A War on Ads (and AdBlockers)
The advent of ad-blocking tools — particular Adblock and Adblock Plus, have given users the ability to limit the advertising revenues that sites can generate; websites have gone after this problem by both releasing informational material on how exactly they source advertisements, and also by making their material inaccessible to users until they turn off their adblockers.
This process was catalyzed by the advertising agencies’ decision to combine obstructive, “in-your-face” advertising images with online targeting and tracking; the realization on the part of the user that their data was being mined from site-to-site resulted in feeling of tremendous discomfort that materialized in the overuse of adblocking software.
As seen in the above graphs, the exponential increase in adblocker use has resulted in a massive drop-off of advertising revenues; this has forced advertising firms to adopt “better practices” when it comes to the visual rhetoric of their advertising. Rather than overwhelm pages in spam and clickbait advertising, sites are using the power of OBA to link specific site visitors with specific ad content. This process is made possible by Google.com, whose Adsense division controls over a quarter of the overall online advertising market and dominates the OBA subdivision within the industry. Google is the main advertising source for many small/medium business websites who don’t otherwise have the means to engage in OBA; as such, these sites can take advantage of Google’s enormous directory of user search data and have minimal, but far more effective, advertising content.