Adult is a competitive and saturated market and with many adult networks also offering mainstream traffic, some adult businesses are trying their hand at entering the mainstream market.
At MobileCashout, we have been successfully experimenting with both adult and mainstream markets with its range of mobile sites and apps.
The adult industry tends to think of mainstream as the holy grail, and that it is one big vertical. This is certainly not the case and mainstream contains literally hundreds of different verticals.
With that experience in hand, here are a number of tips that can help adult advertisers break into the mainstream mobile space.
Mainstream and Adult Traffic
The adult industry tends to think of mainstream as the holy grail, and that it is one big vertical. This is certainly not the case and mainstream contains literally hundreds of different verticals. So rule No. 1 is know which verticals you are targeting and research that vertical inside and out in order to target the right traffic.
Mainstream 3G traffic is considerably more expensive than adult traffic because it is much more segmented with demographics including age, gender, etc., and this makes it more competitive to bid for especially in Tier 1 countries, so when launching mainstream products try to test out in markets such as Eastern Europe, Asia and LatAm first, where traffic is cheaper.
Traditionally the adult/mainstream crossover products are dating and gambling, but these markets are extremely saturated too and statistics show that out of all new dating products launched only 1 percent actually succeed. So it is worth investigating other verticals to grow your business, here are some examples:
Soft bikini content: with wallpapers, photos and videos.
Video streaming: Licensing nonverbal content such as comedy clips work for international markets because you cut out the language barrier. HD is always a good selling point but licensing HD content is obviously more expensive, so make sure you budget accordingly, maybe offering a mix of the two formats.
Games: If you don’t have the resources to create your own games then you could brand white label versions from developers.
Lifestyle content: Such as recipes or cookery shows, arts and crafts, tarot/horoscopes, etc.
Utilities :Products such as anti-virus, performance enhancement apps that extend battery life, etc.
Seasonally themed products: Develop product designs to target newsworthy events such as Christmas, Easter or related to big sports events to give your product more news relevance.
Converting Adult Traffic to Mainstream
You can buy adult traffic even in countries that don’t allow adult products such as many Arabian and Asian territories, so you can purchase this adult traffic and send it to a mobile game for example. The simplest way to do this is to target them with FHM-style bikini content. You can also investigate converting adult traffic to mainstream, for example, gay traffic is much easier to target because the gay market sees adult as a lifestyle so you can upsell mainstream products to such as underwear and fashion, gay holiday resorts, men’s grooming products, gay dating apps, etc.
Using The Adult Business Model For Mainstream
Let’s look at the gay adult segment in a little more detail here. The key to getting gay conversions is to ensure that the flow of the product is gay and doesn’t include any straight content. Ensure that the design and marketing is purely targeted at that niche. The exact same thing can be said for your mainstream niche. If it’s a product aimed at the football vertical ensure that the whole process centres on this. If you have a more general product such as a movie streaming app but want to pitch it at different audiences, my advice is to create several different designs of landing pages to appeal to your targeted demographics and then buy traffic specifically to send to those different pages. Regarding billing, one-click credit card, carrier billing is the exact same process as it is for adult.
There are many different cross platform app stores available to distribute your products but bear in mind that most mainstream ad networks want you to appear in the Apple or Google Play stores before they will work with you, which means your products must be compliant with those stores. Additionally some mobile carriers require you to put your app on their own app stores.
Media buying is the key element to get your products out to your target audience but make sure you choose a transparent and reputable ad network so you know where ads are going, many mainstream ad networks will not allow you to choose where you want your ads to go so do some deep investigation. Ad formats to try include mobile popunders which tend to convert the best, header banners and sticky banners also work well. What you really need to experiment with each ad network is their ad formats and their GEOs and analyze which combination performs the best for your product. Once you are up and running with a few successful mainstream apps you can start selling your own in-app ad spots ads bringing you in another revenue stream.
Just like adult, mainstream is also regulated. Germany and the U.K. are pretty restrictive whereas countries like Spain and Italy regulations aren’t so tough, also Scandinavia has had a recent change in regulations and so we are seeing more conversions from that region. Arabic countries, Australia and India are also converting well.
Eastern Europe is an emerging market right now, especially Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria, but to build volume from the eastern bloc you have to look at each country individually and localise the content and marketing activity in your pursuit of conversions. Because the standard of living is lower in Eastern Europe your average revenue per user is less than in Western Europe and the U.S., so your product has to be tailored to those countries in language and also culturally in order to maintain the lifetime of users.
Even though the population is small we have seen excellent growth in Austria, with the right targeted product we are finding that converted Austrian traffic has a much longer life span as long as you keep them engaged with quality content.
Oliver Crane is business development director for MobileCashOut, which provides mobile traffic monetization solutions, paysites and Android applications with integrated carrier billing solutions.