Promotional codes are a great way to give users free access to your Windows 10 or Windows 10 Mobile app and beta test an upcoming version or even a brand new app that’s not available in the Microsoft Store yet to the general public. Each promotional code includes a unique URL that you can provide to your users, who can then click on the link to redeem and install your app or in-app product from the Microsoft Store.
Through the Windows Dev Center, you can order promo codes, download your orders, and review the promo code usage of your users. The codes can even be set up if you have selected the Hide this app and stop selling option on the Pricing and availability dashboard page for your app.
Before you start generating promo codes, there are a few things you need to know. First, promo codes can be redeemed by users for up to 6 months after you’ve ordered them and this period starts as soon as you place the order. Within this 6 month period, you can generate up to 250 promo codes. You must also be aware of and follow the requirements found in the App Developer Agreement. Once ordered, download codes are usually Available within one hour.
With all this in mind, you’re ready to start setting up your codes.
Ordering promotional codes for the Microsoft Store is actually a very simple process, which we’ve outlined below:
- On Windows Dev Center dashboard, do one of the following:
- On the App overview page for your app, locate the Promotional codes section and click Order codes.
- On any dashboard page for your app, in the left navigation menu, expand Monetization and click Promotional codes. On the Promotional codes page, click Order codes.
- On the New promotional codes order page, enter the following:
- Select the app or IAP for which you want to generate codes.
- Specify a name for the order. You can use this name to differentiate between different orders of codes when reviewing your promotional code usage data.
- Specify the quantity of codes to order.
- Click Order codes. The order is submitted and the dashboard navigates you to the Promotional codes page, where the new order is listed as Pending in the summary table of promotional code orders. As we noted above, you should be able to obtain your codes within one hour, when the order is marked Available.
Once your order has been made available, you can download the order and get the codes out to your users through another simple process via the Windows Dev Center by first returning to the Promotional codes page found under Monetization.
Next, click the Download link to download the code in tab-separated value (TSV) format to your PC or tablet. You can then open this file in the editor of your choice — Microsoft Excel or OpenOffice Calc work best, but you can use a text editor like Notepad as well — to find the following data contained within:
- Product name: The name of the app or IAP that the code is associated with.
- Order name: The name of the order in which this code was fulfilled.
- Promotional code: The code itself. This is a 5×5 string of alphanumeric characters separated by hyphens. For example:DM3GY-M2GYM-6YMW6-4QHHT-23W2Z
- Redeemable URL: The URL that a user can use to redeem the code and install your app or IAP. The URL has the following format:https://account.microsoft.com/billing/redeem?mstoken=<promotional code>
- Order date: The date you placed the order for this code.
- Expire date: The date this code expires.
- Code ID: A unique ID for this code.
- Order ID: A unique ID for the order in which this code was fulfilled.
- Given to: An empty field that you can fill with a value that identifies the user you gave the code to.
You can send the URLs to your users via any method of your choosing (email is suitable for most communications like this). Microsoft recommends that you include the following information in your communication:
- An explanation of which app or IAP the promotional code is for, and optionally a description of why the user is receiving the code.
- The redeemable URL for the code.
- Instructions that guide the user to visit the redeemable URL, log in using their Microsoft account, and follow the instructions to download and install your app.
There you have it. Your users are now able to use your apps in a promotional setting, which is perfect for beta testing a new feature or a new app. Here’s hoping this helps you find the best possible success on the Universal Windows platform!