Microsoft today released new tools geared towards helping developers better monetize their Windows 8.1 applications. The company has made new software development kits (SDKs) generally available that now includes an advertising ID (or unique identifier) that will enable advertisers to better target campaigns at app users.

Here are the three new SDKs being made available today:

  • Microsoft Advertising, with an updated version of Ad SDK (version # 8.1.30909) available in Visual Studio 2013 GA.
  • MediaBrix, for their Breakthrough Moments™ (BTMs) cross-platform technology, which reaches game players at natural, critical points in gameplay where people are most receptive to brand messages.
  • LeadBolt for their mobile app discovery, advertising, and monetization platform, using AppFireworks for actionable analytics and a cross promotion platform.

What is an advertising ID? Microsoft says that it’s a identifier used by the system to “improve the quality and relevance of advertisements displayed within Windows Store apps while providing other services such as analytics and app-discovery.” In a way, you could think of it as perhaps being similar to cookies in a Web browser in that it will know where you’ve been and what you’ve done to cater ads that it thinks you’ll find relevant.

If you find this creepy, Microsoft says that consumers can turn this ability on or off at their leisure, thereby protecting everyone’s privacy.

So what do these SDKs offer advertisers and developers? Microsoft touts that developers will have a better understanding of which of their apps are installed by the consumer and that ad partners will be able to serve useful and relevant campaigns that are profitable without accessing any personally identifiable information. In addition, the company boasts that it also functions akin to a control mechanism, enabling advertisers to manage the frequency of their ads. Lastly, developers can monitor promotions and app incentives.

It’s important to note that these SDKs are for Windows 8.1 applications, not for Windows Phone — although the mobile operating system does have its own Microsoft Advertising SDK.

The release of the new SDKs are a welcome sign that Microsoft is looking to help developers monetize their work, although we can’t help but feel that this offering may be a bit behind the rest of the marketplace. In the mobile space, services like Kiip and others are already providing tools and capabilities to help advertisers effectively target users on iOS and Android devices. But, maybe Microsoft’s advantage is that most of these third-party ad tech services have mostly ignored the Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone platforms.

Developers can download the advertising SDKs today, although Microsoft says that additional details and technical documentation will be made available “in the coming weeks.”

Photo credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images