Good deals make banner advertisement work
Banner advertising fails because they're not trying to sell something I want. It's not because the format or delivery is inherently bad. It's because it wasn't meant to replace TV and magazine commercials as the brand building weapon of choice. If only ad execs around the globe could recognize that and move on to trying something else, like selling stuff, I reckon Internet content sites wouldn't be failing so hard.
Take me, for example, I just bought a set of tights from Danish e-tailer SmartGuy.dk. I had never heard of the site before, and I wasn't particularly looking for a set tights, so what then? They we're offering me a good deal, which resulted in 149 DKR going from my VISA card to this company's bank account. All this from a banner ad I spotted on a gaming site.
If only more e-tailers would get that: Offer me something I'd be likely to buy on a impulse (generally goods in the sub-$100 range), and show the product, price, and location of their site in the banner. I'd garantee that such an approach would turn this set of eyeballs, and probably many others, into conversion rate worth throwing more advertising money after.