Advertisers’ strong preference for programmatic advertising is why it’s so problematic to only discuss publishers and users when it comes to the state of ad-supported web pages: if advertisers are only spending money — and a lot of it — on programmatic advertising, then it follows that the only way for publishers to make money is to use programmatic advertising.
This kind of thing is why ad-blockers and ad-blocker-defeating companies are engaged in an ongoing arms race to try to make sure that readers don’t or do have to put up with advertisements. The Wall Street Journal notes that, as a projected $171 billion industry, there’s plenty of money to go around for this.
In response to the ad-blocking software, publisher and ad sellers have recently been hiring or joining with developers and firms aimed at circumventing the anti-ad technology with their own software solutions. A handful of startups are now offering ad-blocking runarounds, including PageFair, based in Ireland, and Secret Media and Sourcepoint USA Inc., both based in New York.
I find the whole thing darkly amusing. Do the advertisers honestly think that forcing their ads onto someone unwillingly is going to make that person want to buy their product? But given how much of sites’ revenue rely on ads, it’s easy to see why they might feel this way.