Mobile Mania: Making Money Out of Ignored Mobile Traffic

Stefan Mühlbauer

Twenty-one! That is the total number of shows I attended in 2014. From the largest shows in the industry to smaller webmaster meetings, the top mobile experts, including myself, have taken part in these shows with one goal — to spread the word about how to achieve success in the mobile business.

One phenomenon in particular draws my attention with every show, particularly in U.S. markets: The mobile revolution has not yet reached a lot of affiliate programs.

Some carriers are working perfect with this pay flow; others forbid it. And in some countries, Wi-Fi is really a pain in the ass and you make more with your credit card billing.

In this first Mobile Mania column I want to take a closer look at the reasons for this and recommend several small but important steps for making mobile money out of traffic that you might have been ignoring so far.

First thing’s first: What does the term “mobile” mean in this case?

I am not referring to the process of getting users to use their credit card for membership purposes on mobile devices. In this case, mobile means charging users through direct-carrier billing, a billing option that is unfortunately not available in the U.S.

Most affiliate programs have heard of direct-carrier billing but can’t use the option for the bulk of their customers.

One other consideration is to create a product with direct billing included. This payment option has its unique limitations and challenges, based on country or carrier, making it seem quite complex in certain scenarios.

So, why waste time developing complicated solutions for small user groups? And, because every operator considers that their product is the best, why send traffic to someone else?

Don’t worry, the answer to these questions is not rocket science — you’ll be able to see it for yourself after testing over a short period of time.

The most profitable markets that offer direct-carrier billing are in Europe and Latin America; some Asian countries and the Middle East markets are presently rising.

The countries that do not have a large number of credit card-using consumers (including those who are not even that willing to spend money online on adult content) turn out to be the most profitable.

To get a bit more into the advantages of mobile billing, you have to separate the two main kinds of network connections — Wi-Fi and 3G.

The latter one is the best. This is principally because the Wi-Fi user logs in with the IP of a certain hotspot. Hotspots cannot be charged through direct billing. You have to have the user’s phone number to be able to bill the services you provide.

Over a 3G network, you will have access to the customer’s number, thus making him billable through the carrier.

The actual flow is as simple as this: 3G users discover a product that they are interested in, the owner of the product asks users if they want to have full access to the product and users accept to be subscribed with one click on a smartphone.

This means that conversion rates of more than 1 percent are very common, and I am not even referring to high-quality traffic.

Going back to adult affiliate programs, look at any of the programs that have been running for 10 to 15 years. If you look into detailed statistics, you will see that the majority of sales come from North American users, who are English speaking and regular credit card users, unlike Latin American, European or Asian users.

Count now how many users from LatAm, Europe and Asia who have joined over a mobile device. I am sure the rate is very low.

So, perhaps it is time to make the most out of these users. What about giving them a local product in their language with the option to pay with a simple click on the mobile phone? You will be surprised how much money there is with this.

All of the major mobile players are offering scripts for this.

It is up to you to decide which country to send traffic to through a mobile affiliate program and what countries you want to keep with your own offers.

Even making choices between different carriers is available. Some carriers are working perfect with this pay flow; others forbid it. And in some countries, Wi-Fi is really a pain in the ass and you make more with your credit card billing.

Perhaps the best solution is for you to let a third party deal with it.

Mobile affiliate managers can provide every piece of information you need in order to make the best choices.

In case you just want to investigate how well it works, you have the option to continue sending the traffic to your products but offer the upsells in the top mobile markets with pop-ups and banners to create an additional income.

Of course offers its partners all these features.

All affiliate programs have something to gain, and in the end extra income has never hurt anyone, right?

Feel free to try different programs, in different countries/zones and you will find your sweet spot for sure!

Stefan Mühlbauer is director of marketing and sales at If you are interested in the mobile world, contact him in Sitges, Phoenix or on Facebook at


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