My Thoughts on Chitika Advertising Network

My Thoughts on Chitika Advertising Network

Over the past two months I have been testing out Chitika advertisements on Technically Easy. Unless you arrived from search engines you may have never seen these ads displayed on my blog. Similar to Google’s AdSense, Chitika pays you each time a visitor clicks an ad that they display.

While I had some high hopes for Chitika, I can’t say that I am impressed with the results of displaying their ads. In this post I will discuss my findings and thoughts about this ad network.

What is Chitika?

Chitika Logo

Chitika (pronounced CHIH-tih-ka) was founded in 2003 by Venkat Kolluri and Alden DoRosario. It is a full-service advertising network that serves over 2 billion monthly impressions on 30,000 web sites.

Much like Google’s AdSense, you install the code on your web pages and it will display targeted ads to your visitors. The difference between this ad network and others is that Chitika only displays ads to search engine visitors.

They offer 26 different ad sizes that you can use on your web site or blog. This means that they appear to have the sizes most people would want to display. Not only that, but each ad unit is completely customizable by simply changing the Javascript that you insert into your pages.

While it may seem that Chitika is a great way to make money for your web site or blog, there are some things that I found out during my two months of using the network.

The Good

When I first signed up with Chitika I immediately had a look at how to display their ads on my blog. I was impressed with the number of different ad sizes that they support. Their two newest additions are called “MEGA-Units”. They are 550 and 500 pixels in width and 250 pixels in height. They can pretty much take over a large portion of the content section of a web page.

They claimed that these ad sizes perform well, so I decided to try the largest one out. I inserted the code at the bottom of each post. I didn’t put it at the top since that is where my AdSense is located, and I didn’t want too many ads at the top of each post.

The one aspect of the ads that I like is that they only display when a visitor comes from a search engine. This means that for those visiting the page directly, they won’t see the ads. I tested this out by clicking on a page from Technically Easy in Google, and sure enough the ads appeared. They also have a test parameter that you can use to display the ads just by refreshing the page, as well.

One thing I do like was how easy it was to customize the code. You don’t need to login to Chitika to modify your ad unit, you simply change the parameters in the Javascript and your ad unit will reflect the changes. There are many options that can be set, and they are too numerous to mention here. I couldn’t find a complete listing of the options, but Chitika talks about them in their help section.

If you are currently using AdSense, you can also use Chitika on the same pages without any issues. This means that you can mix the ads on you site without any repercussions from Google.

The Bad

While all the above may sound good, there are a few issues and complaints I have about the system.

First, after viewing my earnings for a few weeks I realized something: the amount my ads generated per click was low. I mean really low. For a comparison, the ads from Chitika earned me only 20% of what I earned from Google’s AdSense per ad click.

My click-through-rate was extremely low as well. There were days I wouldn’t even receive a single click, even though I had over 800 impressions. While I do realize that the ads weren’t located in a prime spot, I figured I would at least receive a few clicks. It wasn’t until I saw some ads where I realized another problem. The targeted ads, weren’t always targeted.

For example, I searched for “static pages in blogger” in Google, and then selected one of my posts. The following two ad screenshots show Google’s AdSense ads and Chitika ads that were retrieved from that same post at the exact same time:

Google Ads - "Static Pages in Blogger" Search

Google Ads - "Static Pages in Blogger" Search
(Click to enlarge.)

Chitika Ads - "Static Pages in Blogger" Search

Chitika Ads - "Static Pages in Blogger" Search
(Click to enlarge.)

As you can see the AdSense ads are more targeted than the Chitika ads. Visitors to my site looking for information about static pages in Blogger, aren’t going to click ads about static dryer sheets. While I realize that Google has a much larger inventory of ads to choose from, Chitika ads aren’t even close.

Chitika also has what they call “unaudited” and “audited” amounts. Unaudited revenue is displayed in your daily report and represents the raw traffic numbers. This isn’t the money that you will be paid. The audited revenue, after removing fraudulent clicks, is computed and displayed in monthly reports, and is what you have actually earned.

For the months of June and July, I had finally passed the $10 threshold for payment, only to realize that the $10 represented my unaudited revenue. By the time it computed my audited revenue, I actually only earned about $4. That means 60% of my earnings was actually fraudulent. With the power of servers and computers today, you’d figure that they can compute the audited revenue on a daily basis.

While I have earned some revenue from Chitika, it isn’t enough to be paid. I’m debating about whether to drop the ad network, or wait until I reach the payout amount.

My Overall Impression.

I think Chitika has promise, however, it still has a long way to go before I will use the service long term. While it isn’t directly competing with Google’s AdSense, mainly since you can use both services together, it will be a hard sell to get people to display Chitika ads in prime locations reserved for AdSense.

18 Responses to “My Thoughts on Chitika Advertising Network”

  1. Killara says:

    Paul, that was an excellent article – well written, informative and balanced.
    I’ll be following more of your articles.

  2. henk says:

    I only got Chitika ads from answered questions dot com which lead to landing pages only filled with adsense ads. Nuf said. Adsense earns more apparentyl. Smart move from answered questions dot com 🙂 but terrible user experience IMO and definitely no targeted ads. Stick with adsense, more coverage.

    • Mickel says:

      I agree that Chitika doesn’t earn well, but for the answered questions dot com ads it’s only that you see these ads on your own website.Add #chitikatest=keyword to the end of your URL to preview the search-targeted Chitika Premium ads that your users are seeing.

      Example phones.

      i only use Chitika and Adbrite on websites with low traffic. On my better websites i use Adsense.

      Adsense is the best

  3. Hm… Thanks a lot for sharing this. At least now I know another opinion from people that’s tried it before.

  4. Alan says:

    Just to clarify that reply was to Jenny not to the owner of this site

  5. Jenny says:

    We’re dumping Chitika this week. Absolutely pathetic clicks and payments. On our new site, 2,000 views in one day and not one penny earned. When we used AdBrite, that would have brought in at least 10 clicks plus payment for views. We’ve tried them for a month and they’re worthless.

    • Paul Salmon says:

      I haven’t used Chitika since I performed the review. There are many advertising sites online, and many of them just can’t compare with heavy weights such as AdSense. I’m looking at one now, while it does make a little money, it is still well behind AdSense in terms of eCPM.

    • Alan says:

      I see you are still running chitika ads has it suddenly improved? let me guess the answer is no because when I hit your site I saw the same ads I was being served.
      You searched for bla bla find answers on bla bla at Same ad images as well – girls with microphone head sets.
      Chitika is a great concept which probably only works for Chitika, I removed them ages ago, until they sent me a email saying the had increased the rates, I tried them again for a week and then closed my account. No other compares to Adsense in my book.

  6. Chris says:

    The results are so mixed for the use of Chitika. This article leads me to think that it is not good to use with Adsense. I have read other articles that have said the same thing, and I think I will go with no Chitika for now.

    • Paul says:

      If Chitika had more advertisers signed up with them then the ads would be better. Until that happens, I would be hard-pressed to choose them for advertising on my blog.

  7. Sonya says:

    I just started using Chitika 6 days ago. So far I’ve gotten 91 clicks (not including today), and haven’t even reached $5 yet! With all the hype I heard about Chitika, I was expecting to at least match my adsense income. I’m going to keep the ads on my site for at least a month before I make a definitive opinion, but I’m not really impressed so far. The CPC is way too low.

  8. chris says:

    Thanks! After using demo, it looked like Chitika did not have enough ads to match the search. … But I still have a question: In using Chitika is there any danger it would change how Google treats my AdSense on the same web page?

  9. Albert says:

    I like Chitika premium ads because of its template design to attract visitors click on my ads. But the only problem it won’t display for all visitors. and it is not for international traffic.

  10. Lisa Irby says:

    Very thorough post on Chitika. Yes, I’ve had to be very selective about the pages I put Chitika on because I’ve noticed that their targeting needs a lot of work. Although I recently upgraded to the “borderless” ads (not sure if it’s available for everyone yet. I was contacted by my account rep and sent the code via email) Since then my CTR doubled. So if you haven’t switched to borderless, I’d recommend that.

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