Microsoft is known for checking each individual application before allowing it to enter the Windows Phone store. They check strictly based on these guidelines to help stop malware and protect users from losing their personal information.
Apart from the big things, they look for little mistakes as well. When I created my first application (in my younger, more vulnerable days) I didn’t account for the fact that some users might be using white themed background, and therefore some text wasn’t showing up on the screen. While other companies might have let that pass, Microsoft sent the app back to me with detailed instructions on what went wrong and asked me to resubmit. The Windows Phone team is looking for high quality application in the store (which might have a part in the WP store not having a lot more apps).
Some developers might not like Microsoft checking every single application with such stringency, but it can pay off. A few weeks ago I released my app, 2econd Screen, and on September 28 I got an email from the Windows Phone team with the subject line: “Your app will be featured in the Windows Phone Store on 30 September 2014”. Not only was I ecstatic that my app was going to be featured on the Store, I was glad that Microsoft was putting serious thought into the apps that were coming into the store, and they were helping developers (especially indie developers like myself) grow.
I suspect being featured on WMPoweruser.com on the 22nd September helped catch Microsoft’s attention, and it seems a good idea for developers to take advantage of this free service in any case.
In this “How to get your app promoted in the Windows Phone Store” article, author Kami LeMonds, merchandising manager for the Windows Phone store explains how to get your app featured in depth. For a short explanation, your app needs to be intuitive, easy to navigate, have a short tutorial (if needed), and most importantly give a “Wow” factor through implementation.
For any more questions you might have, Microsoft has included a few Q and A’s shown below:
Q1: How does Microsoft choose which apps to feature?
A: These blog post and video links provide an overview of Microsoft’s promotion criteria.
Q2: Where in the Windows Phone Store will my app appear?
A: Depending on the software version on your phone, your app will appear in different locations:
• On a WP 8.0 device, your app will appear on the phone in the Store, Apps, or Games hubs in one of the following slots:
- Featured app of the day
- one of eight Spotlights
- one of three Icons
• On a WP 8.1 device, your app will appear under Featured Apps or Featured Games in the Store Quick Links section.
Q3: I received an email that my app would be promoted in the Windows Store but it wasn’t there on the date promised. What happened?
A: Sometimes we need to make last minute changes in the promotion schedule, and we are not able to pass this information on to the developers affected by the change. When this happens, we do our best to move these apps to the next available featured spot in the Store. Also be sure your phone is set to the same market/language combination of the promotion to be able to find your app. Windows Phone runs on many different devices, and promotions will vary across the range of devices and the web. Refer to the email notification to see which device type your app will be featured on.
On a device running WP 8.1 software, a featured app that you have previously downloaded will not be visible if it is featured. To see your app on the day it was promoted, check under Featured Apps or Featured Games in the Store Quick Links section.
Q4: Is this a one-time promotion or will this process continue in other regions?
A: Promotions in the Store rotate on a daily basis and your app may be featured again on other dates/regions. Apps are featured in different combinations and have varied visibility based on market, placement, and device. If your app is featured again in the future, you will receive additional notification for that promotion.
Q5: My app is about to get an update. Can the promotion be pushed back until this date?
A: If you request the promotion be delayed, we will make every effort to take appropriate action and remove the app from the current scheduled promotional spots. The updated app will be considered for promotion once it is available in the Store.
If any developers have any questions please tweet @SPKB24 and I will get to them as soon as possible.