The Great Mobile Migration Continues

Q. Boyer

In a virtually limitless number of business contexts, it has often been said that it doesn’t matter how great one’s product is if nobody else ever sees it. Nowhere is this axiom more obviously true than in the online sector of the adult entertainment industry, where it is far preferable to have an average but highly-visible website than an excellent but entirely unknown one. Many insist that “content is king,” but without traffic, the king has no subjects over which to rule — and no revenue with which to fill his imperial coffers.

Of course, generating traffic is easier on paper than it is in reality; many a high-quality website has died on the vine over the years, unable to break through the noise of the congested adult entertainment market to establish a foothold of solid consumer mindshare.

The gap between desktop and mobile growth is getting wider every month. -Geoffrey Bonnechère, the chief business development officer for ExoClick.

Increasingly, adult site operators look to traffic brokers and advertising networks to augment and supplement their organic traffic-building efforts with paid ad campaigns, seeking a quicker path to the traffic volume they know is necessary to establish and maintain ongoing commercial viability.

When buying traffic, particularly as a new and inexperienced buyer, it is important to identify and understand trends in the market, especially any fluctuations or developments rapid enough that they can quickly render once-profitable approaches utterly worthless, or open up new opportunities and revenue streams in unexpected areas.

According to the experts queried by XBIZ, in the current market for purchased traffic, the single most significant and clear trend should come as no surprise to anyone: the ongoing migration on the part of consumers from ‘fixed’ to mobile browsing and content consumption.

“During the past six months, desktop traffic increased by 8 percent while mobile traffic grew by 24 percent,” Geoffrey Bonnechère, the chief business development officer for ExoClick, told XBIZ. “The gap between desktop and mobile growth is getting wider every month.”

Jimmy “Wizzo” Foreman of Juicy Ads concurred with Bonnechère, noting that the increase in mobile traffic is “across the board — all geos (geographic areas), all types of sites, and all niches.”

“We also see from the advertiser side much more focus on different types of mobile traffic and wanting to target specific devices or types of mobile traffic,” Foreman said. “I think sites that don’t have a plan for mobile traffic will quickly find themselves at a great disadvantage to those who are embracing it.”

Bonnechère added that while projections vary from one analyst to the next, “we can assess that in the next four years, the share of mobile traffic will double.”

“These trends show why it’s very important for digital companies to invest heavily in mobile applications and mobile optimized websites — responsive design for instance,” Bonnechère said.

Among adult webmasters, particularly those who derive a substantial amount of their traffic from Google, another recent shift that has caught the collective attention of the industry has been changes to Google’s algorithm, and the often heart-wrenching changes in SERP that comes with those modifications. Interestingly, however, both Bonnechère and Foreman reported that such changes have not much impacted the ad publishers and distributors on their respective networks.

“We observed a small decrease in traffic from a few major sites but they all took the necessary measures to minimize the impact of Google,” Bonnechère said. “Now everything is back to normal.”

Foreman reported much the same, and observed that there have been winners as well as losers in each round of Google’s algorithmic alterations.

“Changes in Google’s algorithm always has some effect on publishers, for some a positive effect and some negative,” Foreman said. “I find those that offer quality sites tend to fare better in the Google dances — but they still can get bit sometimes.”

Ultimately, Bonnechère and Foreman agreed, effective traffic purchasing boils down to being willing to do your homework, and to understanding that in a dynamic and often volatile market, rapidly changing conditions dictate that you must constantly reexamine and refine your approach.

“Online advertising is a full time job and competition is getting tougher every month,” Bonnechère said. “It’s all about data acquisition. Make sure to target the right spots, to have enough creatives and landing pages to split test and a back office to analyze all the data acquired. Optimize your campaigns according to your eCPA, create list of sources that work for you and focus your attention on them. Also, never forget to look at what your competitors are doing.”

Managing one’s expectations is also important, Foreman said, adding that there’s no quick fix in the ad purchase game, and no mystical formula that is going to work in all situations for all buyers.

“The basic thing about buying traffic that some new buyers don’t realize is that it takes work; it’s not just some sort of magic money maker,” Foreman said. “It requires testing, different sources, different banners, different landing pages, etc. The people that have the most success in buying traffic are those who are constantly updating and testing.”

Bonnechère noted that while some general truths can be gleaned from looking at advertising performance in the aggregate — ad types like instant messengers produce high CTR, for example — there are so many variables involved that advertisers must drill deep into their data and its context in order to arrive at reliable conclusions.

With respect to CTR performance, for example, “obviously the position of the ad in the page (above or below the fold, left or right), the quality of the traffic as well as the number of ads on that page influence deeply the CTR,” Bonnechère observed.

The good news for advocates of the Content-is-King approach to the adult market is that their efforts to create excellent content and a high-quality user experience for consumers will be rewarded with solid sales conversions — provided that they can also master the art of optimizing their properties for the specific audience their ad campaigns have targeted.