The lads in Cybercom have released some comprehensive research on Search Marketing in Ireland.
I'm not surprised to see that while 80% of marketing managers believe that SEO and PPC (paid-for ads, like Google adwords) deliver "excellent" return on their investment - only 7% believe their display ads are doing likewise.
It's true that 'search' delivers better response rates than display. And most of the time, you only pay per click, so chances are, you are getting more visitors for your budget. So Google ticks all the boxes here. Everybody is happy (including Google).
But the bit I'm more interesting in is the very poor reputation of 'banner ads'.
I believe this is partly because many marketing managers measure the success of all online solely by traffic - the volume of clicks, cost per click etc. I didn't see it in this report, but there is research that claims that display advertising can improve your search results - so there are benefits to doing both in a campaign.
However, while traffic is one measure, it is not the only one. If this is the only measure you are using, you are likely to be disappointed. Your measure needs to be linked to what you're trying to do. Of course all advertising is about generating sales, but this does not necessarily mean immediate clicks.
If online is part of a larger campaign, you should be measuring your online just like you do your outdoor, radio, tv or press. Do your consumers recall your ads? Did they like them? Did they influence their view of your brand? Look at Dove's 'Evolution' campaign for real beauty which won the Grand Prix. I'm sure that 'page views' and 'clicks' were measured but this campaign had a massive influence on how people perceive the brand - and on sales.
Nobody clicks on 48-sheet billboards but this doesn't mean they don't work.