Make Money Online: Revisit Chitika

Chitika is an online ad network that caters over four billion strategically targeted ads each month to a network of over 300,000+ sites.

Be Smart – Use Chitika The Right Way!
So there a right way and a wrong way to use Chitika? Yes.

I’ll come to the right ways of implementing Chitika in a bit, before that let me tell you about the wrong ways, so that you can simply avoid them.

Related: Interview with Chitika(CHIH-tih-ka)


Wrong ways
1. We’ve been seeing Chitika in the list of best alternatives to Adsense posts for a long time. But it’s time to give it a better place. Yes, I too consider it as the #1 adsense alternative. But why limit it for that? I’ve been using Chitika along with Adsense and it has only increased my income. In fact, it has also increased my adsense revenue too! Read my Right ways to know more about adsense income increase secret.

2. Placing too many Chitika ads on a single page.
Chitika Ads Include:

  • Text Ads: By taking the intent targeting of search engine results and placing it onto your site, Chitika ads are seen by people based on their search. This greatly increases the chance that users will click on the ads, as the content is directly related to their search query. These ad units come in 25 different sizes, ensuring that you’ll find the right ad for your site.
  • List Unit: The Chitika List Unit is a powerful extension of its text ads which automatically adjusts its height, ensuring no ugly white-space and therefore a clean user experience. All you need to do is specify the desired width and the number of ads you’d like within the unit and the height will adjust accordingly. You can select anywhere from 3-9 ads per unit.
  • Mobile Ads: Use Mobile Ad code so that you can monetize all of your mobile traffic rather than missing out on this revenue stream. Chitika mobile ads differ from its MPU(Multi-Product unit) in that the ad will “hover” at the bottom of your site visitors’ mobile devices upon visiting your site. These ads will only show to your mobile visitors. You can monetize this traffic without sacrificing the intent-driven targeting that makes Chitika ads so effective.

..other ad types
You can also enable some apps and get additional ad revenue:

  • Linx: Chitika Linx are in-text ad units that automatically identify relevant keywords on your page to hyperlink (double underline) to interactive paid (CPC-based) product listings. For those of you with a text-heavy site, Chitika Linx is for you!
  • Hover: These ads will hover on the bottom right corner of your site, and will stay in the position as your user scrolls down the page. They are similar to Chitika mobile ads, but make up less screen space and will show on all devices, not just mobile. A great way to make sure your Chitika Ads don’t go by the wayside.
  • Highlight: When one of your site visitors wants to copy and paste some text on your page, they will be served an ad based on the keywords that they have highlighted directly below that paragraph of text. The ads will disappear once they copy and paste different text. These ads will only appear when text has been highlighted.

So you have got a lot of variety. This shows how innovative Chitika is. But that doesn’t mean you need to slap all these ad types on your blog. Select only those that works best for your site. For this you need to test it with different format and by getting user feedback and by digging user retention rates and bounce rates from your analytic software. I’ve seen people using all the ad types of Chitika on a single page. Imagine how you would feel/react if you visit a single page and it has 5 to 6 text ads, List Unit and Linx, Hover, Highlight apps enabled. Feels annoying to me. And as per my testing, it leads to less revenue. More ads more money, is also sometimes a wrong notion. You must have high traffic to make it work. High traffic, more ads, more money. Low traffic, more ads, less money.

3. No patience. You might have already given Chitika a try before. But you removed it after 2 days, as it was not making you enough money.

4. Hesitating to contact Chitika support to ask what might work best for you.

5. Not staying up to date. Chitika has evolved so much from past few years. It has improved a lot and has been releasing reports and data to help you earn more from your inventory.

Right Ways: Do it the right way.
1. Ad Placement: Chitika has worked great on most of my sites. Previously it was known to be working good on product review blogs and anything related to products. If you have non-product related blog, then placing ad just below the title of your blog post works perfectly great. And as per my observation, Chitika ads work best when placed below the article, if it’s a product review site.

2. Increased Adsense Revenue: Yes, it increased my adsense revenue greatly. I own blogs which has medium level traffic. For a long time I had only adsense ads on all my sites, which performed in an average manner until I implemented Chitika. I removed 1 adsense ad unit from all my blogs and replaced it with 1 Chitika Text Ad unit. To my surprise, my adsense income increased. Later discovered that, more advertisers started bidding/competing for my adsense ad units, which were limited now – hence more demand – more bidding’s – more money. I started getting higher eCPM on my adsense ad units.

3. Number of ad units: So far, placing 1 Chitika ad per page has worked out best for me. If I place more than 1, I start to see ads which are not so relevant to the topic and some times I see some default ads, which I guess doesn’t make much money(if any) – I’m more concerned about the value those ads provide to my users. If my inventory is showing ads which aren’t useful to any of my visitors, then it must not be there. Hope you get the idea.

4. Ad Type: Make sure to use the proper ad type for your blog. Not all sites are same. To know the best fit, you’ll need to analyze the data and not relay on your sixth sense. Test different ad formats and see the results both in-terms of ad revenue and user experience. Best way is to ask your users. Ofcourse, many people may say “no ads please”, but there’ll be people who know that you too need to pay bills and deserve to make money for providing them so much value, such people will give you their honest feedback and you can base your decisions on these feedback.

5. Mobile Ad Unit: After looking at the data Chitika constantly release on their blog, I feel that, if you do not monetize your mobile users, then you’re leaving money on the table. Remember Chitika’s tagline “Where data drives performance” – They’re data analysts. You can relay on their data. I read about the no of users using their smart phones, tablet pc’s to access internet, it was so high that I dug deep into my analytic data and found that there were lot of users who use these mobile devices to access our site too. So I started monetizing this traffic and I’m glad I did.

6. Patience: Give Chitika some time. These ad networks have some automated way of learning about your site visitors. I suggest you to try it for at least 3 months, if you’ve medium level traffic as mine. If you’ve a blog with high traffic, then you could try it for 1 month and decide on whether to have it or not.

7. Levels: We have heard about Premium Publisher word a lot of times. Previously, chitika’s MUP was only available to so-called premium publishers, but now it’s available to every Chitika publisher. But with Chitika, there is something called level for each domain on which you implement Chitika ads.

Once you claim a domain(on which you implement your Chitika ad code), it’ll show the domain level as Bronze. Give Chitika more time and if you have decent traffic, your domain will be listed as Silver-level. If you have good quality traffic, your domain will be listed as having Gold-level.

What’s this level, and how is it useful to publishers?
Gold-Level domains will be ensured of getting delivered with premium advertisements. The Silver-Level ad program has a smaller advertiser-base than Gold-Level. What this means is there may be less ad coverage for your traffic. Once you are approved for Gold, this may increase.

You can easily get promoted from Bronze-Level to Silver-Level. It takes some time and traffic to get promoted to Gold-Level.

8. Study Materials: Chitika has published ebooks on various topics. Since Chitika is seen as data analysis expert by many industry leaders like Apple Inc, you can visit them just for the sake of getting those ebooks, even if you aren’t willing to be their publisher.

9. Enterprise Publisher Program: If you generate at least $1M/year in online ad revenue, Chitika will give you Enterprise Publisher account and maybe you can earn even more — I haven’t seen it, so I don’t know much about it.

10. Affiliate Program: All Chitika publishers are eligible to participate in their affiliate program. Publishers that you refer to Chitika will be tracked through your unique username, and you will earn 10% of their revenue with Chitika for the first 10 months they are a publisher.

11. Highly Customisable Ad Code: The number one priority of most adsense publishers was more options for customizing the ad. Chitika by default allows users to customize the ad to suit their sites. And it’s the only ad network with so many ad sizes available.

12. Chitika & Yahoo: Yahoo! announced that they would phase out their self-serve ad platform (YPNO) for publishers and named Chitika as Yahoo!’s preferred referrer ad network for small-to-mid size publishers. Which means Yahoo! too believes in Chitika’s ability. Chitika has a lot more to improve, and we can be supportive of it and grow with it.

Bonus 1: Talk To Chitika Optimization Experts: If you want help in monetizing your website with Chitika, you can always contact their optimization experts. They’ll help you choose the best ad format and suggest you the best ad placement for your website.

Bonus 2: Monthly Revenue Share: Not happy with how much you make each day from Chitika? Patience!! Along with daily earnings, Chitika also shares revenue at the end of each month with all it’s active publishers. This monthly revenue share has been increasing month after month for my account. This was the number one reason for me to stay with Chitika.

Things Chitika Can Improve
1. It’s better if Chitika brings image and rich media ads as well with these text ads.
2. Implements Asynchronous ad code, for faster loading ads.
3. Previously we had an option to opt for CPM backfill ads with-in our chitika account. I think it is a good idea to have it back. Google doesn’t like to serve adsense ads as backfill. And most of us don’t want to signup for another ad network for this purpose.

This is not a problem for those who want to show some banner of their own product, but again, not everyone has their own product and not all sites work for CPA or affiliate network model.

Small story Some years back I signed up for a ad network and as per revenue I felt like it was a good start. But later learnt that it was showing adult ads on my sites ๐Ÿ™ Once I myself saw such a horrible adult ad that I went ahead and deleted my account itself. I din’t even try withdrawing the balance I had in my account. I don’t want to earn with bad karma. My idea for earning is, provide value and get the value in return.

If you’re someone like me you would definitely love using Chitika. It’s such a peace of mind. It doesn’t serve such bad karma ads and it pays you for your good traffic.

4. They could even accept advertisers with smaller budget, that would help both small advertisers and small publishers. Implement bidding system, which makes sure publishers earn their best.

Levels: The default approval way is Silver, you may upgrade to Gold or lower to Bronze according to your websiteโ€™s ability.
Image and Rich Media Ads: Chitika by default enables to show Image and Rich Media Ads. You can disable it by visiting your profile page inside your chitika account.

Chitika Payments are timely. Minimum Earning Limits For Payment:
$10 for withdrawing via PayPal.
$50 for payment via Cheque.

Better late than never ..Give Chitika a try, in the right way: Signup for Chitika Today.

An Interview with Chitika(CHIH-tih-ka)

Founded in 2003, Chitika (pronounced CHIH-tih-ka), is a full-service on-line advertising network serving over 2 billion monthly impressions across more than 30,000 websites. For advertisers and media buyers, Chitika is a proven channel for targeting on-line consumers and qualified buyers. For all publishers, Chitika is an easy-to-use platform for earning daily ad revenue.

What does Chitika mean?
When Chitika co-founders, Venkat Kolluri and Alden DoRosario left Lycos in 2003 to start their own company, they sought a name that would suggest the speed with which its customers would be able to put up ads on their Web sites. Chitika, which means โ€œsnap of the fingersโ€ in Telugu (a South Indian language), captured this sentiment and Chitika Inc. was born. Chitika introduced its online-ads service in January, 2004.
Since the start of the company it has been mentioned in many of the mainstream media and has been one of the favorite for many “A” grade bloggers. We also use chitika, its been so great in terms of income generation so far. Haven’t seen us, using Chitika, that’s the secret of Chitika(premium) ads. They are invisible to direct visitors!

Ok, without much delay, here we present you the interview that we did with Ryan Travis Director of Client Services
Chitika, Inc.

1. We are very much curious about all the guys behind Chitika, and we want to have a look at your office. If you have any video or photographs(of your employees and office) then please share it with our readers.

Ah – sorry – I don’t have any pictures other than what you can see on our family page!

2. Do you read blogs? If yes, then which are your favorite blogs?

Yes I definitely do read blogs. For keeping up with business, I love to read ProBlogger, TechCrunch, ShoeMoney, and many others. For pleasure, I read (great for news), Stereogum, N4G, and lots of other sites (I’m a big music and video games nerd!).

3. We know that Chitika was started in 2003. So its not that old, so how could you manage to get the exposure? What do you think, was a stepping stone for Chitika?

Well our first major step was actually somewhat of an accident. Darren Rowse (ProBlogger) came across our ads and began using them, and they worked really well on his sites. He ended up writing a very positive review on the performance, and we really got a lot of exposure from that.

More recently, our Chitika | Premium ads have taken us to an even bigger audience. Our original eMiniMalls ads worked great only for sites about products, but now our new Chitika | Premium ads are doing fantastic on all types of sites (finance, travel, etc. – and don’t worry – they still work great on product sites too!).

4. How do you define success?

Heh.. that is a good question! I would define success as meeting or exceeding the goals that you have set (or that are set for you).

5. What are the mistakes you see your publishers and advertisers are making, in using Chitika

Well I am on the Publisher side so I can only speak for publishers – but the biggest mistake that I see constantly is placement. Publishers will often put our ads in placements that are just not good at all, and then they get upset when they don’t get any clicks on the ads. It is very frustrating! We try to fix this by sending out emails and creating pages to educate the publishers, and by putting up placement guides like this one.

6. What repels you the most from a blog/website(animation at your face advertising etc) ?

Yes – extremely animated ads (“shoot the monkey”, etc.), and especially ads with sound. I really hate hearing “Congratulations, you have won a free iPod!”.. that drives me crazy!

7. What are the new year resolutions for Chitika?

In 2008, we surpassed in monthly search-targeted ads served. The next largest provider is Microsoft, and in 2009, we want to surpass them too.

8. How is Chitika differ from other ad networks?

We do a lot of things differently from other ad networks, but I would say that the main difference is in how we target and display our ads. With Chitika | Premium ads, we will only display to search engine traffic, and we will target the ads to what the user was searching for.

This allows us to show extremely relevant ads, and gives the users a good experience. Regular readers who come to your site directly will not see the ads at all – which makes them happy and keeps them coming back.

9. What inspired the idea of targeting the search engine visitors ?

The basic idea is this: better targeted ads means more money – for both publishers and advertisers. If we can target the ads to what people are searching for, then that is really a win-win situation for everyone involved.

10. We see you in twitter, helping your publishers in all possible manner. How do you manage your time?

Ha – terribly! That is something that I am really trying to improve on. It is hard to find a balance between helping everyone out individually, and forming higher-level plans of projects and different items I want to do. I’m still trying to figure out the correct mix, but I feel that it is extremely important to get out there and interact with our customers, no matter what size their sites are.

11. How big or how small is Chitika, as a company?

We are medium-sized. You can see some of us on our “Family” page – that shows the people who have been here the longest. Also – we are currently hiring for several new positions.

12. What all features are in your to do list of Chitika?

Too many! If I list them all here, I might take up all the space on your server ๐Ÿ˜‰

13. If you knew what you know now when you first started Chitika, whats the one biggest tip you would give yourself today?

Do crazy stuff. I think that we all tend to get a little caught up in our worlds of trying to meet our numbers goals, and we get scared to try new/wild ideas. I have found that some of our most successful projects were the “crazy” ones.

14. Strategies used to promot Chitika ?

Lots – but mainly we rely on word-of-mouth. If we do a great job at helping publishers make money, then they will talk about it.

15. Your advice for all chitika publishers/advertisers to make the most out of chitika.

Try new things, and track them by using channels. It is amazing how much improvement you can make by just testing out little changes, like placement, link colors, etc. You should try a lot of different ideas, and see which ones work best. Check out the Chitika Blog for tips on where to place ads, and different ways to customize them.

16. Please tell something, that you would like all your advertisers/publishers/ and others to know about Chitika

Our ads work best when used together on the same page with AdSense – we are meant to be used as a compliment for AdSense, rather than a replacement. Our most successful publishers use both together.

Hope you enjoyed the interview. Ryan is really helpful for all the publishers. If you are a Chitika publisher, then feel free to contact him, if you have any problem or if you need any suggestions. Thanks Ryan and Chitika for the interview.

If you have not yet tried Chitika, then please give it a try. Chitika premium really works like a charm on many sites. Signup for chitika. And please leave your valuable comments in the comment section.