Yesterday, Google released a native “ad blocker” for the Chrome internet browser. Does this spell doom for affiliates? Is it time to panic? Are 20 great years of the affiliate channel now reaching an end? Not so much.

There seems to be a lot of speculation on the impact of this update, for better or for worse. Now that it has been released, however, here’s what we do know:

  1. It’s automatically built into Google Chrome, the now dominate browser for internet users.
  2. It is meant to enhance user experience on the web, hence the quotation marks around the mention of “ad blocker” above.
  3. It will primarily be used to suppress ads that interrupt a user’s flow on a website. This primarily consists of pop-ups, autoplay video ads, interstitials and ads that cover more than 30% of a users screen.
  4. Ad tracking will not be blocked, except for malicious and blacklisted software.

Those last two points are particularly relevant to the affiliate channel. First, if you’re doing things like showing well placed and non-obnoxious image or text ads on your website, you’re likely not going to see anything blocked. In fact, the majority of affiliate links are used in-content, which doesn’t impact any of these display guidelines. All of that said, if you are actively using pop-up ads or interstitial ad serving between page loads, you might see some decline on those ad deliveries.

The second and more important takeaway is that the software that makes affiliate marketing work isn’t suppressed. This is the case for both affiliates who use affiliate links on their websites and the merchants who use AvantLink’s tracking code to detect your referrals and sales.

So, what is the simple take away from all of this? Same as it ever was- keep focused on producing valuable content for your visitors and use affiliate marketing as a way to enhance that content and you’ll be just fine.

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Chad Waite
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Chad Waite

Marketing Manager at AvantLink
Chad first got involved in the affiliate space in 2010 as an AvantLink network rep and has seen every facet of the industry since. Besides online marketing, he enjoys mountain biking, trail running, spending time with his wife and kids, any movie with Harrison Ford, and the "Random Article" button on Wikipedia.
Chad Waite
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  • The Google Chrome Ad blocker might actually be good for affiliate advertising. If Chrome does a good job at automatically blocking the most intrusive ads, less people will install a more aggressive ad blocker like Ad Blocker Plus. Ad Blocker Plus pretty much blocks all affiliate ads.

    Chrome is starting with most intrusive ads: large sticky ads (stay on screen), autoplay video & audio ads, and popup ads. But we should be doing all we can to make sure ads do not annoy our readers. There are two technical features AvantLink can help with here. 1) Set the CDN image ad cache duration long enough to pass a Google PageSpeed test. 2) Optimize image ads (formatting and compress) enough to pass a Google PageSpeed test.

    • Very insightful comment, Kimball. Hadn’t considered that Google’s solution could lead to less need for AB Plus, especially if it gets rid of the most intrusive ads most people get AB Plus to block anyways.

      Also a good point on the efficacy of the ads. Most people online tend to ignore display ads habitually now. If Chrome starts to crack down on the number of annoying ads that turn people off, it may make those that are more methodically placed more effective.