There's a bunch of chatter lately about the effectiveness of banners and other online display units.
This isn't even coming from traditional media folk because their budgets are getting pruned mind you. It's coming from online advertising people. More accurately, those that are heralding "social media" as the new new new media, but advertising, marketing and new media people at heart.
See the reason traditional media had a long life is because the advertisers and publishers were complicit in propping up the general principles of effectiveness and the scale in which they were measured. Now, we've got online media people asking if online media is effective? What? Of course it is effective!!! More effective than the $MMM idiots are still pumping into TV with $0 return other than statistically pencil whipped GRP and Av Cume values. Jesus, that's stupid!
Most of the chatter is coming from folk who I suspect have never run or seen the data from a significant banner campaign. Run one with even cursory tracking and analytics and you can find a mountain of insights. Obviously click-based conversions is the unrealistic grail you'll see, but if you set a cookie window, you'll see all of the view-based actions as well. You'll know the optimal exposure frequency level. You'll see the search patterns, branded and unbranded. You'll see format and message trends. You'll see geographic detail. And you'll probably find out that who you were targeting aren't the same demo that are interested in your stuff and coming to your site. Among 90 other things.
It pains me to read this stuff and see big brands still spending 98% of their budget on TV, magazines, athletes image rights, leather bound media kits and racing sponsorships. And worst of all, somehow justifying the effectiveness of that spend.