For a long time, the phrase “online adult billing” referred primarily to transactions occurring on desktop and laptop computers. But with the explosion of smartphones and tablets, more and more consumers are paying for online adult entertainment on their mobile devices.
Even if they are still using a desktop or a laptop to pay for an adult membership site, erotic webcam site or adult dating site, they are likely to be using mobile devices as well for their adult needs. And adult companies have much to think about when it comes to billing mobile users, from increased billing in developing countries to anti-fraud scrubbing in preparation for chip-and-PIN technology in the U.S.
Sites should strive for clarity on smaller screens and make sure that they use font sizes, responsive pages and navigation that are mobile-friendly. -Harmik Gharapetian, Epoch
Harmik Gharapetian, vice president of sales and marketing for Epoch, noted that in developing countries where smartphone use is on the increase, adult companies could acquire an abundance of new customers — and for that reason, they need to make sure they know as much as possible about buying habits in those countries.
“Once sites are optimized for mobile, they need to be able to monetize the growth in traffic from developing regions,” Gharapetian told XBIZ. “That is why it is critical for them to use a billing company that accepts as many local payment types as possible and that dynamically presents the appropriate language, currency and payment type to each consumer.”
Gharapetian added that for adult companies, being mobile-optimized can mean the difference between making a sale and not making a sale to a smartphone user.
“Sites should strive for clarity on smaller screens and make sure that they use font sizes, responsive pages and navigation that are mobile-friendly,” Gharapetian advised. “You certainly want your site to load quickly, avoid having viewers scroll too much and ensure that important information is easily seen by being conspicuous and unavoidable. Make gestures — taps, swipes, etc. — obvious. Take a best-practices approach to your mobile marketing. A good number of resources are available to help guide you with this. We test sites for their mobile readiness and customer experience, and it is clear to us that many adult sites have not concentrated very much on their mobile experience.”
Mia Zhu, founder and CEO of Mobius Payments, asserted that in 2015, adult companies need an extensive knowledge of the specific mobile devices that their customers are using.
“It is important that the user-join flow be optimized for mobile while understanding the aversion the consumer has to a litany of fields on the payment page,” Zhu told XBIZ. “Merchants need to pay close attention to carrier billing solutions, especially when dealing with segments of non-U.S. traffic. There should be frequent tests of their flows, join or otherwise, to confirm that they work and are presented properly on the myriad devices and operating systems. Does it work on iOS and Android? And which Android iterations? The adult mobile sector has evolved into the platform of choice for adult. Mobile traffic is becoming increasingly sought after and is converting better. It’s how consumers consume their porn now.”
Zhu continued: “When purchasing products on my phone, I take great care in noticing the billing pages. Is the payment page secure? How many taps does it take for me to complete the form?”
Gary Jackson, managing vice president of sales and Internet markets for CCBill, emphasized that with the implementation of chip-and-PIN technology for credit cards and debit cards in the U.S., anti-fraud scrubbing will be a vital part of mobile adult sales in the months to come.
The good news, according to Jackson, is that chip-and-PIN technology will discourage credit card fraud for in-person transactions in the U.S., but the bad news is that criminals will be more likely to use stolen card numbers for card-not-present transactions online — and adult companies will need to stay on top of that.
“Businesses need to be aware of the impact that chip-and-PIN technology in card-present environments will have on online fraud,” Jackson told XBIZ. “Fraudsters will move to unfettered online content purchases, so the merchant needs to have the ability to accept trusted transactions from qualified buyers. When a site or a biller can identify a previous quality buyer, fraud is reduced along with the cost of managing that checkout process.”
Jackson asserted that the days of mobile transactions being a marginal part of adult billing are over.
“Merchants and content producers need to look at mobile as more than just how the content displays, but how the content is consumed,” Jackson explained. “While responsive design is a mandatory part of any site design now, the merchant needs to consider on which device the buyer buys initially, where they consume or access their content, how they upgrade and add more services or products, how that mobile user is supported and of course, how user management is handled on any device. That data needs to be considered — and then, the merchant can look at which mobile, desktop, phone, laptop and smartTV billing options are viable, from carrier billing to Web-based billing to debit options.”
Cathy Beardsley, president and CEO of SegPay, stressed that although mobile devices have become more and more important to the adult entertainment industry, adult companies should not forget about customers who are still using desktops. Many consumers, Beardsley said, are using multiple devices to access adult entertainment — and from a billing standpoint, adult companies must be prepared to accommodate both desktops and mobile devices.
“We have seen significant growth in traffic coming from mobile devices over the last several years,” Beardsley told XBIZ. “Each year, the traffic and sales from mobile devices has increased, and we expect it to continue. However, desktop sales and sign-ups continue to be significantly greater than mobile sales.”
Beardsley continued: “In our portfolio, we notice that there are some clients that have a heavy mobile marketing strategy, while others are still desktop-focused. But all clients still seem very focused on conversion rates of their sales, regardless of the device. In doing analysis for our clients, we have noticed that while site hits are significant from mobile devices, the desktop sites or traffic seems to convert better or continue to be the lion share of sign-ups in our system. It appears as though the consumer is surfing and viewing content with their phone, but potentially, is still using the desktop to purchase.”
Mitch Farber, founder and CEO of the payment gateway NETbilling, stressed that as important as transactions made on mobile devices have become to adult companies, they will become even more important in the future.
“The mobile e-commerce space is growing rapidly, increasing more than 175 percent within the past two years alone,” Farber told XBIZ. “We anticipate that within the next few years, 75 percent of searching and purchasing will be on smartphones and tablets. Not only in adult, but in all mobile e-commerce, the growth is phenomenal. While content delivery is still mostly desktop-delivered, mobile delivery — especially on tablet devices — is swiftly on the rise as well. Mobile content delivery was hardly even measurable just a few years ago.”
Farber added: “Consumers are using mobile applications for banking and product searching more than computers. Social media is almost entirely done on mobile phones or tablets, and links from social media sites to purchase must be fast and mobile-optimized. With the rise of mobile commerce, e-commerce businesses must find a way to maximize exposure through fast and efficient purchasing schemes as well as good-looking applications with easy user interfaces on mobile devices.”
According to Farber, helping clients make their payment pages as mobile-friendly as possible has been a high priority for NETbilling in 2015.
“Responsive tours, simple and direct purchase forms and especially, one-click purchases, are key to successful mobile commerce,” Farber advised. “NETbilling provides mobile payment form templates, which allow merchants to completely control the look and feel of mobile-optimized pages and embed them directly into their mobile tours, shopping carts and anywhere else.”
Karen Campbell, vice president of the Torrance, Calif.-based OrbitalPay, explained that from a billing standpoint, mobile optimization is especially important with younger consumers.
“There is an entire generation that accesses the Internet through mobile devices only,” Campbell told XBIZ. “If site owners aren’t prepared for mobile visits, purchases, etc., they are going to fall behind.”
Campbell added: “More people are making purchases through their mobile devices, making it imperative that your website be mobile-friendly and ready to accept their business. Things change from one generation to the next, and business owners need to follow suit. Likewise, for billers, we have to be ready to provide whatever product or service is required, as times change and people’s needs and wants do the same.”