Future of Mobile Traffic and Advertising
The adult industry and many mainstream verticals have seen a massive shift away from direct affiliate marketing to large CPA networks and ad revenue-based business models.
Those trends along with the rapid rise of mobile are paving a new path to profitability that requires a deeper understanding of ad campaign tracking, real time machine learning algorithms, carrier regulations and emerging markets.
Fortunately, there are also a number of industry experts available to assist business owners migrating their own businesses away from stale marketing techniques toward a better ROI. Here is what the experts are saying about the future of mobile traffic and ads right now.
“The big trends affecting the mobile market these days are based on a couple key factors,” said Joey Gabra, managing director of Affil4you.com. “The development of underdeveloped countries that we refer to as ‘emerging territories’ because these countries contribute heavily to the growth of mobile traffic and to the way we strategize in terms of building products and implementing effective billing solutions.
“Another trend would be the increase in undesirable or fraudulent activity by other mobile service providers in the market today. Many other mobile service providers are practicing unacceptable methods of monetizing mobile traffic, which causes the mobile carriers and country regulators to react negatively. This type of inappropriate behavior affects the mobile market in ways that cause ethical businesses, including mine to end up paying the consequences and it definitely affects how we do business and how mobile traffic is handled generally.”
Ross of TrafficForce agreed that emerging markets are a game-changing element of mobile traffic development.
“The emergence of monetizable Chinese products for the adult market has freshened things up quite a bit recently,” Ross said. “Eighteen months ago ad networks couldn’t give their Chinese traffic away, a lot of tube sites actually limited page views for Chinese users or even more aggressively, blocked them completely.
“That has all changed, now that China is a viable revenue stream, and it is only getting bigger — especially in mobile where app companies are really not afraid to display their product to Chinese users. E.U. and North American mainstream companies are a bit awkward about accepting adult traffic, but Chinese companies don’t care. They see users for what they are, consumers.
“Regardless of whether a consumer hears about a good product on a mainstream site or a porn site, they are still a potential customer. Adult traffic is significantly cheaper than mainstream, and is often seen as the boost they need to get their site discovered.”
As to Gabra’s other point about the increase in fraud by some individuals, Alex Lecomte, a sales and marketing consultant for JuicyAds, added: “One of the big impacts on this market now is Google’s war against automatic mobile redirections to another page or an auto-download of a product. By penalizing many webmasters for using this aggressive marketing technique, the biggest search engine has significantly hit media buys and ad selling generally. That’s why mobile popunders and banners are now the most numerous ways to catch mobile users efficiently.”
“Beyond those factors, the mobile market is getting more and more segment orientated as well,” Ross said. “Product owners are building their brands to cater to very specific targeting instead of appealing to the masses. They are dialing into a very unique set of users, which is reaping rewards with higher revenue per customer. This is happening more and more and will continue to happen as the mobile market grows and consumers demand better products.”
While those trends are leading some traffic buyers toward greater profits, there are still far too many lagging behind and chasing stale goals.
“We are seeing a few overarching themes” explained Daniel Rand, CEO of Adult AdWorld and AdWorld Media. “First is that advertisers seem to want carrier targeting only. It seems that if programs could find offers that convert well on Wi-Fi traffic, they would find a lot of traffic at prices considerably lower than for carrier targeting. Second, is that advertisers are getting extremely granular with their niche buying. We’ll get people buying specific carriers in Malaysia, Android operating system, very specific browser targeting, and a specific IP range. A year ago, advertisers were buying much more general or generic campaigns.”
To that point it was surprising to the experts how often a formerly successful media buyer might cling to what used to work, rather than seeing from their own data what has stopped working or needs to be revised.
“Offers, campaigns, and creatives often go stale but I’m always surprised at how advertisers give up instead of trying multi-priced variations on their campaigns. We often have an advertiser run three of the same campaigns, just at different prices – high, medium, and low” Rand said. “Many advertisers just try the higher price and want to cancel when performance starts to lag. We encourage our advertisers to build multi-priced campaigns from the start to capture all of the traffic they can, at performance levels that work for them.”
Another interesting consensus is that, at least in mobile, there may be a lot of dollars being left on the table due to a need for improvements to mobile cams UI/UX.
“I think if the cams can find a way to provide a very good user experience on mobile devices, we’ll see even more dollars flowing through mobile as they can generally afford to pay more and command large budgets,” Rand said.
One of the things that may bolster the live cams sector was a less interactive form of online dating, which is now being corrected by dating site owners, along with renewed audience interest now that some of the saturation has worn off.
“Adult dating got a bit stale in Q4 of 2015, there are whispers of various reason for that, for which I won’t get into, but saturation played a huge part,” Ross said. “Dating is bouncing back in 2016 as new products come to the market with fresh outlooks. Sites such as wellhello.com are built to get the customers to interact with each other. Other companies are taking the longer approach to dating as well and building a community.
“Staleness is a product of poor marketing, fresh approach can always rejuvenate a product again, our industry has some of the most creative people doing that for their products and to date we aren’t seeing any vertical dying off. Cams are one area on mobile that is growing rapidly because the technology is getting better all the time and the cam companies are taking full advantage of that to open up their sites to a new audience.”
Getting beyond niche-specific trends, the more universal aspects of impending failure still come back to the shady practices of some that will eventually lead to heightened scrutiny for all.
“In my side of the industry, there are many who are still chasing the perfect one-click billing model … for mobile carrier billing,” Gabra said. “There are also people still chasing the old ways of delivering mobile offers and acting as if they are not regulated by the ‘big brother’ of mobile … the carriers.
“They need to reevaluate their strategies to avoid upsetting regulators so that the business doesn’t become increasingly difficult for everyone. If we all play on a level playing field then everyone has a better chance of succeeding. The alternative is the mobile carriers get pissed off and they cut all of us service providers off from their billing platform completely … then everyone loses.”
Instead of just saying what may or may not work today, there are also a number of important new releases that are helping to shape mobile traffic buying success.
For example, “We are very excited to have launched Khepri (Khepri.tech),” Gabra said. “Khepri is essentially the ultimate UX and A/B testing optimization tool in the market today. It can help you optimize all aspects of your business and process data with such incredible accuracy that you are sure to have all you need to make the best and most educated decisions possible for your business. This applies to everything from traffic, design, user behavior, development strategy, and everything in between.
“We have met with major companies like Sony, Starwood and GM … and Khepri has become an exciting addition to everyone’s optimization and A/B testing solutions. We have been offering it out for free to our friends in the adult industry for a limited time so that they can see how much of positive impact Khepri can have on their business” and early reports from XBIZ sources have been very encouraging.”
PC traffic from keyword searches is something that has become harder for adult companies to obtain since Google’s decision to sanitize many of their paid search ad results. Again, it’s an adult company taking action to start solving that situation for advertisers.
“Since 2005 we have always directly managed campaigns for our advertisers, but we just launched a new self-service ad buying platform for our advertisers at AdWorldMedia.com,” Rand said. “You can buy mobile and desktop traffic there and you will soon be able to buy pay-per-click keyword search and members area campaigns, as well.”
Even as the tools and platforms for mobile ad buying become more powerful, some of that benefit may also be offset by the increased willingness of other verticals to accept adult sources.
“Personally I see some more mainstream companies dipping their toes into the mobile ad buying world,” Lecomte said. “The sheer volume of available traffic is incredible, for them to ignore this as a viable base for customers is ignorant. Sure, not everyone wants to deal with porn companies, but dealing with ad networks isn’t the same thing. We all just want to do business and help our clients; mainstream companies are starting to feel the adult ad companies out and see if it is worth the risk.”
Traffic Force continues to pursue new markets and was willing to share a glimpse of just how large major ad networks are becoming.
“We are working hard as always, on all aspects of our company’s products,” Ross said. “We’ve recently launched a flagship VR paysite, which is performing very well, and it will lead to some other interesting products in the pipeline that we are excited for in Q3 of 2016. On the ad network side specifically, we have some great new optimization tools coming that will give users more advantages and help each bidder maximize their ROI.
“We are also actively integrating new publisher websites to our network and expect break through the 20 billion monthly ad impressions point in Q4 of this year with the addition of new sites and partners.”
With so much consumer volume, a wave of impressive optimization tools, a number of emerging markets and the insights of perhaps the most accessible cadre of experts available in any industry, can anyone really afford to overlook mobile traffic as part of their current business plan?