Welcoming AI to the Microsoft Store on Windows
We wouldn’t be where we are today without the developer community. Together, we’ve been on a journey to reimagine an open app store and provide a better experience for Windows customers. It’s because of this partnership that the Microsoft Store on Windows is now used by over one billion customers with more than 50% of new Windows 11 customers engaging with the Microsoft Store in the first 30 days.
The momentum of Windows customers is a testament to the growth in quality content from our passionate community of developers, who have more than doubled the number of Win32 and PWA apps since last year. Engaging PWAs like Snapchat and ESPN, sophisticated native apps like Spark Mail, Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, Capture One, Bilibili and WhatsApp, along with Android apps like Epic Seven, Best Fiends, and Blink, are truly what makes the Microsoft Store the best place to find the right content, whether for productivity, entertainment or creativity. There are many more apps to recognize, including the winners of the Microsoft Store Awards 2023 which can be found here.
Today, we are proud to share the next phase of our journey for the Microsoft Store on Windows and announce new experiences, features and tools. We are focused on building an open store that is ready for the new AI era, and to provide developers with new tools like Microsoft Store Ads to reach even more customers.
Microsoft Store opens the doors to AI
The world around us is changing every day. As AI disrupts existing workflows and creates exciting new opportunities for customers, we see an opportunity to evolve and think differently about the role of the Microsoft Store on Windows. It’s not just a place to download an app or a game, but rather, it should serve as a resource to educate customers about how they can be more productive, achieve their tasks, and discover new content.
Introducing the AI Hub, a new curated section in the Microsoft Store where we will promote the best AI experiences built by the developer community and Microsoft. This is a space where we will educate customers on how to start and expand their AI journey, inspiring them to use AI in everyday ways to boost productivity, spark creativity and so much more. For example, you will be able to use AI to express your creativity through Luminar Neo and Lensa, master your video and audio with Descript, Krisp and Podcastle, present your ideas with Gamma and Copy.ai, build your resume with Kickresume, generate your voice with Play.ht, or even plan your trip with Tripnotes. All the content will be tested for security, family safety, and device compatibility – so you are always in control. This feature will soon be available in the Microsoft Store. If you are an AI developer and interested in being featured in the AI Hub, let us know here.
Customers can take advantage of AI-Generated review summary. This new feature summarizes customer reviews and provides a concise summary highlighting the topline details. We know customers use the Microsoft Store to view and gather community feedback when considering and choosing new apps and games. However, especially with popular apps that have thousands of reviews, sifting through each one can take time. Supported by AI, this feature is designed to make the customer experience even more seamless. AI-Generated review summaries will soon be available in the Microsoft Store.
Microsoft Store AI-Generated keywords: Coming soon to preview, we will introduce a new developer tool in Partner Center that leverages AI to generate and suggest Search Tags for apps. We are using AI to consume your metadata, as well as other signals, and help you improve the discoverability of your app in the Microsoft Store search results. Based on popular demand, we are also introducing the ability to select multiple categories per app, which will further improve discoverability and help you reach more customers. Learn more here.
Reach more customers with new developer tools and expanded services
Earlier this year, we announced the availability of Microsoft Store Ads in search results and shared plans to expand the experience to premium ad placements in search. In just two months, we have seen more developers adopt this new channel and receive positive results. Miracle Games experienced a 25% increase in app installs compared to before at a CPI that is 90% lower than on other advertising channels. Learn more about Miracle Games story here.
Today, we are excited to release new services that will help developers connect to more customers and address some of the most popular developer feedback:
Microsoft Store Ads is expanding in more ways than one
Starting next month, Microsoft Store Ads will be discoverable in Bing.com search results, along with Microsoft Store search results. To take advantage of these capabilities, create a Store Ads Campaign in Microsoft Advertising. We are also making available a new Attribution SDK for MSIX apps and coming soon for Win32 and PWAs. Learn more here.
Developers now have the option to display rich advertising in the spotlight section in the Microsoft Store. This provides a new large and high-traffic surface for advertisers and supports video ad formats. If you are interested in participating in the pilot program, please submit a request here.
Starting in June, Microsoft Store Ads will expand beyond the U.S. market, supported by Microsoft Advertising, to more than 150 regions worldwide. Advertisers with a presence in other countries will soon be able to leverage this channel to achieve their acquisition goals.
Keeping customers engaged across devices has just gotten easier
Retention is another key challenge for developers. Last year, we announced a feature that allows customers to easily transition apps from one device to another.
Today, we are introducing a new backup and restore capability on Windows that helps keep customers engaged across devices. When customers transition from a Windows 10 or 11 device to their new Windows 11 device, the icons for Store apps will automatically get restored right where they had them – on the Start menu and Taskbar. This new feature is in preview and available to Windows Insiders today. To learn more about how to ensure the best experience when restoring apps, learn more here.
Over the last two years, we continue to see a growth of developers publishing PWAs or Win32 apps. We are excited to bring new capabilities for PWAs, faster certification for Win32 apps and opening Android app submissions to all developers:
- PWAs remain a top priority in the Microsoft Store, and we continue to invest in open-source tools to help developers. New capabilities are available to help expand your audience through Windows Widgets and Edge Sidebar PWAs. In addition, the Digital Goods API will soon be available enabling PWAs published to the Microsoft Store to accept in-app purchases and streamline the checkout process. To learn more and leverage the new capabilities, visit pwabuilder.com.
- Due to popular demand, today we are making available a suite of certification tests for Win32 app developers that can be run offline and will provide guidance on how to address potential certification issues. This will create more predictability in your submission and reduce the certification turnaround time by up to 50%. Learn more here.
- Any developer with an Amazon Appstore Developer account can now submit their apps for distribution on Windows 11 devices. To best prepare your app for a smooth testing and publishing experience, review thedeveloper resources for handling window resizing and implementing native mapping in the new form factor. The Windows Subsystem for Android continue to get better, with support for Android 13, launch and runtime performance improvements, and new features like Picture in Picture and memory management. Learn more here.
Today’s AI announcements ventured the Microsoft Store on Windows into a new and unexplored era. Developers and customers continue to be at the core of everything we do. We look forward to listening to your feedback in the months ahead, so we can continue to build a better experience for all.