Google has made a number of enhancements to Google Play
Google Play (GOOG) has more than 1 billion users. Games continue to be the largest vertical for Google Play, and in 2015, the number of games that met the criteria of 1 million installs increased by 50%. Recently, Google changed Google Play so that users can understand which apps will have ads embedded in them. This move allows users to avoid those apps.
Google has also beafed up its content for Google Play. The company has tried to extend its Google Play products, such as Google Play movies, Google Play music, and Google Play books, to as many countries as possible. A few months back, the company made performances from the 2016 BRIT Awards by artists such as Coldplay and Justin Bieber available exclusively on Google Play music.
Google still not successful in monetizing Google Play effectively
All these efforts have helped Google Play become one of the top smartphone apps in the United States. According to a report from comScore and as the chart above shows, Google Play is the fourth-ranked app in terms of reach, as of February 2016. Facebook (FB) and Facebook Messenger are the top-ranked apps, followed by YouTube. Pandora (P) and Amazon (AMZN) are the only players among the top ten smartphone apps that aren’t from Facebook and Google.
Despite these efforts, Google has failed to monetize Google Play effectively. According to a report from Venture Beat citing App Annie, the number of downloads on Google Play doubled the number of downloads of Apple’s (AAPL) App Store in 2015. Countries like Brazil (EWZ), Indonesia, and India helped Google with its strong download growth. However, the App Store managed to earn 70% more in revenues compared to Google Play.
Improving payment capabilities could be a solution for Google to better monetize Google Play. We’ll discuss this more in the next part of this series.