Tag Archives: App promotion

Make App Promotions Work: Acquire & Re-engage the Right Set of Users

Click! Click! Click! and you are done. Yes, acquiring new users and re-engaging with existing users of your app is as simple as that in the tried and tested ‘promote your app’ feature in the Windows Dev Center. If you are not familiar with these capabilities, learn more about them here.

This blog is about making promotions work for you so that the ad campaigns that you create can acquire the right set of users at the lowest cost.


Do choose auto-targeting unless you are 100% sure of your game/app audience profile.

  • Choosing manual targeting without knowing the right audience profile may end up giving bad ROI for the campaign.
  • For e.g. most card/casino based games work well with age group 50+ while racing games work with 18+ male.
  • Let our machine learning algorithms do the work for you.

Do use a good descriptive tagline in the ad creative.

  • Most users often forget to the fill the custom tagline or write a tagline that is very generic.
  • Creatives with taglines have higher click through rates compared to those that don’t.
  • Highlighting the differentiating/unique features of the app also increases the click through rates.

Do leverage the power of free campaigns.

  • Create house campaigns that run all the time without fail if you have multiple ad monetized apps.
  • Opt-in to community program to earn credits for displaying other developers’ app install ads. You can use those credits to run free app promotions.
  • Create community campaigns to get featured in apps owned by other developers who have opted in to the program for spending your credits.


Don’t choose extremely low budgets.

  • We have seen a few developers create monthly campaigns with budgets as low as $50.
  • Campaigns with monthly budgets lower than $100 would not make a sufficient dent in the bottom-line of the business, given they help in acquiring anywhere between 70 to 100 new users.
  • For running a sustainable business, calculate the required average number of monthly active users, and then choose a budget that would help acquire a percentage of those users.

Don’t target a generic segment in re-engagement campaigns.

  • Re-engagement campaigns help you target specific segments of users with a precise objective.
  • Creating a generic segment will lead to a bad ROI with no objective met at the end of the campaign period.
  • For example, if you target all the users who have used the app in the last week, the campaign will not have any results unless there is a new feature in the app and the highlight is captured in the ad creative.

Don’t forget to monitor the campaigns regularly.

  • Ad campaign ROI can change based on the marketplace dynamics.
  • Machine learning algorithms help optimize for the best ROI in the backend, but campaign delivery might take a hit due to extremely low budget or manual targeting of a niche segment of users who are not available in the apps with ads.
  • Tweak the campaigns in the initial few days/weeks to end up with the best combination of creatives/budget/target audience to get the best ROI.

Stay tuned for additional tips to increase ad monetization over the next few weeks.

Playable Ads – Acquire Users Who Love to Engage with Your App

We are happy to announce the launch of the preview of Playable Ads in the Windows Dev Center. We have made several ground-breaking enhancements in the way users interact with ads so that developers can acquire the users who are more engaged and proven to be more profitable.

What are Playable Ads?

Let us first understand how the current ad campaigns work. Every time a user clicks on the app install ad, he/she is taken to the Windows store page, leaving the current app to decide whether to install the respective app. The information contained in the product description page is not always complete and the experience a user can get from the actual app usage can potentially differ a lot. This sometimes leads to a quick uninstall if the promise of the product description pages is not met.

Playable Ads are a completely new way for end users to interact with ads and apps. With this capability, end users never leave the current app. The ad click will result in inline expandable app streaming: for three minutes, the user can interact with the app as if it’s already installed on his/her device. This gives the user time to decide if he or she wants to install the app. At the end of the streaming session, users can click on a link to install the app if the app experience met expectations.

Difference between Regular Ads and Playable Ads

Why are these ads better?

Playable ads have many advantages for both the end users and developers, some of which are listed below:

  • Users can experience the app live before installing it.
  • Users will not leave the current app context after ad click since these are inline expandable ads.
  • Users can abandon the app stream at any point of time based on the quality of the game. He/she is not blocked until the end of the game play.
  • Developers can create an engaging experience during the first few minutes of a game to better explain its capabilities compared to screenshots.
  • Users who install the game after three minutes of engagement are more inclined to use the game/app than those who just installed the app based on the product description page.

And finally, we believe that users acquired via playable ads will have a higher life time value compared with users acquired through the regular channels.

Great! Do I have to do anything as an app developer?

This is the best part of the feature. As an end developer, you don’t have to do anything! No new packages, nothing. Microsoft does all the background work to give a seamless experience to the end users without you, the developer, having to change anything.

How do I create these ads?

If you haven’t already used the app promotion capability, follow these steps to create a new ad campaign:

  • Click on the “Dashboard” after your log in to your Windows Dev Center account.
  • Click on the “Promotions” tab under the Main menu.
  • Click on “New Campaign” to create a new user acquisition campaign.

If the targeting criteria is set to PC/Tablet for the Device type & Windows 10 as the OS, the creative section will show a new call to action called ‘Try Now.’ All the ad campaigns created with ‘Try Now’ as the call to action are automatically created as ‘Playable Ad’ campaigns on the back-end with app streams.

This feature is currently open under a limited preview. If you are interested in using this capability, please reach us at aiacare@microsoft.com.

Go Universal! Now your ad campaigns can reach users across Microsoft premium surfaces like MSN, Outlook and Skype

Here’s your New Year’s gift from Windows Store team. The “Promote Your App” ad campaigns that delivered ad creatives in other apps in the Windows eco-system just got a major update.

We are happy to announce the launch of universal campaigns that will deliver your ads across Microsoft premium surfaces such as MSN.com, Outlook.com, and Skype, as well as games like the Microsoft solitaire collection.

Why should I use universal campaigns?

The first and the most important reason is wider reach. Microsoft premium surfaces such as MSN, Outlook, Skype and Solitaire collection are used by millions of users daily, and now your ad campaigns have a chance to showcase your awesome app when they interact on these surfaces.

Second, your ad campaigns will now get a very wide variety of touch points. Studies have shown that media-mix models can fetch your company multi-fold revenues. In the context of app promotions, it is the app installs and app engagements that can grow multi-fold.

MSN is primarily used in the context of news and entertainment, while Skype is used for personal communication and Outlook is used for email. Many Windows customers spend a fair amount of time playing popular games like Microsoft Solitaire. Your ad can now capture the attention of users in all these different situations, as well as improve recall and conversion rates.

Finally, the allocation of budget among the Microsoft surfaces is driven by powerful machine-learning algorithms. These algorithms start with finding the right set of users who should be exposed to your ad campaign, and then measure the effectiveness of each surface to adjust the target user profiles and budget allocations. Rest assured, these algorithms are working to give you the best possible ROI.

How do I get started?

  1. All campaigns that use auto-targeting will be universal campaigns by default. To use auto-targeting, make sure Automatic is selected for the Audience section of your campaign settings in the Dev Center dashboard.
  1. If you wish to create a manually targeted campaign, make sure you choose Universal for the Surface setting in the Audience section of your campaign.

Give it a try!  If you’ve got suggestions for how we can make these features even more useful, please let us know at Windows Developer Feedback.

New Ad Performance and App Promotion Performance Reporting in Windows Store Analytics API

The team in charge of the Windows Store and Dev Center tools is constantly working to make your dev life simpler. Take the release of the Windows Store analytics API in March as an example — they hear your feedback and work to make sure our features are top notch and as up-to-date as possible.

Now, the team has enabled two new features that will simplify reporting even further: the Windows Store Analytics API set for both Advertising Performance Reporting and App Promotion Performance Reporting.

These API methods have long been a top request, and we are excited to have them ready and available for you and your team to use right now!

As with the original analytics API, these new methods provide the information you once had to navigate in a dashboard via a simple REST method. These methods simplify information retrieval, so you no longer need to log into the Dev Center Advertising Performance Reports and the App Promotion Campaign Performance Reports for every piece of information. And the data can now be assessed with your favorite analytics tools – from Microsoft Excel to Power BI.

With unprecedented analytics access right at your fingertips you can retrieve data, collate it and format it to best suit your needs. This enables easier assessment of trends and improved ability to analyze your apps and campaigns’ performance over time (and in comparison to other apps and campaigns).

Several top Windows and Windows Mobile developers have already started using these methods to better integrate the data from the Windows Store into their internal reporting frameworks. “The Dev Center reporting API was easy to integrate and lets us access all of our earnings and campaign reporting in one place,” said Jake Poznanski, co-founder of Random Salad Games, which tracks over 90 apps for its publisher-partners using the Dev Center API and PowerBI. “The reporting API is indispensable if you are a serious publisher on the Windows platform.”

They are finding them extremely useful and vital to their planning and lifecycle management. We hope that you will too!

Get started with the Windows Store Analytics API here, and check out the new Ads performance reporting and Ad campaign performance reporting API – then let us know what you think!