Google AdSense Alternatives: Chitika Review

Next up in the Google AdSense Alternatives series is Chitika!  This is actually one advertising network that I’ve been using for awhile, almost as long as AdSense, because I was able to use it on my InfoBarrel articles.

As I go through and review these various alternatives to AdSense, I’m starting to realize that it’s going to be extremely difficult to ever match or beat the performance of AdSense. Perhaps it doesn’t make sense to set AdSense as the “standard” because then everything else is going to appear very weak by comparison.

Nevertheless, there’s a lot to like about Chitika, and I’ll go into all the details below.

What is Chitika?

Much like AdSense, Chitika is a display advertising network that primarily aims to provide advertisements that are relevant to the content.  The big difference is, the ads displayed are driven by the visitor’s search query, not directly by the content on a given page.  Also, similar to AdSense and other ad networks, you are paid per click, which you’re probably very familiar with.

Different Types of Ads

Chitika doesn’t offer to much in terms of ad variety, but all of the basic types of block ads are there.

Standard Ad Unit

Here’s what an ad would look like if you were searching for the iPod Touch:

You can change the colors and the ad sizes, very similar to AdSense.  I’ll go into this more below where I discuss what I like and what I don’t like about Chitika, but as you can see, some keywords don’t seem to work well for Chitika.  Why would someone be looking for “local answers for Ipod Touch?” Or “Top answers for Ipod Touch?” It just don’t make a lot of sense, and doesn’t make me want to click on the ad at all.

Local Ad Units

These ad units basically look just like the one above, except the ad is tailored to the visitor’s location, based on their  IP address. So sticking with the same example as above, I might see: “Looking for Ipod Touch in Chicago?”

What I Like About Chitika

Here are some of the reasons why I think Chitika is worth trying:

1) Once you have an account, you can put ads on any site without requiring further approval.  This is where Chitika is very similar to AdSense and it’s what sets it apart from the other ad networks I’ve reviewed ( and Infolinks).

2) Assuming you use PayPal, you only need to earn $10 to receive a payout.  This is a relatively low threshold, especially compared to AdSense’s $100 minimum.  I’ve been paid by them several times, and they are usually pretty quick to release payment.

3) They are one of the few ad networks to have an affiliate program.  So, if you happen to run a blog that talks about internet marketing, you can earn a little bit extra by referring people to Chitika (if you’re feeling generous and want to sign up to Chitika, please feel free to use my link. :) )  According to Chitika’s site, “You will earn 10% of the CPC revenue that your referrals earns for up to 15 months from their approval date.” I’ve had a small handful of referrals, but so far, it’s only amounted to a few pennies.

What I Don’t Like About Chitika

1) Earnings per click are fairly low (in my experience), requiring you to have strong traffic and/or a high click-through rate to see good earnings.  This seems to be the case with most programs that are not AdSense…  Here are my stats since I’ve used Chitika:

  • CTR: 0.32%
  • EPM: $0.36

This is pretty dreadful, even compared to Infolinks, but I will admit that I tend to place my Chitika ads in a poor location.  When possible, I have placed in the best spots, and Chitika ads somewhere “below the fold” where it’s not as likely to get clicks.  If Chitika was your primary form of monetization, I would expect you to see much better results.

2) The different types of ads aren’t too diverse.  Aside from manipulating the ad block size and colors, there really isn’t much else you can do.  This is fine for most people, but if you’re looking for something similar to AdSense’s link units, you won’t find it here.

3) Ads are based on search query, not content (as I briefly mentioned above).  I was debating whether or not to write this as a pro or a con, because in some cases, I think it’s a positive aspect of Chitika.  In most cases, the ads shown will be related to whatever search engine query the visitor input in order to land on your site, so in theory, the ads should be highly relevant (which should lead to a higher CTR).

When you don’t land on the page via a search engine, it seems to just base the ads on your primary keyword (whatever the title of the site is).  This has a high relevance, but the ads don’t feel “real”, so I’m not sure how enticing they are.   Furthermore, because these seem to be “cookie cutter” ads, I don’t think they pay very well since they show up for just about any terms (I can’t imagine an advertiser paying much for that, since it’s not super targeted like AdSense)

That’s All!

As you can see, this isn’t going to be your savior if you’ve lost AdSense, but Chitika is still something worth trying especially if you are having trouble getting other ad networks approved for your website(s).  It’s quick and easy to set up, and you don’t have to get approved for each site.  And as I mentioned, I think if Chitika ads are your primary ad units, you will see much better results than I have so far.

How has your experience been with Chitika so far?  Did I miss anything?  Share it in the comments!


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Google AdSense Alternatives: Chitika Review

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