Understanding Google Play's Service Fee

Developers are subject to a Google Play service fee based on a percentage of the purchase price or digital purchases in their app. 

The service fee reflects the value provided by Android and Google Play, and all of the developer services we offer, including app distribution and discovery, the commerce platform, developer tools, analytics, training, and more.

Frequently asked questions

Why does Google Play charge a service fee?

The service fee is how we support our ongoing investments in Android and Google Play, reflects the value provided by Android and Google Play, and is how we earn money as a business. Just as it costs money to develop, launch, and market an app, it costs money to develop, launch, and market an operating system and app store. This is a common business model for app and games stores run by Microsoft, Apple, Steam, Nintendo, Amazon, and others.

How much is the service fee?

There isn't a single service fee as developers operate in different situations that require different levels of support to build sustainable businesses. 99% of developers who are subject to a service fee qualify for a fee of 15% or less. Learn more about our service fees in this Help Center article.

Who is subject to the service fee?

Developers who charge for their app or offer digital goods are subject to a service fee, which represents only 3% of developers. This means that 97% of developers distribute their app and utilize all of our developer tools and services at no cost.

What does the service fee pay for?

The service fee supports our investments across Android and Google Play, reflects the value provided by Android and Google Play, enables us to deliver an affordable and innovative user experience, helps developers reach users and build sustainable businesses, and keeps the platform safe and secure.

Major investment areas include:

  • Android & the Google Play store: The free Android operating system enables hardware manufacturers to build a wide range of devices at different price points that gives users unprecedented choice. And the Google Play Store delivers the world's largest selection of apps and games, available in over 190 countries with personalized recommendations and easy discovery of high-quality apps.
  • New Android platforms: We build platforms for new form factors such as Auto and TV to help developers increase their reach in new ways.
  • Security: Consumers trust Android and Google Play because of its security, the reviews of apps to ensure they comply with policies around safety and privacy, and with automated security of Google Play Protect that scans over 100 billion apps per day.
  • App distribution: Developers can instantly reach over three billion Android users with the ability to optimize delivery by device and functionality and provide ongoing updates.
  • Developer tools: Developers can run experiments, beta test, optimize store listings, analyze performance, and more.
  • Billing system: Users enjoy safe and trusted payments, while developers can easily transact with 700 million users using Google Play gift cards and locally relevant forms of payment.
What value do developers get from Google Play?

Helping developers innovate and grow is core to our mission and we keep investing in our platform, tools, and services to support them. We make it easy for developers to distribute their app to billions of Android users and earn money from people around the world in their preferred local form of payment.

Additionally, we provide tools and services to help developers manage their app releases, promotional and re-engagement opportunities in the Play Store, tools to run experiments and optimize performance, data analytics, technical support, free training with the Play Academy, and more.

Want to learn more about some of the services provided to developers?

App development

Android tools

We provide tools and resources to help developers build experiences that people love, faster and easier, across every Android device. For example, Android Studio is the official Integrated Development Environment for Android development, and includes everything you need to build Android apps including an SDK index for popular dependencies, app quality insights from Firebase Crashlytics, and virtual device emulators.
 

Google Play Academy 

We provide free training through Google Play Academy to developers, business people, and marketers of Google Play apps and games. Play Academy enables opportunities for new and aspiring app makers, knowledge sharing and best practices to build a successful app or game business, and developers to stay updated on changes in our tools. Developers also learn about how to design apps, prepare for launch, and increase user visibility. Google Play Academy also provides training for developers looking to expand to new markets with our Go Global courses: Japan, Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Western Europe.
 

App testing

We offer developers the ability to beta test their apps with a subset of users Developers can gather private feedback or reply directly to app testers through the Play console.  This includes testing new versions of apps prior to their release. In addition, developers can make test versions of their app available to users on Google Play to obtain early feedback or monitor in-app metrics prior to launch.
 

Pre-launch reports

Where a developer has run app testing either to a small or large group, developers can set up and run pre-launch reports to identify any issues with the app before release. The pre-launch report identifies potential issues with apps which may affect the user experience such as the stability, performance and security of an app.
 

App performance optimization 

We provide a performance insight tool designed for developers to measure and optimize the performance of apps and games so that they have higher quality video and less lag. This service allows developers to analyze data across many Android devices.

Safety

User privacy and security 

We provide a safe and secure environment to download apps, this in turn increases the trust of app users. All apps distributed through Google Play, including Google’s own, are subject to the Play Policies. Google’s Play Policies include policies relating to the use and handling of user data. We publish information to help users understand what information is collected, why it is collected, and how users can update, manage, export or delete their information.
 

App scans to prevent malware installs

Google Play Protect scans Android devices to warn users if an app contains known malware, regardless of whether they have been downloaded through Play, a third party app store, or side-loading.

We additionally provide developers with an API to help them ensure that their servers are interacting with a genuine version of the developer’s app on genuine Android devices. This helps protect developers from fraud and security threats through SafetyNet.
 

App distribution 

Global distribution 

Through Google Play, developers can distribute apps and app updates to more than three billion users on thousands of devices from hundreds of OEMs in 190+ countries, as well as being able to distribute apps to specific countries. For example, developers are able to create as many as 50 custom store listing pages to tailor or customize their app listing to specific countries. Developers can also personalize apps by customizing store listings and target specific audiences by changing the appearance of apps.

Developers are further able to efficiently and safely distribute updates to their apps with new features and functionality. App updates help developers keep users engaged, and also support ecosystem security as new threats emerge.
 

App downloads by country

Developers can gain insights on top countries where apps have been installed as well as insights on language-specific downloads. Through Play Console developers can review reports on app installs, uninstalls, ratings, revenue, and crashes to help track the performance of their app. 

Developers can use Google’s interactive research tool (“Think with Google”) for:

  • guidance on how to understand consumer behavior;
  • tips for marketing;
  • developer tools to grow app audience by understanding the demographics of the app users; and
  • developer statistics on the interests of users in a specific region or country, among other things.
 

Translation services to help localize international apps

Through Google’s translation services, apps can be translated into up to 48 languages. We also provide developers with recommendations on where in the app developers may want to prioritize localized translations. We have created a page with tips to succeed in specific regions (APAC, EMEA, Latin America, and North America). These articles explain how to localize an app by publishing in one of the local languages and offering promotions during holiday events.
 

App ratings and reviews

We provide tools for developers to optimize their app using feedback from users through ratings and reviews. For example, we provide developers with an overview of the app's ratings, individual user reviews, and clustered data about the app's reviews.  We also provide guidance for developers to set up automatic user prompts to leave ratings and reviews within the app to provide feedback. We additionally provide tools to help developers test this feature.

 

User engagement analysis

In March 2021, Google Play Console launched new metrics to evaluate apps and games. This ensures developers can evaluate their app or games’ engagement and monetization trends against benchmarks. These metrics include statistics on the number of users who open an app each month and statistics on the number of growing users each month. This is in addition to the other data and reports that developers have access to in Google Play Console.
 

App discovery 

We provide tips for getting apps discovered on Google Play including how to build a store listing, how to make an app stand out through graphics, and how to diversify the audience. We also provide information on how apps can be more discoverable and how apps are ranked in search results.

We further assist app discovery through targeting the promotion of apps and helping users to discover apps and games they may enjoy from the millions available on Google Play. We consider several factors when organizing and ranking apps and games, including, user relevance, user experience, and editorial value.

We also help users by providing relevant app recommendations when they visit Google Play. This in turn helps developers reach new users.
 

Play Commerce

Monetization tools

Google Play’s billing system helps developers to seamlessly sell digital products and content within their app, including in-app content such as in-game currency or subscriptions. 
 

Clear and reliable pricing information

We provide developers with tools to help set up their app price, allowing developers to easily set global or country-specific app pricing and use pricing templates to simplify pricing for apps in Play Console.

For instance, developers can set app pricing, change app pricing, and create any sales or promotions for apps. Developers can also set up subscriptions and change the price for in-app items. This gives developers the flexibility to tailor their offerings and adapt to change.

 

Play subscription management

We allow users to conveniently cancel, pause, or change a subscription on Google Play. This is one of the services integrated in Google Play’s billing system.
 

Google support for payment refunds 

Developers can easily manage app orders and swiftly issue refunds to users. Using the Play Console website or app, developers can view app orders, issue refunds and manage subscription cancellations for items that users have purchased.
 

Administration 

App updates overview

Through Google Play Console, developers can view data based on the app versions by distribution channel. Developers can also get an overview of the update history of their app. Developers can use this information to continuously improve their app offerings.
 

Customized Play Console dashboard

Based on developer feedback, we created a way for developers to customize the display of metrics available in Play Console to measure the performance of their app. Developers can pin metrics of their choice. This provides a quick and convenient mechanism for developers to track and respond to the metrics they care about.
 

Globally consistent developer interface

Google Play Console provides a globally consistent interface for developers to upload and manage their apps. Developers benefit from features that help improve app quality, engage app audiences, earn revenue, and more.
 

App peer group comparison tools

Developers can easily compare their app to other apps of their choosing. They can do this by setting custom peer groups, by selecting a specific group of apps and comparing their app to the apps of that specific group. Developers can edit the custom peer group to compare Android vitals up to three times a month. This provides developers with a valuable tool in responding to their peers.

We also provide suggestions on how to use app comparison statistics to analyze app performance.

Are all developers subject to a service fee?

We are committed to having a business model that allows us to continue to invest in Android and Play, but we understand that all developers aren’t the same and a one size fits all approach doesn’t work. For the majority of Google Play’s revenue, that business model is our service fee.  Only developers who sell paid apps or in-app access to digital content or services, are subject to a service fee, and more than 99% of those developers are eligible for a service fee of 15% or less. A small number of developers that invest more directly in Android and Play may have different service fees as part of a broader partnership that includes substantial financial investments and product integrations across different form factors. These key investment partnerships allow us to bring more users to Android and Play by continuously improving the experience for all users and create new opportunities for all developers.

Additionally, there are some instances where we do not apply a service fee to in-app transactions or​​​​​​​ require the use of Google Play’s billing system, for example, sales of physical goods or services, peer to peer, tax exempt donations, or gambling transactions.

What is the impact of recent legislation in South Korea?

As a result of legislation, we offer all developers the ability to offer an alternative in-app billing system alongside Google Play's billing system for South Korean users making in-app purchases within Play-distributed apps on mobile phones and tablets.

Developers are still subject to a service fee for transactions using an alternative in-app billing system, but the service fee is reduced by 4%. For example, when the service fee is 15% for transactions through Google Play's billing system, it is 11% for transactions made through an alternative billing system.  Learn more about offering an additional in-app billing system for users in South Korea in this Help Center article. .

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