Microsoft is definitely still in the advertising business

Despite selling off large chunks of its advertising business to AOL, Microsoft is still in the ad game.

Today, the company released an update to its advertising tools that let developers put video commercials in their Windows Store apps, announced in a blog entry.

The technical term for these kinds of videos are “interstitial ads,” and you’ve seen them if you’ve played a free game lately. The developers either force or otherwise encourage you to watch a video to keep using the app (or get more in-game currency, or whatever).

Developers like these kinds of ads because they’re more engaging than regular old banner ads.

With the updated Microsoft Advertising SDK, developers can drop interstitials right into their Windows 8/8.1, Windows Phone 8.1, and Universal Windows Apps for Windows 10.

It’s supposed to make it easy for developers to start making more money from their apps. And the updated Microsoft Advertising SDK comes with general improvements to better manage ad campaigns across Windows 10 PCs, tablets, and smartphones.

The ads themselves come from providers like Google AdMob, AdDuplex, and its own Microsoft Advertising. Microsoft says in an FAQ that it gives 70% of the net ad revenue to developers, backed up by its relationship with advertisers.

All in all, it just goes to show that Microsoft hasn’t given up on advertising completely. Combine the updated tools for developers with its newfound appreciation for Google-style personal data collection, and Microsoft is on track to provide a platform that advertisers can love.

Microsoft is not exactly an advertising juggernaut compared to Google. But just by offering these kinds of ads, it offers developers one more way to make money, and one more reason to build apps for the Windows Store. Which is good, because Microsoft has an uphill battle ahead of it.

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