March 9, 2017 10:00 am

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

By / Product Manager

We are happy to announce the launch of the preview of Playable Ads for Ads in Apps on Windows Apps. 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.

Try Playable Ads using this app!

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

Updated June 28, 2018 8:48 am

Join the conversation

  1. Bravo. If this is anything as amazing as it sounds, it may be the solution to pulling users out of the Free gutter so they will give more paid apps or games a chance. I expect these sorts of ads would only be displayed to users who aren’t currently on a metered connection.

    I’d like to see streaming trials available on store pages, but I can see how there might be scalability issues with that unless the option is only displayed when there are enough resources spun up.

    With this, all that would need to be added is a Wishlist option or Remind Me option for the store so if they are interested, but were in the middle of something, their latent interest can still be captured at some point in the future. To prevent these sorts of Wishlists from exploding, they might expire after 30 days unless the user views their list to verify they want to keep them in the list.

    Amazing work. You guys keep surprising me with bold efforts.

  2. Great thanks for the feature!

    How do I try it out? The email mentioned at the end of the blog post is unreachable.


  3. The mail address only accepts messages from people in the organization or on the allowed senders list…that’s the response I got…so how do you apply, and better yet, are you planning Xamarin.Forms support? I get it’s a Windows Store only feature, but having a Xamarin Plugin that uses your way of doing things could be extended to use other same or similar Play and AppStore features using your method call names (thus getting more people interested in and getting them familiar with the feature at the same time)…

    • @Dejan, we have received your email. Some of the internal aliases were bouncing off the emails earlier.
      We are investigating into making all our experiences truly cross-plat. In view of our mobile-first initiative, we are evaluating various approaches. Thanks for your feedback. We will consider it and surely get in touch with you once we zero-in on a solution that supports all our developers requirements.