Adult Mobile Market: Why Europe is so Far Ahead

Stewart Tongue

Adult mobile in the E.U. has evolved faster than the rest of the world, fueled by a fertile ecosystem created by favorable billing regulations, tech-savvy consumers and rapid growth of the mobile consumer market overall.

While the market remains fluid and continues to change rapidly, there are definite trends worth monitoring in what may have become the simplest market to monetize for webmasters right now.

In my opinion, in Europe underneath it all, the media buy scheme is the same, it just needs to be adapted to another user profile and most importantly to different languages. -Alex LeComte, StarEdition.com.

“I’d expect the U.S. and other markets to eventually catch up, but in 2014 the idea of using a credit card to buy adult memberships is foreign to most E.U. consumers and that notion is perfectly aligned with the simplicity of one-click billing options that work beautifully with mobile E.U. traffic,” said Ross of TrafficForce.com. “Being able to dial in exactly the kinds of clicks you want from our premium network while making the payment process as easy as the rest of your website user interface and user experience makes E.U. mobile one of the easiest ways to make money.”

“What we are noticing here in Europe is that you can’t necessarily consider tablets as whole mobile devices, you need to see the tablet also as a web product that is used as an alternative to a laptop,” said Oliver Crane of MobileCashOut.com. “Smartphones tend to be used more specifically for mobile enabled site browsing. Billing also affects device viewing habits because credit card billing converts better on tablets, whereas one-click billing is easier to convert smartphone users.”

Another interesting point Crane made regarding Mobile in the E.U. was that the content itself is often very different from what one would expect as a desktop user in the U.S. “Perhaps the most interesting thing is how content works in the conversion flow that occurs before billing. In the U.S., quality content is used to engage the consumer to take them through the billing process. In Europe we are finding that the quality of content is less important in obtaining sign ups and conversions. For example blurred images work well in Europe, the consumer is driven to sign up in order to see the content in high quality, this is also a good strategy to use with one click billing as it’s an impulse buy.”

It’s also important to keep in mind that E.U. traffic goes well beyond the likes of Germany, France and the U.K. “Eastern Europe is an emerging market right now, especially Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria” Crane said. “To build volume from the eastern bloc you have to look at each country individually and localize the content and marketing activity in your pursuit of conversions; because the standard of living is lower in Eastern Europe and your average revenue per user is less than Western Europe or the U.S., so your product has to be tailored to those countries by language and culture in order to extend the lifetime of users. We have also seen excellent growth in Austria, even though the population is small, with the right targeted product we are finding Austrian traffic that converts has a much longer life span as long as you keep them engaged with quality member content.”

“In many ways this is actually the same process as other regions,” said Alex LeComte, marketing manager for StarEdition.com. “Of course traffic sources are distinct since user consumption can be quite different from one country to another, but all in all it’s about buying views or clicks from an online audience.

“In my opinion, in Europe underneath it all, the media buy scheme is the same, it just needs to be adapted to another user profile and most importantly to different languages.”

Another demographical distinction that some may have missed is that “European viewers don’t seem to have the same love affair with the Apple iPhone that their American counterparts do,” said Jesse Garza, senior online marketing manager for FameDollars. “The iPhone represents approximately 26 percent of all mobile traffic for America, while in Europe it only represents 19 percent for FameDollars. But when it comes to the Samsung Galaxy series devices, European traffic outweighs American traffic on these models 9 to 1.

“However, despite a preference for Android devices, Apple still reigns supreme when it comes to users who convert garnering over 85 percent of all sales on mobile devices. We’ve also noticed that European mobile users are often more reluctant to purchase and are increasingly wary of giving away personal information via mobile.

“Though we also see a 39 percent increased conversion ratio when comparing European vs. American mobile traffic. The key to unlocking better ratios and conversions on European traffic is really a matter of presenting an atmosphere of security while streamlining the process. Mobile is increasingly going from being the second screen to the main screen for many people and providing device specific experiences rather than simply responsive design is also a key component of this migration.”

‘Europe was actually way ahead of most other continents in offering adult mobile services (as far back as 2004 and 2005) and obviously in comparison with other potent mobile territories like India, Latin America and Africa, handsets and networks are advanced, allowing the capability to offer more advanced services and experiences” according to Julia Dimambro, CEO of Cherry Media. “This obviously influences trends as it’s not an even playing field and we see that Europe’s advanced mobile culture and technology is actually closing the gap with fixed line in terms of viewing experience. Popular services tend to be VOD channels, streaming and long-form videos, which is a stark contrast to Latin America and India for example, which despite having good networks, handsets are still more basic for the most part, so downloads and short-form (1-2 minutes), highly compressed videos are the biggest sales. In fact in India, images are still dominating sales in many of our partner channels.”

Still, too many site owners continue to think of Europe as one entity, falsely equating countries of the E.U. with states of the U.S.

“It’s more complicated to draw a European trend, because Europe is a union made of several countries,” she said. “Each part has its own language, adult behaviors, sex and beauty tastes — it can’t be taken as a single unit to compare with another market like American leads for example.” Which means rather than looking for E.U. trends, smart media buyers drill down to examine trends in each specific country within the European Union as stand-alone entities.

Expanding your profits can be as simple as properly redirecting traffic to suitable mobile offers.

“Right now, the best performing activity for Mobile is redirecting a visitor from a desktop version to a mobile offer in Europe,” said Joey Gabra of Affil4You.com. “Some sponsors (like Mobidea) offer very interesting tools for webmasters and media buyers to pre-filter their users or provide them with a native Android app, etc.... All the best companies are developing these kinds of features because that is where the users — and money — are nowadays.

“Mobile dual-screen mode is also blooming in Europe,” according to Gabra. “Many TV programs incentivize the use of a smartphone or a tablet while someone is watching a program so they can get feedback, play or socialize with other people watching the same thing. It’s very helpful for our industry, because it reminds the user that they can view content from a private and discreet device (great for VOD offers) but also interact with other people (priceless for dating and webcam products). In a nutshell, everything is helping European consumers to get a smartphone/tablet, use it frequently and make purchases through it.”

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