The art of product

Getting from ideas to delighted customers

Listing In-App Products (IAPs) on the Play Store

Listing In-App Products (IAPs) on the Play Store is relatively simple.

IAPs come in two categories:

  1. Managed In-App Products (a one-time purchase such as buying a new weapon in gaming app )
  2. Subscriptions (a renewing purchase such as a monthly subscription to a magazine)

Let’s learn how to set up subscriptions.

So for the rest of this blog, I’m going to talk about subscriptions. If you follow the steps here, then the Managed IAPs are also quite straight-forward to set up.

Your Products

Lets start off with a simple example – a SaaS business networking app called Lounjee that lets you pay monthly or annually (similar to say Evernote in that sense). In this case, you will have two “products” called ‘lounjee monthly’ and ‘lounjee annually’.

For each product, you will need to make a few decisions such as:

  • Is there a trial period? If you’re not sure, why not let users try this premium service for 30 days?
  • Is there a grace period? A period during which you continue to allow access and will not cancel a subscription because the payment details no longer work.
  • Do you have country specific pricing? A detailed price guide (or manifest) can be handled through the Play Store, but if you’re just getting started, then you can just set price in one currency and let the Play Store just automatically calculate what to charge in other countries.
  • How often do you bill the user? Recurring billing can be set to one of weekly, monthly, 3 months, 6 months, annually and seasonally (a period you define e.g. at the start of each football season)

Also, you need a product ID of max 160 chars (I suggest a format like this: monthly.your_product_name and annually.your_product_name), a title of max 55 chars and a description of max 80 chars.

Here is a table with some completed value to give you an idea of what you’ll need to decide on – per product.

Product IDMonthly.premium160
Title Lounjee55
DescriptionNetworking app that matches people on professional needs and interest80
Billing PeriodMonthlyN/A
Free Trial Period30 DaysN/A
Grace Period NoneN/A

How Play Store handles subscriptions

  • Users purchase your subscriptions from inside your apps, rather than directly from Google Play.
  • Users can renew their subscriptions while a current subscription is active.
  • Users can upgrade or downgrade a subscription in the middle of a subscription period. The old subscription’s cost is pro-rated, and the unused portion is applied to the replacement subscription


The general IAP overview in the Android Developer blog is a pretty non-technical piece to understand.

More on Play Store Subscriptions

About Patrick O'Malley