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Playable Ads in Windows devices lets users ‘stream’ full app functionality

Why it matters to you

If you're one of the many people wishing for more game demos, streaming ads like Microsoft's offer some form of that.

Microsoft has debuted a new system which it hopes will capture more engaged users for app installs by allowing applications to run in their entirety within an online ad. In essence, this would let users ‘stream’ an application, giving them an idea of what the full app is like.

The idea of streaming applications within ads has been around for a couple of years now and is certainly effective. It means users don’t need to download and install an app to find out what it’s like to use. It’s useful for avoiding misunderstandings about what an app can and can’t do, and it makes it easier for app makers to hook users on specific features by giving them a live, interactive demonstration.

While Google may have pioneered the technique, (thanks MSPowerUser) Microsoft is now picking it up, and has made it compatible with the Windows Store. Called “Playable Ads,” the new ads will allow for users to play around with an app for up to three minutes within the ad itself.

More: These great Windows apps will get you started with your new Windows 10 machine

That means interacting with the app as if it were installed on the device. At the end of the three-minute session, they will be prompted with an offer to install it. Microsoft hopes developers will begin using these sorts of ads in the future, suggesting that they can offer an engaging experience to users right from the get-go and that research suggests those who install games after playing them for a few minutes are much more likely to continue playing than those who install based on a product description.

To create a playable ad, Microsoft suggests that all you need do, as a developer, is go to your developer dashboard and create a “New Campaign,” and from there a new Playable Ad can be created in minutes.