How well do Chitika ads work? Interviews with Jeff Sable (Chitika) and Gail Bjork (Digicamhelp.com)

by Jason Preston on March 31, 2008

moneyEveryone knows what the holy grail of blogging is. You get 100,000 daily pageviews for writing three quick posts, and then you have your chauffeur drive you to the bank to deposit your ad revenue.

Everyone is also slowly realizing that this will only ever happen to Cory Doctorow.

The real question is this: for the average blogger, what are the revenue systems available, and how well do they work?

I recently had a chance to talk with Jeff Sable from Chitika, a blogger-centric ad network, and with Gail Bjork, owner of Digital Camera Help, which serves both Adsense and Chitika ads.

Here’s what they had to say about Chitika’s ad offerings, and how effective they were in comparison to other options.

With Jeff Sable from Chitika

BBS: According to your site, Chitika ads are “designed exclusively” for bloggers. How are they different from other CPC solutions?

Jeff: There are a couple of aspects of our ads that have allowed bloggers, as well as other types of publishers, to improve the content of their web sites while making great money. First, our ads feature targeted products. This means the blogger or publisher can focus on writing great and interesting content and Chitika’s technology will automatically serve a relevant product-centric ad to the end user who is reading the content. Second, our ads are designed to complement a web site and “fit” into the site without adversely affecting the relationship with the reader. Because of the combination of these particular attributes and other features of Chitika ads, bloggers in particular have found Chitika ads to excellent and Chitika to be a great partner as they build their businesses.

BBS: Everyone wants to know about monetization, and the word on the street seems to be that Chitika puts more money in the hands of bloggers. Do Chitika ads have an unusually high conversion rate, or do you think you just give a bigger cut of the revenue to the publisher?



Jeff: Every day thousands of diverse bloggers from all over the world choose to feature Chitika ads because we consistently help them generate great revenue. The reasons for this include the fact that Chitika ads feature targeted products, are available in many sizes, formats and types, represent thousands of blue chip advertisers in the US and twelve other countries. 
We are always striving to improve the performance of our ads for bloggers and publishers, as well as advertisers. I don’t know if Chitika ads have an “unusually high” conversion rate or if other advertising solutions are “unusually low”, but I do consistently hear that we outperform other solutions.



I don’t believe we give a “bigger cut” to the blogger or publisher. We are a profitable company and rather than “buy” traffic we will continue to “earn” traffic by providing the best in class solutions to help bloggers and publishers achieve their goals. We are building on a business that is already very healthy today and will be stronger in the future. Chitika has a unique history of industry leading developments and we will continue to invest our profits in new technologies and services that will provide great opportunities for our bloggers and publishers, as well as the advertisers who ultimately are paying for our services.

BBS: What is the most popular of your ad products with bloggers? eMiniMalls? RPU? – and why do you think that is?



Jeff: The largest revenue generators for our network are eMiniMalls, RPUs and Linx. While our other products are helping some of our publishers succeed, these three are the most important because they are deployable on almost any web site, whereas some of our other products are a bit more niche in their appeal.

BBS: A lot of your ad related services seem to focus on images rather than text. Online ads used to be image banners. Then they became, almost ubiquitously, text link ads. Do you think we’re swinging back to image-based ads again?



Jeff: The great things is, one type of ad will never be the only ad that’s “in”. There will always be need for image-based ads, text based and banner. Chitika supports all of these types of ads and more so that different publishers can benefit accordingly. We are actually just starting to roll out a great service called Chitika Graphic ads that combine all of these ads using just one ad space. It will display a CPC based eMiniMalls or a CPM graphic/banner ad depending on when it makes sense for the publisher: to earn more revenue. It’s intelligent, relevant and targeted, yes we’re excited about it.

We’ve also recently rolled out our fist video based ad unit (http://chitika.com/blog/chitika-launches-viral-branding-unit-to-bring-power-of-video-and-interactivity-to-advertisers/ ) earlier this year. As adoption increases, I’m excited to see how Chitika’s Viral Branding Unit (VBU) continues to perform. As the video advertising medium continues to grow in interest and acceptance, I know that we will deploy unique and further advanced solutions that are based upon our VBU, but will also leverage our core competencies.

With Gail Bjork from Digital Camera Help

BBS: It looks like you’re running both Google ads and Chitika on your site. Do you find that one system gives you significantly better returns than another?

Both Chitika and Google AdSense do well at digicamhelp.com. The overall returns between the two run often neck and neck. Currently, I have more AdSense ads running however I will be adding more Chitika ads, particularly Chitka’s Premium Related Product Units since they consistently generate the highest returns.

BBS: Was the Chitika system easy to set up? How is the client-facing UI?

Gail: The user interface is extremely easy to use: select the ad size, customize the colors and type in keywords or phrases. You can preview ads before copying the code. Implementing Chitika ads is straightforward: create and copy the code and paste it into the appropriate web or include page.

BBS: Chitika ads work differently than traditional CPC ads like Google. Do you find that you have to place them differently than Google ads to get good results? If you do, what do you think makes that difference?

Gail: Finding eMini Malls was a godsend for me. They are unique and attractive interactive Display Ads that I can customize with keywords so each ad matches page content.

It’s never wise to put all your eggs in one basket. Thankfully, Chitika gives me the option to select my own keywords, rather than be fed ads based on content. By doing this, I can run both Chitika and Google ads on the same page without violating any terms of service.

I’ve actually found that Chitka ads give good results where ever they are placed. Most of the eMini Malls are placed above the fold; the RPUs are placed at the end of articles.

BBS: Are you using multiple types of Chitika units (i.e. eMiniMalls + RPU, etc). If you are, do you find one to be a better fit than others?

Gail: I run Chitika eMiniMalls and the premium Related Product Units on the vast majority of pages in my site. As previously stated, Chitka’s premium Related Product Units give me the best return. In the near future, I plan to add ShopLinc. I will stop featuring the Amazon eStore, which is the worst performing affiliate program I’ve ever used.

Since my site is primarily educational, I don’t want site visitors to be overly distracted by ads (that’s why I run very few blinking and no pop-up ads). I want site visitors to have a pleasurable learning experience, and want pages to look pleasing and well-laid out. As a result, if a Chitika ad fills out a page better than a Google ad, or visa versa, I always give priority to what looks better rather than what may make a few more cents.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 The Chitika Blog » Blog Archive » For bloggers average to elite - Interview 04.04.08 at 12:58 pm

[...] Blog Business Summit put together a nice interview with Jeff Sable (Chitika) and Gail Bjork, Digicamhelp.com to find out how well Chitika ads work. It can be very helpful for bloggers of any stage, you can read some of the Q&A below or the whole interview here. [...]

2 Jeffmakepeace 04.16.08 at 4:37 am

Does Chitika works like Google adsense. I heard that from my friends. Some likes this and some not. I do not have any idea about this. First I will implement for my personal website then can say about this.

3 Professional Lab 06.28.08 at 7:43 am

I m always interested to know, how many people with having PR1 and Alexa 10k, earned with chitika. And how much? It will be great if chitika itself or you will post this.

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