Increased Microsoft advertising opportunity, improved payout and Dev Center updates

In recent years we’ve seen more than a 50% increase in app downloads and purchases during the busy holiday season of November and December. We expect this trend to continue this year, especially with a diverse and exciting lineup of Windows Phones, and from increased platform market share around the world. In fact, since my last post, we’ve surpassed 9 million transactions per day and Kantar reports that Windows Phone now accounts for 1 in 10 smartphone sales in Britain, France, Germany, and Mexico. Kantar also reports that Windows Phone is attracting a large percentage of first-time buyers with 42% of sales over the past year coming from feature phone owners. (Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, May – July 2013).

We’d like to encourage you to publish a new app or to update your app so you’re ready for the holiday push. If you missed the news, the annual Dev Center registration fee is now $19 for both individuals and companies, so it’s easier to get started.

If you have a great idea for an app and aren’t a seasoned developer or Visual Studio expert, we have an alternative for you. Windows Phone App Studio beta is a free, web-based app creation tool designed to help anyone easily bring an app idea to life by applying text, web content, images, and design concepts to a rich set of customizable templates. We’ve seen overwhelming interest in this approach to app development and will be sharing more about enhancements we are making next week.

We’re also continuing to make improvements that we think can increase your monetization opportunity, and we continue to look for ways to help you increase the return on your investment. And did I mention, easier to track your progress?

Microsoft scaling up advertising inventory

Microsoft Advertising has recently partnered with several third-party networks to bring additional ads to the Windows Phone platform to help fill the rapidly growing volume of ad requests and deliver additional revenue to the developer community. We expect to see a small increase in fill rate in October, with increasing growth expected over the coming months as more networks are integrated.

Displaying ads that users find relevant contributes to the success of the entire ecosystem. Starting later this month, Microsoft Advertising will make a unique device ID available to third-party networks on the Windows Phone platform, an ID that’s not linked to the user or to any personally identifiable information. The ID helps ensure that the ads a user sees are relevant. Customers can, as always, opt out of targeted advertising on Windows Phone via choice.microsoft.com. If they do, Microsoft Advertising will not serve targeted ads, and the device ID will not be shared with third-party ad networks.

Apps that use the latest version of the Microsoft Advertising SDK, included in Visual Studio 2012 or downloaded directly, don’t need to be modified or updated to take advantage of this potential revenue opportunity.

Carrier billing transactions now eligible for payout after 30 days

Beginning this month, Microsoft no longer waits to receive app sales proceeds from carriers before issuing payment to developers, a policy that on average was delaying payments 120 days or more for paid transactions made using the carrier billing payment instrument. Now all transactions via carriers will become eligible for payout after 30 days.

This is an important change as we continue to add carrier billing connections. On average, developers are earning 3 times more revenue per active user in markets where carrier billing is offered. This increases to 6 times more revenue on average in emerging markets where credit card usage is more limited. Windows Phone now offers 38 connections in 26 markets, with new connections coming online at a rapid pace.

Improved Dev Center financial summary reporting

The Dev Center financial summary now includes the amount of proceeds you have earned but have not yet been paid. Note that this is not the amount of your next payment, as only part of those funds will be available.

Another important change is that the Dev Center financial summary shows the status of the last payment, so you can see if your payment was successful or if you need to update your information.

Read all the details in this post from Rushmi Malaviarachchi.

Dev Center app update released today

An update for the popular Dev Center app is being released today. It has several new features that developers have been requesting, including the ability to view app submission status, filter reviews, and more.

We know that the Windows Phone Dev Center app helps you keep a finger on the pulse of your apps from your phone, and we’ll continue to make investments in the app to enhance the experience. You can learn more about today’s release in this post from Rushmi Malaviarachchi.

Stay tuned – we’ve got more to come, including enhancements to the new Windows Phone App Studio beta. We really hope you’ll join us and publish a Windows Phone app this holiday season.