Chitika eMiniMalls Guide
I’ve been testing the new [still in Beta] Chitika eMiniMalls banner ad system and the results have been pretty good so far. I wouldn’t call them a serious threat to Google’s Adsense, but the real beauty of these ads is that, if you configure them correctly, they can be used on the same page as Adsense.
Let’s dive in to the benefits.
#1. They have an affiliate program, so this link [Chitika Affiliate Program] and the others on this page are affiliate links. The payout is equal to 10% of the ad revenue for a year. The payout is paid from Chitika’s share, so you don’t lose anything by registering through an affiliate link. So the first bonus with these ads is the ability to earn revenue 2 ways. It would only take a couple of affiliates doing big clicks to generate a pretty good hunk of passive income.
#2. They look good. Many people, including me here, have written about the Adsense ‘hack’ of putting pictures next to Adsense ads asÂ way of drawing a reader’s attention to the ads and therefore increasing Click Through Rate. Well, eMiniMalls have the pictures built in!
#3 Like Adsense they can be customized to match the colors of your page and your links.
#4 They are dynamic and interactive. Here’s an image [not a live ad] to illustrate:
If this was a live ad as you moused over the tabs they would show different content. The search box is cool but unfortunately it is not allowed for use on the same page as Adsense. When you use the search, it actually retreives a different ad in the eMiniMall without leaving or refreshing the page. So users could do many searches and potentially click may ads without leaving your page.
#5 The last major benefit of these ads is that they are highly customizable.
Here’s some of the code from my ads to illustrate:
If you use them in stock form they are contextual, which is not allowed with Adsense, so you need to add a line of code to the ad to turn off that feature. It can be done in a couple different ways. By adding
ch_query = ‘Nikon Coolpix 8700′;
the eMiniMall wil only display ads for that product. In my code above I have implemented a version that allows you to target a range of products by specifying a list and then randomly chosing an item from the list to send as the query parameter.
var ch_queries = new Array('laptop', 'ipod', 'electronics', 'pc laptop', 'computer', 'magazine'); //list of products var ch_selected=Math.floor((Math.random()*ch_queries.length)); //chose a random one from list ch_query = ch_queries[ch_selected]; //submit the random choice
Besides turning off the contextual feature you must disable the search tab to comply with Adsense use. You can do that with this line:
ch_nosearch = 1;
The ch_client line is the name of the account that you sign up with, it is just Chitika’s way of tracking which client is serving the ads, since, like Adsense, you can have one account and place the ads on any number of websites [as long as they all comply with the terms and conditions].
The last feature that I want to point out is the channels. Now they are not officially supported yet, which means that you don’t get any data yet, but when the stats kick in [soon we're told] the ability to have any number of custom defined channels will be really great.
ch_sid = 'SmartMoneyDaily';
This line tells them my code for this ad. Now I could ad another section that indicates which section of my page the ad is placed on. This kind of detailed reporting is very useful when you are testing ad placements and other parameters like colors, size and query targeting.
Overall, I’m beginning to really warm up to these ads. The biggest tip I can offer is to really have them targetted to the page content. For example, if you have a site about cars, resist the urge to make the query ‘cars’ and put the same code on every page. Make the query ‘Mazda RX8′ on the Mazda RX8 page and so on. I’ve had a noticeble jump in dollars per click and revenue by fine tuning the ads to the specific keywords of the host page.
The other thing you will want to do is go to the Live demo on the Chitika homepage and use the search box in the ad to find the keywords that you want to use in your queries. This way you can make sure you are getting good ads before you put them on your site. They don’t have ads for everything, mostly products, so if you have a site about Home Loans, you’ll be out of luck, but if you target pretty much anything that is sold on Amazon, you should find a good match.
So if you have a site, you may want to give these ads a try. They are a fresh and original approach to the banner ad. At the very least they offer a little bit of original dynamic content on your pages and with a little experimentation they can provide a nice supplement to Adsense. Think of it this way, you can add them to your existing pages and instantly you have 2 revenue streams on the page rather than one. Works for me, more money not much new effort!