I keep running into blogs claiming that Chitika is better than Adsense, that as soon as someone switched from Google Adsense to Chitika, their earnings doubled or tripled or some other such unsubstantiated claim.
What is important to note in all these claims is that as of today, September 22nd, 2009, Chitika offers referrers 10% of their referrals ad revenue for 15 months, while Adsense offers absolutely nothing, nada, zip, for referrals. What does that mean to you trying to be an educated Publisher looking for an Ad network to use on your site? Be skeptical of claims made by people who earn a referral fee. We should decide for oneself if Chitika is better or worse than Adsense by TESTING rather than taking some possibly biased webmaster’s opinion.
We’ve tried Chitika on a couple of pages on a site or two and so far have not been particularly impressed with the results, especially compared to Adsense. I can certainly see sites that have been Smart Priced by Adsense and getting in the $0.01 to $0.03 a click range doing better with Chitika, but if you are getting real Adsense clicks, I can not see Chitika beating Google in a head to head contest.
So we decided to do a little experiment. We’re taking one of our niche sites that deals in consumer products that receive traffic almost exclusively from search engines, with close to 92% of the traffic coming from search queries and the rest from direct links and returning visitors. Consumer type products is what many say Chitika is best at and seemed like a better choice than any of our other sites.
We will run one month of Chitika Premium Ads starting yesterday September 21st, two of their largest ad blocks per page, one at the top of each post right below the title bar and one at the bottom of each post, both for a full week. Then we switch to Adsense with two of their largest Text Block ads. The product on the site aren’t particularly seasonal, but the Christmas rush skews everything, so running one week of Chitika from September 21-September 27 then Adsense from September 28-October 4 then switching back again a couple of times running up to the week before Thanksgiving should be fairly equal. Same exact content, about 160 different articles pulling in around 4000 unique visitors for about 9000 page views per month. The content will continue to grow, but switching weeks will make sure it stays close to even. I don’t know enough about statistics to know if that will be a statistically significant sample, but it’s certainly better than nothing.
As I don’t think either Chitika or Adsense particularly likes anyone giving exact numbers from either of their programs, we’ll report the results in respect to each other as a ratio. For every $10 made with Chitika we earned $x with Adsense.
Yeah yeah, we could always use BOTH Chitika and Adsense side by side, but honestly there is a fine line between having a useful site with ads and one that is painfully over monetized. If Adsense is head and shoulders above Chitika or vice versa, you’d be better off maximize your exposure on the winner, right?