Mobile Traffic Patterns

Q. Boyer

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last several years, by now you know that mobile traffic has emerged as a crucial component of the revenue generation plan for online adult businesses, and the growth in mobile device use shows no sign of slowing down. In light of those facts, XBIZ recently picked the brains of key executives at major mobile firms Reporo, Exoclick and Wister (Affil4U) to get their take on the current trends in mobile traffic and the ways in which adult entrepreneurs can go about taking advantage of those trends.

One thing on which all three firms agree is that mobile traffic will only continue to grow in the months and years ahead.

The market share dedicated to mobile devices will increase significantly for the years to come, therefore we should now follow closely the customers buying behavior in order to meet their needs.

“Mobile now makes up 20 percent-plus of a site’s total profile of traffic,” said Andrew Turner, Global Sales Director for Reporo. “There are a number of studies and surveys that show this figure is likely to double again over the next 2 years or so as data plans and devices which can access the internet, become cheaper and more competitive.”

Manuel Henaut, Business Development Manager for Affil4U concurred, adding that pre-smartphone “legacy devices will soon disappear.”

“We are already seeing this pattern in the countries where we have traffic,” Henaut said, noting that 84 percent of the mobile traffic that Affil4U tracks comes from smartphones.

Within the general trend of increased smartphone usage, Exoclick’s Chief Innovation, Adrien Fonze, said that the Android OS has gained the most ground.

“Without any doubt, Android is the mobile OS that has the biggest increase in market share; it has literally exploded and is now the leader in its market,” Fonze said. “iOS obviously with the Apple products is still a huge winner, but in terms of market share, it can’t compete with Android which is open to many manufacturers while iOS is limited to Apple.”

Geographically speaking, the three firms cited a variety of countries as emerging markets, ranging from Latin America to the Far East, and seemingly all points in between.

“The reason these countries see decent volumes of mobile traffic is because creating a land-based infrastructure for the Internet via broadband in the home is difficult to roll out – not to mention in a price bracket out of reach for most people,” Turner said. “The carriers realize this and make data plans affordable.”

Not surprisingly, India and China are both showing massive growth in mobile usage. Matthieu Oldfied, Marketing Manager for Affil4U, noted that between 2005 and 2011, the number of mobile subscribers in India “almost doubled.” In China, the reported number of subscribers expanded from 850 million in 2010 to 980 million in 2011, and that figure could surpass 1.13 billion by the end of 2012, according to Digitimes Research.

So, given the sustained and substantial growth in mobile browsing and content consumption, where do the best opportunities lie for adult content distributors? Each company gave distinct, but complementary, advice.

Fonze counseled that site operators should “rely on data to make decisions” and emphasized the importance of using “appropriate billing solutions.”

“Going from credit card to mobile operator billing can multiply your conversion rate by 10,” Fonze said, adding that “if you want to be competitive and have a better product,” using the correct billing method is compulsory, not optional.

For its part, Reporo honed in on an area that the company sees as a “significant hole” in the adult mobile industry: the gay market.

“We’re changing that by bringing on gay market expert Rainey Stricklin and launching Reporo Gay in September,” Turner said. “We are committed to bringing the same level of service and quality to the gay market as we’ve brought to adult mobile in general.”

For companies making their first foray into the adult mobile market, Oldfield recommended a phased, step-by-step approach to mobile development targeting smartphones first, then tablet devices.

“You cannot do both at the same time because these are very different devices,” Oldfield said, adding that programs like Affil4U offer a means for companies to quickly without a large up-front investment. “On Affil4U, white label mobile sites can be built in less than 5 minutes with both hard and soft content (some carriers only accept softcore), especially with carrier subscription billing included.”

Another item on which all three companies agree is that the adult mobile market is likely to be a healthier market than its ‘fixed-web’ equivalent going forward, in large part due to the fact that the mobile market has yet to be as inundated with free content as the traditional online adult sector.

“It is rare to find real mobile sites with optimized content available for free,” Fonze noted. “That, coupled with one-click mobile billing solutions means that the conversion rates are much higher on mobile compared to web. A lot of adult companies and webmasters have understood that and while they might offer a lot of content for free on the web, it’s usually not the case on mobile. It’s a new solid revenue stream and it should keep going in that direction.”

Oldfield concurred, saying that the industry is “at the dawn of a real evolution in terms of mobile consumption.”

“The market share dedicated to mobile devices will increase significantly for the years to come,” Oldfield said. “Therefore we should now follow closely the customers buying behavior in order to meet their needs. Our business industry relies on the customers impulse buying behavior. Their decision making process is much faster on mobile, that is why adult mobile affiliate marketing has many opportunities to make great amounts of cash.”