Promotions, or promo codes, enable you to give one-time products or trials to subscriptions free-of-charge to a limited number of users. The user enters a promo code, either in your app or in the Google Play Store app, and receives the item or subscription trial at no cost.
Within the Play Console, you can create the following types of promo codes:
- One-time use codes: These are automatically-generated unique codes that users can redeem only once. Users redeem these codes either directly from the Play Store or from within your app.
- Custom codes: You can specify custom codes that can be redeemed multiple times up to your predefined limit. Custom codes are available only for subscriptions and can be redeemed only by users who have not previously subscribed.
You can use promo codes in many ways to creatively engage with users, including the following:
- You might distribute cards with promo codes at an event, and users would enter their promo codes to unlock a special in-game item.
- You might give codes to employees so they can share them with their friends and family.
- You might send a promo code to people who buy your app during a certain period of time.
For subscriptions, note the following:
- Promo codes offer free trials to subscriptions and not free subscriptions.
- Promotions do not extend other free trials. If a subscription begins with a free trial without requiring a promo code, a promotion would override the original free trial length.
- Users who aren't eligible for non-promo free trials—for example, users who have already purchased a subscription in the past—are still eligible for a free trial through a promotion.
Users can redeem promo codes in the Google Play Store up until a promotion end date that you specify in the Play Console. Promotions can last up to one year.
Before implementing a promotion, be sure to consider the following:
- For one-time products, you can create up to 500 promo codes per quarter
across all managed products in an app. You can use different combinations of
promo codes that include one or more one-time products. Examples include
- 500 promo codes for a single one-time product.
- 100 promo codes, each for five different one-time products.
- For subscription promotions, you can create up to 10,000 one-time use codes per quarter per subscription product. This limit does not count toward the limit of promo codes for one-time products.
- When creating a subscription promotion with custom codes, you can choose a redemption limit between 2,000 and 99,999.
Creating and managing promotions
To learn how to set up and manage promotions, see Create Promotions.
User redemption flow
Once a user has a promo code, they can redeem it in one of the following ways:
- In your app: The user can initiate the purchase by clicking the down arrow next to the form of payment in the Google Play purchase screen and then clicking the Redeem link to type in the code.
- In the Play store: The user can manually enter the code in the Google
Play Store by clicking the Play Store left navigation menu and tapping
- The user can also skip manual code entry by instead following a deep link to the Google Play Store.
As an example, figure 1 shows a purchase screen for a subscription. To enter a promo code, tap the arrow next to the current payment method to show the Payment methods screen, as shown in figure 2. Next, tap Redeem code to go to the Redeem a gift card or promo code screen, as shown in figure 3. You can then enter your promo code on this screen and tap Redeem to finish.
For subscription promo codes, note the following:
- Custom codes can be redeemed only from within your app, while one-time codes can be redeemed through both your app and the Play store.
- After the user redeems the code, they still need to purchase the subscription with the code applied. A valid form of payment is required for the subscription, and the subscription will auto-renew at the end of the promo code free trial period.
- If using Billing Library version 2.0 or higher, a user who redeems a
one-time code from the Play store is immediately asked to purchase the
subscription through the Play store. This is an out-of-app purchase, so be
sure that your app can
handle these purchases gracefully.
- If your app does not yet support Billing Library 2.0, the user must download your app, navigate to the correct subscription, and then purchase the subscription from within your app to use the promotion code.
Implementing promo codes
To ensure your app is ready to handle promo codes, your app needs to properly handle redemptions that occur outside of your app. To learn more, see Processing purchases, Fetching purchases, and Handling purchases made outside of your app in Integrate the Google Play Billing Library into your app.
You can also share a promo code by generating a URL that sends the user to the Google Play Store and auto-populates the Enter code field. Use the following format for a promo code URL:
Figure 4 shows the Google Play app's Redeem Code dialog:
After the user presses Redeem, if the latest version of your app is installed, the Google Play Store prompts the user to open the app. Otherwise, the Google Play Store prompts the user to update or download your app.
Testing promo codes
To test your promo code implementation, see Test promo codes.