Category Archives: video interstitial ads

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Announcing the Windows Premium Ads Publishers Program

As part of our continuous efforts to help Windows developers monetize better through ads, we are very excited to announce the launch of the Windows Premium Ads Publishers Program – a curated collection of ad enabled apps that are best in class in terms of usage, engagement and experience. These apps use one or more ad formats from among banner, interstitial banner, interstitial video and native ads to monetize. There are more than a million apps in the Windows Store and these premium apps represent the best of inventory that advertisers can target for the highest ROI on their campaigns.
Apps in the Windows Premium Ads Publishers Program satisfy a wide range of criteria, from having a minimum guaranteed daily ad request volume to maintaining high viewability standards, not having any fraudulent activity in their apps and following IAB standard ad sizes and placement methods. These are top apps and games with a globally distributed audience that is highly engaged, have identifiable users and are viewability certified​. The full list of qualifying criteria is as follows:
Minimum guaranteed daily ad request volume
High viewability rate for impressions
Good quality clicks contributing to a minimum CTR across all ad formats
Only IAB standard ad sizes and no hidden ads
Clean placement of banners – not adjacent, no using ad units across multiple apps
Clear defined user flow to the point where the video and/or interstitial banner ad is shown, no pre-caching
Controlled ad refresh behavior so that the ads returned from the mediation server are always played
Great Store presence with clear app descriptions, high fidelity screenshots and icons uploaded to the Store along with a video trailer (preferable)
How do apps become a part of this program?
Apps that meet the qualifying criteria are put through a rigorous manual review process to check for a smooth, well defined user experience and to make sure ads are well placed to avoid unintentional clicks. Apps that clear both the automatic and manual screening process are then added to the program.
Can apps get removed from the program?
Apps in the program are monitored on a frequent basis to ensure they continue to meet the qualifying criteria. Make sure the app usage does not drop significantly over time to sustain a minimum daily ad request volume – a great way to do this is by running regular promotions.
Can a developer provide additional marketing material to showcase their app in the program?
Any content uploaded as part of the Store submission is automatically used to showcase premium apps. In addition, if you would like to use more app or game screenshots, game trailers and rich descriptions, please reach out to aiacare@microsoft.com.
Advertisers from all partner ad networks can identify these apps separately and serve premium, high yield ads exclusively on these apps. The pool of apps in the program are continually reviewed to ensure they meet the quality bar and new apps that qualify are automatically inducted into the program. Early results have shown very promising improvements in ad monetization yield for apps in the Windows Premium Ads Publishers Program. This is currently an invite only program and merely meeting the qualifying criteria does not automatically entitle an app to become part of the premium program.
Developers who are interested in knowing more about improving their app experience to qualify for the program, please reach out to aiacare@microsoft.com. Details regarding the program are available here. To learn more about enabling ads in your apps using the Microsoft Advertising SDK, read the article here. More announcements coming very soon in this space!

Best practices for using video ads in Windows apps

Interstitial videos are a highly engaging ad format that, if used right, have much higher monetization potential as compared to more traditional ad formats. Interstitial videos are typically 15-60 seconds long and take up the full screen space, getting the user engaged in the brand or app being advertised and result in much better conversions compared to standard ad formats.
Here are some do’s and don’ts for using interstitial videos in your app for maximum yield:
DO’s
Have a clear user experience defined in the app or game to the point where the video ad is shown – Since the video ad overlays the app screen completely, it must be used with caution and should never disrupt the user during game play or app usage. Typical examples of usage of interstitial ads are in between game levels or switching to a new tab in a content app.
Set the ad unit mediation configuration to ‘Automatic’ – This allows Microsoft to determine the best waterfall order of ad units for every incoming ad request, giving developers maximum revenue potential from their apps.
Maintain good viewability of the video ad – The Media Ratings Council defines video viewability as, “At least 50% of the pixels in the ad are on an in-focus browser tab on the viewable space of the browser page; the pixel requirement is met for at least two continuous seconds or more at any point in the ad.” Many advertisers only pay when the impression is viewable, for better yield and to avoid fraud. Make sure that when you display the video ad in your app, it plays fully and is not hidden under any other screen in the app.
DON’Ts
Pre-caching for long time periods – Video ad demand is transient by nature. An ad that is available at a given moment may not be available to play a few seconds later from the same ad provider. Given this, app developers should minimize the ad pre-fetch to less than 8 seconds before they are ready to display the ad in the app.
Fire multiple requests repeatedly – In case of a No Ad response, it is recommended that the developer should not fire multiple ad requests constantly. By firing multiple requests and not showing an ad when available, the ad unit becomes more likely to get marked as low quality, further decreasing the chances of getting an ad in the future. Make the next ad request only when it is aligned with the user flow in the app or game and you are ready to show an ad again.
We are working closely with our partner ad networks to bring the best demand to Windows apps and improve fill rates and monetization for our publishers. To know more about adding video ads in your apps, read the article here. Stay tuned for more announcements in this space!