Debates raged on industry message boards and at event cocktail parties about whether traffic or content is king when it comes to monetizing producers and services in the adult market.
That debate is now very clearly settled and anyone who thought content mattered most is now likely working for someone who has mastered the traffic side of the equation. In Europe especially, the traffic component has become even more of a focus now that billing and content can be targeted to such a narrowly refined point of focus.
Some billing models that might work great in certain countries can totally fail in others — so make sure to send traffic to the right product with the best performing billing option at the end. -Peter Rabenseifner, ExoClick.com
Once testing and tracking are sufficiently completed, the key to your success quickly becomes acquiring an ever-growing allotment of the traffic that responds best to your custom-tailored marketing campaigns.
“Europe is very specialized due to its high number of localized markets in different countries, cultures, languages, billing models and mobile carriers,” said Peter Rabenseifner, head of business development for ExoClick.com. “ExoClick proudly serves 125-plus billion ad impressions per month according to its website and had been ranked in the Deloitte Fast 500 twice due to a meteoric rise in volume to become the fifth largest ad network in the world by W3Techs and arguably the largest ad network overall in the adult entertainment market. One of the reasons the company has maintained its edge is a careful consideration of the many variables involved that are unique to the European marketplace.
“Consumers feel much more comfortable buying goods and services in their native language,” said Colin of TranslationsXXX.com. “Only 750 million people speak English as their first or second language which leaves 6.2 billion people with no idea what you are saying if you are only communicating in English. It is imperative to be communicating accurately in your consumers’ native language to earn their trust. Over the past year there has been a trend of companies expanding upon their multilingual websites. Historically French, Italian, German and Spanish (FIGS) have been the go-to European languages but there recently has been a large increase in the need to publish in Eastern European languages such as Slovenian, Czech and Russian as more European markets become increasingly profitable.”
‘There are many variables you need to experiment with in order to acquire quality traffic,” Rabenseifner said. “Trial and error is the first port of call, so start experimenting with different publishers as traffic sources, then fine-tune your products, and pitch products that are culturally modified to the right audience. Depending on a certain culture, the content that converts best matters a lot. Then you should look into the population and the ARPU in each specific country.”
Rabenseifner also detailed some of the key variables involved and emphasized the importance of planning properly to allocate your ad budget most effectively.
“There might be different languages within one small country such as Switzerland so make sure you target the right ones for your product. Some billing models that might work great in certain countries can totally fail in others — so make sure to send traffic to the right product with the best performing billing option at the end. You should focus on the billing even more when it comes to mobile traffic. There are hundreds of carriers all over Europe and each one might convert different than another one. If you spend money on expensive targeted carrier traffic, make sure to have the best converting product for this specific carrier.”
Another massive traffic broker, TrafficForce.com serves billions of ad impressions each month as well.
“European traffic can be harder to sell, but with enough optimization it does well, geo-targeted ads allow users to better understand products in their own language, coupled with informative local language text on the landing pages to help advertisers become more successful in the E.U.,” said Ross of TrafficForce. “In the past 18 months, dating sites have taken off significantly in Europe, before it wasn’t as popular a niche as it was in the U.S. but now they are more open to dating/hooking up online and traffic is moving accordingly.”
“The other trend is the shift towards LESS explicit content,” said Julia Dimambro, CEO of Cherry Media. “We were expecting this to go the other way initially as it’s obvious that harder content will always sell better than glamour content if the consumer is left to decide. In the late noughties, many European territories had robust access controls in place, which saw a lot of them offering some form of adult entertainment within their portals (and promoting it).
“Content varied from non-sexual nude to hardcore, but it really was a buoyant market and as long as there weren’t complaints, you would see operators increasing the level of what you could offer little by little. However, that now seems to be going in reverse, with the U.K. (one of the easiest markets to sell hardcore content on mobile previously) doing a complete U-turn and now only allowing non-nude, non-sexual content, Turkey being even stricter in terms of banning bikini, non-sexual content and other countries now following suit. We are actually being asked for yoga or exercise content by Turkey, because the consumer demand for mobile erotica remains, but an exercise class is as close as they can get to erotica.”
Meanwhile, mobile traffic is asserting itself more and more with each passing month and media buyers continue to acquire “premium geo top-tier speed” traffic, that popularity is also starting to create some cracks for hungry start-ups and forward thinking advertisers to cultivate.
“Due to the very good converting mobile payment models in most of the European countries, 3G traffic is clearly the most popular. ExoClick provides excellent targeting features to optimize traffic by device, by carrier and by operating system — so you can begin to segment the traffic to find the best performing traffic for your product. Because of the optimization options this traffic performs best but of course this makes it more expensive so you need to ensure you have the right product to get a good ROI. However, as the demand of 3G traffic is still increasing, we are now at a point where niche products that require less ‘in demand’ traffic become more and more interesting. If you have a product that converts in smaller GEOs or for Wi-Fi traffic, you will get a lot of traffic for a very competitive price.”
When asked for some specifics that buyers can benefit from, Peter pointed out that, “In countries like Serbia for example we have seen a large increase of Smartphone users and ARPU whilst the demand for that traffic is of course not as competitive as 3G traffic in the U.K. or other big GEOs. There are many niches that give you the chance to become a local specialist. Be a specialist and you will succeed.”