The Chitika Experiment Part II – tweaking the Chitika and Adsense ads

Two days into Chitika, and I was faced with some pretty discouraging results… Adsense was performing very much the same – quite surprising, as I expected a 50% drop. I was faced with perhaps a 10% drop. Chitika on the other hand was not performing… at all. That’s right, much to my surprise, there was 0 revenue. Yes there were ad impressions, and no, not one click.

Reasons? Well here are a few possibilities that went through my mind….

  • tacky-looking pages – admittedly, while a mixture of Adsense and Chitika mixes nicely on some pages, some make the page look like you just grafted part of a horse on to part of a dog.
  • poorly targeted Chitika ads – this I’m sure had some effect. Let’s be fair here… My sites are mainly ‘niche’ sites. Adsense being the behemoth it is, has ads for just about every niche. Chitika, having fewer advertisers, simply doesn’t. The sites advertised by Adsense are typically more suited to my viewers.
  • lack of blending with Chitika ads – If you will recall, in Part I, I wrote about how the little image that displays in Chitika always has a white background, which probably isn’t well suited to websites that don’t have white or very light backgrounds. This makes the ads stand out as ads, and also makes them a little harder to read. You typically want ads to blend in and be easy to read. This is just the opposite.

I expected to be waiting at least a couple of weeks before making changes, but zero is zero, and the chance of the click through rate increasing substantially was probably nil. After browsing through my pages, I decided to take the following steps:

  1. Make pages either Adsense-only, or Chitika-only.
  2. Pages that were picking up keywords with Adsense would go all-Adsense. Pages that were picking up the wrong keywords would go all-Chitika.
  3. Refine a few of the Chitika keywords.

Obviously the total impressions will be going down, but there are now a few things going for the site:

  • Pages with Chitika ads are Chitika-only. There is nothing to distract from those ads.
  • Having different pages using different ads helps to ‘mix things up’. This should make it more difficult for a viewer to become ‘blind’ to the ads, even if they might be in the same locations.
  • All pages now have relevant ads.

I believe I can make the following statement and apply it to niche websites: Good Adsense ads are better than Chitika ads. Chitika ads are better than poor Adsense ads. So where Adsense excels, it’s used. Where it doesn’t, Chitika’s somewhat-related ads are much better than the completely off-topic, google-read-one-keyword-wrong, totally unrelated Adsense ones. Whether this statement holds true to the end will be determined soon enough.

For now, I think it’s safe to say that both Chitika and Adsense are utilized to the best of their ability on my sites. All that remains is to wait and see what the results will be. Have all the efforts been worth it? Is the work paying off? Is the conclusion going to be Adsense + Chitika, or Adsense VS Chitika?

Stay tuned for Part III!