trends

The Battle For European Adult Traffic

Alex Henderson

Europe has a long history of being a voracious consumer of adult entertainment, and its importance to the adult industry has continued to grow in the digital age. But as European adult traffic has become more plentiful, the battle for that traffic has become increasingly intense.

And as fall approaches, important trends in European adult traffic range from aggressive 3G and Wi-Fi promotions to greater search engine optimization (SEO) efforts to targeting Europe’s diverse billing landscape.

Adult traffic is highly competitive in European countries due to strong carrier-billing options. One-click billing remains the dominant money-making paradigm for advertisers within these regions. -Andrew Rapley, Grand Slam Media

Ema Fulga, affiliate manager for the Barcelona, Spain-based MobileCashout.com, noted that in Europe, 3G adult traffic and Wi-Fi adult traffic both have their advantages.

“The demand for 3G traffic in Europe continues to grow due to good converting mobile payment models used by most European carriers,” Fulga told XBIZ. “However, one of the key trends in Europe is that carrier billing regulations are continually changing and evolving, and it is imperative to be aware of any new legislation introduced. For example, Germany and the U.K. are already very restrictive.

“A year ago, Italy was less regulated, but now, this has changed. Because of the high price of 3G traffic and carrier billing restrictions, many adult advertisers are experimenting with Wi-Fi traffic. Wi-Fi traffic is plentiful, it’s significantly cheaper than 3G traffic — and advertisers can get access to huge volumes of traffic at lower prices, giving them the advantage of being able to invest small budgets to achieve many impressions.

“By targeting Wi-Fi traffic, advertisers can skip the carrier billing restrictions and also get 100 percent of the revenue for each conversion because they don’t have to pay the carrier’s revenue share.”

Adrian DeGus, founder of AdultSEOPartners.com, asserted that the North American webmasters who are enjoying the greatest success with European traffic are the ones who have intensified their SEO efforts overseas.

“Many webmasters fail to gain traction in European search because too few, if any, of their inbound links come from websites hosted in Europe,” DeGus told XBIZ. “For example, to rank well in Google France, it helps to acquire links from other relative sites hosted in France on .fr domains or written in French. It’s a common assumption that translating your own content into another language is all that’s needed, when all you really need are links from sites hosted in your target country. This is because being linked to from a network of sites that cater to the target country tells Google that your site is relevant for that country.”

Richard Cottrell, global sales director for the Barcelona-based advertising network ExoClick, pointed out that European adult traffic continues to be quite diverse linguistically.

“Remember: not everyone speaks English,” Cottrell told XBIZ. “Europe has a high number of localized markets consisting of different countries, cultures, billing models and most importantly, languages. Check out online statistics to help you gain a better knowledge of each European market. PornHub’s statistics contain valuable insights — for example, the top search items per country on PornHub are always related to nationality: it’s French in France, it’s Italian in Italy, etc.

“Clearly, this shows that in order to get maximum conversions, you need to speak to users in their own language and culture. Something else to bear in mind is that there might be different languages spoken within one country. In Switzerland, German speakers make up 74 percent of the population, French 21 percent, Italian 4 percent and Romansh 1 percent.”

Cottrell noted that in Europe, even smaller countries can have valuable traffic. “Don’t be put off by countries with small populations,” Cottrell advised.

“For example, ExoClick has seen excellent growth in Austria even though the population is just over 8 million. With the right targeted product, we are finding that Austrian traffic that converts has a much longer lifespan if you keep them engaged with quality content.”

Andrew Rapley, senior sales executive for the Toronto, Canada-based Grand Slam Media, asserted that if a company wants to attract European adult traffic, understanding European billing preferences is crucial.

“Adult traffic is highly competitive in European countries due to strong carrier-billing options,” Rapley told XBIZ. “One-click billing remains the dominant money-making paradigm for advertisers within these regions. When it comes to generating the most revenue from adult traffic, certain carriers offer extremely high payouts due to the ease of converting the user with a single tap of the button.”

Rapley added: “U.S.-based webmasters need to understand that traffic in E.U.-based countries operates in much different ways than traffic within the U.S. market. Each individual European country comes with different billing regulations, and the U.S. does not provide the most advanced billing options due to tougher laws and regulations.”

In the past, European adult traffic was dominated by desktops and laptops. But these days, mobile adult traffic continues to increase in importance in Europe — and Julia Dimambro, founder and president of the Barcelona-based mobile specialist Cherry Media, observed that adult mobile traffic within Europe can differ considerably from country to country.

Dimambro told XBIZ: “Five or 10 years ago, the trend for service investment — including traffic and content buying to build services — was mainly focused on territories like the U.K., Germany and France, where the markets were more advanced for mobile and the subscriber bases were larger. But we have seen a substantial shift to territories like Portugal and Spain, both of which still allow regulated hardcore content, as well as big increases in requests to populate services in East European countries such as Poland, Ukraine and Russia, compared to five years ago.”

ExoClick’s Cottrell asserted that when they are targeting European traffic, webmasters should not view Europe as one big market, but as many different markets.

“My overall advice is that you should look at each European country on a case-by-case basis,” Cottrell stressed. “There are many variables you need to address in order to acquire quality traffic within each market. So it’s a trial and error experiment that requires consistent effort, but the knowledge you gain will put you ahead of the game.”

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