Still trying to get my head around this idea, netmeg. Something just doesn't make sense with it, not sure what. If people are coming to my site and presumably seeing well targeted ads, why would they not click as they have been consistently doing for close to eight years? I see IBAs when I visit my site, but they are a small minority, most ads are still targeted to the content. Are you suggesting most ads are IBAs?
In order to get your head around it, you really need to spend some time studying up on AdWords options. Just like AdSense isn't the same program it was three or five years ago, AdWords is WAY beyond what it was even a year ago.
IBAs are just *one* form of targeting. That's the one where Google guesses what you're interested in. There are also other targeting options that advertisers themselves can use, such as retargeting (where if you visit their site, they can follow you around) or geotargeting (several options there) and so on. They can target your device, now.
Here's an example. On my own sites, and everywhere I go around the web, including places like CNN and the NYT and Slate, I see ads for a Visit Ann Arbor campaign. Now, leaving aside the fact that it's kind of stupid to show me these ads BECAUSE I LIVE HERE, I don't know exactly how or why these ads are following me - is it because I visited the Convention and Visitors Bureau site one time, or because I live in Ann Arbor, or several of my own sites are targeted to Michigan, or because Google thinks I might be interested in tourism? Or even some combination thereof?
If the advertisers are using Ad Planner, they can target me based on a whole bunch of other things too; not so specifically (Facebook is the one that has the specific targeting, and just wait till they jump on the AdSense-like gravy train) but they can specify the types of people they want to target - say, females, 18 to 55, with incomes over $30k, and Ad Planner will spit out a list of websites that serve that demographic; then all the advertiser has to do is create a placement campaign to those sites. And if I fall within that demographic, and it's logical that I visit several or a bunch of those sites within a day, and they're ALL being targeted with that ad, then I will see the same ad everywhere I go.
So it's a lot more tricky than just blaming IBAs. They are just a very small piece of the targeting pie.
Start noticing the ads you see as you traverse the web, and you'll see what I mean. Some percentage of them seem to be the same, no matter where you go. And it's not always easy to figure *why*.