If you’ve been keeping up with internet marketing news lately, you already know that Google’s new Chrome Ad Blocker rules took effect last month on February 15th.
It's almost like Google is expanding their previous "Mobile Friendly" opt-in form rules to now address a broader set of abusive desktop and mobile internet marketing behaviors.
Chrome's new ad blocking rules are specifically taking aim at intrusive and spammy ads from websites that market aggressively and have little respect for quality user experience (UX).
Although some in the internet marketing world are freaking out about these changes, we’re not bothered by them since they are focused primarily on eliminating awful ads...not your opt-in forms.
Understandably, this has led to some confusion about how these new rules might affect your Thrive Leads forms.
The short answer is that, for most of our Thrive Leads users, the new Chrome Ad Blocker won’t have any effect because your site’s opt-in forms don’t fall under Google’s definition of an advertisement.
However, there are some important points you should be aware of to make sure Google doesn’t interpret any of your opt-in forms as ads going forward.
Read on to learn about the new Google Chrome Ad Blocker, who it's affecting and what impact it will have on your Thrive Themes tools.
The Better Ads Standards
The Coalition for Better Ads is an industry research group that has done extensive testing across both desktop and mobile devices to develop an initial set of internet marketing Better Ads Standards to improve the browsing experience for users.
Google joined the research group back in 2017 (likely doing most of the testing) and went about implementing the initial Better Ads Standards into their Chrome Ad Blocker beginning on February 15th, 2018.
For the purposes of the Better Ads Standards (and therefore Google), the official definition of an ad is the following:
“Promotional content displayed on the web as the result of a commercial transaction with a third party.”
So technically speaking, as long as your site’s opt-in forms aren’t using ad promos or links to third parties for commercial transactions, they don't fall under Google's definition of an advertisement.
Google’s Ad Experience Evaluation Process
Although the new Google Chrome Ad Blocking rules went into effect back on February 15th, implementation has not been all immediate.
First of all, Google is still in the process of evaluating websites to give them an ad experience rating of either Pass, Warning, or Fail.
If you’re the administrator of your website, you can access Google’s evaluation through their Ad Experience Report within the Google Search Console here.
Assuming you’ve already verified your admin credentials with Google, you can login and see how your site’s ad experience rating along with any violations Google thinks you need to resolve.
After Google evaluates your site, they will notify you of any violations and give you 30 days to fix them before Chrome starts blocking ads on your site.
The way the Chrome Ad Blocker looks is shown below:
Google Chrome's Ad Blocker on Android.
Notice that if Google does block ads on your site, they then give users the option to enable them.
Chrome's Ad Blocker & Your Thrive Leads Opt-In Forms
Based on the Coalition for Better Ads’ definition of an advertisement, it seems clear that your site’s normal Thrive Leads opt-in forms will not be thought of as ads and won't have any risk of being blocked by Chrome’s new ad filter.
Remember, the purpose of the ad blocker is to eliminate spammy ads that users hate while keeping ads alive that users either don’t mind or actually enjoy:
The Coalition for Better Ads desktop ad behavior rank results.
The Coalition for Better Ads mobile ad behavior rank results.
However, I can’t guarantee 100% how Google will evaluate your website so make a habit of checking the Ad Experience Report in your site's Google Search Console to ensure you don’t have any violations.
Regardless, we’re keeping a close eye on the Google Chrome Ad Blocker situation here at Thrive Themes HQ to help inform you of any changes that would impact your Thrive Themes opt-in forms.
The Exception: Using Thrive Leads For Third-Party Links
It’s important to note that if you are using Thrive Leads to commercially link to third party promos, Google will then consider them to be ads and not opt-in forms. In such cases, you must follow all the Better Ads Standards.
But even in cases such as these, the good news is that all of the form type, trigger and behavioral rules explained in the Better Ads Standards can be followed using our Thrive Leads setup and trigger options.
There are additional ad standards for mobile as compared to desktop so you’ll want to make sure you’re compliant for both.
Now It’s Your Turn
If you’re a Thrive Leads customer and have been worried about the new Google Chrome Ad Blocker update, don’t panic...your site is going to be just fine.
First, remember that Google doesn’t consider normal opt-in forms to be ads so they won’t be on the Chrome’s ad filter chopping block.
However, if you are using Thrive Leads for promoting third-party links (a.k.a ads), you will need to make sure you’re following all of the Better Ads Standards.
Either way, we recommend that you login to your Google Search Console to make sure you don’t have any violations on your site’s Ad Experience Report – especially if you are running any third-party ads!
If you still have any questions or confusion about the new Google Chrome Ad Blocker update, let us know by leaving a comment below!
P.S. If you’re wondering how the upcoming European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will affect your Thrive Themes tools, we are currently working together with GDPR consultants to lay down all the details for 100% compliance.
All of our tools will make GDPR compliance as easy as possible for you in time for the deadline in May.
Thanks for update Matt. I am using a popup on a couple of page that links to a third party site through an affiliate link. Do you think that qualifies as an ad?
Thanks Baidhurya. If you read the Better Ads Standards, your affiliate link popup lightbox would likely fall under their definition of an ad.
The simple fix is just to make sure all your popups follow the new rules (which you can easily do with the Thrive Leads setup options) and that should keep Google happy.
As an EU citizen trying to use Thrive for my little business I appreciate your approach to GDPR. Keep doing your good job 🙂
Thanks for mentioning GDPR, Matt. I’ve been wondering how to make my site compliant and I can’t wait to see what Thrive comes up with.
On one of my site, I have one of my youtube videos automatically play (still using old Thrive builder) so would that fall under being annoying? Also, I have several website and one links to the other with popup messages. Do you think that would also fall under it. There are all my sites but since they link to my other sites, maybe they think it;s advertising?
Thanks for your comment Simone. Based on the Better Ads Standards, they discuss Autoplay-ing Video Ads with Sound being the problem. So technically speaking, autoplaying WITHOUT sound should be okay for now…
Great article Matt thanks for sharing
what about the GDPR guidelines for e-mails (how to insert checkboxes in a lead capture form to get consent from new leads)?
Hi Manuela, this post was about Google’s Ad Blocker, not GDPR. You can find an answer to your GDPR related questions here.