Once you’ve conceived, designed and created your app for the Windows Phone platform, like any good business you’d like to see a return on your investment.

When it comes to monetizing your app, Windows Phone offers a range of business models to help you generate revenue. Each model has its own clear benefits and there is no right or wrong one, there is simply the best one for you. Just be sure to select the business model upfront and design the app experience around your selected model, because most successful apps began that way.

Paid download and free download

The conventional business models for apps have been the premium, paid-download model and the free model. The Windows Phone Store naturally supports these models with many configurability options. For example, it allows for easy management of different pricing across the globe, so you can set the price per country as you wish.


Windows Phone Store goes far beyond the original paid download model. It offers trials, which are shown to boost trial-to-paid-app conversion rates. With the Windows Phone trial API, you’re in control of the trial experience. For instance, you can provide a full-featured, time-limited app or perhaps a feature-limited app that can be easily converted to a full version — it’s up to you! If you’re developing a paid app, we recommend using the trial API to boost your revenues.

In-app advertising

Free apps often rely on revenue sources such as advertising or subscriptions. A benefit of using in-app advertising is that you can combine it with premium business models. For example, you can offer users the ability to remove the ads either by paying a fee via in-app purchasing or by buying the full version of your app.

Find the best ad solution for your app

Below, we summarise some of the leading solutions for integrating in-app advertising into your apps. We recommend that you explore these and other solutions in the market to find the most suitable one for your needs. Most choices of in-app-advertising solutions can be driven by developer preference, app type, or geography. Use of an ad rotator makes switching configurations easy while your apps are in market.

microsoft logo

Microsoft Advertising Network
You can easily tap into the Microsoft Advertising Network by using the Microsoft Advertising SDK. The SDK lets you create Windows Phone apps and games that easily integrate text and banner ads. More information ›

addduplex logo

AdDuplex empowers you to get free exposure for your apps. Add a line of code into your Silverlight or XNA Game Studio app and start cross-promoting other Windows Phone apps. You will get free advertising in these other apps in return. More information ›

inneractive logo

Inneractive provides an integrated, cross-platform solution for advertising monetization that delivers the benefits of the latest technologies in the in-app advertising space. More information ›

vserv logo

Vserv’s AppWrapper solution is an easy way to add in-app advertising to Windows Phone apps. Vserv also provides SDKs for Nokia Asha and other platforms. More information ›

smaato logo

Smaato is a real-time-bidding (RTB) exchange for mobile ads that combines wide ad-network coverage and SDK availability for a range of platforms (including support for Windows Phone and Nokia Asha apps). More information ›

admob logo

Google AdMob Ads SDK
Windows Phone 8 developers can now use this SDK to let their app tap into AdMob’s extensive network of advertisers and features. More information ›


In-app purchasing

The apps market is trending in a new direction with the rise of freemium or free-to-play (F2P) apps and games. This business model utilises in-app purchases that unlock new functionality, add subscriptions or deliver other types of virtual goods.

With this model, app users:

  • Get an extremely low barrier for entry
  • Become more engaged with the app
  • Are more willing to support the app or their own progress through in app purchases.

The overall developer revenues from in-app purchasing can be much higher than from fixed up-front app pricing, assuming the app is engaging users in an optimal way.

Windows Phone 8 provides a secure in-app payment system that is integrated seamlessly with all available payment instruments. As an app developer, you get:

  • A familiar API
  • Reliable pay out
  • In-app product management tools
  • Geo-distributed services

This adds up to your being able to achieve meaningful commerce from within your app. Developers are seeing success with in-app purchases. As of May 2013, 40 per cent of the 15 highest-grossing developers have apps that use in-app purchase. (Source: Windows Phone Developer Blog). Learn more about in-app purchasing for Windows Phone here.

Business models 101

Read our Insights Report on business models. It will help you choose the model most suitable for your app. Read more or Download the report now.