Google Play: Reply to Reviews Integration (Service Account Method)

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The Google Play "Reply to Reviews" integration (aka "Reviews & Replies") allows you to respond to reviews from the AppFollow interface or through connected help desk systems, Slack, or other tools

This integration (along with the ASO Report integration) is also required to get day-by-day worldwide ratings on the Rating Chart page for your Android app.

In this article, you'll learn how to set up the integration and avoid any potential setup errors.

Before You Start

Only account owners can create Service Accounts in Google Play Console. You will need to ask your Google Play Developer account owner for help (or have access to their account). It's not possible to create a Service Account with an Admin role.

Create a Service Account

Step 1: Log into Google Console and create a new Cloud Project

  1. In the Google Cloud Console navigate to "IAM and admin" section from the Menu and click on "Create a project"
  2. Enter the Project Name and select the Organization, if required. Click "Create".

  3. The project dashboard will open. 

Step 2: Confirm Your Account's Enabled APIs

Once you're in the Google Play Cloud Console, you'll be ready to start checking your account's enabled services:

  1. Make sure the correct project is showing at the top of the Google Cloud dashboard.
  2. Click on "Go to APIs overview" or navigate to "Enabled APIs and services" from "APIs and services section" on the Menu.
  3. On this page, you'll see an option to "Enable APIs & Services" at the top of the page. Click on this button to access the API Library where we will be checking the services.

  4. In the API Library, use the search bar to find and confirm that the following services are enabled:
  • Google Play Android Developer - enables authentication
  • Google Cloud APIs - permits access to historical review data
  • Google Cloud Storage - also enables access to historical review data
  • Google Cloud Storage JSON API - permits access to current review data

If you see a "Manage" button when you click on a service, this means that it is already enabled. If you see an "Enable" button, that means that it hasn't been enabled yet.



Step 3: Create a Service Account

Now you're ready to create the Service Account! Let's head back to the Google Cloud dashboard.

1. From the Menu navigate to "IAM and admin" section and click on "Service accounts".

3. Click on "+Create service account".

On the setup page, fill in the following details:

    1. Provide a Service Account name (for example, “AppFollow Reply to Reviews”)
    2. Optionally, add a description for the Service Account.
    3. Click "Create and continue".
    4. In the “Role” section, select “Basic”, then choose “Browser”.
    5. Click "Continue".
    6. On the final step, there's no need to fill anything out – just click "Done".


If you see the error "You don't have permission to set policy on the project. The permission 'resourcemanager.project.setlamPolicy' is required to grant projct-level permissions to the service account." it means you are not logged in as the Google Play Developer Console owner. 

Step 4: Generate a JSON File

The Service Account Key is a JSON file that you will upload to AppFollow and that will ensure the connection between AppFollow and the Google Play Console. During this step, we'll create a key that will be downloaded to your computer. Make sure to save it – you'll need it when you're setting up the integrations in AppFollow.

Once you create the Service Account, you're automatically taken to a list of your Service Accounts in the Cloud Console.

      1. Find the account you just created in the list of Service Accounts and click on the three-dot menu in the far-right column of the row.
      2. Click "Manage keys".
      3. On the "Keys" page, click "Add Key".
      4. Select "Create new key".
      5. In the pop-up that appears, select "JSON".
      6. Click "Create". The file will be downloaded to your computer – keep it safe!

Step 5: Grant Permissions to the Service Account

Now your Service Account is almost ready – all we need to do is ensure it has the correct permissions. These permissions will allow you to reply to reviews directly from AppFollow.

To allow any of the service accounts access to the Google Play Console data for your apps, they have to be granted access:

  1. Go to the Users & Permissions page on the Google Play Console.
  2. Click Invite new users.
  3. Put the email address from your service account in the email address field and grant the necessary rights to perform actions. It is best to grant the service account the minimal set of permissions needed to call the desired API actions.
  4. Enable the "View app information and download bulk reports (read-only)" permission.
  5. Enable the "Reply to reviews" permission.
  6. Click on the "Invite user" button.
  7. Once you complete these steps, you should be able to access the Google Play Developer Reporting API through the service account, using the appropriate API key.


Set up the Integration in AppFollow

    1. Make sure you have created a JSON file from the first part of this guide: Create a Service Account
    2. Log into your AppFollow account and open the Integrations page from the left-hand navigation menu.
    3. In the app picker at the top of the view, select the Google Play app you need to integrate.

    4. Make sure the "Reviews & Replies" tab is open.
    5. Click "Upload Service account file" to upload the JSON file you created in the first section of this article.
    6. Click "Add integration."


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