Microsoft Store Ad Feature Aims to Boost Monetization of Windows Apps

Improvements to the Microsoft Store promise to make apps easier to discover and for developers to promote and sell.

Seeking to improve developers’ ability to monetize their Windows apps, new discovery features are coming to the Microsoft Store. Microsoft demonstrated the improvements to come during this week Build 2002which the company again hosted as an online event.

The new Microsoft Store Ads will allow developers to create ad campaigns for their apps. In the coming months, developers will also be able to create advertising campaigns within the shop using Microsoft Advertising. Microsoft said the program should be rolling out “soon,” but developers can sign up on the waiting list now.

The improvementsincluding improved search and the ability to restore apps more easily, will only be available to developers with apps in the Microsoft Store.

Microsoft’s Nitah Harmon

“Developers will be able to create and run ad campaigns to target potential customers who are most likely to find their ads relevant and useful on the store,” said product manager Nitah Harmon, who introduced Microsoft Store Ads in a session. Build.

“Once I provide my brand name and details, Microsoft Store will automatically sync my app details with Microsoft Advertising, and my app assets will also be exported,” Harmon added. “This means that I no longer need to provide creative assets such as logos; my campaign will use what I provided in the partner center when I published my app in the store. »

Analytics and reports

Microsoft Store Ads will also provide analytics reports on a campaign’s performance, once it’s live. In Microsoft’s Advertising Portal, users will be able to see ad impressions, click-through rates (CTR), and cost-per-click (CPC) spent on a campaign.

Image of Microsoft Store Ads screen

“These campaign performance reports will help me get an overall view of my campaign performance and take action to change it,” Harmon said.

The store has taken on new life over the past year. Microsoft said the amount of Windows apps in the Microsoft Store has increased by 50% since the start of this year. Since redesign the online app exchange with the launch of Windows 11 last year, Microsoft said visits tripled.

In addition to renaming the Windows Store, Microsoft eliminated the fees it collected for apps distributed in the new store. The new policies allow app developers to keep 100% of revenue generated by the store when they use their own commerce platform, explained Nitya Mallikarjun, senior program manager at Microsoft, during the Microsoft Store session at Build.

“Developers who choose the Microsoft Commerce platform also benefit from competitive discounts. [That’s] 85% for apps and 88% for games, when distributed through the Microsoft Store,” she said.

Windows and more

Microsoft has made it more attractive to visit its store. Now, it hosts Android apps through the Amazon App Store, Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), and apps built in other frameworks. And in particular, it hosts Win32 applications. Until recently, there was a waiting list to add traditional Windows desktop software to the Microsoft Store. At the Microsoft Build conference, the company said the store is now open to all developers.

Although Win32 applications are often a generic term for traditional desktop applications, they also include those built in C++, .NET, WPF, and Windows Forms.

“These are the apps that, quite frankly, make the Windows ecosystem and the Windows platform so powerful,” said Pete Brown, principal software engineer at Microsoft, during the Build session.

Brown noted that until now, there hasn’t been an easy way to track analytics from store acquisition to actual use.

“I’m happy to say we’re changing all of that,” Brown said. “If you publish your Win32 app to the store, we’re able to provide you with some great insights into not only how the app is performing in use, but also how the installation process is working.”

A distribution platform

Microsoft's Nitya Mallikarjun

Microsoft’s Nitya Mallikarjun

Program manager Mallikarjun highlighted that Microsoft is transforming the store beyond app discovery and expanding its reach to the web

“It’s a distribution platform to help you get more customers,” she said. “We wanted to extend the same benefits to accessing the store on the web, so your customers can install your apps directly from your website using the pop-up store experience. Downloading an installer file, searching for the installer on disk, and using wizards are now a thing of the past. As one of the most used apps on PC, the store puts your app in front of an engaged Windows audience, always looking for new experiences.

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