How much money can you make serving Chitika ads on your site? Pretty much none. Seriously, Chitika has to be one of the worst major ad platforms for publishers out there in terms of payouts. In point, you run their ads, send traffic to their clients, and you receive pennies — literally — in return.
What is Chitika?
Chitika is a search-targeted advertising network that mainly works around a pay per click system. They are one of the biggest and most popular ad serving networks out there, and have even had big names in blogging like Darren Rowse promoting their service.
My experience serving Chitika ads
I’ve used Chitika ads at various points over the past three years, and I know that if they are well placed they do generate a respectable click through rate (percentage of ad impressions that lead to clicks). The problem with Chitika is that they pay their publishers ridiculously low rates. I’ve found that I make roughly 1.4 cents per click on average, which is more than 30 times lower than what I make with other pay per click advertising networks. In point, I’ve found that Chitika ads are not worth losing visitors to.
There are three levels of publishers in the Chitika network: gold, silver, and bronze. Gold tier publishers get a higher PPC payout than silver, and silver gets paid more than bronze. I was in the silver level throughout my time in the program. I applied for admittance into the gold tier but never heard anything back from Chitika about it, and eventually I gave up waiting. To gauge the traffic ballpark I play in, my main site brings in over 80,000 visitors per month and my network over 90,000.
Below is a table which shows my stats for the final week I ran Chitika ads on www.VagabondJourney.com and across the Vagabond Network:
|Dec 30, 2012||4,706||12||0.26%||$0.04||$0.17|
|Dec 29, 2012||4,715||15||0.32%||$0.04||$0.20|
|Dec 28, 2012||4,820||12||0.25%||$0.04||$0.18|
|Dec 27, 2012||4,800||12||0.25%||$0.03||$0.15|
|Dec 26, 2012||4,163||5||0.12%||$0.02||$0.07|
|Dec 25, 2012||3,929||15||0.38%||$0.05||$0.19|
|Dec 24, 2012||4,041||15||0.37%||$0.05||$0.19|
|Dec 23, 2012||3,697||12||0.32%||$0.04||$0.16|
As you can see above, I was sending away over 90 clicks per week to Chitika’s clients for pretty much no money at all. 98 clicks for $1.30 = a horrible advertising program.
I then became curious how many clicks and traffic I would need to generate in order to make a respectable amount of money with Chitika, and the results were laughable.
Using the stats above as a basis, in order to make a measly $100 with Chitika I would need to generate 7,140 clicks. How much traffic would be needed for this amount of clicks? Using the click through rate above, I would need to show Chitika ads 2,540,200 times for a hundred bucks. This pretty much means that if I ran these ads on all of the pages of the Vagabond Network for an entire year I would make roughly $150.
These are insanely low payouts in a market where respectable ad networks pay between 30 and 70 cents per click. To put it simply, 1.4 cents isn’t worth having a visitor leave my site. Chitika ads have now been removed from the Vagabond Network. Our advice is to stay away from this under performing advertising platform.