a sale. The following reports will be impacted:

  • Finance Overview page: Buyers table will drop to 0.
  • Finance Buyers report: You'll see a shift in all buyers, repeat buyers and returning buyers.
  • User Acquisition report: You'll see a shift in Buyers and Repeat Buyers.
Timeline
  • For each app, there must be 30 days between the end date of one sale and the start date of another sale. You can change the base price of an app at any time.
  • Sales can be live from one day (minimum length) up to eight days (maximum length).
Sales & pricing templates

Since each sale is created per app, sales won't be supported by pricing templates.

If you've created a sale for an app that's part of a template, you'll need to stop the sale or wait until the sale completes before you can make any changes to the template.

View & update sales

In your Google Play Developer Console, you can access live, upcoming and past sales.

Update an upcoming or live sale
  1. Go to your Google Play Developer Console.
  2. Select an app.
  3. Select Pricing & Distribution > Paid App Sales.
  4. Next to the sale that you want to update, select Edit sale.
    • Update the sale name: You can update the sale name at any time. Remember that the sale name will only be seen within your Developer Console and won't be visible to users.
    • Update the start date or price: You can update the start date or price on any upcoming sales. If a sale has already begun, the start date and price can no longer be changed.
    • End or resume a sale: In the top-right corner of a live sale, select Stop or Resume.
Review past sales
  1. Go to your Google Play Developer Console.
  2. Select an app.
  3. Select Pricing & Distribution > Paid App Sales.