The following post is a guest post by the nurse blogger:
The last few months I have been experimenting with Adsense and other ad programs (such as Chitika and Kontera) to see how it would affect blogging income.
For one experiment, I tried reducing the number of Adsense ads that displayed on the page. Unfortunately, this actually decreased my revenue, so I then changed it back, and my revenue bounced back.
I then made a decision to branch out and try using other revenue sources that were compatible with Google Adsense. So I decided to try a combination of Chitika, Adsense, and Kontera. So did I make more money? What were my results?
My Results of Using Kontera, Chitika, and Adsense on the Same Page
My results were that while all of the programs are great, it actually again reduced my overall income by using all 3 (or even 2), as opposed to Adsense alone. This was disappointing, because I assumed that by adding other advertising streams along with Google Adsense, it would result in a higher overall income.
In reality, it seems that some clicks were diverted to other lower paying programs, thus reducing overall income since Adsense pays higher revenues. In fact, there were actually some other big negatives about doing this:
- It made bookkeeping more frustrating. Rather than dealing with only 1 income source, I had to now manage 3. Nothing too hard, but nonetheless it was a little more frustrating having to reconcile the payment dates.
- My net revenue decreased
- It made my site appear as if it were getting to that point where it had “too much” advertising on it. This could have turned off some readers/visitors.
So considering all of this, I decided to default back to using Google Adsense only on all of my sites. Don’t get me wrong, I still like the other programs (such as Chitika and Kontera), it just didn’t increase my income as I had hoped, and actually decreased it a bit.
I want to “flesh out” this experience in a little more detail below, simply because I do notice a lot of webmasters out there who use all 3 programs (or at least a combination of 2). So here was my overall experience and “review” of each program.
Adding Chitika Premium and Kontera to Adsense Pages
I had only Adsense on my pages before, and my revenue was slowly increasing each month. However, I hoped to make a larger increase in my website revenue, to see how high I could get it.
Therefore, I made the decision to try more ad programs along with Adsense. I had read several forums and posts that by adding more ad programs, it can increase your overall revenue. So I gave it a shot.
Adding Chitika Premium Ads
I first added Chitika Premium to the Adsense pages. I have the pros and cons of Chitika below, but overall it was an okay program. The biggest frustration was that the clicks were quite a bit lower than Adsense clicks on several sites. I also didn’t like how it took a whole day for your earnings to update, and I also didn’t like how they audited your earnings later.
After about 2 weeks, I could notice a drop in total income, and this got me a bit worried. I didn’t want to have my income dropping, I wanted it to go up! But I gave it a little more time, and then added Kontera “in text” ads.
My Experience with Kontera In Text Ads
Kontera was also easy to setup and install on the site. I was eager to slap on Kontera to see if it would increase my earnings too. Unfortunately, it didn’t. While it is a great program and certainly has its place in online advertising, it just didn’t seem to fit with my own individual business plan.
It had very very low clicks (approximately $0.01-0.03). While some people argue that Kontera doesn’t reduce your Adsense earnings, I couldn’t help feel that it was doing exactly that.
Again, Kontera definitely has its place on the web, and perhaps some people will find that it works perfectly with their revenue mix. However, it just didn’t earn enough to justify keeping it on my sites for now.
The End Result of My Ad Revenue Experiment:
So after about 1 month of adding Chitika and then Kontera to my site in addition to Adsense, I decided to scrap both Chitika and Kontera. The month before I added them, I had set a record in my individual Adsense earnings. After adding them back, they decreased my monthly earnings by about $30.
So I removed both of them, and only placed Adsense on my pages. Not only did my revenue go right back up, but I set another record the next full month. And my pages loaded faster with less ads, the bookkeeping was easier (only 1 revenue source), and I had real-time stats!
So I feel very comfortable using Adsense only at this point. It has proved to earn more money than by using other programs. I felt like all of the clicks that went to Chitika or Kontera could have earned much more if they were diverted to Adsense instead.
So the moral of the story is that I am glad I gave them a shot, but Adsense makes more “SENSE” right now.
With that being said, here is some more detailed information on my online revenue journey thus far with different ad companies:
My Review of Google Adsense Program Thus Far
I have now used the Google Adsense program for the past 3 years, and by far it is the most superior program I have used. I say this because of the following:
- They have excellent customer support if you ever need to ask a question
- Adsense tends to earn higher revenues than other programs
- Adsense attracts more advertisers through the Adwords program. It also helps that Google has the best search engine online as well.
- They have real-time stats you can check to monitor your progress (which I tend to do 100 times per day)
- They have on-time and regular payments (as long as your earnings are past their required threshold)
- Newer ways to customize ad settings (colors, text, etc.)
- Direct deposit, and more
As far as the “cons” to Adsense, I really can’t name too many. Sometimes the ads will not match well with the content, but that is just the way contextual advertising works.
Sometimes a public service ad may show instead of a paying ad as well. They also have a payment threshold of $100, but that doesn’t really hasn’t affected me in the past couple of years. But that is really the only downside I have experienced thus far, and I am very happy with Adsense and it is my favorite program in every way thus far.
My Review of Chitika Premium Ads Thus Far:
As I mentioned above, Adsense was my first and only ad program I used on my sites to generate revenue. I eventually wanted to experiment and add new programs. Chitika premium was the next program I tried.
I used Chitika right along with Adsense on the same pages (but always make sure it is allowed in their TOS before you try this). The things I liked about Chitika was:
- They payed via Paypal
- They had a lower payment threshold (about $10 which I liked a lot).
- It was easy to register and my site(s) were approved immediately.
- It was easy to setup and implement the ads.
What I didn’t like so much about Chitika Premium was:
- It seemed to pay much less than Adsense (especially on certain sites)
- The ads only displayed when search engine referral happened (they aren’t visible to type in traffic)
- Their stats are not “real-time” like Adsense. It can take a day or more for them to update.
- They even “audit” their earnings which mean a month later they may take some of your revenue away from your account if they decide that it was an invalid click or something. I think they took out a couple of dollars which isn’t a big deal, but it just seems unprofessional and somewhat behind the times of technology.
Overall, Chitika seems like a good company, and I would certainly consider using them in the future. However, I did make the decision to take their ads off my sites for the time being, as it made my overall revenue higher.
Adsense is of course the number 1 earner, but Chitika was second. Also, Chitika does have other programs besides their premium ads, and I did NOT try those (since they weren’t compatible with Adsense). So I cannot comment on those ads.
Overall, I would absolutely use them again, but at this point it just wasn’t profitable enough to continue to use them.
My Review of Kontera In Text Underlined Ads
Kontera is also a great company, but once again I did see a couple of small problems, and overall didn’t enjoy the experience. First, here are the things I liked about Kontera:
- They had a professional site, and they seemed really friendly and professional when customer support was required.
- It was really quick to get my first site approved for the Kontera program
- They are compatible with most other advertising programs (such as Adsense), which is good.
- They too pay via Paypal (if I recall correctly)
What I didn’t like about Kontera:
- The ads seem “annoying” on the page. A lot of bloggers don’t like them because some readers get fussy about in-text ads. I have to admit that I think they do distract from the overall site in many cases.
- It took a while for the ads to load many times. I tested a few pages, and sometimes would take as long as 10-15 seconds or more just to underline the words. Adsense is usually instant in comparison.
- They have a very high payout, and very low pay per click. Like Adsense, they too require $100 before they pay you. The only difference is that Adsense pays a whole lot more per click on average, so it isn’t that hard to make $100 per month. Kontera is a different story, even for sites that get reasonable traffic.
- You can only allow 1 site at a time to use Kontera’s code. This was quite frustrating. You can only insert the Kontera code in one site after you register. You can add other sites, but you have to manually email the URL of each individual site you want to add to their support team. This is a MAJOR frustration for people with multiple sites. I dare say that anyone even seeking to put ads on a site probably has more than 1, so I have no idea why Kontera requires this, when almost no other ad company does. I hope they fix that soon. I did email them to add other sites, and it took about 1 week (even though they say it takes about 1 day). Unfortunately, adding the extra sites didn’t help the income much.
- The cost per click was very low. It almost always averages $0.03 or less. Out of all 3 ad types, this was the lowest. I hoped that by applying Kontera to all of my sites it would boost earnings, however, I still averaged less than $1 per day on all of my sites with Kontera (which all receive decent traffic).
- I had trouble inserting Kontera code into my forum. I have a forum on one site that is SMF (Simple Machines Forum), and I could not get this code to work, despite inserting it into an ad plugin, into the actual footer, into the actual page, and more. I am sure there is a hack, but you need to be good with programming to do it/create it. I can use Adsense and Chitika with no problems, but no so with Kontera on the forum.
Again, I don’t want to seem as if there is no use for Kontera. It is a great program for some people, and it may even work for you without decreasing your Adsense earnings. They seem like a nice company, with nice workers too. But in my own experiment, it just wasn’t profitable enough to justify placing it on my sites.
I would definitely consider using them again, but I just don’t have anything that seems to fit with it at the moment. I have heard it can be good on forums, but again, it just wouldn’t work with SMF without being a programmer.
Conclusion: Adsense Alone, or Use Kontera and Chitika?
I always strongly recommend that each website/blog owner experiment with their own ad revenue programs to find the perfect combination. In my own experiment, I actually earned more just by using Adsense alone.
While it seemed logical that by using additional advertising programs I might increase revenue, the opposite was actually true. Maximizing Adsense alone seems to be more profitable than adding additional ad pay-per-click programs.
Therefore my current strategy is simple: Do my best to create great content, and work on building traffic and regular visitors. I think this is the best thing anyone online can do if they want their site to be successful.
Do you go and pay money for mediocre food? What about a mediocre movie? You probably don’t. So if you want people to visit your site, write great and unique content, or do something to provide some value. That is my new philosophy…try and make great content with each article that provides either a solution to a problem, entertainment, or some other useful benefit.