Yes, it doesn’t seem very consistent, I think the Golden Rule, somehow, applies here 🙂
I don’t think the main objective of a banner is always to click on it. I think we should have a holistic approach to digital communication based on our general objectives and in many cases a site just works as a “print” media, as a magazine, as a newspaper, impressions is what matter; why? because lots of brands have awareness objectives and don’t have a huge need to drive traffic to their site, for instance I’ve seen Coca Cola Light banners which didn’t address to any site. They only wanted you to watch it.
There are also brands that need to drive traffic to their site because they are selling online. In this case I would say that broadly speaking, they have a mix of objectives: awareness and traffic. To accomplish both objectives they need to work on a mix strategy: social media, SEM, banners, video… And depending on the nature of the product, the knowledge of the brand, the commodity issue, the segmentation… the percentages on each should be higher or lower.
Regarding CTR, I also agree on the fact that banners sometimes do work, and we should take that into account, banners havenot died yet. What we have to really know is how banners are working now vs other formats, how technological innovation is enriching banners capabilities, which are the best scenarios, which are the cons and the pros, measurement figures… in order to make an optimal digital mix which brings efficacy to our advertising campaign.