Traffic Is Where it's at in the Mobile Market

Alex Henderson

On June 19, the British market research firm Juniper Research released the results of an in-depth report on mobile commerce. Juniper reported that by 2017, commerce transactions taking place on mobile/wireless devices will exceed $3.2 trillion — which is more than double the $1.5 trillion figure Juniper reported for 2013. And while Juniper is a firm that reports primarily on mainstream market trends, Juniper’s latest study has implications for the adult entertainment industry as well: the mobile/wireless sector continues to grow significantly, and adult companies that fail to maximize their mobile capabilities stand to miss out on a lot of potential profits.

Judy Shalom, senior sales manager for Affil4You.com, said that with mobile devices having become increasingly sophisticated, the competition among different mobile operating systems continues to be intense. “In the past half decade, the mobile adult traffic has grown exponentially, from rather slow devices using rather slow GPRS connections to the newest state-of-the-art hand-held devices using 4G,” Shalom observed. “Within all this evolution, the big players distinguished themselves quickly. Where Apple took a major chunk of the adult mobile traffic, iOS is only representing about 30 percent of the traffic generated these days. With Android growing its share of the cake — coming to around 50 percent — it looks like this trend will not stop soon. Android is getting more and more market share, being the preferable OS available on cheap smartphones.”

Although adult webmasters will need to maximize their mobile traffic if they want to stay competitive, it’s a mistake to think that non-mobile adult traffic will be disappearing altogether. -Judy Shalom, senior sales manager for Affil4You.com

Shalom continued: “Apart from the obvious mobile devices such as cellular phones, the tablet is definitely something that has made a huge impact out there. With iOS dominating in 2012 with 60 percent versus Android’s 40 percent, 2013 brought a major change with Android taking 56 percent market share and iOS dropping to not even 40 percent followed by Windows coming in at a modest 3.3 percent after showing 700 percent growth in the last year. This definitely shows what the current market trends are, and with the continuous climb of mobile traffic and the constant decrease in PC sales, these trends will continue for the years to come unless Apple will change their business strategy.”

Terry Jackson, CEO of the mobile-oriented Adultmoda, said that during the seven years Adultmoda has been in business, the quality of adult mobile traffic has improved considerably—and the quality of mobile devices is a major factor. “When we first started in 2006, the U.S. mobile traffic market barely existed,” Jackson noted. “Most traffic came from unbranded mobile sites with poor functionality, and (there were) few opportunities for selling products and services. Smartphones didn’t exist, nor did tablets. Back when we started Adultmoda, the content that was sold was restricted to subscription-based sales of images, text chat, and 10-second videos. How things have changed — and the launch of smartphones was the catalyst for change.”

Jackson added: “One of the biggest trends we are seeing is that as tablets and smartphones are becoming more widely available, the content users can access becomes much more like the content they are used to consuming on the desktop Web—full HD movies, live 1-2-1 cams, etc. Interactivity on mobile devices is becoming commonplace. We can also run rich media ads, so webmasters can run really exciting interactive ads that tie in nicely with the service they are promoting.”

Luís Martínez-Agulló, CEO and cofounder of the Albacete, Spain-based Coolmobile, said that adult webmasters who want to maximize their mobile traffic are having to be both multi-device and multi-operating system in their thinking. “Fragmentation is the key,” Martínez-Agulló stressed. “If a webmaster wants to be competitive, he must (have) the best conversion, depending on parameters like OS, devices, Wi-Fi or 3G. There is always a good solution for every one of them, but not a unique solution for all of them.”

Andy Wullmer, CEO of the Bremen, Germany-based adult mobile affiliate program SexGoesMobile.com, pointed out that in developing and emerging countries, the majority of adult traffic is now mobile. “In emerging markets, customers don’t have so much access to landline Internet like in the Western countries,” Wullmer explained. “So in emerging markets, the percentage of mobile users to landline users is really higher.”

Wullmer was asked: in the future, roughly what percentage of adult traffic will be mobile — and what percentage will be non-mobile? Wullmer responded: “This depends on the countries. In the Western world, I would say up to 50 percent. In emerging markets, up to 70 percent. And if you live far away from any civilization, it will be nearly 100 percent.”

Jackson said that although smartphone and tablet penetration continues to grow in many countries, feature phones are still widely used. Jackson noted that in May, Adultmoda’s “global breakdown by device class” was 82 percent feature phone, 16 percent smartphone and 2 percent tablet. And in the U.S., Jackson said, Adultmoda’s breakdown for May was 53 percent feature phone, 39 percent smartphone and 8 percent tablet.

Shalom said that although adult webmasters will need to maximize their mobile traffic if they want to stay competitive, it’s a mistake to think that non-mobile adult traffic will be disappearing altogether. “As the mobile market is still growing and more and more markets will open up, the percentage of mobile adult traffic will also increase, while the non-mobile percentage will, of course, decrease,” Shalom asserted. “It, however, will never fully take over the entire market, since there are inherent limitations to the mobile devices — limitations that non-mobile devices do not have.”

Shalom, however, was quick to add: “At the end of 2012, there were 5.2 billion mobile subscriptions in the developed world. With that said, I do think that the adult landscape will follow the mobile trend, since mobile has become a big part of our daily life.”