Chitika is an ad network and data analytics firm that pays per click with offices in India and the U.S. The ads Chitika shows are there because of the keywords the user used in the search engine to find your website aka they are search targeted. Ads from Chitika will not be displayed on the website if a user visits it directly by typing the website address into a browser. “Chitika” is a word from Telegu (South Indian) and translates to “snap of the fingers” which relates to how fast Chitika ads are displayed on websites.
Interface – 4/5
Chitika’s interface is quite well-organized, simple and easy to use but unfortunately does not offer much in terms of statistics but at least they are updated daily. However, Chitika channels let you know which ads are performing better than others. You are not assigned an ad representative and do have to set up everything yourself. This can be considered a good or bad thing depending on how much experience you have. There is the feature of live previews so you are able see how the ads look and feel before you finalize things. One negative thing is that the reporting isn’t completely comprehensive, you cannot see totals for each selected period; the totals are estimated from all of the items on your current page. It is nice though that the loading is quite fast.
Performance – 3/5
Chitika does get a lower fill rate, CPM and CPC rate compared to other ad networks. Also, they are better suited to traffic from Canada and the U.S. Basically, unless your website gets a lot of traffic from the US or Canada, it can be hard to make a lot of money from Chitika. The earnings per click are a bit low; your website will need a strong amount of traffic or a high CTR in order to earn a decent amount of money. Since Chitika’s ads are based on what’s typed into the search engine rather than from the site’s content, it can mean the ads being shown are not guaranteed to be relevant to the user which can lead to a low CPM. Chitika uses a unique algorithm to find out what the user searches for and then changes the ads displayed even when the ads and website content are not related.
Features – 4/5
Chitika is limited in terms of targeting since the ads they display on webpages are based on search queries. There are three types of ads offered: mobile, local and search targeted and there is the feature of being able to auto-resize mobile ads which makes it easier to monetize mobile traffic. There isn’t a lot of variety in terms of types of ads but the basic types of blocks ads are available. There is an opportunity to earn extra through their referral program. For every person you refer, you will earn 10% of what they will earn in the next year.
Service – 1.5/5
In terms of information, it is nice that Chitika’s website offers a lot of useful information and FAQ. There is also the option of emailing with questions, as with many generic email services getting a reply in a speedy manner can be tricky but when replies are received they are quite informative. As mentioned previously, you are not assigned an ad representative so you will have to rely on their email service to answer any questions you have. Also, the approval process can be a bit long as it can take up to 7 days but it is not hard to get approval. It doesn’t exactly give you the feeling of a customer service that is willing to go the extra mile.
Reliability – 3.5/5
The minimum payments are $50 by cheque or $10 by PayPal. It’s important to know to not click on ads on your own website since it can get your account disabled. Payments are monthly and run on a Net 30 schedule. Once you earn enough money to be paid, payments are released quickly and are never late. What kind of website you have can affect how much Chitika will suit you. Generally, technical or related niche websites earn lower revenues with Chitika than websites such as music, shopping, review or entertainment which tend to earn higher revenues with Chitika.
Overall – 3.25/5
Often Chitika is offered up as an alternative to Adsense due to its similar look, however, in reality, it pales in comparison. It is worth noting that Chitika does allow ads to be shown on the same webpage as Adsense units or alternative ad networks. Chitika ads are based on search queries while Adsense ads are based on contextual targeting and pick up relevant keywords from the webpage. Chitika is worth checking out, especially since you can use it with other ad networks but be aware that its performance can vary depending on what kind of website you have.
Update: Chitika seems to have closed their operations.