Chitika Ads Network Review
Introduction to Chitika
Chitika is a display advertising network that can serve as either a complement or alternative to other display ad networks, such as Google AdSense. They offer three distinct types of advertising: display/text ad units, list units (similar to AdSense’s link units), and mobile ads. Setup and implementation is simple, but performance is not up to par with more reputable networks such as AdSense or Media.net.
- What We Like: Easy implementation, customized color scheme and placements, low payout threshold, great tech support.
- What We Don’t Like: Weak ad relevancy, low performance, low earnings.
Chitika Company Stats
Chitika Support & Contact Information
- Address: 1800 West Park Dr Ste 300, Westborough MA 01581
- Phone Number: 508-449-3870FREE
- Support Email: [email protected]
- Publisher Terms:http://chitika.com/publishers/terms_conditions
- Traffic Minimum: None.
- Publisher Language Requirement: The Paid Listings code may be placed on pages with content primarily in English. Paid Listings must not be displayed on any page with content primarily in an unsupported language, without prior written consent from Chitika.
- Prohibited Publisher Content: Excessive profanity; illicit drugs; pornography; gambling; hacking/cracking; excessive advertising and/or incentives; excessive pop-ups or pop-unders; sale of alcohol, counterfeit/stolen items, prescription drugs, tobacco, body parts/fluids, hazardous substances, weaponry, explosives, ammunition, or fireworks; potentially offensive propaganda; hate, violence, or racial intolerance; deceptive or manipulative content or construction to improve the site’s search engine ranking; any other illegal content; content targeted at children under the age of 13.
Advertisers & Offers
- Advertising Types: Display, In-Line Text.
- Offer Types: CPC.
- Verticals: All.
- Network Size: Unknown.
- Sampling of Publishers: Unknown.
Chitika Tech Implementation Rating: 1 out of 5.
- Display Ad Unit Sizes Available: 550×250, 500×250, 728×90, 120×600, 160×600, 468×250, 468×180, 468×120, 468×90, 468×60, 550×120, 550×90, 450×90, 430×90, 400×90, 300×250, 300×150, 300×125, 300×70, 250×250, 200×200, 160×160, 336×280, 336×160, 334×100.
- Compatible with Google AdSense: Yes, as long as ad units are not styled to look like AdSense units.
- Mobile Ad Units Available: Yes.
- WordPress Plugin Available: Yes.
Publisher Reporting & Admin Control Panel
Chitika Publisher Reporting & Admin Control Panel Rating: 4 out of 5.
- Control Panel: The Chitika control panel offers top navigation to Dashboard, Reports, Ad Setup, Domains & Apps, Account, and Support, making navigation simple and straightforward. The dashboard features a 7-day Quick Earnings Report that displays impressions, clicks, CTR, CPM, and revenue across all channels. An earnings summary at the top quickly shows the current month’s revenue, all-time payments to date, and the date and amount of the last payment. Perhaps the most useful feature is the Saved Reports section on the dashboard, which displays links to user-customized reports.
- Reporting: Reporting is one of Chitika’s strong suits. Publishers have the ability to create custom reports for any date range and group the results by date, month, channel, or channel & date. In addition, publishers have the option to create “Saved Reports” that are frequently accessed, and quickly navigate to them directly from the home dashboard. For example, a Saved Report such as 30-Day Trailing on XYZ.com might be handy, and it’s nice to only have to spend time to create and save it once.
- Control Panel URL: https://publishers.chitika.com/dashboard
Chitika Payment Rating: 4 out of 5.
- Publisher’s Share of Revenue: Not disclosed.
- Payment Methods Available: Check, PayPal.
- Payment Terms: Net-30.
- Minimum Payout Threshold: $10.
Chitika Account Help Rating: 4 out of 5.
- Knowledge Base URL: http://support.chitika.com/
- Personal Account Manager: No.
- Easy to Contact Support: Yes.
Chitika is one of the most popular ad networks that can be thought of as a way to either replace or supplement Google AdSense ads. They offer several different types of ad units, but the most popular are the traditional display/text ads and their in-text ads, which they have branded as Chitika Linx.
Like many AdSense alternatives available to small Web publishers, Chitika unfortunately has a shallow roster of advertisers from which to choose; thus, fill rate and ad relevancy is the biggest issue.
We consider Chitika to be a step above Kontera, but that isn’t saying much. Still, it’s worth giving Chitika a try, particularly if you’re merely trying to capture incremental revenue by supplementing AdSense.
Creating an ad unit appears simple at first: select “Code Creator” from the “Ad Setup” menu in the top navigation, then configure the settings for link, text, background, and border colors; unit format and size; channel; and username.
The ability to customize the colors and set a channel from this screen is a major plus. Click “Get Code”, and Chitika will output the HTML code you need to copy/paste into your website. Seems simple, but in our testing, we hit a snag at this point.
No Chitika ad units showed up for the first couple of days. We’re still not exactly sure what the hangup was, but be prepared to sit through a 24- to 48-hour waiting period before seeing live ads on your site. Their support indicates that this may be due to caching and cookies, which would normally be a good explanation. But in our case, we also noticed that Chitika was reporting 0 impressions on the days when our ad code had been added but no ads were displaying.
In any event, after a couple days of waiting, ads did start to go live and were displayed just fine on our test site. Once the ads did go live, ad relevancy was a big issue. The traditional display ads seem to show a lot of text ads for insurance, landscape lighting, and something called “Find Blog Top proprietary programs”. Clearly, that last one was a text ad generated dynamically on the fly; but the algorithm seems to be broken, due to the awkward and grammatically incorrect wording.
I’m not even sure what the ad is for. The other ads are fine grammatically, but are very much irrelevant. (Our test site is in the technology vertical; ads for IT solutions or Web hosting providers would be more apt for our users.) In additional to traditional display advertising, Chitika also offers Linx units, which are in-text units.
When this option is activated from the “Apps & Domains” section of the publisher admin control panel, certain text on the publisher’s Web page will appear in blue with a dotted underline. When the user hovers over these highlighted words or phrases, a small ad unit will pop up above the text. In theory, this would be a relevant ad based on the context of the article and the highlighted word.
For instance, an article about gardening may contain the phrase “plant food”. If Chitika decides to monetize that particular phrase, it would appear as blue text with a dotted underline. When a user hovers over the phrase, an ad would appear for, say Miracle-Gro plant food. In practice, however, the keyword targeting and ad relevancy is actually quite poor.
On our test site about Internet technology, an article about Web-based software has several keyword phrases monetized by Chitika Linx, but the implementation leaves much to be desired. Two examples: 1) “desktop” is a targeted keyword, but the resulting ad that appears when hovering over the word is for a male enhancement product; 2) “backs up” (as in, “be sure to back up your work”) is another targeted keyword, but the resulting text ad has the following copy: “Find Backs Up near you. The Web’s Local Search Engine! Local.com”. Another dynamically-generated-on-the-fly ad gone wrong.
In addition to in-text and display ads, Chitika also offers list units (similar to Google AdSense’s link units) and mobile ads, which display only to users viewing on mobile devices such as a smart phone or tablet. As far as the publisher control panel and reporting is concerned, Chitika does a very good job in this regard.
Their publisher control panel is well laid out and easy to navigate. They offer fairly robust reporting, and as mentioned above, the ability to create saved reports to pull up at a later date is a very helpful feature for anyone who regularly checks revenue and click metrics.
Another area where Chitika shines is in payment terms; a Net-30 and the ability to receive payment via check or PayPal will be suitable for almost any Web publisher. (Also of importance: the $10 minimum payout threshold should be within reach for most publishers.) Account support at Chitika has been very good in our experience.
While they do not offer a dedicated personal account manager to most new publishers, but it’s easy enough to contact support, and in most cases a response comes very quickly. Additionally, they have a very extensive knowledge base.