Mobile Adult Traffic Comes of Age

Alex Henderson

In September, the Hampshire, England-based market research firm Juniper Research released a new report forecasting the amount of revenue that will be generated in the mobile sector during this decade; according to Juniper, “ad spend on mobile web search will reach $12 billion per annum in five years’ time.” That $12 billion is triple the $4 billion figure that Juniper cited for 2012. Also, Juniper predicted that the number of mobile tablets in use will reach “672 million by 2017.” And Juniper’s figures are not only noteworthy for the mainstream business world — they are noteworthy for the adult entertainment industry as well. Mobile adult traffic has been increasing considerably in 2011 and 2012, but it appears that the biggest increases are yet to come.

“Over the last year, we have seen a lot of major online adult entertainment companies creating or acquiring mobile platforms as they start to realize that mobile can be monetized just as well, if not better, than web,” explained Neil Ives, operations director for Reporo. “At the moment, the volumes of mobile traffic versus web traffic are much smaller, but with smartphones and tablets becoming increasingly popular, we are expecting to see drastic traffic increases over the coming years.”

We will probably see the user base watching adult videos triple by 2015 on both smartphones and tablets. -Neil Ives, Reporo

Ives noted that “mobile adult subscriptions are expected to generate $1.5 billion in revenue in the next five years” and added, “We will probably see the user base watching adult videos triple by 2015 on both smartphones and tablets. With more than 40 million people watching adult videos by 2015 and the iPad having the biggest market share at the moment, a lot of adult content providers are working on ways to deliver their content to mobile devices.”

Ives estimated that “currently, 10-20 percent of adult site traffic is coming from mobile.” Asked what type of mobile/non-mobile balance adult traffic might have in 2014 or 2015, Ives responded: “It is hard to make a precise prediction, but we will probably see something like 40-50 percent of the adult traffic coming from mobile devices between now and 2015. The main reason for that is the increased percentage of smartphone adoption and the growth of the tablet market. We are expecting the Asia Pacific and European regions to account for over half of the global adult traffic.”

Adrien Fonzé, chief operating officer for Exoclick, is also quite bullish where adult mobile traffic is concerned. Fonzé asserted: “Five years ago, mobile was insignificant. A lot of people were saying that mobile was booming and that a lot of money was to be made, but that was not happening. It took several years before seeing that real boom and having mobile representing a significant part of the online business. In the last two years, things have accelerated — and anyone who is not in mobile yet should get on it fast.”

Fonzé added that while adult mobile traffic is growing in different parts of the world (including Europe, North America and Asia), there are some important regional trends that adult entertainment companies need to be aware of. Fonzé observed: “One of the biggest differences between the U.S. and Europe is the billing. Operators don't want to bill for porn in the U.S.; so the payment of choice is the credit card, which is not really the friendliest payment method to use on your mobile. In Europe, however, most countries allow adult products on their operator billing, with different rules for each. In general, 3G means ‘easy oneor two-click flows,’ and in Wi-Fi, usually the only thing that you have to do is to confirm with an SMS pin code or click. These payment methods are very efficient and generate very high conversion rates, which is perfect for impulse purchases like porn. Not to forget emerging countries such as Latin America, where very few people have a credit card but everyone has a mobile phone.”

Reto Moser of BrokerBabe.com said that as smartphone and tablet technology becomes increasingly sophisticated, the amount of mobile adult traffic will inevitably increase. “Once the mobile Internet browsers (become) more powerful, the mobile Internet traffic (becomes) even more attractive,” Moser explained. “Still, a lot of native application features are not yet available in the browsers as mobile web apps. But I am more than convinced that we will go through an incredible development in the next three years. Furthermore, the growth is not stoppable at all. There are no more old-school feature phones to be sold in the stores; everybody is buying smartphones, and this means the user group is still growing day by day.”

For adult webmasters who are looking to increase their mobile adult traffic, there is a definite learning curve — and Ives stressed that webmasters must have a thorough understanding of the differences between their mobile and non-mobile traffic. Asked to identify some of the biggest mistakes that webmasters can make where adult mobile traffic is concerned, Ives replied: “Treating mobile in the same way they treat Web. The acquisition and sale of mobile traffic is far more complex due to the vast number of connection types, mobile operators and handsets. The reason Reporo has become so successful and seen such high growth is because we understand mobile markets globally and how to overcome the challenges presented in the key mobile regions geographically. We would advise webmasters to concentrate on generating traffic in key regions on high converting devices. It’s really important for webmasters to make sure they monetize as much of their global traffic as possible rather than selling just to one party — e.g., splitting their traffic to maximize revenues in each region or country.”

Fonzé asserted that the days of adult webmasters being able to forget about mobile traffic and still remain profitable are over, and those who fail to maximize their mobile traffic do so at their own peril. “You can always optimize your applications for smartphones, tablets or featured phones,” Fonzé said. “You now have to take this part of your traffic seriously.”