Discrepancies in Microsoft Partner Center Acquisition Reports

Some time ago it has come to our attention that data in Microsoft’s Partner Center (formerly Dev Center) Acquisitions reports doesn’t seem to be realistic. Specifically, the “Page views” numbers.

Customers noticed that the number of clicks they get on their ad campaigns differs by order of magnitude from what is reported for page views in the Partner Center. And these numbers have to be pretty much identical (minus a tiny percentage of people who cancel navigation mid-redirect, etc.)

We did our own experiment, and for a campaign that got more than 11,000 clicks, only 506 page views were registered in Partner Center. That’s more than 20x difference!


The table right underneath this chart gave us the first clue of what could be wrong:


As you can see, according to this report it seems that our test app is enjoying a whopping 44% click-to-install ratio. Any user acquisition professional would sell their soul for a rate like that. An industry standard is somewhere in 1 to 5% range. Based on our click data (11,000), and assuming that Microsoft’s conversions number is correct (224) we get a click-to-install ratio of around 2%, which is in line with what one should expect.

After additional experimentation, we were able to verify that the cause of this massive discrepancy is a bug in Microsoft’s Store that only counts page views when a user clicks that “Get” button in the web store and proceeds to the Store app. This is obviously logically incorrect, as this click on “Get” is a clear intent to download – hence the magical 44% click-to-install rate.

Not only this is incorrect from the common sense perspective, but it is also in contradiction with Microsoft’s documentation (emphasis mine):

A page view means that a customer viewed your app’s Store listing page, either via the web-based Store or from within the Store app on Windows 10.

We have reported the issue to Microsoft some time ago but are yet to get confirmation and an estimated ETA for the fix. We will update this post once we hear some additional information and/or when the issue is fixed.

In the meantime, keep in mind that the page views number is inaccurate and either use an intermediary (like an URL shortening service) to track visits to your app’s page in the Store or just exclude these numbers from your campaign effectiveness assessments.