Category Archives: Apps

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Top 4 ways to optimize your Microsoft Store listing – Windows Developer Blog

When publishing your app to the Microsoft Store, be sure to take advantage of the many options to make your Store listing stand out. Great video, text, and images can help create customer interest and drive purchases. Remember, your Microsoft Store listing will be many customers’ first exposure to your app. It’s crucial to make a good first impression!Make the most of your listing
1. Include video trailers

Video trailers are short videos that spotlight your product and give your customers a quick look at what it does. On average, including one or more video trailers can increase downloads by up to 11%.
Check out Affinity Designer’s trailer for an example that really shows off what the app can do.
Quick trailer tips:
Focus on high quality and short length (60 seconds or less).
Use different thumbnails for each trailer.
Keep key messaging short and centered in each frame.
When using trailers, you must also provide a 1920 x 1080 pixel image (16:9) in the Promotional images section in order for your trailers to appear at the top of your Store listing. This image will appear after your trailers have finished playing.
Note that trailers are only shown to customers on Windows 10, version 1607 or later (which includes Xbox).
See more information and tips here.
2. Create a great app description
The description is the first thing your customer reads about your app in the Microsoft Store, and it may also appear in search results and algorithm lists—so make it count.
Quick description tips:
Start with the value prop: Why should your customer buy this?
Focus on your app’s appeal with plain, clear language.
Localize for all your markets.
Read more here.
3. Include an eye-catching logo

Your logo is the main image displayed on Windows 10 and Xbox, and in searches or collections and we strongly recommend providing both a 9:16 poster art and 1:1 box art image. A good logo can visually “pop” and lead customers to see more.
We recommend providing these logo images to create an optimal appearance in the Store. In particular, the 9:16 Poster art image is required for proper display for customers on Windows 10 and Xbox devices. You also have the option to upload additional logo images that will be used in the Store (instead of images taken from your app’s packages) to create a more customized display.
Quick logo tips:
Include your app name as a key part of the image.
Provide .png files no larger than 50MB each.
Provide all requested formats and sizes for optimal display across devices.
More details on all the display options here.
4. Keep your customers up to date
When you update your app it’s always a good idea to let customers know what you’ve improved in the latest release, especially if you’ve fixed bugs or improved the app based on customer feedback. Use the What’s new in this version text box to share that information with your customers.  In addition to letting your current customers know what’s changed, this also shows potential new customers that you’re listening to feedback and continuing to add new features. 
Get started now
Whether you’re submitting your app for the first time or making an update to an app that’s in the Store, we hope you’ll find these tips useful. For more details on all of these options, along with other ways you can create great Microsoft Store listings, start here.
Updated July 25, 2018 10:38 am

A new product badge for Microsoft Store applications

As many of you know, building quality apps is quite a commitment and investment in time. Once your app is in the Store, the next challenge is getting the word out about your new title and driving traffic to your product. Today, we’d like to announce a new tool for marketing your apps in your own blogs and websites. We’d like to introduce our new web badge for Microsoft Store products.

The new badge will render in your own website pulling localized logo, pricing (including sale pricing!), ratings and artwork directly from the store catalog. To render this badge for 8 Zip simply embed this script using its Store Id (9wzdncrfhwb8). Please note you must add the Id in two places in the badge script, the “class=” and inside the “mspb-“.

<div id="mspb-nc9jl2ngc1i" class="9wzdncrfhwb8"></div>
<script src="https://storebadge.azureedge.net/src/badge-1.6.1.js"></script>
<script>
mspb(‘9wzdncrfhwb8’, function(badge) {
document.getElementById(‘mspb-nc9jl2ngc1i’).innerHTML = badge;
});
</script>

The button click on the badge will direct your customers to the proper Product Description Page where they make the actual purchase. You can add multiple badges to any single page, just make sure they all use a unique div Id, as shown above.
To see the badge in action, check out XBOX’s @majornelson (www.majornelson.com) who is using the badge to promote Xbox content on his blog.
Example post here: https://majornelson.com/2018/05/03/xbox-live-gold-members-play-for-honor-xcom-2-and-just-cause-3-for-free-this-weekend/.
That’s it! Feel free to promote your apps and games on your own sites.

Top 5 Windows and Microsoft Store Trends Every Developer Should Know

We are excited to share the latest version of the Windows and Microsoft Store trends page – a trusted source for hardware and Microsoft Store aggregated population data. This data provides you with insights to help you make development and business decisions as you build and update your Windows apps. Below are some highlights from the data. We encourage you to visit the trends page to draw your own insights.
Windows 10 adoption
Windows 10 is now on more than 600 million monthly active devices, ranging from Xbox One consoles, tablets, laptops, Windows Mixed Reality headsets and more. We’ve also introduced Windows 10 with S mode, which delivers users predictable performance and quality through apps available in the Microsoft Store.
With Windows 10 adoption growing and the introduction of S mode, there’s never been a better time to build for Windows and distribute via the Microsoft Store.

Top 5 trends
There are more than 600M monthly active devices using Windows 10.
For apps, the “Entertainment” category is the leader in overall percentage of downloads and revenue worldwide.
For games, the “Action and adventure” category is the front-runner for overall percentage of revenue and downloads worldwide.
For apps, nearly 2/3 of the overall revenue mix on Microsoft Store comes from download-to-own (DTO) products.
For games, nearly 2/3 of the overall revenue mix on Microsoft Store comes from add-ons or in-app purchases (IAP).
Further analysis
Visit the Windows and Microsoft Store trends page to draw your own insights as you look to modernize and update your existing Windows apps or build new Windows apps.

Announcing new Ad Monetization policies and updates to Ad unit management UX

Today, we are announcing new policy around ad unit decommissioning, user experience updates to manage active/inactive ad units, default policies around Ad network enablement, and changes to the Ad impression measurement methodology for Windows apps. You may be impacted if you are monetizing using Ads on your Windows app leveraging the Microsoft Advertising SDK (UWP or 8.x apps).
1) Auto enabling new ad networks for Manual ad units on UWP apps
Our team continues to evaluate and onboard new Ad networks to improve yield and offer better variety of demand (formats, market specific demand) for our publishers. Today, when a new ad network is onboarded to our system, UWP ad units that are configured with the ‘Manual configuration’ option do not benefit from these networks as they are not automatically turned on for the Manual ad units. We will be making a change over the next few weeks to turn on any new ad networks by default for all our UWP ad units independent of the Manual or Automatic configuration. For ad units in the Manual configuration, since the ad network waterfall configuration is determined by publisher’s choice, these ad networks will be added to the bottom of the waterfall order. The publisher can then make necessary changes to reorder or opt out of the ad networks as necessary. As always, our recommendation is to choose the ‘Automatic’ ad unit configuration to benefit the most from our platform’s yield maximization capabilities. 
2) Policy updates around decommissioning of Ad units
We are implementing an ad unit decommissioning policy wherein an ad unit that hasn’t generated any Ad request over the last 6 months will be subject to deactivation and deletion. We don’t expect active apps to be impacted since we look for a prolonged period (6 months) of ad unit inactivity before we deactivate. However, there may be exceptional circumstances where you may be affected. For instance, if you created an ad unit several months ahead of app deployment time and trying to use this ad unit as your app goes live. Or, you are trying to reuse an existing ad unit from your previous inactive app into your new app. Recommendation in both cases is to use newly created ad units instead of reusing an existing one to avoid potential Ad revenue loss.
Along with this policy announcement, we are making changes in the Windows Dev Center dashboard to make it easy to view active and inactive Ad units. Ad unit state is identified in a separate Status column; in addition, you can choose to view just the Active or Inactive ad units by choosing the appropriate filter on the top of the page.

3) Transitioning to Standards based Ad impression measurement
Standards based Ad impression measurement requires that the ‘Ad must be loaded and at minimum begin to render’ to be counted as a valid impression. For Ad networks that are relying on other methods such as server based Ad impression counting, we are making changes to gradually migrate all our Windows app ad units over the next few months closer to Standards based measurement. More specifically, the impression counting will rely on techniques such as firing an ad network impression beacon upon starting to render the Ad on the client. This is done to better adhere to the IAB standards around Ad impression counting and to be fair to the advertisers. This will also benefit apps that are striving to do right by making sure that Ads are rendered on the client and are viewable.
If you are following standard guidelines put forth in our documentation and recommendations from earlier blogs on how to design the Ad placements in your app, you should not see adverse impact on your Ad monetization. However, if your app is designed in a way that interferes with the rendering of the Ad, you may see a negative impact on your App Ad revenues. For instance, if you are placing an Ad in a UI dialog box that can be easily dismissed by the user before the Ad gets a chance to render or your app is pulling Ads on a background thread, these Ads that previously were possibly counted as valid impressions will not be counted in the new standard. We strongly recommend you to evaluate your app for such practices and actively fix these issues to minimize impact to your Ad revenues.
Please reach out to aiacare@microsoft.com for questions or comments!

Updated Microsoft Store App Developer Agreement and Microsoft Store Policies

The Microsoft Store team has updated the Microsoft Store App Developer Agreement and Microsoft Store Policies as of February 14th.  
The new version (8.2) of the Microsoft Store App Developer Agreement is available here. This update is particularly relevant to developers based in New Zealand or Australia who sell apps and/or in-app products. For more info, view the change history. The next time you log in to the Dev Center dashboard, you may be prompted to accept the new agreement, depending on your account location. 
We’ve also updated the Microsoft Store Policies, which you can view here. The updated policies clarify the requirements for storing or transmitting personal information, and add a new requirement stating that apps using app-specific authentication can only be published from company accounts. For more info, view the change history.   
If you have feedback on the policies, please let us know by commenting in the Microsoft Store forum. 

Windows Developer Day Returns on March 7th!

Windows Developer Day is back! Join us via livestream on March 7th starting at 9:00 AM PST to find out what’s being released in the next Windows 10 Update. Tune into the keynote by Kevin Gallo, Vice President of the Windows Developer Platform, and live Q&A session to be the first to hear about the newest features and updates.
Learn what’s coming for developers in the next Windows 10 Update 
No matter what you’re working on, you’ll find new features and improvements to make your software more compelling:
Building for the modern workplace – Upgrade and redefine your code. We’ll discuss improvements on how we’re evolving our platform to make it easier than ever to update your existing Windows applications with new functionality.
Making your applications part of the intelligent edge – The ability to have software quickly make complex calculations and inferences is critical for building applications in a fast-changing market. Learn how you can enable your application to be a native part of the intelligent edge.
Windows Developer Day is the only place to find out what’s coming for developers in the next Windows 10 Update, so RSVP today!

#ifdef WINDOWS – Progressive Web Apps

Jeff Burtoft from the Web Apps team at Microsoft dropped by to share how web apps on Windows have evolved, all the way from regular web sites, to packaged web apps in Windows 8, Hosted Web Apps in Windows 10, and finally adopting Progressive Web Apps with support for Service Workers and native APIs.
We also covered the top 3 necessary components needed to build a PWA and the top 4 things developers can do to make sure their PWAs are successful on any platform. Check out the full video above and feel free to reach out on  Twitter or in the comments below for questions or comments.
Happy coding!

Target Surface Hub and Windows 10 S on a Snapdragon processor with your UWP apps

When submitting your UWP app or game to Microsoft Store through Dev Center, you have the flexibility to choose the device families on which customers can acquire your app. By default, we make your app or game available to all device families which can run it (except for Xbox, which you can opt into as appropriate if your packages support it). This lets your apps and games reach the most potential customers.
Recently, we’ve added new options that let you offer your submission to customers on Surface Hub. You can now also offer ARM packages to Windows 10 S on a Snapdragon processor (Always Connected PCs).

To target Surface Hub when submitting your UWP app to the Microsoft Store, simply ensure that the box for the Windows 10 Team device family is checked. This is generally the case if you upload packages targeting the Universal or Team device family.
If you include an ARM package in your submission that targets the Universal or Desktop device family, this package will be made available to Windows 10 S on a Snapdragon processor (Always Connected PCs) devices as long as the Windows 10 Desktop device family box is checked.
The example above shows three packages that target the Universal device family, x64, ARM and x86. The boxes for Windows 10 Desktop, Windows 10 Mobile, Windows 10 Xbox, Windows 10 Team, and Windows 10 Holographic are selected. This means that customers on any of those device types can download this submission.
For more about device family selection, check out our documentation.

App packaging and testing
App packages are configured to run on a specific processor architecture. We highly recommended that you build your app packages to target all architectures whenever possible, so your app will run smoothly on all Windows 10 devices. To learn more, visit our app package architecture documentation.
We highly recommend that you test your app on all device families that you plan to support to ensure the best experience on all devices. To learn more about steps to take before packaging and submitting your UWP app, read our documentation.

#ifdef WINDOWS – LottieUWP – Native Adobe After Effects animations in UWP apps

Lottie is a client library that parses Adobe After Effects animations exported as json and renders them natively on the client. Alexandre maintains the UWP port of the library (LottieUWP), and stopped by to discuss why developers should use Lottie over other formats (such as gifs) and the benefits of a natively rendered and accelerated animations.
Check out the full video above where I learned how to get started with LottieUWP, and more importantly, where to discover existing animations that can make your apps more beautiful and responsive. And feel free to reach out on  Twitter or in the comments below.
Happy coding!

Now Available: Offer Add-on Subscriptions with Automated Recurring Billing in Your UWP Apps

Today we are extremely excited to announce that subscription add-ons are available to all UWP developers. You can use subscriptions to sell digital products in your app with automated recurring billing while giving your customers a seamless purchase experience. One thing to keep in mind is that the Store fee for recurring billed subscriptions differs from other business models in Microsoft Store. For any add-on subscriptions in apps (but not games), you receive 85% of the subscription price, minus applicable taxes. For game add-on subscriptions, you receive 70% of the subscription price, minus applicable taxes. Please read the Microsoft Store App Developer Agreement for further details on Store Fees and other terms relating to subscriptions.
Creating a subscription add-on
To enable the purchase of subscription add-ons in your app, your project must target Windows 10 Anniversary Edition (10.0; Build 14393) or a later release in Visual Studio (this corresponds to Windows 10, version 1607), and it must use the APIs in the Windows.Services.Store namespace to implement the in-app purchase experience instead of the Windows.ApplicationModel.Store namespace. For more information about the differences between these namespaces, see In-app purchases and trials.
1) Create an add-on submission for your subscription in the Dev Center dashboard and publish the submission.
For Product type, ensure that you select Subscription.

When offering subscription add-ons to your customers, you can choose to offer a subscription period of 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year or 2 years. You can also add a free trial period of 1 week or 1 month so your customers can try out the add-on before they commit to purchasing.
2) In your app, use APIs in the Services.Store namespace to determine whether the current user has already acquired your subscription add-on and then offer it for sale as an in-app purchase.
3) Test the in-app purchase implementation of your subscription in your app. You’ll need to download your app once from the Store to your development device to use its license for testing.
4) Create and publish an app submission that includes your updated app package, including your tested code.
For a complete overview of add-on subscriptions and how to implement them into your UWP app, please visit our documentation.
Customer management
Customers can manage their purchased subscriptions from the services & subscriptions page for their Microsoft account. Here they’ll find all the subscriptions they have acquired, with options to cancel a subscription or change the form of payment associated with a subscription.
Offering add-on subscriptions can be a great monetization strategy for your apps and games. As you go through the implementation process, please provide us with any feedback via the Feedback link in the upper right corner of the Dev Center dashboard.