AdSense publishers (website owners who display ads on their sites) are paid for clicks on ads, and AdSense Link units have proven to be an excellent source of revenue for many publishers. So, when the news came out that link units are being retired on March 10, 2021, there was a massive uproar within the publisher community. The reason for the upheaval was that publishers assumed their source of revenue would go away with the link units. However, there may be a different way to look at this change.
The removal of link ads may drive revenue up. Why? From an advertiser's perspective, link ads can be a low-cost and low-profile means to promote one's business. The low-profile nature of this advertising presence means that more ads are placed on a page at a lower cost. However, with link ads gone, advertisers will need to move to larger display ads.
Display ad units inherently use more real estate, and this will drive up the CPC and page RPM because advertisers will be competing for "real estate" on a web page in a way they didn't have to with link ads.
While the number of advertisers creating ad inventory will not change, the real estate they are competing for will decrease. For instance, instead of a website owner displaying 13 ads on a page (assuming they have three display ads and ten links), they will show, let's say, only four display ads. This reduction will drive up the advertiser's cost because it will be harder to move into web advertising "neighborhoods" without paying a premium price for ad space. In theory, this will increase bidding wars for the newly limited advertising space.
So, if you are a publisher, do not worry too much. Yes, AdSense Link Units are going away, but this may prove to be even more financially beneficial for publishers in the long run.