Since Apple added the option to block ads on iOS, companies started panicking about their future. The majority of the web is supported through ad impressions. A newspaper that sells printed content in a kiosk will forgo those few cents from readers, for the opportunity to blast them with ads on the web.
Of course, the $1.50 you pay for the Sunday Paper, is not what supports a news organization. Newspapers are filled with ads. After reading part of a story on page one, it is nearly impossible to find the rest. Ads and other paid content covers the majority of pages. This is what pays for salaries and fancy buildings.
Unlike the web, on a paper you can't prevent ads from running. It's like the paper can run arbitrary code in your head and there is nothing you can do about it. But on the web, we can block it.
Ad blockers were popular before Apple's stunt, but the difference is now people are paying attention. You can spare a few minutes and google all the projections of how much money advertisers are supposed to lose in the near future. But those don't take all the factors into account.
There are ads where the publisher pays for impressions. So when they serve those ads to people who don't want to see ads at all, it is a waste of money for the publisher, but the advertiser still pockets this money.
So in a sense, adblock solves this problem. If I am going to ignore all ads, why should publisher pay for the ads I didn't see? In most adblocking software, the request to the advertiser network is not even made, so no impression is counted.
There are different categories of users but advertisers are not differentiating. As long as the publisher is paying to display ads, the advertiser just shows them. But, if properly segregated, it is a win win for everyone.
The only people I ever heard who love ads are those who make them. No one else. And we won't talk about them, because they are not the targets of ads. But a common type of users these days, are the people who hate ads. This is a particular type of user, because they go above and beyond to avoid ads. It's not the majority of users and they are the primary users of adblock. If these users didn't have adblock, they still woudln't be clicking on ads.
The other group is the majority. It is a group of users who don't necessarily like ads but they don't mind them. Unless it is an obstructive ad. They don't install adblock, but they will click on
skip ad on YouTube.
Adblock only stop people who hate ads anyway from seeing ads. If advertisers only served highly relevant ads to people who wanted to see them, it will be the equivalent of having adblock, because the best ad to show to a person who hates ads is none.
The perfect ad ecosystem is one that only serves you the most relevant ads, even if it means serving no ads at all.