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Microsoft plots targeted ads as Windows Phone app purchases spike

Microsoft's Windows Phone platform has topped nine million app transactions per day, and the firm plans to boost targeted, in-app ad content in the coming months.

The Redmond-based company regularly sees a 50 per cent increase in app downloads and in-app purchases during the November and December holiday season, Todd Brix, Microsoft's general manager for Windows Phone Apps and Store, said in a blog post.

"We expect this trend to continue this year, especially with a diverse and exciting lineup of Windows Phones, and from increased platform market share around the world," he wrote. "In fact, since my last post, we've surpassed 9 million transactions per day."

That pales in comparison to the App Store, which had 49.5 million app downloads alone per day last year, but Windows Phone has been making small gains in recent years.

Brix pointed to data from Kantar Worldpanel, which reported growth for the Microsoft platform in the UK, France, Germany, and Mexico. In the US, Windows grew half a percentage point to 3.5 per cent of sales for the three months ending in July. Android still has 51.1 per cent, though that's a 7.5 per cent year-over-year drop. Apple's iOS had 43.4 per cent, up 7.8 per cent.

One way to help boost the money-making potential of Windows Phone is the deeper integration of advertising. Microsoft recently partnered with third-party networks to bring more ads to the platform.

"We expect to see a small increase in fill rate in October, with increasing growth expected over the coming months as more networks are integrated," Brix wrote.

Microsoft promised relevant ads, which will be served up based on a unique ID that's "not linked to the user or to any personally identifiable information," Brix said.

"Customers can, as always, opt out of targeted advertising on Windows Phone via," he wrote. "If they do, Microsoft Advertising will not serve targeted ads, and the device ID will not be shared with third-party ad networks."

Brix also promised faster payouts to developers using carrier billing: 30 days rather than the 120 days it was taking.

"This is an important change as we continue to add carrier billing connections," Brix wrote. "On average, developers are earning 3 times more revenue per active user in markets where carrier billing is offered. This increases to 6 times more revenue on average in emerging markets where credit card usage is more limited."

Microsoft is also rolling out a dev centre update with new additions like the ability to view app submission status, filter reviews, and more.