The Smartphone Explosion

Alex Henderson

If the history of the adult entertainment industry has taught us one thing above all else, it is that there is no room for being complacent when it comes to technology.

Adult businesses were quick to monetize emerging technologies in the past, from VCRs in the 1980s to DVDs in the late 1990s to high-speed broadband in the 2000s and beyond. With the popularity of mobile/wireless devices continuing to grow, more and more adult businesses are seeing mobile optimization not as an option, but as a necessity. And this summer, aggressive Wi-Fi promotions, the development of new mobile products, and global marketing are among the important mobile adult trends to be aware of.

The great thing about mobile's evolution is that it is slowly moving away from the control of the mobile network operators or carriers. In mobile terms, it's going off-deck, and we've seen quite an evolution in territories that now allow hardcore content with operator billing.

AJ Hall, co-founder and CEO of the Los Angeles-based content management system provider Elevated X, asserted that in 2015, adult companies must understand the difference between mobile optimization and mere mobile compatibility — and the latter, he stressed, has become insufficient.

“I think the most important mobile trend is the push toward mobile optimization, not just mobile compatibility,” Hall told XBIZ. “An adult site’s mobile readiness has gone from a being a benefit to being a requirement.

“The masses no longer tolerate a site not offering a really good mobile experience. 2013 saw a largely hype-based shift toward the responsive design or adaptive design trend; two years later, we’re seeing more industry articles, message board posts and our own CMS customer feedback supporting the notion that mobile is so important that a site should have a mobile-optimized version instead of a one-size-fits-all responsive version that gets used on all devices.”

Hall added: “As a software vendor, we don’t measure growth of device or platform use directly, but rely on our customers, their behavior and their requests as a guide. The mobile space is more critical today in comparison to previous years not so much due to more mobile use, but that adult site operators have finally realized just how important it is that their offerings are mobile-optimized.”

The smartphone explosion is a world wide phenomenon, and when it comes to adult content, the standards of different mobile carriers/operators can vary from one country to another.

Julia Dimambro, founder and CEO of the Barcelona, Spain-based mobile specialist Cherry Media, told XBIZ: “Mobile is so much easier to regulate than the World Wide Web. Someone always owns the networks across which information or billing is processed, and these guys call the shots. This has meant that in the mobile world, adult content is often classified with bikini content, and with Googlegedden, this is now starting to affect online in the same way.

“So either way, the question needs to be answered as to how to create new strategies that generate revenues within the restrictions we face — something the adult industry has addressed successfully many times before,” she said.

Dimambro continued: “The great thing about mobile’s evolution is that it is slowly moving away from the control of the mobile network operators or carriers. In mobile terms, it’s going off-deck, and we’ve seen quite an evolution in territories that now allow hardcore content with operator billing. Yes, the set-up strategy is different and more fragmented than online, but it's where the consumers are. So we need to follow them.”

Dimambro added, however, that for adult companies, being mobile-optimized does not mean forgetting about non-mobile devices. These days, she said, consumers are fulfilling their needs via a variety of devices.

“The big media brands are educating the public in having one subscription that can be accessed via any device,” Dimambro observed. “This ties in with the natural behavioral shift of consumers. They no longer only consume media on TV, only view website on a computer, or only make calls on a phone. Everything is converging. Media is consumed on mobiles and games consoles, websites are viewed on mobiles and TVs, and phone calls are made via TV and computers via programs such as Skype. With this in mind, consumers are starting to expect that if they sign up for a subscription of any kind, they will be able to access and have the same experience via whichever device they are currently in front of.”

Elma Fulga, affiliate manager for MobileCashout, noted that among adult companies, the targeting of Wi-Fi traffic has been increasingly aggressive in 2015.

“One trend that I think the industry is working towards is to have better technology solutions to target Wi-Fi traffic,” Fulga told XBIZ. “There is a huge volume of Wi-Fi traffic out there, and it's much cheaper than carrier traffic. So advertisers should experiment with ways to really get the best out of Wi-Fi targeting. On the content side, the latest trend for carriers is that they are now requesting branded content to distribute via their channels.

The quest for mobile optimization has become a high priority for a variety of adult websites, from membership/subscription sites specializing in downloadable or streamed content to live webcam sites to adult dating sites.

Shay Efron, vice president of marketing and business development for the webcam-oriented and the affiliate program, said that in 2015, analyzing and understanding the mobile habits of consumers has been vitally important for that company.

Efron told XBIZ: “I would say that the ability to understand the origin of the mobile user, the device he’s using and the Internet network he’s hooked on, helped us a lot to offer that user the most suitable webcam product for making his experience on our site complete.”

Efron added that is unveiling two mobile solutions this year: one that promotes “the ability of a model to stream her show from her mobile device” and one that enhances “the ability of models and studio managers to control their administration and performances with us through a mobile app.” Efron explained: “For us, the most important thing was to make sure that our main brands, and and our lifestyle sites, and will be 100% compatible for all mobile devices from the end user side — and also, to provide the affiliates and webmasters who promote these products the most updated promotional tools in order to promote them.

The development of mobile products development is one of our main interests these days.”

Richard Cottrell, global sales director for ExoClick, reported that in recent months, mobile profits have overtaken non-mobile profits for the Barcelona-based online advertising specialist. Cottrell told XBIZ:

“For us at ExoClick, we have observed significant growth in the mobile sector. Mobile now accounts for 65% of ExoClick’s revenues — a growth of 15% in 12 months, which means that advertisers are harnessing the mobile channel to great effect. ExoClick has introduced platform technology which enables advertisers to use advanced segmentation to target mobile devices.”

Josh Torrey, traffic manager for CM Productions and, observed that wearables continue to grow in importance for the adult mobile sector. “There are going to be some major game changers in the summer of 2015, mostly related to how mobile gets extended with accessories,” Torrey told XBIZ. “One way mobile has been extended with accessories recently is with wearables. Mobile users are able to more deeply integrate their mobile experiences with their real-life experiences, such as with the Fleshlight iPad upgrade or the couples (vibrator) We-Vibe 4 Plus.”

Torrey noted that according to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, 50 percent of that mainstream giant’s traffic is now coming from mobile devices — and just as mainstream companies keep increasing their mobile promotions, so will adult companies. “The future of mobile is very bright and expansive,” Torrey commented. “Any adult entertainment company that doesn’t have some form of mobile integration at the top of their priorities list may want to rethink their strategic roadmap.”