The Shift in Running Browser Extensions Offers

Google announced a major shift in its policy for Chrome browser extensions. Prior to the rules change, affiliates and developers could distribute browser extensions through their websites or landing pages via inline installation. With inline installation, users don’t have to navigate away from a publisher’s website to install browser extensions. This made it easier to complete an installation and acquire more users. However, many consumers have been complaining about the unsolicited installation of browser extensions and a poor user experience. To remedy this, Google mandated that all browser extensions may only be installed directly from the Chrome Web Store beginning September 12th, 2018.

While this change will serve to deter malicious activities and help build trust among consumers, affiliates, and developers, the shift has sent shock waves through developer and affiliate communities with uncertain results.

It’s possible that this turns out to be a good opportunity, and any affiliate looking for an edge should keep an eye on this business over the coming months to see how this rule change plays out. Google on the one hand will attest to the higher user quality and longer retention of users who install extensions directly from the Chrome Web Store vs. the inline. That should lead to much higher CPIs from developers.

On the other hand, affiliate marketers and extension developers who do not optimize their campaigns can expect up to an 80% decline in conversion rates from click to install, according to Aragon’s internal data. You’ll also see many developers who were promoting low quality extensions or who had poorer monetization structures exit the business, clearing the field somewhat for those willing to stick it out.

Here is how the new rules will unfold:

By summer 2018, inline installations will be completely phased out and consumers will only be able to install extensions through the Chrome Web Store. Google states that this change will be implemented in three phases:

  • From June 12, 2018, all newly published extensions won’t be able to utilize inline installation. Extensions that try to call the chrome.webstore.install() function will redirect users to the Chrome Web Store to complete the installation instead.
  • Inline installation will be fully disabled on September 12, 2018 for all existing extensions. All landing page download buttons that formerly triggered an extension download will now send users to the Chrome Web Store.
  • Inline installation will not be supported at all on Chrome 71 due for release in December 2018.

Google advised that prior to the release of Chrome 71 that developers and affiliates should update the install buttons on their websites to link to their extension’s Chrome Web Store pages.

Final thoughts

 Although this change is going to affect how browser extension offers are run, it’s a good step towards eliminating nefarious activities that stem from inline installations.

As an affiliate, this change means rethinking how browser extension campaigns are run. Whether it’s overhauling your landing page to make it align with the new rules or running your browser extension offers on other platforms such as IE or Firefox, there’s always room to thrive.

Focusing on improving your landing page can be one of the best ways to address this new policy. Studies have shown that using a strong call to action (CTA) can increase conversion rates significantly. Small changes can impact how prospects behave on your site, so it’s important to take your time to implement the two-click process to make extension installation more seamless and compatible with Google Chrome.


If you have any questions concerning this change, contact your Affiliate Manager or email us at