I've written about Chitika previously. Their ads didn't perform as well for me as they do for some other sites, but I kept them for the odd filler and they do add a little money to my monthly total.. not much, but enough to keep running them now and then.
Recently Chitika came out with something new that they call "Premium ads". I ignored them, but then a Chitika rep called me and insisted that I really needed to give them a try. I looked at the concept and decided that he was right.
How it works
What's different about these? The ad context is triggered by search. That is, if someone was searching at Google for "Wireless Access Point" and came here because of their search, the Chitika ads are likely to show wireless routers and related items. That's good, right?
Sure, though because it's "routers" you might get woodworking tools too, but Chitika is no worse at this than Google is, so the odd mismatch isn't worth worrying about.
By the way, Chitika setup says that you can't see your ads.. that's wrong: all you need to do is come to your page from a search. If the search isn't a good match for your site, that might be hard to do, but then again, if it's buried that low in search results, you won't be seeing much traffic from that keyword anyway.
When Chitika can't serve an ad, it can either disappear (collapse) or load an alternate "page" which you'd fill with the alternate ad code you want to run. I put my Google Adsense code into that file.
For me, the results were disappointing. I let this run for 11,000 page views and it underperformed Adsense by 60%. This doesn't mean Chitika Premium is a bad choice for you. The mysteries of ad performance vary from site to site - what works poorly for me might mean skyrockets for you. You have to test, test, test.
I think that Chitika underperformed here for the same reason that their other ads don't do well: they may be targeting the context more accurately now, but they probably still don't have the depth and breadth of advertisers that Google has to pull from. That means that if your site content strongly matches the advertisers they do have, you might do very well with Chitika Premium, but if not, you'll probably see lesser performance.
I wish the results had been different. Google needs a strong competitor to give them reason to improve, but they never have had one. Lack of competition is never good for advertisers or publishers.
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