Promo Codes Finally Coming to Google Play Store

The new look Google Play
The new look Google Play

If you have ever shopped online (either internationally using the likes of Amazon or locally using Jumia) then you have come across promotional codes or even used them. If you use ride-sharing applications like Uber and Easy Taxi to hail your cab home then you have most likely had a free ride or a discount courtesy of a promo code. Heck, if you’re an iPhone or iPad user then you’re used to them on the iTunes store since they’ve been there since time immemorial. It may come as a shock to many that Google’s Play Store, the home of apps, games, books and entertainment content (music, videos etc) for Android users, has not been allowing developers to issue promo codes to users but that’s the truth anyway. But it is changing.

Google has now made it possible for developers to start dishing out promo codes to users of their apps and consumers of their content on the Play Store. The Google Play developer console has been updated to support this and soon, it will be possible to unlock in-app purchases on apps and games using promo codes.

Promo codes let you give content or features away to a limited number of users free of charge. Once you create a promo code, you can distribute it subject to the terms of service. The user enters the promo code in your app or in the Play Store app, and gets the item at no cost. You can use promo codes in many ways to creatively engage with users. For example:

  • 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 are limitations as well. Developers are restricted to just 500 promo codes per quarter with the issued promo codes valid for at least a year – developers are at liberty to set their own expiration date nonetheless. On the side of the developers, any unused promo codes in a quarter do not roll over automatically to the next. Also, promo codes can not be used for in-app subscriptions.