The state of in-app advertising on Windows

sotu2016

No one likes ads, but in-app advertising is extremely important to the overall health of an app ecosystem. There were several important developments in the in-app advertising space for Windows apps over the last couple of weeks. So, I thought it was important to take a snapshot of the industry and address the changes.

Microsoft deprecates AdMediator

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In mid-August the first release of Microsoft Store Services SDK went live without much fanfare. There was a post in the MSDN forums, updated documentation and a paragraph in the extensive blog post on the new Dev Center capabilities. The SDK contains tooling for A/B testing, Feedback Hub launcher and an ad control (with more features coming in the future).

It also introduced a breaking change: when you install the Store Services SDK it removes AdMediator from your Windows 10/UWP apps.

For those who don’t know, Microsoft’s AdMediator provided a mechanism to automatically switch between different ad SDKs to maximize fill rates and revenue.

This was a big surprise to a lot of developers. To be honest, I expected this to happen in a milder fashion – I thought new apps won’t be able to use the mediator, but others can continue using it for as long as the back-end service is up. In a way this is how it actually is. Except, if you want to use anything in the Store Services SDK (A/B testing or Feedback Hub) you will loose access to the Mediator.

To their credit, Microsoft provides a fairly detailed walkthrough example on how to implement a mediator-like functionality in your app and continue maximizing your fill rates and revenue on the client side with Microsoft’s AdControl and AdDuplex.

Alternatively, you can continue using the old AdMediator for now and use AppStretch to collect user feedback and more.

Google discontinues AdMob SDK for Windows Phone 8

While Google ignores Windows (phone) for the most part, AdMob had several Windows Phone SDKs over the years. And their latest one for Windows Phone 8 was fairly popular among developers – either as a primary ad monetization vehicle or in a mix with Microsoft and AdDuplex.

They didn’t bother with making a Windows 10 SDK, at least not yet, and it’s only natural that they would discontinue WP8 SDK at some point. And now we know that this point is November 1st, 2016:

It doesn’t look like they will be removing Windows Phone 8 as target platform for their advertisers. So your current apps should be OK for the meaningful time being. But if you were planning to add AdMob to your Windows Phone apps or change your implementation, you should hurry up or rethink your ad strategy.

Where’s Waldo Facebook Audience Network?

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Back in March, at the BUILD conference in San Francisco, it was announced that Facebook Audience Network is coming to Windows. 5 months later we haven’t heard much about it, if anything. There’s still time for this to happen “later this year”, as promised. So keep an eye on it. It’s unclear if there’s any correlation, but provided Facebook has been quite active releasing and updating their apps for Windows 10 [Mobile], we can hope that they are still on track with their ad SDK.

Other options

Advertising landscape on Windows is pretty limited but there are still players providing support (even if limited) for the platform:

  • Vungle – newest, and most praised, addition to the family, Vungle delivers video ads for your Windows games and (possibly) apps.
  • Smaato was fairly active in the early days of Windows Phone. Then it wasn’t. And now it seems that it has a Windows SDK, though I’m not sure what platforms/versions they support.
  • VMAX (previously known as vserv.mobi) – has SDKs for Windows 10 Mobile as well as Windows Phone 8 and 8.1.

AdDuplex commitment

From the very early days of Windows Phone 7 AdDuplex has been a dedicated ad provider for Windows app and game developers. While our primary focus has always been at helping you acquire app users and game players both free and at a higher scale, we may be able to help you improve your ad monetization as well. Send us a message at info@adduplex.com with information about your app(s) and we will get back to you with some ideas.

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