Download Google Play’s paid apps for free using promo codes

By Maryam Dodhy on
January 15, 2016
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Google Play is finally rolling out promo codes on paid apps. This new feature will allow app developers to give away copies of their paid apps to users. The announcement was made via an official Google blogpost.

Promo codes on paid Android apps have been, perhaps, the most-demanded feature whereas Apple’s App Store users have had access to this feature for quite some time now. Android users now have access to promo codes, which have been added as an option in the Google Play developers console. Input a code and get a free app or in-app content! But how to do that? The steps are fairly simple.

Get your App ready for promotion

Step 1: For in-app purchases, if you want to offer promo codes for in-app purchases, you need to integrate in-app Promotions in your app. Keep in mind promo codes can’t be used for subscriptions or inactive in-app products. For paid apps, however, to offer promo codes you can skip this step and begin with step 2.
Step 2: Review promo code limits & availability

How many promo codes can I create?

For each app, you can create up to 500 promo codes per quarter. To reach that limit, you can use any combination of paid app and in-app promo codes.

Here are some ways you could reach your promo code limit for an app:

  • 500 paid app promo codes, or
  • 500 promo codes for one in-app product, or
  • 250 paid app promo codes + 250 promo codes for one in-app product, or
  • 100 promo codes for five in-app products

Note: Once you create a promotion, you can’t change the number of promo codes in that promotion.

What happens to my promo codes at the end of a quarter?

  • New codes: You can create 500 new promo codes every quarter. If it’s the first day of a new quarter and you can’t create new codes yet, wait 24 hours and try again.
  • Unused codes: If you don’t use all 500 promo codes in a quarter, you’ll lose access to them. Unused codes won’t carry over to the next quarter.
  • Processed codes: Users can redeem promo codes on the Play Store up until the promotion end date you entered in the Developer Console. Promotions can last up to one year.

Step 3: Set up a promotion in the Developer Console

  1. Go to your Google Play Developer Console.
  2. Select your app.
  3. Select Promotions > Add new promotion.
  4. Review and agree to the Terms of Use.
  5. 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.
  6. To turn the promotion on during the start and end dates you entered, set the status to On.
  7. Select Create.
  8. Wait several seconds and select the download link.

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.

Google has placed some limits though. Developers will be able to generate up to 500 free promo codes per quarter, and unused codes don’t roll over. Developers can hand out codes for any paid app/game, as well as in-app purchase content. You cannot create codes for subscription content.

The story is still developing, as Google rolls out more information. But this should spark the interest of Android developers. For more details head on over to Google’s blog.

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