Mobile technology plays an increasingly vital role in the adult entertainment industry, including online adult dating. And as the adult industry gets ready to enter the Summer of 2014, important mobile trends in the dating sector include more reliance on apps as a marketing tool, a variety of niche dating and fierce competition among the different mobile platforms.
Gary Taylor, vice president of North America for Global Personals’ WhiteLabelDating.com, said that the site’s mobile traffic now surpasses its non-mobile traffic.
Mobile is certainly at the forefront of everything we do now, it is giving users access to their dating site across times where they are not sitting in front of their PC or laptop. -Gary Taylor
“I think the most important trend that we’ve seen over the last six months is that mobile searches are now over 50 percent of all searches online,” Taylor observed. “Not only this, but we’re seeing 60 percent of our traffic — returning visitors who may have joined via a desktop or laptop device — coming from their mobile devices. I believe it’s due to using a personal service that nobody else has access to, which you can use in a discrete way. It’s continuing to grow, and I can’t see it stopping in the next 12-18 months as the functionality on mobile devices improves along with development tools and language tools.”
Convenience, according to Taylor, is a major reason for the popularity of smartphones among users of adult dating sites. Before the smartphone explosion, millions of daters believed that mobile devices were primarily for phone calls and preferred desktops or laptops for their online dating activity. But when a device fits neatly in one’s pocket and offers 24-hour Internet connectivity, online daters appreciate the convenience.
“Mobile is certainly at the forefront of everything we do now, ensuring the users have a consistent experience from the desktop across to their mobile device,” Taylor asserted. “It’s giving users access to their dating site across times where they’re not sitting in front of their PC or laptop, whether that’s during their daily commute or watching TV or in a bar with friends. The rise of mobile usage has dramatically increased the number of messages sent across sites powered on our White Label Dating service, which is ultimately driving happier, engaged members due to the level of member-to-member activity. We’re seeing online dating becoming more socially acceptable and see both sexes in a bar or at the pub, talking to their mates openly about meeting new people online — both for a date or for NSA fun.”
According to Master Dominus, founder of the BDSM-oriented, New York City-based KinkyDatingOnline.com, creating a user-friendly mobile app is now an essential marketing tool for adult dating sites.
“Google reported that there’s been a 400 percent increase in mobile traffic,” Dominus stressed. “When I look at my web logs, I see that a little less than half my traffic is mobile. And it’s growing. So if your website is not optimized for mobile, you’re losing half your traffic right there.
“Over and above that, every company on the web — including adult dating online companies — needs an app yesterday. That’s how important it is. And the reason I say that is because an app allows you to push your premium content to the end user in a way that’s socially acceptable.
“In order for them to even be viewing anything on your app, they have to have opted in and downloaded it. So there is a level of permission, and the end user will always let you know if you are serving up the wrong kind of content because they can always uninstall your app quickly.”
Another important trend to keep an eye on is niche-oriented mobile adult dating. Many adult dating sites have a very specific focus, whether it’s gay and lesbian dating, swinging, cougar/MILF dating or BDSM dating. And the convenience of smartphones encourages daters to explore specific niches whether they’re home or out and about.
Dominus pointed to financial domination as an example of a specific dating micro-niche that is faring well on mobile devices. “A lot of male subs, from what my female domme friends are telling me, are much more willing to shell out because of the video interaction that they’re getting with the domme,” Dominus explained. “Video is almost like being there. So the male subs can see their dommes’ expressions and hear them. Female dommes can use video to be with their subjects on a regular basis two or three times a day.”
The smartphone wars rage on in 2014, with Google’s Android, Apple’s iOS, Microsoft’s Windows Phone and other operating systems battling it out in the mobile market — and Taylor is finding that when it comes to online adult dating, platform preferences still vary from country to country. “The big difference we see (in different countries) is the devices that are being used,” Taylor noted. “For example, in the U.K., the iPhone is the most popular device to be used, whereas in the U.S., Androids are number one and growing in their share. IPhone users on dating sites tend to spend more money and have a higher lifetime value across all countries.”
Despite all the data showing how important mobile devices have become to the adult industry, Taylor finds that some adult dating sites still aren’t as mobile-friendly as they need to be—and those sites, he said, are going to be losing a lot of customers. “It’s amazing to see that some dating companies don’t even have a mobile-responsive website yet, and this is a key area right now,” Taylor emphasized.
“On top of this, it’s important to ensure that the site works across all types of mobile devices. All too often, I find bugs on mobile sites, which is really frustrating for the user.
“There are so many devices in the market now — it is difficult to support everything — but look at your key traffic sources and work your way down the list to ensure that you are catering for your core audience .... I believe that if you don’t have a good mobile product within the next 12 months, your business will be left behind in this fast-evolving industry.”