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It took a while, but Google Play Store now offers promo-code support for apps

Android users now have the chance to use Google Play Store promo codes for apps, a feature that since the store’s launch has been noticeable by its absence.

The iOS App Store has long offered promo code functionality, which allows developers to offer users free copies of their paid apps for review or promotional purposes.

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Users lucky enough to get a code simply enter it during the Play Store transaction when prompted, or inside the app if it’s for an in-app purchase.

A post on Google’s developers blog, which announced the new promo codes, suggested different ways developers might want to use them:

  • 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.

The app’s creator can choose whether to add an expiration date, too, while codes without cut-off dates will remain valid for a full year.

A few limitations to the new system were spotted by Phandroid. For example, the codes can’t be used for in-app subscriptions (purchases are OK), and developers can only dole out a maximum of 500 codes per quarter for each app of their apps.

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Still, it’s clearly a useful addition for Android developers and users alike, and one many would’ve expected long ago. Now the codes are here, it’s a safe bet many marketing-minded app creators will be wasting little time in working them into their sales strategies in the hope of increasing their profile and getting their apps noticed.