Trends in Paysite Design, Content Delivery

Stephen Yagielowicz

Given the highly visual nature of adult entertainment, it is no surprise that many paysites have shown design-forward approaches — some skirting the bleeding edge, while others sought stability over style.

As new sites continue to come to market, and established properties reinvent themselves, new design trends are emerging, often enabled by advances in technology that are rendering legacy sites obsolete.

Responsive design and HTML5 video paysites in 2016 need to be fast loading, clean looking and designed with mobile at the forefront of the approach. -Cristian Gold, Adult SiteRunner

Adult SiteRunner President Cristian Gold told XBIZ that the current state of the adult paysite market and evolutions in content delivery technologies are impacting design trends today.

“Responsive design and HTML5 video paysites in 2016 need to be fast loading, clean looking and designed with mobile at the forefront of the approach,” Gold says. “Mobile now accounts for more than 45 percent of most traffic, so if your paysite is not mobile transaction friendly, then you are losing out.”

This focus on being “mobile transaction friendly” shows the importance of looking beyond basic mobile compatibility and past simplistic concepts of responsive design as “a mobile strategy,” to see the need for easy payment processing — whether for subscriptions, downloads, or tangibles, making the process quick for customers is the key to more completed sales and fewer abandoned carts and transactions, especially for users on mobile devices.

“Forget the unnecessary, complicated design and bells and whistles in favor of a sleeker approach that showcases your content with HTML5 rich video on your tour pages,” Gold advises. “That is where have seen better conversion results.”

Gold told XBIZ that Flash-based content delivery has been dead for quite a while now, and points to the shift away from old school MGP-style sites that featured downloadable video clips, in favor of streaming.

“Offering pseudo-streaming video delivery with open downloads,” Gold says, “is a thing of the past if our industry is to remain profitable.”

True universally compatible content streaming across all devices is necessary for reaching audiences that exist in multi device worlds, where they may view the same site using their desktop PC, as well as a tablet and smartphone, driving professional operators to ensure users as seamless a transition across platforms as possible. This also includes offering platform specific revenue options, such as in-app sales.

“Monetizing adult content in all the places consumers are now able to use it is crucial in keeping a site’s revenue stream growing,” Gold says. “We suggest that you allow consumers the ability to purchase your content in all of the ways they are now used to in the mainstream market, such as Netflix, HBOgo, etc.”

This flexibility is another trend in the evolution of adult paysites that incorporate more monetization channels than simple subscription sales — a huge consideration in an era of lackluster retention rates, and another consideration when marketing streaming-only sites.

“Allowing consumers the choice to stream your content to any device including mobile and Roku with the purchase of a monthly membership, or offer up the ability to pay and download scenes, or pay to keep scenes in the cloud on your site, is where it’s at now,” Gold explains. “We see revenue increases averaging 30 percent over and over again on the sites we convert that have made the switch to adopt our company’s approach.”

As far as what the future holds, Gold says that while virtual reality is still in its infancy, it will eventually boost demand for new paysites.

“Everybody should be thinking about entering the VR arena,” Gold told XBIZ. “It will be demanded by users more and more.”

The VR revolution won’t happen overnight, however, and may still be several years away.

“The amount of devices on the market and the projection for next year makes it tough to rely on VR as a major source of revenue increase considering it is still very costly to produce especially for niche content sites,” Gold adds. “At Adult SiteRunner, we treat VR as another paid downloadable file where customers can use their credits to acquire VR scenes individually.”

Gold is quick to note that offering VR content is not enough to be competitive in 2016, when having a highly refined user experience is the key to customer satisfaction.

“Our advice to paysite owners is to make sure their users have the best possible experience (think Netflix) when customers purchase content on your paysite before you start thinking of offering VR,” Gold concludes. “At Adult SiteRunner, we achieved that robustness by using Amazon Web Services and programming solid code on top of it.”

At the end of the day, while many industry operators debate whether content or traffic is king today, the truth of the matter is that in 2016, neither rules the roost when it comes to building and operating a profitable paysite — it is the superiority of the user experience that differentiates the value proposition between free and premium today.

When there is little to separate countless websites running the same scripts and offering similar content, perhaps with variances in templates, logos, fonts and colors, being the biggest difference between these copycat properties, it is only through creativity and consciously polishing a site’s interface and its overall user experience that owners can offer something worth paying for.

Flexible content delivery, usable navigation, and responsive design are major factors in the success of adult paysites today — but these elements cannot be treated as an afterthought, because they are just as easily implemented by free sites as well, ensuring continued creativity amid increasing competition.