Slicing Up Today’s Adult Traffic Pie

Stephen Yagielowicz

It is a simple enough assumption by merchants: more potential customers equals more sales — but in the topsy-turvy world of Internet marketing, things are rarely as simple as they seem.

Take for example the plight of adult website owners, who faced with declining conversion ratios (which they blame on a variety of external factors such as a glut of free porn, piracy and tube sites, economic malaise and the prejudices of Google, etc., etc., etc.), approach this drop in sales by trying to stuff more visitors through the door — but it’s not enough to focus on quantity, you must also offer quality — making getting the right visitors a top priority.

Remember that there is no “bad” traffic, but there is traffic that you cannot use yourself, except to sell or trade it for some you can use.

The changing face of the Internet is making this a much more difficult proposition, however, which is often complicated by a misunderstanding of the current audience and the marketplace.

Two of the most significant issues are the increasing globalization of the Internet, where the once U.S.- centric audience gave way to the rest of the world; and the supplanting of the desktop computer by mobile devices as the surfing platform of choice.

In the former case, according to Internet World Stats, there are around twice as many Internet users in Europe as there are in the U.S. and Canada combined — with Asia now boasting twice as many Internet users as Europe (or around four times the number of U.S. users).

While it’s true that new users come on to the Internet every day, they are likely to be from the developing world, where $29.95 price points are unrealistic and where consumers lack credit cards or other payment mechanisms. They are also arriving via a smartphone or tablet, so do not dismiss “mobile traffic” as something to ignore.

The reality of this situation is that the audience for a site is far greater than the market for it, and includes a huge percentage of people who do not have the legal ability to view your content, or the money or means of payment to actually purchase it.

Remember that there is no “bad” traffic, but there is traffic that you cannot use yourself, except to sell or trade it for some you can use. For example, a paysite owner is wasting time, money and other resources allowing visitors from regions his billing company doesn’t support, due to high fraud issues or other reasons. Compounding this situation is having to pay for this type of traffic, so filtering off “non-desirable” visitors to someone that can better monetize them, such as an ad broker or affiliate program, should be a basic part of your strategy.

Once you have your audience limited to your market, more traditional factors come into play.

One factor in separating the wheat from the chaff is how “free” is presented in the context of your marketing efforts. While no one can deny the consumer appeal and resulting traffic volumes enjoyed by sites offering free porn, this shortsighted approach has only allowed lazy marketers to train consumers that our product is not worth paying for. Thus, sites courting consumers that are only seeking free porn makes sales of that common commodity to this vast audience even harder.

It is a lesson that many pay-per-click (PPC) traffic buyers learn early on: few things can kill a campaign’s profitability more so than including the word “free” in your advertisements.

Having noted this, “free” has become porn’s own pyramid scheme; where tube and other free site owners strive to give away as much content as possible in order to generate traffic that they then hope to monetize by selling ad space — predominantly to folks trying to sell what these free sites are giving away — creating a vicious, self-cannibalizing circle.

Add to this the fickleness of fashion, which has driven significant swaths of consumers to seek out new online diversions — such as social media; which has led to audience stratification where casual porn consumers and consistent connoisseurs alike find a common middle ground between frequent porn users focusing on free sites and Internet users that rarely if ever seek out adult entertainment — but who may bite on an attractive offer they stumble upon.

It is this random stumbling that works in the marketer’s favor however, such as when veteran surfers click on what they know to be a banner or other ad because it pushes a particular “button” in them whether it be emotional, physical or whatever creates desire for what is being advertised.

Sure, the percentage of tube surfers that knowingly click on ads may be small, but using this marketing channel is a case of fishing where the fish are, even if they are not very hungry — because all you may need is more appealing bait — or a fish that has never seen a hook before.

With all of this in mind, casting your net beyond traditional adult traffic sources makes sense.

Other factors include optimizing your website — not necessarily in ways that you might consider to be traditional SEO, but by embracing the content discovery features of HTML 5; ensuring that your site is in valid compliance with W3C standards; and by maximizing its speed — three often overlooked items that influence search rankings and other traffic building realities, and which provide a clarion call for webmasters to address the basic foundation of their websites.

Remember, people (and search engines, directories and social sharers) don’t like broken sites or slow-loading porn, so take care of these issues before pursuing more visitors — and be careful of taking “short cuts” while you’re at it...

According to search engine marketer Jim Edwards, the intense desire to generate more clicks makes virtually every online entrepreneur easy prey to many of the traffic schemes and scams “that pervade the Internet like con men on a carnival midway,” and warns that promises of fast traffic and big bucks can separate even the savviest of business owners from his money, because they want to believe the empty promises made by dishonest traffic hucksters.

“Good traffic comes from people clicking links on topics targeted to their interests and getting directed to a website containing information they want and expect as a result of clicking the link,” Edwards adds. “That means the visitors come as a result of desire to find out more on a specific, niche topic, not as a result of ‘exit’ traffic or membership in a ‘safe’ list where members simply pitch each other in an incestuous spam-fest.”

Despite his caveats, Edwards notes that buying links is still the fastest way to get traffic to your website.

Fortunately there are a number of reputable sources for premium adult traffic, including firms such as Adamo Ads, Adult AdWorld, AdXpansion, ClicksVenue, EroAdvertising, ExoClick, Grand Slam Media, JuicyAds, Media Reps, Reporo, StarAdvertising, Traffic Junky and more — all of which are ready to help adult site operators buy traffic, and to sell ads on their websites, leveraging technology to make the most money from every visitor.

For example, Adamo allows advertisers to buy audiences through real-time bidding, which according to the company uses optimization algorithms to establish the value of every incoming impression and places bids accordingly, so advertisers need only determine a maximum budget per ad, and the platform will take care of the rest.

For its part, EroAdvertising isn’t sitting still, with the recent release of its mobile interstitial ads that provide a full screen ad unit inserted into a mobile website or app, appearing before the actual webpage, as a way of promoting thirdparty services.

“Interstitial ads have higher CTRs and higher eCPMs than usual banner ads,” EroAdvertising CCO Niels van Ingen notes.

“The extremely high performance of interstitial ads in today’s mobile advertising market drove our decision to implement this method in order to increase the businesses of our clients.”

“Publishers can use Interstitials as an alternative to redirecting users and using mobile pop ads. Furthermore publishers have the possibility to apply a capping which will ensure a positive user experience,” van Ingen added. “This new feature is a great extra option for advertisers who are interested in running a mobile [run of network] campaign. Interstitials can either be static, rich media or video ads and are effective for branding, generating traffic and to achieve highly satisfying conversion rates.”

AdXpansion offers less-intrusive ads slots such as its “margin ads” that monetize the unused space on the edges of today’s high-resolution displays; while ExoClick is now catering to secure sites by serving ads via HTTPS — and the company has also released advanced targeting features that give advertisers complete control over the audience segments they are reaching.

While each of these companies offers a unique range of services, with some overlap between, all are able to help you take your site to the next level, so check them all out to find the best fit.

Need more?

XBIZ’s Adult Business Directory offers a list of traffic services, as well as TGPs and MGPs, link directories and review sites, adult search engines, blogs, banner exchanges and more, which adult sites can use to jumpstart their traffic.

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